Sharing clinical notes with patients takes time, but health care providers generally approve of the concept and say it helps engage patients in their own care, according to the results of a survey published in JAMA Network Open. Clinicians who participate in the OpenNotes initiative say it has increased the amount of time they spend documenting, likely because they augmented their notes to make them more easily understood, and many said they would like a way to find out which patients view clinical notes.
Google Cloud is offering researchers free access to its COVID-19 Public Datasets program, which hosts a repository of public data sets -- including the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering dashboard, global health data from the World Bank and OpenStreetMap data -- to help accelerate development of tools to slow the pandemic's spread. Researchers will also be able to use BigQuery ML to train machine learning models on COVID-19 data sets.
Debian Linux is inviting all programmers and engineers to its virtual COVID-19 Biohackathon from April 5 to 11 in an effort to improve free and open-source biomedical software programs, tools and libraries. Michael Crusoe, a Debian maintainer, writes that participants do not need to be medical developers, as "most tasks do not require any knowledge of biology or medicine, and all types of contributions are welcome: bug triage, testing, documentation, CI, translations, packaging, and code contributions."
The CMS published COVID-19-related Medicare Severity-Diagnosis Related Group codes on the agency's website under the Acute Inpatient PPS provider tab; granted Medicaid waivers to 11 states regarding prior authorization, provider enrollment, some nursing home preadmission reviews and reimbursement delivered in alternative settings; and is accepting comments on diagnosis proposals through May 18. Input on topics for the next Coordination and Maintenance Committee Meeting, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9, is due by June 12.
An email phishing campaign might have exposed Golden Valley Health Centers patients' medical data, billing and insurance information, appointment records, and referral information. The health system is notifying some 397,000 patients of the breach, though there is no evidence that protected health information was accessed or misused.
A new research consortium led by artificial intelligence company C3.ai in partnership with some of the nation's top technical universities will put AI to the test in slowing the spread of COVID-19, identifying and evaluating drugs and medical treatments, planning clinical trials, predicting the disease's evolution, and improving infectious disease response strategies. As many as 26 grants will be awarded annually over the next five years to principal investigators at the consortium's universities, with initial proposals due in May and the first grants made in June.
An algorithm showed that body aches, alanine aminotransferase levels and hemoglobin levels are predictive of acute respiratory disease syndrome in patients with COVID-19, while age, sex, fever and ground-glass opacity in lung images were not predictive, researchers reported in Computers, Materials & Continua. The AI program could guide health care decisions and the allocation of resources, says co-author Megan Coffee.
The CMS announced a host of regulatory changes and flexibilities aimed at helping hospitals combat the coronavirus pandemic. The changes include allowing the use of non-hospital buildings and spaces for patient care or as quarantine sites, permitting hospitals to test for coronavirus at home or in other settings outside the hospital, allowing health care providers to enroll in the Medicare program temporarily, and permitting Medicare providers to bill for over 80 telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits.
A $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package meant to provide economic relief amid the pandemic was signed into law by President Donald Trump last week, and it includes several telehealth provisions, more relaxed requirements for Medicare coverage and additional allowances for connected health at rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and hospices. The law reauthorizes the Health Resources and Services Administration's Telehealth Resource Center grant programs until 2025, promotes use of remote patient monitoring for Medicare home health services and provides funding to new telehealth projects for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Services.
Most health information apps available now enable patients to do little more than view their EHR data, but some do more, including those based on Blue Button 2.0 that give patients access to claims and insurance data, and enable patients to make health care appointments and organize their medical information. Only a small proportion of patients use providers' portals, data aggregator apps like Microsoft's now-defunct HealthVault have not caught on with the public, and privacy of data in third-party apps is an issue.
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