Telehealth is becoming a critical tool in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic because it allows patients with mild cases and on home isolation to continue receiving health care services, writes LinktoMedicine and Future50 founder Marianna Imenokhoeva. Aside from its usual applications, health systems can also use telehealth as a mental health support tool for patients and medical professionals, and it can also be integrated in the coronavirus testing process through e-schedules for clinical and home tests.
Michael Archuleta comments on the rise of telehealth
Michael Archuleta, chief information officer, Mt. San Rafael Hospital
The acceleration of digital transformation is here, and the mass adoption of telecommuting is the most explosive change to occur due to the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has fully displayed the value of IT and digital transformation. Out of every crisis, a new opportunity arises, and telehealth is a key tool to continue to provide efficient care for patients.
The volume of telehealth consults have gone up several multiples since the pandemic struck. Health care organizations are intensifying their focus on strategic planning for a digital future and are preparing themselves to be ready to launch new initiatives when the crisis passes. I believe this unprecedented pandemic puts us in a position to be more progressive and open to learning from it. If we can take the experience gained from this unique challenge, we can evolve our practices and continue to invest in digital transformation, which will better allow us to design asynchronous tools that benefit our patients both inside and outside our organizations.
Focusing on digital transformation and incorporating IT as a core component to the organization strategy will take us to a much better space. Let's continue to work together to transform our industry!
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.
A study in the Journal of the Endocrine Society found that a machine learning artificial intelligence model was able to predict the future incidence of type 2 diabetes by analyzing 509,000 annual health checkup records of more than 139,000 people in Japan with an overall accuracy of 94.9%. Lead researcher Akihiro Nomura wrote that machine learning could someday be used to identify high-risk groups of future diabetes patients better than existing risk scores.
COVID-19 detection tools based on artificial intelligence are proliferating on the market, but the ACR and CDC don't recommend using imaging to detect the illness.
"The most important thing to ask about any AI tool is if there is a need," says Dr. Ella Kazerooni, a radiology professor at Michigan Medicine, who adds that just because you can apply AI "doesn't mean you should, and that can be applied to the use of thoracic imaging in the setting of COVID-19 pneumonia, in general."
The Office of the National Coordinator is tracking at least 40 interoperability projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic on the Interoperability Proving Ground open platform, which allows developers to exchange ideas and learn about other projects. Overall, the platform has over 550 projects listed.
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