by Judith Graham
“For months, Patricia Merryweather-Arges, a health care expert, has fielded questions about the coronavirus pandemic from fellow Rotary Club members in the Midwest.
“Recently people have wondered ‘Is it safe for me to go see my doctor? Should I keep that appointment with my dentist? What about that knee replacement I put on hold: Should I go ahead with that?’
“These are pressing concerns as hospitals, outpatient clinics and physicians’ practices have started providing elective medical procedures — services that had been suspended for several months.
“Late last month, KFF reported that 48% of adults had skipped or postponed medical care because of the pandemic. Physicians are deeply concerned about the consequences, especially for people with serious illnesses or chronic medical conditions.”
Patients on board with health trackers but don’t trust consumer wearables, survey finds” – Fierce Healthcare
“Nearly half of patients managing chronic conditions said they would physically visit the doctor less if they could share health data digitally, according to a recent survey. (Sony)”
by Heather Landi
“Patients who manage chronic conditions are eager to use a monitoring device to manage their health. But consumer smartwatches might not be the answer.
“Three in four patients say they would wear a specialized monitoring device only used for their specific condition if prescribed by their doctor, a survey from electronics company Sony found.
“Nearly 90% of those surveyed believe they could better manage chronic conditions with a health monitoring device. More than half of patients said they would potentially switch doctors if another doctor prescribed a specialized device, according to the survey of 2,000 people conducted by Sony.
“However, while consumer-facing companies like Apple and Fitbit offer wearables with health tracking capabilities, only 28% of patients would trust a consumer device to help manage their chronic condition and 45% said they were unsure, according to the survey.”
In a Boston ICU, staff members orchestrate goodbyes over Zoom and comfort patients who would otherwise die alone.
(JIM GOLDBERG / MAGNUM)
by Sarah Zhang
“When the coronavirus came to Boston, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital noticed how silent certain floors became. Any patients who could be discharged were discharged. Anyone who could stay away stayed away. ‘The hospital had this eerie quiet,’ says Jane deLima Thomas, the director of palliative care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. But in the intensive-care units set up for COVID-19, machines beeped and whirred in room after room of the sickest patients. Those patients were sedated, intubated, and isolated. Many of them would die.
“Palliative care is about providing comfort—physical and emotional—to patients who are seriously ill, including those who may be close to death. Before the pandemic, deLima Thomas’s team worked with patients with kidney disease or cancer or heart failure, but this spring, they all switched to COVID-19. They embedded themselves in the ICUs. Palliative care is a field especially invested in the power of a hug, a steadying hand, and a smile. In other words, palliative care is made especially difficult by a virus that spreads through human contact.
“The first day the palliative-care doctors walked into the ICUs, Thomas says, “we felt like tourists.” They were dressed in business casual, while their ICU colleagues raced around in scrubs and masks. But the palliative-care team—which includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers—found ways to integrate themselves. In the early days of the pandemic, when protective gear was scarce, no visitors were allowed. Palliative caregivers, along with ICU nurses, held iPads cocooned in plastic bags so families could say goodbye on Zoom. They were sometimes the only one in the room when a patient died, otherwise alone. I interviewed several members of the Boston-based palliative-care team, and their stories, which have been condensed and edited for clarity, are below.”
Read this article in its entirety at The Atlantic, click here.
“Nearly 1 in 10 Health Care Workers Lost Their Job Between February and April, But Health Care Employment Rebounded Slightly in May” – Kaiser Family Foundation
“A new chart collection explores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the U.S. health care workforce, and finds that between February and April 2020, nearly 1.5 million health care jobs were lost. While more than 300,000 health services jobs were recovered in May 2020, mainly in dental offices, employment in some health care settings continued to decrease.
“The rise in health care unemployment follows a sharp decline in utilization and revenue for non-emergency services. Many providers delayed or canceled appointments for routine care and elective procedures amid concerns that COVID-19 patients would overwhelm the health system; others closed their facilities entirely. Many patients also chose to forgo non-emergency care, presumably due to stay-at-home orders issued by local governments and fear of contracting the virus in health care settings.
“Workers in ambulatory health care settings, like dental and physician’s offices, have been particularly hard-hit, accounting for more than half of total health care job losses between February and May 2020.
“The chart collection also includes data on gender disparities and geographic variation in health care job loss, as well as a breakdown of job loss by sector.”
“Healthcare groups call racism a ‘public health’ concern in wake of tensions over police brutality” – Fierce Healthcare
“Healthcare groups decried the public health inequality highlighted by the dual crises of police brutality against minorities and the disproportionately negative impact of COVID-19 on nonwhite patients.” (Getty/Worledit)
by Tina Reed
“After days of protests across the world against police brutality toward minorities sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, healthcare groups are speaking out against the impact of ‘systemic racism’ on public health.
“‘These ongoing protests give voice to deep-seated frustration and hurt and the very real need for systemic change. The killings of George Floyd last week, and Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor earlier this year, among others, are tragic reminders to all Americans of the inequities in our nation,’ Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA), said in a statement.
“‘As places of healing, hospitals have an important role to play in the wellbeing of their communities. As we’ve seen in the pandemic, communities of color have been disproportionately affected, both in infection rates and economic impact,’ Pollack said. ‘The AHA’s vision is of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health … to achieve that vision, we must address racial, ethnic and cultural inequities, including those in health care, that are everyday realities for far too many individuals. While progress has been made, we have so much more work to do.'”
Read this article in its entirety at FierceHealthcare.com
From STAT: Morning Rounds:
Echoing other reports that have looked at recent trends in telemedicine, a new FAIR Health study finds that insurance claim lines for telehealth increased by more than 4,300% from March 2019 to March this year. Here’s more:
- Overall trends: 0.17% of medical claim lines in March 2019 were related to telehealth, compared to more than 7.5% this March, an increase by more than 4,300%.
- Conditions: Consistent with last year, mental health conditions made up the most telemedicine claim lines, followed by acute respiratory infections and diseases.
- Covid-19’s influence: The influence of the pandemic was most pronounced when looking at geographic trends. Northeastern states in the U.S., which were among the hardest hit, saw a more than 15,500% increase in telehealth use.
“Poll: Nearly Half of the Public Say They or a Family Member Skipped or Delayed Care Due to Coronavirus, But Most Plan to Get Care in the Coming Months” – Kaiser Family Foundation
“Most Say Their Physical Health has Not Been Affected, But Many Say Their Mental Health Is Worse”
“Nearly One in Four Expect a Family Member to Turn to Medicaid in the Coming Year, and Majorities across Party Lines Oppose Medicaid Cuts to Address State Budget Shortfalls
“Amid the threat of coronavirus, nearly half (48%) of Americans say someone in their family has skipped or delayed getting some type of medical care due to the pandemic, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds. This includes 11% who say the person’s condition worsened due to the missed care.
“The findings come as many states move to relax some restrictions on businesses, including health care providers, aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, which has already caused about 100,000 deaths nationwide.
Fast Forward, the daily newsletter from The Boston Globe, celebrated nurses with the above photo gallery. IN the potos above (top left, clockwise, A nurse practitioner talked to a patient and held her hand while a doctor administered an IV at Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP); A nurse held a newborn baby, both wearing a face shield, at the National Maternity Hospital in Hanoi. (Photo by Nhac Nguyen / AFP via Getty Images); A nurse wearing protective mask and gear comforted an exhausted colleague as they changed shifts at the Cremona hospital, southeast of Milan, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Miranda / AFP via Getty Images); Infection Control nurse Colin Clarke looked out from a COVID-19 recovery ward at Craigavon Area Hospital in Armagh, Northern Ireland. (Niall Carson / PA via AP) and Tufts Medical Center COVID ICU nurse Bianca Dintino wore a PAPR or powered air purifying respirator as she cared for a patient with coronavirus. (Jessica Rinaldi / Globe Staff).
The Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources joins this photo tribute to say “Thank You” to all the nurses and healthcare staff in hospitals and all the caregiving staffs in nursing homes, personal care homes and everywhere.
“I started using telemedicine around 13 years ago as a geriatrician for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I used it mostly for following up with patients after discharge from a Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit, which served as a longer-term rehabilitation unit that we had in our hospital.
“I’ve seen how the VA has used telemedicine over the years, using numerous different platforms. They’ve used encrypted telephones that involved calling from a central location in a medical facility and video chat that required placement of equipment during a home visit.
“We’ve run the gamut from using basic landline telephones to HIPAA-secure video-conferencing programs. These days, we sometimes place tablets in the home when the patient does not have access to a smartphone.
“As more primary care is being shifted away from office visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m now using my telemedicine experience and training as a geriatrician to help the VA use the 4Ms Framework for Age-Friendly Care to improve care for older adults.
Continue reading this article at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, click here.
“Who Is ‘Worthy?’ Deaf-Blind People Fear That Doctors Won’t Save Them from the Coronavirus” – The New Yorker
“Rebecca Alexander volunteered shortly after Governor Andrew Cuomo appealed for mental-health professionals to help counsel first responders traumatized by the covid-19 crisis. A New York psychotherapist, she has taken calls from a young nurse who had trouble sleeping because she was haunted by the sounds of dying patients gasping for breath. A doctor described getting instructed not to intubate anyone over eighty on the day his mother turned eighty-two. A pediatric nurse who specialized in infant diseases recounted her lack of training after being abruptly transferred to caring for adults in acute respiratory failure. Several confessed their own extreme distress at pushing the limits of their bodies physically and emotionally. ‘Constantly being on the front lines is taking a toll on them,’ she told me.
“What none of the people pouring out their problems to Alexander knew is that she is legally deaf and blind—and has her own deep fears about how the new coronavirus threatens the estimated 2.4 million Americans, and millions more across the globe, who, like her, rely on touch to communicate, navigate, and care for themselves. ‘When you don’t have vision or hearing or both, you rely heavily on other senses,’ she said. ‘For us, that other sense is touch.’ But touch is now the most prevalent means of spreading covid-19.