Majority of Health Execs Say Telemedicine Has Improved Patient Care

While more than half of the leaders polled say their telehealth experience has been a positive one, they saw some barriers too, including some patients’ challenges using the new technologies.

A new survey of 500 executives in the healthcare industry found that the switch to telehealth necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has been a largely positive one, and the majority said at least some of the changes would be permanent.

The survey, conducted by marketing agency Boston Digital and released Monday, found that 57% of executives said telehealth had increased the quality of patient care. But the results weren’t all rosy: About a quarter said it had no impact, and 15% said it had decreased the quality of patient care.

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Female Nurse

Fatal Cases of COVID-19 at Nursing Facilities Prompt New California Law

With skilled nursing homes hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a law requiring those facilities in California to report disease-related deaths to health authorities within 24 hours during declared emergencies.

The law was written in response to concerns that health agencies were slow to respond to outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities because they did not receive timely information about them.

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Mental Health Group

Houston To Launch COVID-19 Mental Health Support Program

The program — called “Let’s Beat COVID-19: Health Education, and Support Services,” or HESS — launches Thursday, and includes a support hotline, virtual support groups, and other resources, according to the city’s health department.

The city is launching a new mental health support program providing resources to people during the COVID-19 pandemic, Houston officials announced Tuesday.

The program — called “Let’s Beat COVID-19: Health Education, and Support Services,” or HESS — launches Thursday, and includes a support hotline, virtual support groups, and other resources, according to the city’s health department.

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Health & Wellness

Researchers Prove A Healthy Lifestyle Extends Life Expectancy By Up To 8 Years

Ditching cigarettesexercising and abstaining from alcohol can add up to 8 years onto a person’s life span even if they are chronically ill, researchers have said.

According to a University of Leicester study, not smoking is the single most effective health booster, followed by physical activity and giving up booze.

The team used health data from 480,000 adults aged about 45 and monitored their health for at least six years.

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Health Insurance Folder

Some Workers Face Looming Cutoffs in Health Insurance

Coverage is a major expense for employers, especially those in small businesses, as they deal with the pandemic’s economic fallout. Many may face end-of-year renewal deadlines that are harder and harder to afford.

Jeremy Fritz stopped working as an assistant manager for a fitness center in Carlsbad, Calif., during the pandemic lockdown in the spring when gyms were first closed.

By the end of April, the company operating the fitness center, Active Wellness, eliminated his health insurance. And in July, he was laid off when it became clear the center where he worked would be closed through 2020. Most of the small company’s gyms are still shuttered.

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Cyberattack Hits Major Hospital Chain Universal Health Services

What appears to be a major ransomware attack has hit the computers of Universal Health Services, one of largest hospital chains. This affects hundreds of locations.

A network outage at Universal Health Services hospitals and clinical facilities across the country began overnight Sunday, forcing employees onto paper backup systems.

Cybersecurity experts say the incident is likely a ransomware attack, in which hackers lock up computer networks, often steal information and demand payment to restore access.

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Doctor Using iPad

The UK Government’s Department of Health Have Ordered 11,000 iPads To Allow Senior Home Patients Stay in Touch with Family

It was reported in the UK yesterday that free iPads will be given out to thousands of care homes to help residents keep in touch with relatives under government plans to prevent another surge in coronavirus deaths.

Up to 11,000 tablets are being made available at a total cost of £7.5 million (US$9.66 million) amid fears the sector will be hit by a second wave of Covid-19 over the winter.

The giveaway was announced a week after the government’s Adult Social Care Winter Plan set out tighter controls for visits to residents. Care homes in local lockdown areas will have to restrict access to “exceptional circumstances” only, such as when a person is nearing the end of their life.

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Small Business Coffee Shop

Health Department Officials Explain What Punishments Boone County Businesses Could Face if Violating Health Order

The Columbia/ Boone County health department could punish Boone County businesses two separate ways for not adhering to the current health order’s regulations.

Scott Clardy, The Columbia/ Boone County health department’s assistant director said on Monday that businesses in Boone County could be given a Notice of Violation or more recently a suspension of the business’ operating permit if the business has an authorized food permit.

According to the City of Columbia’s Coronavirus Information Official Documents, 15 Boone County businesses have been served a Notice of Violation during the COVID-19 pandemic:

COVID-19 ‘Far From Done,’ Expert Tells Biotech Meeting in Madison

With daily COVID-19 cases on the rise again nationally and more than doubling in Wisconsin since early this month, a leading infectious disease expert said Wednesday he expects the trend to carry on.

“We are going to continue to see major increases occurring right through the fall,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said during the first day of a three-day Wisconsin Biohealth Summit. “We’re far from done with this virus.”

The online event, which continues the next two Wednesdays, is sponsored by BioForward Wisconsin, a biohealth industry group. The first day included updates on UW-Madison and industry working together to make masks, face shields and other equipment in response to the pandemic.

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Women Texting

OCR Releases New Guidance on HIPAA for Mobile Health Technology

Over the past few years, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights in Action (OCR) has made countless efforts to enhance its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidance and other related resources on its website. Last week, the OCR launched a new feature on their website, entitled Health Apps, which updates and renames  the OCR’s previous Health App Developer Portal, and is available here.

The new site features the OCR’s helpful guidance on “when and how” HIPAA regulations may be applicable to mobile health applications, acutely relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic as many aspects of the healthcare industry shift to telehealth.

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