CDC: Over 90% of Americans still susceptible to COVID-19 | Amazon offers virtual health care to all Wash. employees | Data integrity efforts improve patient matching
September 24, 2020
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CDC: Over 90% of Americans still susceptible to COVID-19
(Lara Balais/Getty Images)
The US is reporting an average of more than 43,000 new COVID-19 cases per day and at least 22 states are seeing increases in newly reported infections. CDC Director Robert Redfield told a Senate panel this week that over 90% of the US population is still susceptible to COVID-19, which has already infected about 6.9 million and killed more than 200,000 people across the US.
Full Story: CNN (9/24) 
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EHR & CLINICAL CARE
Amazon is expanding a home health care program for employees and their families throughout Washington after a successful pilot test in Seattle. Amazon Care offers health care via text messaging and video as well as in-home care in some ZIP codes.
Full Story: CNBC (9/22) 
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Interoperability is coming, but patient matching will remain a problem, and health care providers can leverage referential matching and use universal master patient indexes right away to improve data integrity, writes Jon Case, vice president of product management at Verato. The patient data collection process can also be improved by identifying EHR data fields prone to discrepancies due to blank or default entries and developing steps to prevent the problem, Case suggests.
Full Story: FierceHealthcare (9/23) 
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TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Pennsylvania's new COVID Alert PA app uses Bluetooth technology to identify and notify people who have been in close proximity to someone who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 and offers information on testing locations and symptoms. The free app was developed by Nearform and exchanges a random set of Bluetooth keys that measure proximity to other phones with the app, but it does not track location, state officials say.
Full Story: The Philadelphia Inquirer (tiered subscription model) (9/23) 
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LEGISLATIVE & REGULATORY
OCR website offers HIPAA guidance for app developers
(Pixabay)
The HHS Office for Civil Rights' new Health Apps website portal replaces the Health App Developer Portal and gives guidance on when and how HIPAA regulations apply to mobile health applications. Features include an interactive tool for developers, examples of when an app developer may be acting as a business associate subject to HIPAA, and answers to questions on access rights, HIPAA applicability to cloud computing and the relationship between HIPAA and health IT.
Full Story: The National Law Review (9/24) 
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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices seemed to agree that health care workers should be the first Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 once a vaccine becomes available, although members did not vote on the issue in a meeting this week, and CDC Director Robert Redfield will have the final say. The agency has asked states to submit distribution plans for a vaccine by Oct. 16.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (9/22),  Reuters (9/22) 
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PATIENT ADVOCACY
Front-line health care workers are in the middle of a debate between infection control experts and hospital administrators on the extent to which SARS-CoV-2 spreads through airborne particles, and what level of protective equipment and protocols are therefore necessary. Some studies have shown the virus spreads primarily through airborne droplets that don't linger long, while others have shown airborne particles that can travel farther than 6 feet are a primary transmission source.
Full Story: Kaiser Health News (9/23) 
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A joint statement from the American Nurses Association, the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association says the marking of 200,000 deaths in the US due to COVID-19 is a "somber milestone" and calls on Americans to continue to be vigilant about halting the virus' spread. "The steps required to stop the spread of this virus should be well known by now, but with more than 6 million COVID-positive Americans, we say again: wear your mask, wash your hands, and practice physical distancing," the statement said.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (9/23) 
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BIG DATA & ANALYTICS
Predictive analytics modeling showed risk factors for COVID-19 severity include patient age, body mass index, smoking status and comorbidities at the time of hospitalization, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers developed an inpatient risk calculator that could guide treatment and allocation of resources.
Full Story: Health IT Analytics (9/23) 
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News from AHIMA
AHIMA's marketing manager Monica Linders offers a behind-the-scenes look at what AHIMA staff is doing to make sure you have a compelling, interactive and energizing experience at our first-ever virtual annual conference, AHIMA20. She also discusses Health Information Professionals (HIP) Week, taking place during the conference. Read more.
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There's no travel required for this on-demand course that lets you work at your own pace. AHIMA's New ICD-10-CM-PCS Trainer shows attendees how to successfully train others to up their game. Also covered are topics for computer-assisted coding, AI, auditing, CDI, and mapping principles. Completion of the course earns 18 CEUs. Learn more.
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Presenters at this webinar offer an introduction to data analytics for health information leaders. They also review the important milestones an effective data analytics department needs to achieve and cover data visualization techniques and dashboards. Watch the webinar.
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