How digital healthcare tools are changing medicine in Europe since COVID-19

Like in America, the healthcare industry is also making shifts to adopt new, safer hospital practices in response to Covid-19. Since physical contact and proximity present such risks, hospitals are turning to a variety of digital tools in order to meet their care priorities, such as risk reduction and better resource utilization. Having a better understanding of these priorities and what tools hospitals are using now will help us in the health tech industry know what to build for them next.

At Siilo, we believe that putting tried and true technology into the hands of healthcare professionals will result in a higher quality of care for patients down the line. Here are the three major categories of care currently being aided by digital tools: distance diagnoses, internal communications, and external collaborations.

Distance diagnoses
Covid-19 was not the start of the telehealth revolution, but it was certainly a major driver in its widespread adoption this year. While doctors and specialists could not and still cannot see their patients in person, that doesn’t mean people haven’t stopped needing consultations. Moving diagnoses online has been the only option to continue delivering care directly to patients.

Companies like Germany’s Klara are working to put these digital tools at the center of doctor-patient communication all across Europe. Telehealth services provide a variety of benefits: anything from patient portals, where individuals can email their doctors in a secure online environment, to mobile applications, allowing doctors to hold virtual appointments with patients via video call. They can also include the collection of health data, voluntarily given by patients, through the Internet of Things, such as smartwatches, in order to get a more holistic view of the patient’s wellbeing.

Advances in telehealth can certainly ease the burdens on healthcare professionals looking to safely diagnose their patients over digital platforms, but we need to make sure that we are providing products that prioritize data safety. That means designing for GDPR compliance incorporating key features, like passcode protection and device-only data storage.

Internal Communications
The influx of telehealth and digital solutions for communicating with patients has also resulted in a professional counterpart for members of medical institutions, organizations, and associations all across Europe. Beyond the EHRs and secure email servers typically found in hospitals or physicians’ offices, technology is being developed to make communication by modern healthcare professionals more efficient, more secure, and more informative.

People bring their smartphones to work with them, and as such, we see professionals increasingly seeking out mobile tools and applications to simplify their workflows. In particular, professionals are looking for ways to quickly exchange information with each other and their departments at large. My company, Siilo works in this space.

This integration is not seamless, however. Bring-your-own-device policies, such as those found in Germany and France, have been put in place to limit the chances of cross-contaminating patient data and personal information, and increasing digital literacy amongst professionals can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. Nevertheless, hospitals and public health institutions should be prepared

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Disc Medicine to Present at the Piper Sandler 32nd Annual Healthcare Conference

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Disc Medicine, a hematology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapeutic candidates for serious and debilitating diseases, announced it will participate in the Piper Sandler 32nd Annual Virtual Healthcare Conference.

Disc Medicine is a hematology company harnessing new insights in hepcidin biology to address ineffective red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in hematologic diseases. Focused on the hepcidin pathway, the master regulator of iron metabolism, Disc is advancing first-in-class therapies to transform the treatment of hematologic diseases. (PRNewsfoto/Disc Medicine)

A pre-recorded presentation by John Quisel, J.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Disc Medicine, will be available beginning on Monday, November 23 at 10:00 am Eastern Standard Time. A link to the presentation will be provided in the “News & Events” section of Disc Medicine’s website at www.discmedicine.com.

About Disc Medicine
Disc Medicine is a hematology company harnessing new insights in hepcidin biology to address ineffective red blood cell production (erythropoiesis) in hematologic diseases. Currently focused on the hepcidin pathway, the master regulator of iron metabolism, Disc is developing a portfolio of first-in-class therapeutic candidates to transform the treatment of hematologic diseases. For more information, visit www.discmedicine.com.

 

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Optum Ireland announces Healthcare Scholars and support for Ulster’s new School of Medicine

Optum Ireland has announced its annual Optum Healthcare Scholars and a commitment to funding two dedicated scholarships for the new graduate entry School of Medicine at Ulster University.

Optum Healthcare Scholars benefit from annual financial assistance, as well as other support they may require, to complete their undergraduate studies. The program, established in 2018, is designed to support students in County Donegal from less advantaged backgrounds who may face additional challenges.

The newly appointed Healthcare Scholars are:

Moya McCloskey (Crana College)
Caitlín Gillespie (St Columba’s Stranorlar)
Saoirse Bonner (Rosses Community School)
Artur Kryszkowski (St Eunan’s College)
Siobhán Griffin (St Columba’s Stranorlar)

The scholars join the existing cohort of Healthcare Scholars from County Donegal. All scholars selected for the program are studying healthcare and innovative technology programs in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ulster University and National University of Ireland, Galway.

CEO of Optum Ireland, Padraig Monaghan said:

“Optum has a presence in the North West for more than 20 years. Our scholarship program is designed to meet the needs and realities of this cross-border region and support the local healthcare system. We are delighted that our contribution comes at a time when there is an acute focus on the healthcare service and an increased level of application to third level healthcare courses in Ireland”.

The establishment of a new, graduate entry School of Medicine in Ulster University’s Magee campus in Derry city is a significant development for the North West City region. Optum has announced that the scholarship program will support two graduate medical students when the School of Medicine opens in 2021.

The Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine, Professor Louise Dubras, has welcomed the funding announcement for prospective students:

‘Ulster University is a proud partner of Optum Ireland and their commitment to fund postgraduate scholarships comes at a critical time for the School of Medicine and is most welcome. Our new medical provision will provide much-needed doctors for the North West’

Sophie Carlin, a third year Personalised Medicine student at Ulster University, received an Optum Healthcare Scholarship in 2018. She is now being supported by Optum during her placement year.

Sophie was selected by Dr. Kyle Matchett, Lecturer in Molecular Immunobiology, to be a member of his research team focusing on an aggressive childhood leukaemia. The research aims to better understand how childhood leukaemia develops including the role of the key altered gene and to create more effective, kinder treatments.

Sophie hopes to become a Doctor in Cancer Research and help people who have been affected by cancer,

“Optum Ireland has made us a part of their family and I will be forever grateful to them for giving me this scholarship and allowing me to pursue my dreams.”

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At a top hospital, Catholic restrictions on women’s healthcare are growing worse

Back in 2014, then-California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris imposed a strict condition on the affiliation between Hoag Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Health System, a Catholic hospital group: For the most part, Hoag was to be exempt from Catholic church restrictions on women’s healthcare services.



a group of people standing next to a sign: Demonstrators protest the decision to end abortion services at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach in 2013. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)


© (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Demonstrators protest the decision to end abortion services at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach in 2013. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Doctors at Newport Beach-based Hoag say that condition has been flagrantly breached by Providence Health, the successor to St. Joseph — and the violations are proliferating.

Since 2015 and up to the present day, a managed health plan controlled by Providence has been refusing to pay for contraceptives prescribed by Hoag OB/GYNs for their patients.

We would like to be tops in women’s healthcare, but how can we be if there are certain things we will never be able to provide, based on our association with Providence?

Jeffrey Illeck, an OB/GYN at Hoag Memorial Hospital

The health maintenance organization, Heritage Healthcare, has cited the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services as grounds for refusing payment, even though the 2014 agreement under which Harris approved the affiliation explicitly states that Hoag would not be bound by the so-called ERDs then or “in the future.”

Frustration among Hoag OB/GYNs has been rising.

Several members of Hoag’s professional staff filed a confidential complaint with Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s office on Oct. 9.

The complaint asserts that “Providence has increasingly disallowed women’s health services when they involve any form of contraceptive care,” even when IUDs are prescribed for reasons other than birth control, such as heavy menstrual bleeding.

Providence also has refused to cover deliveries when they’re combined with sterilization procedures such as salpingectomies (the removal of one or both fallopian tubes), even though combining those procedures is the standard of care to avoid requiring a patient to undergo two rounds of anesthesia and recovery rather than one.

The complaint says that physicians’ staffs are spending many hours a day pursuing reimbursement claims for Heritage enrollees.

“We have seen IUD reimbursements, for example, pending for as long as two years, requiring multiple appeals and grievances on behalf of patients,” the complaint states. Billing staff “have never spent so much time trying to get reimbursements for IUDs. … In many cases, payment is never received.”

The Hoag doctors say that Providence established “an anonymous hotline for people to complain if they believed Hoag was committing so-called immoral procedures involving women’s reproductive health.” The hotline was connected to the Orange County bishop’s office, they say, adding: “We were never told of its existence.”

In sum, “Providence has established a history of broken trust in its relationship with us, with absolutely no end in sight,” says the complaint, which is not a public document but which I’ve reviewed.

Providence has refused to comment on any of these assertions.

Becerra has not responded to the complaint, even

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Nearly 50,000 hospitalized with Covid-19 as experts warn of growing healthcare pressure

The fall surge has left nearly 50,000 people hospitalized across the US due to Covid-19, and experts say the strain healthcare systems are under could soon get worse.



a person in a blue blanket: HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: A medical staff member grabs a hand of a patient to reposition the bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on October 31, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 916,000 cases, including over 18,000 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)


© Go Nakamura/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 31: A medical staff member grabs a hand of a patient to reposition the bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on October 31, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 916,000 cases, including over 18,000 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

Hospitalizations were on the rise in 47 states last month, according to the Covid Tracking Project, and a total of 47,502 people were hospitalized as of Sunday. The rates come alongside a surge of cases that made October a record setting month for coronavirus infections in the US.

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The US recorded its highest number of new cases on Friday with a reported 99,321, the record for any nation in the world. And experts have said that the impacts will likely continue to get worse as colder months drive up infections.

“We’re right at the beginning of what looks like exponential growth in a lot of states,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “This is very worrisome as we head into the winter.”

Gottlieb expects Thanksgiving to be an inflection point, and from there he said the hospital system is going to be facing pressure similar to the early spikes — when hospitals around the country were reaching capacity and healthcare workers were stretched thin.

Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said hospitalizations are the best measure of how the nation is faring against the pandemic and are often an indicator of how the number of deaths will trend.

The seven-day average for new cases currently is more than 81,300 — higher than any other time in the pandemic. The surge has brought cases to more than 9.2 million in the US since the pandemic began, and 230,996 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus accelerating in states

Covid-19 spread and hospitalizations have reached staggering levels across states.

This week, there were more new coronavirus cases in Kentucky than any other week since the pandemic began, Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement Sunday.

“I know we’re tired, but if we do not get the spread of this disease under control, we risk a darker, more deadly period this winter than we ever experienced in the spring,” Beshear said.

Illinois is working to manage the virus by putting the entire state under resurgence mitigation measures, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health said Sunday. The state reported nearly 7,000 new cases on Sunday.

“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect

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Exceptional Healthcare to Open New Community Hospitals Across Arizona

Exceptional Community Hospital Celebrates Groundbreaking for Maricopa Facility;
Additional Community Hospitals Already Planned for Yuma, Prescott, Other Communities

A Texas-based hospital group is making a strong entry into the Arizona marketplace, with a critically needed community hospital coming to Maricopa and other hospitals opening across Arizona in the near future.

Exceptional Healthcare is entering Arizona with its first facility in the City of Maricopa, in the Phoenix metro region. The 20,000-square-foot Phase 1 of the facility will be located in the heart of Maricopa on State Route 347, and will be the first facility of its kind in the community.

The state-of-the-art facility includes a specialty internal medicine hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a digital imaging suite – including CT Scan, X-Ray, mobile MRI and ultrasound – an in-house laboratory, and outpatient and inpatient hospital beds for acute admissions and overnight observation of patients.

Additionally, in partnership with higher-level hospitals in the Phoenix area, Exceptional Healthcare will feature a landing area for air ambulances to ensure the fastest transfer of patients needing a higher level of care.

Exceptional Healthcare is already planning for additional facilities in Prescott and Yuma as well as locations in as many as six other communities throughout the state.

“We are very excited to be entering the Arizona marketplace and particularly the City of Maricopa with our first Exceptional Healthcare hospital in the state,” said Saeed Mahboubi, Chief Financial Officer for Exceptional Healthcare. “Arizona is facing a shortage of healthcare facilities and professionals, particularly in rural areas and smaller communities in the state. These new hospitals will fill a critical need and help strengthen the state’s overall healthcare infrastructure.”

Two socially distanced, invitation-only groundbreaking events will take place on Friday, November 13 at the Maricopa site. Members of the media are invited to attend either the 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. events. Media members who would like to attend should contact Tom Evans at the information above.

Neighborhood community hospitals are important because they offer residents of communities without large healthcare resources an alternative to driving long distances — often at times of medical emergency when seconds count. It also provides patients with the ability to stay closer to home for less significant internal medicine-related admissions, allowing patients to be closer to their families and loved ones.

At the Exceptional Healthcare facilities, each inpatient room will have accommodations for a family member to stay the night, as well as high-level concierge-style service. Plans include chef-prepared individualized meal service as well as complimentary toiletries, bath robe, and slippers for patients to increase their level of comfort.

As Maricopa continues to grow, the need for immediate lifesaving care is critical, and the ability for residents to be admitted to a hospital for basic inpatient care without having to leave Maricopa is a plus. The $18 million facility in Maricopa is expected to employ between 60-100 employees, and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2021.

Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, welcomed

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Veteran-Owned Healthcare Company Awarded Medical Equipment Government Contract Valued at $450 Million

Alliant Healthcare Products will provide the Department of Defense and other federal agencies with a customer-friendly source for innovative medical products via new PMCE contract

Grand Rapids, Michigan –News Direct– Alliant Healthcare Products

Alliant Enterprises (dba Alliant Healthcare Products) has been awarded a Patient Monitoring & Capital Equipment (PMCE) contract by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) valued at $450 million over 10 years. The contract includes medical products from many of Alliant’s high-profile OEM partners, including Olympus America Inc., Philips Healthcare, Skytron, LINET Americas, Belimed Inc., PROCEPT BioRobotics, Veran Medical Technologies, and many others. The PMCE contract is pre-established and pre-vetted by the government as a source for medical equipment and acts as one of the preferred purchasing platforms for the Department of Defense (DoD).

From robotic-assisted surgical devices to hospital beds and endoscopy equipment, this contract will help America’s service members gain access to more than 8,000 best-in-class medical devices and products over the next 10 years. When it comes to new and innovative technology, the lengthy and arduous procurement process has historically limited the ability of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and DoD to quickly and efficiently purchase critical products. This contract will remove some of the bureaucratic red tape and pave the way to a smoother procurement process for federal government customers, ensuring veterans and active duty military personnel have quicker access to new technologies and life-saving medical equipment.

“This PMCE contract solidifies Alliant’s position as one of the leading providers of medical equipment to the federal government. As a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, we strive to serve those who are actively working to protect our country,” said Eric Albery, President, Alliant Healthcare Products. “As a result of this contract, Alliant is able to provide federal government customers with access to some of the most advanced medical equipment on the market, through an efficient, net-centric ordering, distribution and payment system.”

“Olympus and Alliant have established a high-trust relationship based on mutual respect and alignment of goals to meet the unique equipment needs of the federal government,” said Steve Wendt, Vice President for Government and Distributor Relations, Olympus America Inc. “We are excited to work with Alliant to successfully implement this new agreement administered by the Department of Defense, which will bring additional visibility to Olympus’ innovative technologies and make them more accessible to our nation’s service men and women, and our country’s veterans.”

“There is no community more deserving, and we look forward to working with Alliant to understand how we can better serve the needs of veterans, active duty service men and women, as well as federal health facilities,” said Derek Farias, National Director Government Channel, Philips Healthcare.

The new PMCE contract is effective immediately for government customers, adding to Alliant’s arsenal of pre-established government contracts for medical products. Founded in 2002, Alliant Healthcare has become a trusted and respected staple within the federal government healthcare market, working closely with the DoD, VA, Indian Health Service, National Institute of Health and many

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FBI warns ransomware assault threatens US healthcare system

BOSTON (AP) — Federal agencies warned that cybercriminals are unleashing a wave of data-scrambling extortion attempts against the U.S. healthcare system designed to lock up hospital information systems, which could hurt patient care just as nationwide cases of COVID-19 are spiking.

In a joint alert Wednesday, the FBI and two federal agencies warned that they had “credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.” The alert said malicious groups are targeting the sector with attacks that produce “data theft and disruption of healthcare services.”

The cyberattacks involve ransomware, which scrambles data into gibberish that can only be unlocked with software keys provided once targets pay up. Independent security experts say it has already hobbled at least five U.S. hospitals this week, and could potentially impact hundreds more.

The offensive by a Russian-speaking criminal gang coincides with the U.S. presidential election, although there is no immediate indication they were motivated by anything but profit. “We are experiencing the most significant cyber security threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” Charles Carmakal, chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm Mandiant, said in a statement.

Alex Holden, CEO of Hold Security, which has been closely tracking the ransomware in question for more than a year, agreed that the unfolding offensive is unprecedented in magnitude for the U.S. given its timing in the heat of a contentions presidential election and the worst global pandemic in a century.

The federal alert was co-authored by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.


The cybercriminals launching the attacks use a strain of ransomware known as Ryuk, which is seeded through a network of zombie computers called Trickbot that Microsoft began trying to counter earlier in October. U.S. Cyber Command has also reportedly taken action against Trickbot. While Microsoft has had considerable success knocking its command-and-control servers offline through legal action, analysts say criminals have still been finding ways to spread Ryuk.

The U.S. has seen a plague of ransomware over the past 18 months or so, with major cities from Baltimore to Atlanta hit and local governments and schools hit especially hard.

In September, a ransomware attack hobbled all 250 U.S. facilities of the hospital chain Universal Health Services, forcing doctors and nurses to rely on paper and pencil for record-keeping and slowing lab work. Employees described chaotic conditions impeding patient care, including mounting emergency room waits and the failure of wireless vital-signs monitoring equipment.

Also in September, the first known fatality related to ransomware occurred in Duesseldorf, Germany, when an IT system failure forced a critically ill patient to be routed to a hospital in another city.

Holden said he alerted federal law enforcement Friday after monitoring infection attempts at a number of hospitals, some of which may have beaten back infections. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He said the group was demanding ransoms well above $10 million per target and that criminals involved on the

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Change Healthcare to Present at the Credit Suisse 29th Annual Healthcare Conference

Change Healthcare Inc. (Nasdaq: CHNG), a leading independent healthcare technology company, today announced its participation in a virtual fireside chat via webcast at the Credit Suisse 29th Annual Healthcare Conference on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

The live webcast and more information about this event may be accessed by visiting the Events and Presentations tab at http://ir.changehealthcare.com. The webcast replay will be available approximately 48 hours after the live webcast ends and will be accessible for 90 days following the conference.

About Change Healthcare

Change Healthcare (Nasdaq: CHNG) is a leading independent healthcare technology company, focused on insights, innovation, and accelerating the transformation of the U.S. healthcare system through the power of the Change Healthcare Platform. We provide data and analytics-driven solutions to improve clinical, financial, administrative, and patient engagement outcomes in the U.S. healthcare system.

Learn more at changehealthcare.com.

CHNG-IR

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028005185/en/

Contacts

Evan Smith, CFA
Investor Relations
404-338-2225
[email protected]

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These Female Healthcare Workers Are Rural India’s First Defense Against COVID-19

Archana Ghugare’s ringtone, a Hindu devotional song, has been the background score of her life since March. By 7 a.m. on a mid-October day, the 41-year-old has already received two calls about suspected COVID-19 cases in Pavnar, her village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. As she gets ready and rushes out the door an hour later, she receives at least four more.

“My family jokes that not even Prime Minister Modi gets as many calls as I do,” she says.

Ghugare, and nearly a million other Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) assigned to rural villages and small towns across India, are on the front lines of the country’s fight against the coronavirus. Every day, Ghugare goes door to door in search of potential COVID-19 cases, working to get patients tested or to help them find treatment.

With 8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, India has the second-highest tally in the world after the United States and its health infrastructure struggled to cope with the surge in COVID-19 patients this summer. India spends only 1.3% of its GDP on public health care, among the lowest in the world. The situation is stark in rural areas where 66% of India’s 1.3 billion people live and where health facilities are scant and medical professionals can be hard to find.

India’s ASHA program is likely the world’s largest army of all-female community health workers. They are the foot soldiers of the country’s health system. Established in 2005, a key focus of the program was reducing maternal and infant deaths, so all recruits are women. They have also played an essential role in India’s efforts to eradicate polio and increase immunization, according to numerous studies.

Read More: How the Pandemic Is Reshaping India

But even as health authorities have leaned on ASHAs to quell the spread of COVID-19 in rural areas, where a substantial number of new cases have been reported, many of these health care workers say the government is failing them. Pay was meager to begin with, but some workers have reported not being paid for months. Their hours have increased dramatically, but pay rises, when they have come, have not reflected the increased demands. Many ASHAs have also complained about not being provided adequate protective equipment for their high-risk work.

“They are the unsung heroes who are fighting to contain the unfettered spread of the virus in rural areas,” says Dr. Smisha Agarwal, Research Director at the John Hopkins Global Health Initiative. She argues it is vital to improve pay to boost morale and sustain this frontline workforce.

Ghugare was chosen from her village of 7,000 people in 2011. Since then, she has overseen countless births, meticulously monitored the health of thousands of newborn babies and strictly ensured immunization through door-to-door awareness campaigns. The personal relationships she built over the years have helped in the fight against COVID-19, giving her a good grasp of the medical histories of most of the 1,500 people assigned to her. “It’s all in

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