I can really go for this. There is no reason why this hasn’t happened sooner, but whatever it takes for this to happen is fine by me.
A new bill before Congress would give providers freedom to use telehealth on patients anywhere up to 6 months after the COVID-19 crisis, bypassing site restrictions and licensing issues…
“The location of the provision of such services shall be deemed to be the (state in which the provider is located) and any requirement that such physician, practitioner, or other provider obtain a comparable license or other comparable legal authorization from the (state in which the patient is located) with respect to the provision of such services (including requirements relating to the prescribing of drugs in such secondary State) shall not apply,” the bill states.
More rural hospitals are at risk of closing as patients increasingly travel beyond their communities for even low-acuity care, a new analysis from Guidehouse shows.
The latest analysis from the consulting firm showed that one in four (25 percent) rural hospitals are at high risk of closing unless their financial standing improves. That is up from one in five, or 21 percent, of rural hospitals last year…
Rural hospital closures would hit Southern and Midwestern states the hardest, according to the analysis. States with the most at-risk rural hospitals included Tennessee, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, and Kansas. In some of these states, 100 percent of at-risk rural hospitals are considered essential…
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will provide more than $100 billion to hospitals during the unprecedented crisis, includes provisions for rural hospitals. But the hospitals may need more to keep them from closing… (LaPointe, 2020)
This problem of hospital and medical inequalities predate Covid-19, but the pandemic being experienced as of the datetimestamp on this blog post, has exacerbated the issues past crisis mode.
The Navigant Consulting (now Guidehouse) report stated that declining rates of inpatient care, increasing rates of under- and uncompensated care, and a lack of resources available to invest in technological upgrades are largely to blame for rural hospitals’ financial hardships. Daniel DeBehnke, a managing director at Navigant and co-author of the report, said, “There is a snowball effect that drives a lack of capital, which causes an inability to invest in everything from technology to electronic health records to imaging to keep up with the standard of care.” (About 20% of US rural hospitals are at high risk of closing, report finds—ProQuest Central—ProQuest, 2019)
This is a major announcement and one that I did not see coming from this administration. This should be done years ago, especially with most of the major players in this space HIPAA compliant already.
We are empowering medical providers to serve patients wherever they are during this national public health emergency. We are especially concerned about reaching those most at risk, including older persons and persons with disabilities. – Roger Severino, OCR Director.
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is responsible for enforcing certain regulations issued under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), as amended by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, to protect the privacy and security of protected health information, namely the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules (the HIPAA Rules).
During the COVID-19 national emergency, which also constitutes a nationwide public health emergency, covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies. Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules.
OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This notification is effective immediately…
Here is the position of the local BCBS agency (more here):
We are expanding virtual access to health care providers. Visits to doctors that previously required a face-to-face encounter can be performed virtually. These virtual visits must be medically necessary and meet the qualifying criteria.
We will waive early medication refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications (for example heart, diabetes, cancer, blood pressure). This way members can have a one-month supply on hand.
Testing for COVID-19 will not need prior approval. If you believe you need COVID-19 testing, call your doctor…
Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) recently announced that its network of 36 independently owned BCBS companies will increase access to prescription drugs, enhanced telehealth, and other clinical support systems to combat COVID-19.
BCBS is making the shift to ensure that patients have access to care during the outbreak and to boost community support.
Spectrum Health Offers Free Virtual Screenings for Potential COVID-19 Patients
Spectrum Health announced that it is now offering free virtual screenings for individuals in Michigan who are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms.
Bright.md Offers Free COVID-19 Tool to Hospitals
Bright.md is now offering a free COVID-19 evaluation and screening tool to all hospitals in the US to tackle to spread of this virus. The tool will ensure patients’ access to advice from home, 24 hours a day, to allow patients to stay quarantined during the outbreak…
The VA is expanding a program with the National Endowment for the Arts to give rural veterans living with traumatic brain injury or PTSD access to creative arts therapy through telehealth.
“Telehealth can be a hugely important tool in connecting rural veterans with the care they need,” Thomas Klobucar, executive director of the VA Office of Rural Health, said in a press release. “Our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts adds an entirely new dimension of care to our Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative (RVTRI), allowing us to treat the whole veteran regardless of where they live.”
The move to the cloud is one that started more than a decade ago for some companies and has yet to happen for some others. The reasons for the lag are varied, but for some governmental regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which regulates data privacy concerns for companies in the healthcare sector, are also to blame for the delay. With requirements around data retention and encryption, it can be easier to stay with what you know rather than make the move to the latest technology…
With Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) causing more deaths than the 2003 SARS outbreak and showing no signs of containment, one thing becomes clear: the disease is out of our control right now and we’re going to have to get innovative if we want to catch up with it.
The disease originated in China back in December, and while there’s been a lot of controversy around how it was handled, it’s important to recognize that our energy is best spent finding solutions.
Now, more than ever, the world needs to come together. We have to bring forth the best minds in healthcare and technology and innovate if we’re going to outsmart this disease.
Here is where the 3 main Cloud providers can get together to help solve this issue that affects everyone.
Imagine losing your child in their first year of life and having no idea what caused it. This is the heartbreaking reality for thousands of families each year who lose a child to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Despite decades-long efforts to prevent SUID, it remains the leading cause of death for children between one month and one year of age in developed nations. In the U.S. alone, 3,600 children die unexpectedly of SUID each year.
For years, researchers hypothesized that infants who died due to SUID in the earliest stages of the life differed from those dying of SUID later. Now, for the first time, we know, thanks to the single largest study ever undertaken on the subject, this is statistically the case.
Working in collaboration with world-class researchers at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Auckland, we analyzed the Center for Disease Control (CDC) data on every child born in the U.S. over a decade, including over 41 million births and 37,000 SUID deaths. We compared all possible groups by the age at the time of death to understand if these populations were different.
We hope our progress in piecing together the SUID puzzle ultimately saves lives, and gives parents and researchers hope for the future.
I am not sure that there is an equivalent to GeekWire in other parts of the nation (there is absolutely not one in the SE/Carolinas), so in that respect this would be a local story. However, I do follow them, and it is tangentially related to an earlier post this week about a regional Medical School.
Being a Wound Care patient myself, any innovation to improve my interactions with the leg wound that is chronic is a plus and welcomed.
New funding: Seattle startup KitoTech Medical raised $1.5 million as part of a convertible note round to fund the development of its microMend wound closure device, which was made from technology originally developed at the University of Washington.
The startup says that microMend, which is currently undergoing clinical trials, can heal wounds up to three times faster than those closed with traditional sutures…
When alerted to the story, a famous activist I follow, @PattyArquette had inquired about doing this for burn victims.
As I did some simple Binging (only because they Bribe you to search with them, but that’s another subject altogether) I found the closest Medical School to where I live is working on it. This particular University is in talks with the dominant health system here on a partnership to bring a Medical School to Charlotte after prior talks with UNC Healthcare fizzled.
There is a “kinda” branch of UNC Healthcare that is apparently still operational. My guess is that the planned combination either has not gotten far enough along to cover this conflict, or it’s not publicly communicated. Around here, either scenario is possible.
It never occurred to me that Hospitals are soft targets. I’m mostly not alone in this fact. The reasons why scare the daylights out of me, and with cost pressures and the movement towards everyone being able to participate, this will only get work.
Now would be a good time to think of Hospital security in the same manner of our Election systems and other government entities, even if the Hospital is an official for-profit facility. The bad actors don’t make the distinction.
Over 32 million people have had their health information breached this year, in 311 hacking incidents against health care providers that are under investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The big picture: Complex, bloated hospital systems are a glaring weak spot in U.S. cybersecurity — and there are limits on the government’s power to help…
Biomedical researchers are embracing artificial intelligence to accelerate the implementation of cancer treatments that target patients’ specific genomic profiles, a type of precision medicine that in some cases is more effective than traditional chemotherapy and has fewer side effects.
Mockus and her colleagues are using Microsoft’s machine reading technology to curate CKB, which stores structured information about genomic mutations that drive cancer, drugs that target cancer genes and the response of patients to those drugs.
To be successful, Poon and his team need to train machine learning models in such a way that they catch all the potentially relevant information – ensure there are no gaps in content – and, at the same time, weed out irrelevant information sufficiently to make the curation process more efficient.
As I am getting prepared to go see my doctor this afternoon (EDT) this blog post caught my attention. This is the type of story not necessarily expected from this publisher, but it does have a connection to their beat, being Microsoft. I have asked the Dr. about this and he admits that the paperwork part is the least favorite aspect of the job and not what he signed up for. The EHR system at his medical facility needs either serious work or a better buy-in.
Microsoft is teaming up with Nuance Communications to revamp hospital exam rooms with artificial intelligence and natural language processing, creating technology that will help clinicians spend less time documenting interactions with patients — a well-known source of burnout among health workers.
Studies have found that doctors spend more than half their day interacting with the electronic health record (EHR). And more than two-thirds of physicians say that medical record documentation contributes greatly to burnout.
This is near straight from the ultimate source, and published after the original post.
A new strategic partnership between Microsoft and Nuance Communications Inc. announced today will work to accelerate and deliver this level of ambient clinical intelligence to exam rooms, allowing ambient sensing and conversational AI to take care of some of the more burdensome administrative tasks and to provide clinical documentation that writes itself. That, in turn, will allow doctors to turn their attention fully to taking care of patients.
Of course, there are still immense technical challenges to getting to that ideal scenario of the future. But the companies say they believe that they already have a strong foundation in features from Nuance’s ambient clinical intelligence (ACI) technology unveiled earlier this year and Microsoft’s Project EmpowerMD Intelligent Scribe Service. Both are using AI technologies to learn how to convert doctor-patient conversations into useful clinical documentation, potentially reducing errors, saving doctors’ time and improving the overall physician experience.
Living in a urban center, I never really thought about the bandwidth requirements for video telehealth, but mandates to bring it to places that are still on effectively dial-up or 3G speeds are short-sighted at best. Then again, my local providers of such services aren’t covered by Medicaid here in North Carolina (or if they are, that’s certainly not promoted!).
A new study finds that states that mandate video-based telemedicine may be curbing access to care for underserved populations that don;t have the broadband to use video.
In this crazy world, and despite certain political efforts to not be open and welcoming, The United States can and will show again why we are the world’s leader in most everything that is right, just, and good.
I am all for this idea, plus when the outside money stops flowing into Uber and Lyft and the business model changes to a real cost system which will price most people (including myself) out of the system, this can take up the slack and be available and friendlier than the taxis that are currently used (speaking for my area only).
Addressing care coordination and transportation access – a major social determinant of health – is becoming possible with the use of ridesharing services as part of mHealth programs.
The concept of providing transportation to and from medical appointments isn’t new. Medicaid programs have long offered reimbursement for non-emergency medical transportation, and many hospitals and health plans offer vouchers for public transportation or cab fare.
But there’s a difference between offering reimbursement for transportation and actually helping people get the rides they need…
With evidence building that these factors are affecting the health of individuals and populations, providers are looking for ways to address them in the medical record…