Inconsistent state and federal reporting requirements for large commercial labs running COVID-19 tests are complicating efforts to track the disease, contact people whose tests are positive and coordinate care. Public health officials and health care workers say it takes too much time to get and use the information they need, and health information exchange managers say the big labs aren't sharing their test results.
Northwell Health added beds and patient registration capacity to its EHR system in anticipation of a surge in patients at its 23 affiliated hospitals, developed clinical order sets for positive COVID-19 tests, and is developing predictive analytics to balance patient load, says CIO John Bosco. Northwell began using Microsoft Teams about a year ago, and about 25,000 employees across the health system use it to collaborate and communicate.
In a reversal of a prior policy, Google will accept ads from government entities, hospitals, health care providers and nongovernmental organizations to disseminate relevant information on the novel coronavirus to the public. Google also plans to allow political organizations and other advertisers to run coronavirus-related ads.
The new Tech Health Directory website lists digital health products and services that could help health care providers respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The website was developed jointly by the American Telemedicine Association, the Consumer Technology Association and Amazon Web Services.
The Federal Communications Commission has opened a $200 million fund from which it will issue grants of up to $1 million to eligible health care providers for the purchase of telecommunications services, information services and mobile health devices that augment patient care. Eligible providers include medical schools, community health centers, not-for-profit hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
Mississippi had already eased licensing requirements for out-of-state physicians and relaxed restrictions on telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic before HHS Secretary Alex Azar advised states to do so. But the state medical board has since issued a new mandate that out-of-state physicians must have an existing relationship with the patient before practicing telemedicine, while in-state physicians may use telemedicine for new patient encounters.
People with opioid use disorder are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 complications as well as social effects related to physical distancing rules and guidelines, writes Kelsey Priest, an M.D/Ph.D. student at Oregon Health and Science University. Addiction treatment providers, health system administrators and government officials should "implement newly released federal guidance, with specific attention to opioid treatment programs, buprenorphine prescribing, telemedicine, hospital services and bridge programs, and harm reduction," Priest writes.
The Healthy Nevada Project, a population health study combining clinical, environmental and genetic data, is asking participants to complete a 13-question survey about possible exposure to the novel coronavirus or patients with COVID-19, and more than 14,000 participants had responded as of Monday, said principal investigator Joseph Grzymski. The data has revealed risk factors within the community and prompted officials to act, Grzymski says.
Daily traffic on videoconferencing app Zoom's US download page has risen 535% in the past month, according to SimilarWeb, and Zoom's iPhone app has been the most frequently downloaded app in the US for weeks, according to Sensor Tower. Security experts have called the app "a privacy disaster" and "fundamentally corrupt," and New York Attorney General Letitia James says security vulnerabilities "could enable malicious third parties to, among other things, gain surreptitious access to consumer webcams."
PatientPay raised $6.15 million in a financing round led by Mosaik Partners for expansion of billing services for acute-, ambulatory- and specialty-care facilities. PatientPay works with makers of revenue-cycle management software to communicate billing information to patients, reconcile insurance claims and patient payments, and match bills to insurers' explanations of benefits.
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