Telehealth News - December 2020

Here's a recap of the resources for clinicians, digital health news, telemedicine innovations, and virtual care updates for December 2020.

News & Resources for Clinicians

An inside look at Duke Hospital's COVID-19 vaccination center for doctors, nurses and staff

A very highly-choreographed logistical dance is underway right now at Duke University Hospital - as doctors and nurses fight COVID-19 on the frontlines while behind the scenes the medical center quickly prepares to get staff vaccinated for the virus. Duke providing new video tonight to give us an inside look at those vaccine preps. When Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrives at Duke Hospital it will be stored in this ultra-cold freezer, capable of maintaining the necessary -70 degrees Celsius temperatures.

Read full story on ABC >

Doctors' Diary: Orlando Doctors Share Journey With COVID-19 Vaccination

Before Dr. Andrew Bagg went into Orlando Regional Medical Center on Friday for his coronavirus vaccine shot, he had multiple thoughts racing through his mind. “Some people are waiting to see what happens. So in that sense, I’m a guinea pig," Bagg said. "I look at it as I am a pioneer in medicine.” Dr. Daniel Landau, meanwhile, works for Orlando Health. He had been anxious to receive his vaccine for about a week. “To be honest with you, I was excited this morning," Landau said. "I was really pumped to take the vaccine to start that road toward normalcy.”

Read full story on Spectrum News >

Nurses Are Overloaded With Covid-19 Patients This Holiday Season; Here’s How Family Members Can Help

For Taylor Moore, a 26-year old, out-of-work travel agent in Lafayette, Louisiana, waiting for daily calls from the hospital about her father’s condition is agony. The 63-year old tested positive for Covid-19 about a month ago. Moore rushed him to the hospital when he started gasping for breath. It was the day after Thanksgiving. She hasn’t seen him in-person since.

Read full story on Forbes >

US hospitals facing worrisome shortage of nurses, doctors

With so many states seeing a flood of coronavirus patients, U.S. hospitals are again worried about finding enough medical workers to meet demand just as infections from the holiday season threaten to add to the burden on American health care. California, which is enduring by far its worst spike in cases and hospitalizations, is reaching out to places like Australia and Taiwan to fill the need for 3,000 temporary medical workers, particularly nurses trained in critical care.

Read full story on ABC >

Innovations in Healthcare & Digital Health

COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax is latest to enter Phase 3 trial in U.S.

Federal health researchers and vaccine maker Novavax announced Monday that they will begin a Phase 3 trial for Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United States, marking the fifth such shot in the country to reach its key final stage of testing. "We've come this far, this fast, but we need to get to the finish line," Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.

Read full story on CBS News >

More COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline as US effort ramps up

A huge U.S. study of another COVID-19 vaccine candidate got underway Monday as states continue to roll out scarce supplies of the first shots to a nation anxiously awaiting relief from the catastrophic outbreak. Public health experts say more options in addition to the two vaccines now being dispensed — one made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, the other by Moderna — are critical to amassing enough shots for the country and the world.

Read full story on Associated Press News >

Amazon, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Merck to Build $10M Digital Health Innovation Lab in Israel

Amazon is entering the pharmacy business with a new offering called Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers in the United States to order prescription medications for home delivery, including free delivery for Amazon Prime members. Amazon has been quietly building out its pharmacy offering for several years after ramping up internal discussions in 2017 and acquiring PillPack in 2018.

Read full story on CNBC >

Want to See the Future of Digital Health Tools? Look to Germany.

In late 2019, Germany’s parliament passed the Digital Health Care Act (Digitale-Versorgung-Gesetz, or DVG) — an ambitious law designed to catalyze the digital transformation of the German health care system, which has historically been a laggard in that area among peer countries. It is already leading to meaningful changes and will be a boon to the development and evaluation of digital health tools as well as the generation of insights into the value they create.

Read full story on Harvard Business Review >

Telehealth News

Mental wellness platform Lyra Health is raising up to $175M at a $2.25B valuation

The coronavirus pandemic has underscored, and often exacerbated, the mental health crisis that exists across the world. Even the spread of remote work is part of the problem: As everyone stays at home, the lack of interaction and watercooler chat has left employees without in-person interaction. The need for a solution has helped tech-powered mental health solutions raise funding to meet increased demand. In the latest development, it emerged that Lyra Health, a platform that focuses on providing workforces with mental health care, has filed paperwork to raise a $175 million Series E at a $2.25 billion valuation.

Read full story on TechCrunch >

Inside Amazon's efforts to build a national telehealth business geared toward big employers

Amazon is building a telehealth business and pitching the service to major employers including Zillow, five people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to talk to the press, told Business Insider. It's a part of Amazon's massive ambitions in healthcare. In November, it announced Amazon Pharmacy, a drug-delivering business in 48 states with steep discounts for Prime members. Through Amazon Care, the $1.6 trillion shipping giant is getting into the business of actual medical services for the first time, dealing with patients, their protected health information, and their doctors.

Read full story on Business Insider >

What happens next: 10 non-COVID health care predictions for 2021

As 2021 approaches, here are 10 predictions for what we think will happen next for health care in America. But first we look back on our (dismal— think COVID response, not COVID vaccine…) 2020 performance. Suffice it to say, we whiffed, Bill Buckner “through the legs” type whiffed. We published our 2020 predictions on Dec. 6, 2019, three weeks before COVID-19 was discovered in Wuhan, China. Everything got reprioritized. Remarkably, we still got “two plus a little” predictions correct, but who shoots for 20%?

Read full story on Fortune >

Steered by a former Uber Health exec, a new startup aims to bridge in-home care and telemedicine

Telemedicine has become a lifeline during the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is not enough help for many patients whose medical needs demand in-person care. The new startup, called MedArrive, was launched out of stealth mode on Thursday and will use a network of paramedics and EMTs.

Read full story on Stat >

Telehealth, linked to an EHR, drastically reduces no-show rate at Garfield Health Center

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County, the health center’s primary goal was to reduce the number of patients who needed to physically visit the center in order to slow the spread of the virus and ensure the healthcare facilities had adequate staff and resources to care for those who were sick. In order to fulfill GHC’s mission of service to low-income individuals and families and continue to uphold values of being accessible, consistent and responsive to community needs, GHC’s senior management and board of directors made the decision to implement telehealth services.

Read full story on Healthcare IT News >