How Will the 2020 Election Impact Healthcare?

Stethoscope on American Flag with Selective Focus.Now that the 2020 election has taken place and President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January, all eyes are on what policy changes will take place in 2021.

Healthcare is one of the biggest areas that will be affected by the change of guard in the Oval Office, from issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic to the status of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Let’s examine some of the top healthcare issues that could be impacted by the new Biden administration.

(more…)

The Future of Vaccines Part 1: 5 Myths About the COVID-19 Vaccine

multi exposure of coronavirus COVID 19 infected blood sample in sample tube in hand of scientist in coronavirus covid 19 vaccine research laboratory with DNA strain and plasma blood,vaccine concept1. The COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for distribution by the end of the year

The development of a COVID-19 vaccine has been a popular topic of discussion throughout the many months of the pandemic, but now more than ever many individuals are getting their hopes up for a fully approved vaccine by the end of the year – an unrealistic expectation. Even though we are getting closer to a successful vaccine, full distribution will not happen right away, and definitely not by the end of December of 2020.

Currently there are a number of existing trials for the COVID-19 vaccine, but a few of them are already on hold due to safety issues. Does this mean a longer wait for an approved vaccine? Maybe, but it’s worth the extra wait if the final product will be guaranteed as safe and successful. “People should be reassured by that, that that means we’re really looking at the safety issues with great scrutiny,” says Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. (more…)

Using Analytics to Get a Pulse on the Health of Your Emergency Department

When everything is running as it’s supposed to, a hospital is like a well-oiled machine. Each department plays a role in keeping the hospital working. But when one of the links in the chain isn’t at its best, it can negatively impact the entire organization. The emergency department is critical to the overall flow and financial health of the hospital. And now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more critical that a hospital’s emergency department is running at peak efficiency. This helps both hospital finances by getting patients in the door and patient care, as patients don’t have to wait for long periods of time and can quickly and safely get to where they need to be without the potential for exposure. However, the emergency department faces unique challenges. As Nora Lissy, RN, BSN, MBA, Dimensional Insight’s Director of Healthcare Implementations, says, “A poorly run emergency department can result in poor customer service, low employee morale, and the increased potential for poor clinical outcomes.” (more…)

COVID-19 in Children and Young Adults Part 2: Teenagers and Young Adults

In part one of “COVID-19 in Children and Young Adults,” we discussed the effects that COVID-19 has had on infants and young children. At the beginning of the pandemic the most affected populations, in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, were older adults and the elderly. As a result, news coverage and personal concern rarely focused on age groups such as infants and younger children, leaving many people blind to the negative effects that COVID-19 had on those age groups. In a similar but unfortunate situation, many teenagers and young adults seem to take the low hospitalization in their age group as an immunity card. In fact, individuals who identify as part of the Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) and millennial (born between 1981 and 1996, though the U.S. Census has said it includes those born between 1982 and 2000) age group are often the ones who spread the virus the most. Let’s take a look. (more…)

COVID-19 in Children and Young Adults Part 1: Infants and Children

We often talk about the effects that COVID-19 has on adults, since that is the age group that tends to be most affected by the virus. But has doing so created a blind spot in our precautions when it comes to infants and younger children? At the very beginning of the pandemic, little of our worry was focused on children — if any — because there were very few cases of babies and children contracting the virus. However, this may have led to the misconception that we can let our guard down when it comes to kids. Let’s examine. (more…)

Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence in the Race for a Coronavirus Vaccine

The history of our world’s health system has not seen a centralized drive for a single solution on the scale of our current COVID-19 vaccine development. From clinical trials and research to private funding and new technological breakthroughs, the information generated from vaccine research is creating a massive data overload that requires a robust analytics platform and artificial intelligence to effectively turn raw data into positive outcomes.

Data analytics will be vital in condensing the disparate data sources into a clean manageable dashboard for professionals to drive improvements. Once this initial data collection problem is overcome, artificial intelligence will be able to derive deep, predictive insights into vaccine development, thus speeding up the process and delivering better outcomes. (more…)

How COVID-19 Contact Tracing Works

The COVID-19 pandemic has flipped the world upside down, and is still affecting millions to this day. While the process of developing vaccines is underway and many countries outside of the United States have already lifted their strict protocols as their cases decrease, the case count in the U.S. is continuing to rise. Technology that can further prevent virus spread, such as contact tracing, is needed now more than ever. How does contact tracing really work? How accurate is it? And is it a violation of privacy? Let’s take a look. (more…)

The Data Behind Masks and COVID-19

Since nearly the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has identified three primary tactics that ordinary people can employ in their day-to-day lives to help stop the spread of the deadly disease. These are social distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask in public. While many Americans seem to be struggling to adopt these lifestyle changes, the recommendation of wearing a mask has been the most controversial. Part of this may be due to the WHO and CDC initially doubting the effectiveness of face masks during the early days of the virus. As more data about the new disease emerged, they quickly reversed this position.

Opponents of the mask mandates argue that being compelled to wear a mask in public infringes on their freedoms, while ignoring the fact that their refusal infringes on others’ right to life. Many falsely believe that they aren’t contagious because they don’t have symptoms, or that the masks aren’t effective. However, all reliable data indicates that this is not the case. (more…)

Data Analytics and the Fight Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent shockwaves through the medical community by putting extreme stress on the information technology capabilities of health systems. Before March, hospitals were moving slowly in the direction of data literacy and EHR flexibility, but the health crisis has drastically increased the need for health systems to be able to take in and interpret large amounts of population data. The turn towards data literacy has been dramatic and sudden. Here are the specific ways strong data analytics can be used to combat the pandemic.

(more…)

Social Determinants of Health, COVID-19, and Racism in Healthcare: Smarter Healthcare Podcast Episode 8 Takeaways

Racism has been a major societal issue since the beginning of time, and unfortunately, it’s not a thing of the past. Today especially, it’s speaking just as loud as it was decades ago. But now with COVID-19 in the mix of the current social justice movements, it’s important to talk about how the two intertwine with each other and how racism is very relevant to the healthcare system. In the newest Smarter Healthcare podcast, episode 8, Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH Dean, of Boston University School of Public Health discusses the social determinants of health, as well as COVID-19 and racism in healthcare.

(more…)