HHS and the Department of Veterans Affairs will use the Department of Energy's high-performance computers and artificial intelligence resources to study COVID-19 vaccine and treatment development and outcomes, virology, and other health data.
The rapid scale-up of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of a well-optimized platform and the quality of remote care. As remote care expands beyond urgent needs, a scalable, flexible platform will become more important, say telehealth industry leaders, and health systems should also prioritize integration with EHRs and other systems and patient experience.
The percentage of fee-for-service Medicare services accessed through telehealth soared from 0.1% in February to nearly 44% in April, and the growth in use not only helped health care providers fight the emerging coronavirus "but also prompted a new conversation around the future of patient-centered care," according to an HHS report. The findings, based on an analysis of Medicare claims from January to June, showed that rural providers saw a significantly smaller rise in telehealth visits as a proportion of total primary care visits, compared with providers in urban areas.
A high volume of patient messages in EHR inboxes is the leading cause of EHR-related burnout among health care providers, reducing the utility of tools meant to reduce burnout, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The researchers recommended delegating inbox management to nonphysician staff where appropriate and improving EHR usability.
The isolation required for hospitalized coronavirus patients can be traumatic for them and their family members, who can feel helpless when they can't offer their support in person. "I think we believe a voice or a touch or a smell can somehow provide relief and support for that person to fight and hold on," says clinical social worker Velma Bell, noting that families feel a lack of purpose if they have to refrain from contact.
US intelligence agencies say Russia's GRU military intelligence agency has disseminated propaganda and false information in English about the COVID-19 pandemic, and cybersecurity firm FireEye reported a campaign in Eastern Europe intended to undermine NATO that includes false information about the coronavirus. Approximately 150 stories about the pandemic published on various websites by Russian intelligence appear to have been written by native English speakers, US officials say.
An employee email breach at National Cardiovascular Partners compromised the protected health information of 78,070 patients, who are being offered identity theft detection and resolution services for one year.
Protected health information of about 6,000 of Beaumont Health's 2.3 million patients might have been stolen from breached employee email accounts, the eight-hospital health system says.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is accepting proposals for new elements and classes to be included in the next iteration of the US Core Data for Interoperability standards. Proposals may be submitted through the ONC New Data Element and Class submission system for the USCDI, which has replaced the Common Clinical Data Set for transmitting case reports to public health agencies, API certification and other tasks.
Some Americans have taken mandates to wear masks in public as an affront to liberties, and such reactions should be met with empathy, not judgment or condemnation, says Gavan Fitzsimons, a professor of marketing and psychology at Duke University. People who balk at wearing a mask in public should be made to feel that they can be part of the solution to the pandemic and "have the freedom to make a choice," says Fitzsimons.