Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – November 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic was the backdrop for this year’s presidential election, triggering important questions about the future of U.S. healthcare. Despite the uncertainty that still exists today, healthcare IT leaders have a strong grasp on the issues and technologies that should take priority in the next four years.

Fierce Healthcare reported on the key issues that healthcare leaders would like to see the federal government take immediate action on. Beyond improving the nation’s public health data infrastructure, the article highlighted improving patient identification, solidifying telehealth reimbursement protocols, advancing interoperability and strengthening cybersecurity in hospitals. All these issues have been exasperated by the pandemic which has created more urgency in addressing them. 

Additionally, an Optum survey of 500 healthcare execs revealed that more than half (56%) are accelerating or expanding their artificial intelligence (AI) deployment timelines in response to the pandemic, demonstrating the importance of this business tool during the most stressful times.

In other AI-related news, a group of researchers at MIT developed an AI model that can detect asymptomatic COVID-19 cases by listening to subtle differences in coughs between healthy people and infected people. The researchers are testing their AI in clinical trials and have already started the process of seeking approval from the FDA for it to be used as a screening tool.

2021 will hopefully look very different from 2020 from a public health perspective, and beyond taking the input of healthcare leaders to heart, the federal government has an opportunity to support broad adoption of advanced technologies that can aid in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

Life sciences stories you may have missed – November 2020

Life sciences stories you may have missed – November 2020

Parking fees should not be a hurdle to healthcare

“Even getting to a hospital or clinic for radiation, chemotherapy sessions, or regular checkups in itself can be a challenge for some patients. For those relying on public transport or in rural areas, access to public transit or the cost of filling up a tank of gas can pose hurdles to cancer care.” In an article for STAT, Priyanka Runwal covers some of the factors that contribute to higher rates of mortality among Black women diagnosed with cancer.

Fast-tracking vaccine development

The Washington Post continues to use graphics to break down the science behind vaccine development. The paper’s latest update tracks 200 vaccines, from 170+ experimental vaccines in pre-clinical development to 10 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.

For a quick primer on the three technologies making the compressed timeline to a vaccine possible, check out this article from Michael White, assistant professor of genetics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, on genetically engineered viruses, DNA vaccines and mRNA vaccines.

CRISPR cautions

New York Times reporter Katherine Wu recently covered a study published in the journal Cell that found CRISPR-Cas9 can cause serious side effects in the cells of human embryos. The research team found the gene-editing tool “appeared to wreak a genetic havoc in about half the specimens that the researchers examined.” The results underscore what scientists have been saying since Chinese “CRISPR babies scientist” He Jiankui sent shockwaves across the industry: it’s too soon to use genome editing in human embryos.

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 10/8/20

Healthcare IT stories you may have missed – 10/8/20

While the healthcare industry has experienced more than its fair share of challenges amid the coronavirus epidemic, there are some bright spots worth noting. Often, where there are challenges there is also ripe opportunity for out-of-the-box thinking and innovation.

We’re only three quarters of the way through this year, but 2020 has already set a new annual record for the venture capital funding being pumped into the digital health space. Fierce Healthcare reported that companies in the health tech industry have collectively raised $9.4 billion so far this year, topping the previous record of $8.2 billion set in all of 2018.

Additionally, Frost & Sullivan revealed several global trends generating growth opportunities from COVID-19. According to the analysis, robotics, advanced data analytics, IoT, privacy and security, and business model innovation are all critical success factors for growth. Healthcare IT News has all the details.

Last but certainly not least is a CB Insights report suggesting technology giants Amazon, Apple and Google are further penetrating the healthcare industry by way of health insurance. Becker’s Hospital Review lays out four trends to know and provides a breakdown of partnerships these companies have already made in the insurance industry.    

Life sciences stories you may have missed – November 2020

Life science stories you may have missed – 10/01/20

The argument against herd immunity

In a recent article, Kaiser Health News set out to clear up the confusion on herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point at which enough people are resistant to a disease that it is unlikely to spread in the population, protecting the community from infection. According to the article, 50-70% of the population needs to be immunized to reach herd immunity for COVID-19. But experts predict this would equate to widespread illness and an “incredible number of deaths.” Further, cases of reinfection have raised questions on how long immunity lasts and whether someone who has immunity can still spread the virus. Dr. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, concludes: “We can’t count on natural herd immunity as a way to control the epidemic.”

———————-

From cancer research to tracking coronavirus

When COVID-19 hit, Dr. Paraic Kenny, director of the Kabara Cancer Research Institute at the Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis., wondered how his team could join the fight against the pandemic. Using existing equipment and expertise sequencing patients’ tumors, he converted his lab to begin sequencing COVID-19 patient samples to better understand the virus and its spread. To his surprise, the team found a fast-growing cluster they were able to trace to a single source: a meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The Washington Post breaks down the science behind Dr. Kenny’s discovery in “The code: How genetic science helped expose a secret coronavirus outbreak.”

———————-

New report sheds further light on the opioid crisis

Ed Silverman writes for STAT that a “lack of coordination from opioid makers” hindered the success of a safety program intended to minimize opioid abuse and misuse. When the FDA began requiring REMS, or risk evaluation and mitigation strategy programs, for opioids in 2011 it was seen as an important move to curb the opioid crisis. But a new report shows that manufacturers often failed to submit required data on how often opioids were prescribed, side effects, and the results of surveys on prescriber and patient awareness of risks, such as addiction. Silverman says the conclusions are “especially problematic, when considering that, although opioid prescribing has decreased by 34% since 2012, health care providers still prescribed about 80% more opioids in 2018 than during the 1990s.”

Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

Tips for planning a successful virtual fundraiser

2020 has upended how we do almost everything. One major impact has been on how nonprofit organizations raise funds. In-person fundraising events such as galas, 5Ks and other socially-oriented events are no longer possible.

Greenough Brand Storytellers has been advising its clients on how best to shift fundraising events to virtual gatherings or socially distant meetups. Below are a few best practices that nonprofit organizations can use as they consider their fundraising events for 2020.

Suggestions for a successful virtual fundraiser: 

  1. Make it authentic: Try to stay as true as possible to the theme and vibe of the actual event as you can in the virtual event. 
  2. Break traditions if it doesn’t serve your goal: If you’ve done something in the in-person event because that is the tradition, but it doesn’t feel right for the virtual version, don’t stay married to it. 
  3. Innovate: Per #2, if there is a way to make something better, do it! 
  4. Test everything: Trying out a new idea? Test it among a focus group. Using new technology? Test it again and again until you know it works. 
  5. Keep it succinct: Our digital attention span is very short, so introductions, speeches and transitions should be concise. 
  6. Reach for a speaker: Because speakers no longer have to travel for events and because of the state of the world, many “celebrity” speakers are more willing to participate in local events. 
  7. Air it live: If possible, the best events are those that are live and not fully prerecorded (although pre-recorded elements are welcome) 
  8. Make it interactive: For example, give an on-screen shout out to all participants. Knowing that there are people around the world tuning in to this event, acknowledge everyone on screen collectively by opening up the zoom portal for everyone to see who is on briefly (~30 seconds). Additionally, having a chat function or hosting intermittent survey questions is a nice way to keep people engaged.
  9. Send gifts to participants: Just as they would for an in-person event, mail gifts to each participant’s home so that there is a common connection and a positive feeling felt toward the organization.
  10. Have a robust social media strategy leading up to the virtual event: The most successful virtual events leverage the power of social media in the weeks leading up to the event to create a call-to-action and support the organization. Encourage participants to post their viewing parties and tag the organization and use a special hashtag. 
  11. Create a call to action: The event should end on a positive note with a call-to-action for all participants to support the organization. 
  12. Focus: Do not try to do too much. Keep your event focused by limiting speakers. Stay on message and tie back to your organization’s mission and the goal at hand.
  13. Make it memorable: With so many events now virtual, think about what you can do to make your event memorable and stand out from all the others?

 

See how we can help your organization!