Many hospital workers who care for COVID-19 patients are changing jobs or leaving the health care profession entirely as the pandemic drags on despite the availability of effective vaccines and prevention methods. Researchers say the workforce is at a breaking point, and a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found 37% of health care providers and first responders are experiencing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and MyHealth Access Network, a nonprofit health information exchange, entered a data sharing and analysis partnership in November that has been "almost like we have a real-time science study going on," says MyHealth CEO David Kendrick. The analytics component aims to uncover data about vaccine efficacy by age group, immunity duration and similar questions, while the partnership is also making immunization reporting easier and helps small clinics in particular with outreach to unvaccinated patients, Kendrick says.
Each of three experimental machine learning algorithms correctly predicted C. difficile infections in hospitalized patients after only six hours, and the simplest algorithm had the highest accuracy and is broadly applicable, researchers reported in the American Journal of Infection Control. The algorithms could allow preventive interventions that improve patient outcomes and reduce spending.
California's Medicaid department, Medi-Cal, has launched a five-year project to integrate interventions to improve beneficiaries' social determinants of health into clinical care. The program, CalAIM, is bringing together managed care and community organizations to address housing, nutrition, social and other needs and will require formal strategies for population health management, standardized benefits and extensive data sharing and analysis.
COVIDtests.gov, the federal website for ordering up to four free COVID-19 tests per household, is available in English, Chinese and Spanish, and people such as Trang Nguyen are filling in the gaps for speakers of other languages. Nguyen and some of her Vietnamese-speaking friends are spreading the word about the website in their community directly and through social media, and they're planning to hand out flyers this weekend at a supermarket.
A recent Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) report found that disruptions caused by cyberattacks on the health care sector increase mortality risk and further strain resources already stretched thin by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hospitals don't have cybersecurity professionals on staff, and the CISA's chief strategist Joshua Corman suggests they at least avoid using hard-coded maintenance passwords, unsupported software or remote administration tools with single-factor authentication.
Blue Shield of California announced that it has added the Ginger mental health platform to its Wellvolution behavioral health program. The move will allowing the insurer's members enrolled in the program to gain access to personalized, on-demand mental health services, including mental health coaching, psychiatry and video therapy sessions, through their smartphone.
An analysis of data from more than 10 million internet-connected devices in use at 300-plus hospitals and health care facilities around the world found vulnerabilities in more than half that could compromise patient safety, confidential data or the usability of the device itself. The analysis, from cybersecurity company Cynerio, found exploitable vulnerabilities in 73% of infusion pumps, and the report said many of the security flaws can be remediated with stronger passwords or acting on recall notices.
Clinical data sent from one hospital isn't always readable when it arrives at another hospital, even if the two hospitals have the same vendor's EHR system, though vendor continuity does improve interoperability, according to an analysis of data exchanges at 68 oncology sites. Researchers studied the exchange of data on six laboratory tests and six medications for which standards are well established to calculate inter- and intra-EHR vendor interoperability scores and found that the same vendor's EHR can be implemented in ways that reduce interoperability.
CIOs, chief technology officers and other IT leaders say they'll be focused on cybersecurity, sustainability, workforce recruitment and retention, automation, cloud storage and computing, and supporting their employers and employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt life and work. Recruiting and retaining top-notch employees may require "careful consideration of their personal brand; a significant shift in culture, mindset, career paths; and reframing the perception of IT within their organizations," says Lou DiLorenzo, managing director of strategy and analytics at Deloitte Consulting.
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