The new Facebook group RVs 4 MDs connects health care workers with local owners willing to lend their RVs, trailers and campers for sleeping, bathing and self-isolating after treating patients with COVID-19. The group was formed by Emily Phillips, who sought an RV on Facebook for her husband, an emergency physician, and Holly Haggard, who offered to let the Phillipses borrow her RV.
Epic Systems and nonprofit health information technology organization OCHIN are launching an app in Washington and other states for health care workers to screen and triage people who might have COVID-19. The app can also be used by patients for self-screening, results can be uploaded to Epic's EHRs, and state public health officials can use data collected by the app to follow trends and follow up with patients.
New York City, New Orleans and Seattle are the nation's COVID-19 hot spots, but state-level maps obscure the disease's spread in other regions of the US. A new map showing confirmed COVID-19 infections per county, adjusted for population size, shows significant clusters and suggests areas with comparatively fewer resources could be more greatly affected.
Google is requesting that some users complete a health survey before reading news stories as part of a Carnegie Mellon University study to track and predict the spread of the coronavirus. Users can opt out of the survey, and Google says the data collected will not be saved to their profile.
An executive order from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan allows the use of asynchronous telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic, amending a previous order allowing audio-only services. The new order allows the use of store-and-forward telehealth such as online questionnaires and email for patient care.
A machine learning algorithm identified vocal markers predictive of hospitalization and mortality risks in recorded phone calls between nurses and patients with congestive heart failure. Vocal markers can identify high-risk patients where access to services such as physical examination, blood tests and cardiovascular imaging aren't readily available, and the technology can easily be added to smartphones or landline phones, the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Hospitals across the country are increasingly incorporating artificial intelligence into medical care as part of their efforts to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic. Health systems are now using AI for various applications including screening people and health care workers who might be infected with the virus, identifying high-risk patients, distinguishing the novel coronavirus from other respiratory diseases, and tracking hospital beds and medical supplies.
Physician practices should rearrange waiting room seating so that chairs are six feet apart if possible and focus on deep cleaning in common areas to stop the spread of COVID-19, writes Dr. Betty Rabinowitz, chief medical officer at NextGen Healthcare. Practices should consider separating patients with respiratory symptoms from other patients, Rabinowitz writes.
Appointments and elective surgeries cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led some practices to consider closing permanently or temporarily. Some employed physicians who are paid based on productivity may lose their income, said Andrew Hajde, assistant director of association content for MGMA.
Cynthia Martinez recently took her therapy dog, Bailey, into the home of 7-year-old twins whose mother works at a hospital, but in the age of social distancing, Martinez's visit with them was via live videoconferencing. Max Woodfin, executive director of Divine Canines, says volunteers like Martinez have been "amazingly creative in figuring out ways to get their dogs virtually in front of our clients" and expects to continue offering virtual services after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
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