More than half the US residents responding to a survey late last month said they are willing to share some health data, including a positive COVID-19 test result, with the CDC or World Health Organization, but far fewer said they would want a positive test result shared with local officials or other federal agencies. Only 21% said they would share a positive test result with apps that anonymize or aggregate data on where infected people are, and 9% would share it with apps that disclose patient names.
The CDC issued guidance urging Americans, particularly those living in areas with significant community-based transmission, to wear cloth masks or face coverings in public places such as pharmacies and grocery stores where social distancing measures are hard to maintain. President Donald Trump said the use of face coverings in public is voluntary, and he won't be wearing one.
A survey of six companies whose COVID-19 chatbots are used by governments, nonprofit organizations and health care providers found variations in the bots' information sources and data collection practices. Three said they use the CDC as a source and medical professionals review the information; three others use CDC data but did not say they also enlist medical professionals; and although their user-data collection and storage practices vary, all said they comply with HIPAA rules.
Software firms, technology companies, philanthropic organizations and academic institutions are teaming up to hold hackathons in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Participants are being challenged to devise solutions to problems facing vulnerable populations, health care workers and public health agencies.
Officials in the UK believe that conspiracy theories circulating on social media are behind communication towers being set on fire as well as verbal and physical threats against engineers and technicians. Conspiracy theories already suggested that 5G towers emit harmful levels of radiation, and now they say the towers enable the spread of COVID-19 or the pandemic has been hyped as an excuse for deaths caused by 5G.
Google Health and the computational health sciences department at the University of California at San Francisco developed a machine learning model that mines EHR data to predict physicians' drug prescribing patterns and prevent prescribing errors. The technology, described in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, works similarly to predictive analytic programs used by banks to detect credit card fraud and identifies prescriptions that seem "abnormal for the patient and their current situation."
The COVID-19 pandemic should spur the Office of the National Coordinator to issue rules immediately for health data access and sharing, according to a letter from the Pew Charitable Trusts to HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Patients now have an even greater need for remote access to and exchange of their health information, and standardized apps would facilitate the extraction of data from EHRs for direct reporting to public health registries, Ben Moscovitch, Pew's project director of health IT, wrote in the letter.
A survey of 2,600 physicians surveyed by Doximity, Harvard Medical School, and RAND found 73.3% said they don't have the ability to test for COVID-19 quickly and easily and more than 50% said they have treated one to more than 10 patients with symptoms. More than 77% said their hospital or clinic doesn't have adequate medical supplies if the pandemic gets worse.
Primary care practices can help bolster their financial stability during the novel coronavirus pandemic by looking for ways increase revenue and manage expenses, said Dan Bowles of Aledade. Consider a Small Business Administration loan or look at state assistance in generating additional capital for a practice, Bowles said.
Healthcare workers are facing increased stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic and should lean on a support system, said Shannon Sovndal, M.D. Turning off news coverage of the pandemic and finding a way to release tension can also help.
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