Telehealth News: March 2020 - COVID Edition

Review a recap of the latest digital health news, telemedicine innovations and virtual care updates amidst COVID-19 making headlines in March 2020.

COVID-19 Telemedicine Updates

Surge in patients overwhelms telehealth services amid coronavirus pandemic

Telehealth services are sagging under the weight of an unprecedented surge in patients as hospitals scramble to shift routine care online in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis is stressing major telehealth providers’ technical infrastructure and the supply of physicians prepared to deliver care virtually.

View complete story in Stat News >

ATA Commends HHS Secretary Azar For His Support to Extend Telehealth and Strengthen the Healthcare Workforce to Combat COVID-19

The ATA, the premier organization working to accelerate the adoption of telehealth, today commended U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar II, for urging governors to extend the capacity of the health care workforce, and to address restrictions on telemedicine in their states, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

View complete story on ATA website >

Telemedicine Surges, Fueled By Coronavirus Fears And Shift In Payment Rules

The Cleveland Clinic is on track to log more than 60,000 telemedicine visits in March, according to officials there. Before March, that health system ― which has hospitals in Ohio and Florida — averaged about 3,400 virtual visits a month.

View complete story in Kaiser Health News >

FDA allows veterinarians to use telemedicine during coronavirus pandemic

The FDA is temporarily easing restrictions on veterinarians to allow them to more easily use telemedicine to treat pets during the coronavirus pandemic. The FDA will suspend its rules requiring vets to physically examine pets, allowing them to prescribe drugs with a video examination.

View complete story on CNBC >

COVID-19 Innovation News

NHSX working on coronavirus contact tracking app

The app, which would operate on an opt-in basis, would alert people to new cases in their area as well as allowing people to input their own symptoms, Digital Health News understands.If a person develops symptoms of Covid-19 they will be able to put that information into the app, which will then share that data with relevant health authorities.

View complete story in Digital Health >

Inside the telehealth companies rushing to take on COVID-19

Telemedicine is finally having its moment. But this isn't how any of the executives running the companies wanted it to happen.

Read complete story on Protocol >

COVID-19 is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Here’s how telehealth could help

Dr. Tzvi Doron, senior vice president at telehealth startup Ro, argues for new digital tools to mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

Read complete story on Fast Company >

Wheel, imaware™ Deliver First Clinician-Administered, Home-Based COVID-19 Lab Test

With the need for efficient COVID-19 testing growing increasingly urgent, Wheel and imaware™ have formed a partnership to provide home-based testing within FDA guidelines to patients across Texas, administered by a licensed health professional and supported by telehealth. The companies are combining their areas of expertise to help people at the highest risk or with limited access to testing get screened sooner in order to receive care by specially trained clinicians through telemedicine.

Read complete story on The Global Newswire >

Beyond Telehealth: COVID-19

The Problem with U.S. Health Care Isn’t a Shortage of Doctors

The coronavirus epidemic is increasing demands on health care’s frontline, primary care physicians. Even before the outbreak emerged, conventional wisdom held that we’re facing a PCP shortage. Quartz this July warned of a “devastating” doctor shortage poised to strike America. Later that month, the Washington Post chimed in with “America to face a shortage of primary care physicians within a decade or so.”

Contributing factors include:

  • Uneven distribution.
  • Incomplete coverage.
  • Inconvenient hours.
  • Inflexible care models.
  • Payer aversion.
  • Inefficient use of physician labor.

View story on Harvard Business Review >

Not all masks are created equal: Cloth offers little protection against coronavirus

There’s a global shortage of face masks, which is forcing medical professionals to enter scenarios where they are at high risk of being exposed to the coronavirus without the proper protective gear. The private sector is stepping up to fill the gap. But as amateur sewers and apparel companies create new masks, it’s important to note that not all masks are created equal.

View story on Fast Company >

F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Bill

The Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion economic rescue plan on Wednesday that will offer assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the coronavirus. Its components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment coverage, student loan changes, different retirement account rules and more. Here are the answers to common questions about what’s in the bill.

View story on the New York Times >

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