Apple launched a new website and COVID-19 symptom screening app in partnership with the CDC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the White House's Coronavirus Task Force. The screening tools ask users questions about recent exposure, symptoms and risk factors; recommends next steps, including testing if warranted; and does not require an Apple account.
Some patients in Wuhan, China, contracted COVID-19 while undergoing treatment at hospitals for unrelated conditions, suggesting that treatment of patients with cancer might need to be delayed to minimize their infection risks, according to a study published in JAMA Oncology. The COVID-19 infection rate in patients with cancer undergoing treatment at Zhongnan Hospital was more than twice than that of Wuhan's general population, and researchers suggest isolating patients whose cancer care cannot be delayed.
The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee will convene a COVID-19 response task force and begin seeking input next week on the working group's priorities. HITAC members said the task force should focus on immediate actions the ONC can take, and longer-term goals can be integrated into other focus areas.
The North Dakota Health Information Network added Orion's direct secure messaging within the clinical portal health care providers use to exchange patient information. Hospitals and most rural health clinics participate in the network, and an outreach team is bringing pharmacists, chiropractors, dentists and others on board "to get the most comprehensive sharing of data across different disciplines," said NDHIN Director Shila Blend.
Verily has nearly 1,000 volunteers from Google working on drive-thru and other methods of screening for COVID-19, and the company hopes to collect data that can be used in the public health response to the pandemic in California. More than 20,000 residents have been screened at sites in four counties, more than 1,200 have been tested, and hundreds more are scheduled for testing, says Jessica Mega, Verily's chief medical and scientific officer.
Health systems, big technology firms, health IT vendors, nonprofits, academic institutions, and experts on pandemics are pooling their resources to address the coronavirus pandemic under the auspices of the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The group is facilitating collaboration and aggregating de-identified data to create "secure, ethical, innovative, open source" tools to change the course of the pandemic.
People age 85 and older have shown a willingness to use patient portals and should be given the opportunity to do so, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Caregivers and patients at outpatient internal medicine and geriatric clinics at an academic health center initiated messages regarding a variety of topics, including scheduling, medication refills, and care transitions.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar to allow uninsured and underinsured state residents to enroll in a health plan through HealthCare.gov for at least 30 days. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also asked Azar to allow state residents affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic to enroll in a health plan through the Affordable Care Act exchange.
Fact-based messaging about the coronavirus pandemic should be amplified through business, nongovernmental and local government websites, and social media feeds, writes Stuart Brotman, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Surveys by the Pew Research Center and Edelman show widespread public distrust of the federal government but higher levels of trust in businesses, NGOs and state and local governments.
The economic stimulus package passed by the Senate includes funding for upgrading the CDC's public health data surveillance and analytics infrastructure and establishing a new surveillance and data collection system for tracking the spread of the novel coronavirus in the US. The system could include smartphone-based geolocation tracking, and any surveillance system will have to comply with HIPAA privacy regulations.
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