By Julie A. Pursley, MSHI, RHIA, CHDA, FAHIMA, director of health information thought leadership, AHIMA.
Reading news articles about vulnerable communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19 has been heartbreaking. My organization, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), believes that social determinants of health (SDOH)—the socio-economic behavioral elements that affect health—play in role in explaining why poorer communities have experienced more negative impacts during the pandemic than other areas. We also believe it’s vital for SDOH information to be recorded in medical records.
It’s not difficult to imagine why low-income Americans may face increased exposure to the novel coronavirus. Perhaps most critically, people experiencing poverty are more likely to not have health insurance or be underinsured.
In addition, while many office workers have worked from home during the pandemic, people who earn lower incomes often work in public-facing jobs like restaurants and grocery stores and have no choice other than to take public transit to get to work. And the millions of Americans who have lost jobs may be dealing with food insecurity and a lack of money available to secure food and other goods at home.
Communities of color often comprise low income workers who encounter many of the situations mentioned above (and more). At AHIMA we support collecting race and ethnicity data for optimal public health reporting because recording SDOH information in a patient’s medical record can lead to better healthcare outcomes. SDOH information in a patient record offers providers a more complete story and can influence how they approach treatment, education, and care management.
“We’ve had physicians across our practices reach out to patients living alone during this time of social isolation, those who were identified as potentially being isolated and without support,” William Torkildsen, MD, chairman at South-Texas-based independent physician association Valley Organized Physicians (VOP), recently told the Journal of AHIMA. “We recorded those results and have been able to take action on the patient’s behalf, connecting them to necessary resources.”
By Mike Sutten, chief technology officer, and Dr. David Nace, chief medical officer, Innovaccer.
Burdensome documentation and gaps in care have been long-standing challenges in the healthcare industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified those challenges on a global level, creating a situation in which people have been hesitant to seek care for other medical concerns. As such, healthcare providers are losing revenue, employees are losing their jobs, and those remaining in the workforce are subject to burnout.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many healthcare providers proactively reduced or stopped in-person visits for non-COVID-19 medical needs, ranging from the routine care of a sore throat to treatment of chronic conditions, cancer, and even mental health services.
Additionally, nearly one-third of American adults reported delaying or avoiding medical visits over concerns for possible exposure to the virus, according to an American College of Emergency Physicians and Morning Consult poll. More than half reported worrying about access to their primary care physician or being turned away from the hospital.
As a result, healthcare spending decreased by 18% in the first quarter of 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Surprisingly, some 1.4 million healthcare workers lost their jobs in April, a sharp increase from the 42,000 reported in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The global pandemic amplifies the day-to-day challenges of identifying gaps in care, the increased documentation required to track them, and the difficulties associated with determining their effects and responding with appropriate interventions.
The impact of this virus looms over the backdrop of a healthcare environment in which the American Hospital Association (AHA) makes the point is rapidly evolving from a fee-for-service system into a value-based delivery system. As healthcare providers and payers transition to collaborative digital care delivery models, this movement highlights the greater need for a data infrastructure that supports value-based care with sharper and more transparent insights into population health.
A new report from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center and Working Partnerships USA shows how technology is likely to impact job quality in healthcare and suggests that technological adoption may accelerate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current approach is likely to lead to increased surveillance, micro-managing, and worker deskilling, as technologies are used to cut costs. A work-centered approach would instead allow workers to have a say in how new technologies are introduced, to receive training to develop new skills, and ensure their job quality isn’t diminished.
“Technological change in health care is accelerating, putting more strain on workers as providers seek to cut costs and increase efficiency,” said Adam Seth Litwin, the report’s author and an associate professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University. “If business continues as normal, we could see workers stripped of rewarding tasks, alienating them from their work and suppressing job quality. But that path isn’t inevitable. If workers are brought into the fold, technological changes can increase the quality of care workers are able to provide, while driving improvements in their pay and job quality.”
MedCrypt Inc., a provider of security solutions for healthcare, has joined the BlackBerry QNX Partner ecosystem, a worldwide network of technology companies who specialize in development tools, middleware, and embedded software products (e.g., database, HMI, and more) that are compatible with and complementary to BlackBerry QNX’s broad technology portfolio.
The QNX OS for Medical is a safety-certified version of the trusted QNX Neutrino operating system used in critical embedded systems globally.
“The healthcare industry has seen nearly twice as many breaches between February and May this year in comparison to last year’s count, indicating a growing need for medical tech to be secured at the source, before it goes to market,” said Mike Kijewski, CEO at MedCrypt. “We’re happy to join the BlackBerry QNX Partner ecosystem as it will further help us bring new and necessary medical technology to market quicker with top notch security built right in.”
“We are excited to expand our BlackBerry QNX Partner network with the addition of MedCrypt,” said Kaivan Karimi, senior vice president and co-head, BlackBerry Technology Solutions. “As the explosion of connected devices drives new applications and solutions in healthcare and around the world, it also increases the risk of cyberthreats and breaches, requiring data and infrastructure to be secured at every layer. Together with our partners, we are providing access to BlackBerry’s trusted software and cryptography solutions and technological know-how to accelerate the design, development, integration, and testing of mission-critical systems in healthcare and other industries.”
MedCrypt’s medical device cybersecurity software tools and APIs make it more efficient, easier, and less expensive for medical device manufacturers (MDMs) to build safe and secure medical devices. Building upon QNX OS for Medical and providing integration services and design will enable MedCrypt’s customers to develop safety-critical solutions for the medical device industry.
MedCrypt’s cybersecurity platform can be implemented in full or with a modular approach to proactively secure both legacy and new medical devices and maintain their security posture. MedCrypt solutions include:
Cryptography: encrypt/decrypt data and cryptographically sign/verify instructions with unique key pairs
Behavior Monitoring: capture device metadata, detect abnormalities, and send alerts
Vulnerability Monitoring: monitor specific software versions at the device level for known vulnerabilities; generate real-time software bill of materials (SBOM)
The MedCrypt data security library cross-compiles for and runs on the QNX OS for Medical as a turnkey solution. BlackBerry QNX solutions are used extensively for life-critical medical devices including blood diagnostics, ultrasound imaging, infusion delivery, heart monitoring, resuscitation and surgical robotics.
Since its introduction in the mid-1800s, the nursing profession has evolved leaps and bounds. Like other aspects of the medical profession, you might not recognize the nursing practice even as recently as a hundred years ago. So much has changed.
For example, it’s not such a female-dominated anymore; there are plenty of male nurses who take their jobs seriously. The schooling is a lot different, too. Yet, in other ways, much about nursing is the same. A nurse still helps the sick and injured; it’s just the overall science of treatment that has improved.
Let’s look at some of the ways that nursing has transformed since 1920.
In the early 1900s, nursing schools were called “Nightingale schools” after Florence Nightingale. There were less than a thousand such schools in the U.S. at the time. Students spent two to three years in training, but most of it was on the job. The aspiring students took care of actual hospital patients and spent little time in classrooms. Their time in school was more like an apprenticeship than what the modern nursing student goes through.
Today, there are a few classifications of nurses: LVN and RN are the most common. An LVN is a Licensed Vocational Nurse, and the schooling runs for about a year. An RN is a Registered Nurse, and the schooling is much longer. RN nursing programs last two or three years; some RNs pursue bachelor’s and graduate degrees. Gone are the days when a nursing profession
World War I ended near the end of 1918, and World War II didn’t start until the end of the 1930s. However, during those wars, many nurses were deployed to hospitals near the front lines. They had to deal with horrible sights, but many worked selflessly to help the injured and dying.
In addition to war hospitals, nurses back in the U.S. a hundred years ago were going through a change, as healthcare began its journey to become what it is today. Before the 1920s, babies were often born at home under midwife care. Some nurses were qualified to administer anesthesia. But standards were being laid down. Hospitals were beginning to look like what we expect a hospital to look like today.
The internet has significantly transformed the education sector. Unlike in the past where learners were forced to physically go to a classroom for lessons, today it is possible to earn a diploma or degree remotely.
Most learning institutions have started online programs – to cater to people who prefer online education. Some institutions have a hybrid system – where an online education system is fused with physical learning.
There’s basically no courses that can’t be undertaken through online education, including medicine. Besides the actual medicine subjects, there are several departments that work hand in hand with the medical sector.
For example, when you go to a hospital, you will find different departments such as human resources, accounting, billing, and management among others. This means anyone working in a hospital can enroll and advance their career through online education.
It is not just necessary to monitor your health in the modern world. This has become a fashion trend. The ranks of such people are constantly replenished. Mobile app developers have created a great number of programs that track certain indicators.
With a smartphone, you can measure your heart rate, calculate calories at lunch, or watch how you slept last night. There are hearing test apps. Plus, smart applications will remind you to drink a glass of water and count the steps you’ve taken in a day. Let’s consider which free health care apps are the most functional.
Apps that remind you to have a glass of water
On average, a person should drink from 1.5 liters of water per day. This norm fluctuates because people lead different lifestyles. Coffee drinkers, active training enthusiasts, and runners need more than other people. With the help of special applications, you can set your daily norm for the day and also set reminders so that you don’t miss a single glass of water.
The essence of the application is to develop a habit for its user to drink water at a certain interval. You can also prescribe your schedule for the whole day. It is possible to choose the volume of packaging – from small to large, and your plant will automatically adjust itself to it. The choice of flowers and pots is very diverse, each of them is programmed for a certain volume of drunk liquid.
You drink a glass of water and press the special button in the application. The flower is watered and you are satisfied. Otherwise, it sighs sorrowfully and dries up. The program can calculate how much water you need to drink in a day, and a schedule is drawn up based on these data.
The application interface clearly shows on a male or female figure how much water you have drunk at the moment. As you drink the glass, the figure fills in blue. The program can independently calculate the amount of water needed for a particular person. It takes gender, height, weight, age, and rhythm of life as a basis.
In Water Balance, you can take into account not only water but all drinks in general that were drunk during the day. The app will show how a particular liquid affects the body’s water balance. For example, coffee has a diuretic effect. This means that you need to add about two more glasses of water to the daily norm. You can also note whether there were any training sessions during the day, and the app will add a few more glasses to the daily requirement.
In a world that is constantly being upgraded, streamlined and enhanced by software and technology, is it possible that teaching will no longer be a human profession? What if A.I. progresses to the point that it is unfathomable that humans could even compete? What we are seeing now is the early evolutionary stages of the technology that will soon make these progressive ideas commonplace.
In many ways, this future is already here, as there are numerous applications that already teach us a variety of skills. The platforms and social media applications that we interact with have highly advanced algorithms that are programmed to provide us with the latest news and information. In our pockets at all times, is a highly advanced computer that is capable of executing numerous tasks. Whenever we wish, our smartphones can be used to teach us any task or skill. Let’s have a look at some of the ways technology is currently replacing teachers as we know it.
One of the most amazing things about our generation of technology is phone applications. These small software programs are often overlooked and taken for granted. To imagine such technology would be so readily available, even just 20 years ago, would be astounding.
Mental illness is a condition most people shy away from discussing. Many people are aware of the situation and are ready to share their experiences and challenges. They are comfortable to share their anxiety, depression, and mental illness. Students are aware of their mental health while using technology to help preserve and improve their mental health.
Educational institutions are more aware of mental health, and they believe that technology is innovative enough to help improve their mental health. Most students get stressed when they know it’s time to complete their assignments or do their exams. Homeworkdoer is one of the reliable and cost-effective platforms for students; they can get their tasks completed on time at an affordable cost. When that problem is solved, it will help enhance and improve the students’ mental health.
There has been an increase in the number of health issues caused by pressure and stress. The secret is to look for time to relax and reflect on our soul and body. Mental stability comes from better knowledge and behaviors. It is not all about adherence to rules, strict daily routine, and difficult habits.