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Telemedicine has a big role in the coronavirus fight, but doctors say the laws remain murky

March 18, 2020

Telemedicine has a big role in the coronavirus fight, but doctors say the laws remain murky

As part of its effort to extend health services to seniors, the Trump administration announced a major expansion of telemedicine options, allowing Americans enrolled in Medicare to talk to a doctor by phone or video chat for no additional cost. 

States including Massachusetts and Florida have also expanded telehealth coverage amid the COVID-19 crisis to make it easier for doctors and patients to connect online and to ensure that physicians get paid. Washington is among states moving to let doctors volunteer to treat patients even if they’re not licensed in the state as long as they can legally practice elsewhere.

More than 260 doctors have already volunteered, though it will take time for them to be vetted, said Stephanie Mason of the Washington State Medical Commission. Getting licensed in other states can still take months and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The coronavirus, which as of Wednesday has infected more than 6,400 people in the United States, killing at least 114, is threatening to overwhelm the U.S. health system in the coming weeks, creating a need for increased use of remote health services. But a patchwork of state-by-state regulations and a lack of clarity about what’s allowed is causing telemedicine providers to move cautiously. Health plans, meanwhile, aren’t moving as quickly as the federal government to reimburse doctors. 

The full CNBC article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

What America can learn from China’s use of robots and telemedicine to combat the coronavirus

March 18, 2020

What America can learn from China’s use of robots and telemedicine to combat the coronavirus

After a passenger infected with the novel coronavirus boarded the Diamond Princess cruise ship in January, the virus quickly spread, eventually infecting at least 712 and killing seven. Critics labeled the ship quarantined in Yokohama a floating petri dish, and at least one Japanese expert attributed the explosion of cases to food trays passed out by infected crew. Could robots have made a difference?

As countries around the world grapple with COVID-19, front line medical workers are deploying robots, telemedicine and other technologies to help contain the pandemic. China and Spain have used drones to monitor people during lockdown campaigns, while South Korea has deployed them to help disinfect areas in Daegu, an epidemic hotspot. Antwork, a group company of Japanese industrial drone maker Terra Drone, flew medical samples and quarantine materials in China’s Xinchang in February during the height of the epidemic.

Earlier this month, a field hospital staffed by robots opened in the Hongshan Sports Center in Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began. Dubbed the Smart Field Hospital, the facility is a project involving Wuhan Wuchang Hospital, China Mobile and CloudMinds, a maker of cloud robotics systems based in China and the U.S. The Smart Field Hospital is a trial aimed at relieving exhausted health-care workers even as the outbreak in China slowed in recent weeks.

The full CNBC article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Automated CT biomarkers for opportunistic prediction of future cardiovascular events and mortality in an asymptomatic screening population: a retrospective cohort study

March 18, 2020

Automated CT biomarkers for opportunistic prediction of future cardiovascular events and mortality in an asymptomatic screening population: a retrospective cohort study

Body CT scans are frequently done for a wide range of clinical indications, but potentially valuable biometric information typically goes unused. We aimed to compare the prognostic ability of automated CT-based body composition biomarkers derived from previously developed deep-learning and feature-based algorithms with that of clinical parameters (Framingham risk score [FRS] and body-mass index [BMI]) for predicting major cardiovascular events and overall survival in an adult screening cohort.

The full article from The Lancet can be downloaded below.  

Name: 
Anna

CVS Melds Opioid Support Into Social Determinants Network

March 17, 2020

CVS Melds Opioid Support Into Social Determinants Network

CVS Health is melding a program designed to help those who’ve suffered an opioid overdose into its widening effort to address social determinants of health.

The effort by CVS Health and its Aetna health insurance unit comes as insurers roll out strategies to move into their communities and beyond the doctor’s office to reduce costs and improve outcomes.

The full Forbes article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Coronavirus is exposing all of the weaknesses in the US health system

March 16, 2020

Coronavirus is exposing all of the weaknesses in the US health system

The international response to the novel coronavirus has laid this bare: America was less prepared for a pandemic than countries with universal health systems.

There is a real concern that Americans, with a high uninsured rate and high out-of-pocket costs compared to the rest of the world, won’t seek care because of the costs. Before the crisis even began, the United States had fewer doctors and fewer hospital beds per capita than most other developed countries. The rollout of COVID-19 testing has been patchy, reliant on a mix of government and private labs to scale up the capacity to perform the tens of thousands of tests that will be necessary.

“Everyone working in this space would agree that no matter how you measure it, the US is far behind on this,” says Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The full Vox article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Fauci: Time for America to ‘hunker down’

March 15, 2020

Fauci: Time for America to ‘hunker down’

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert urged Americans on Sunday to hunker down as the U.S. scrambles to avoid an explosion of COVID-19 cases that could kill hundreds of thousands, or even a million, people here.

“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

The full Politico article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

How health care inequity could make the COVID-19 crisis worse

March 13, 2020

How health care inequity could make the COVID-19 crisis worse

As global warnings about COVID-19 intensify, the message is increasingly stark: If you’re sick, stay at home. A wave of cancellations and closings have tried to keep even seemingly healthy people away from big gatherings or close quarters. But if you’re one of the millions of people in the United States who don’t have paid sick leave or adequate health insurance coverage, taking time off of work while you’re sick — or seeking medical care in the first place — can feel impossible.

Trying to soldier on as normal in the middle of a global pandemic carries a different peril, however: the risk of further spreading a disease that has so far killed over 5,000 people worldwide, overwhelmed other countries’ health systems and for which there is no vaccine or cure.

The full PBS article can be viewed be at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Coronavirus adds new stress to antiquated health record-keeping

March 12, 2020

COVID-19 adds new stress to antiquated health record-keeping

The U.S. health care system is on the leading edge of many technologies — except when it comes to passing information between doctors, laboratories, and public health officials. And that could add another snarl to the already troubled effort to test for coronavirus.

Overreliance on faxing, phones and paper records is problem enough in ordinary times. Adding thousands of coronavirus tests a day will test the ability of providers, labs, and public health officials to keep track of all the results. Because not all results are automatically downloaded into physicians' records, the doctors may need to log into laboratory web portals or, if all else fails, turn to faxes and phones to learn test results.

The full Politico article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Lyft Signs Long-Term Nationwide Heathcare Logistics Deal

March 12, 2020

Lyft Signs Long-Term Nationwide Heathcare Logistics Deal

The ride-sharing company Lyft, establishing a long-term commitment to healthcare transportation, signed a multi-year deal with Logisticare Solutions, which coordinates non-emergency medical transportation across the country.

LogistiCare is known for its business helping state governments and commercial health insurance companies manage their non-emergency medical transportation, coordinating everything from the healthcare providers and drivers to social service agencies. Lyft first signed a three-year deal with LogistCare in 2017 and executives said that arrangement has been a success, facilitating “access to millions of rides” across 48 states and the District of Columbia.

It’s the latest in a parade of new business announced this year by Lyft and rival Uber to tap the growing business of transporting patients to and from health facilities. The ride-share companies are signing up hospitals, health insurers and other arrangements linking their businesses more seamlessly to the U.S. healthcare system.

The full Forbes article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna

Worried About Coronavirus? Now You Can Text Message A Chatbot With Questions

March 12, 2020

Worried About Coronavirus? Now You Can Text Message A Chatbot With Questions

First, wash your hands. Then, pick up the phone. 

Two telemedicine startups are working together on a program that allows worried patients to text their concerns about the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, to a chatbot that can link them to remote doctors. The goal is to help them avoid waiting in crowded clinics that may increase the risk of infection for them and for healthcare providers. 

The full Forbes article can be viewed at this link.  

Name: 
Anna