Author Archives: Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health, science and medicine for AFP, the Bay Area News Group, Modern Healthcare, Wired, Scientific American online and many other news outlets.

Panelists break down the realities of precision medicine and immunotherapy

Otis Brawley, M.D., and Matthew Ong, of The Cancer Letter, were on the panel “How precision medicine and immunotherapy are redefining the approach to cancer treatment.”

Are precision medicine and immunotherapy overhyped as cancer treatments, or do they hold such tremendous promise that we are only just starting to see the potential?

That was the overarching question for the panel discussion at Health Journalism 2019, “How precision medicine and immunotherapy are redefining cancer treatment.”

“I do worry that precision medicine and immunotherapy are overhyped,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., Bloomberg distinguished professor of oncology and epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and John Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Brawley also was the Thursday night speaker at Health Journalism 2019. Continue reading

Opioid epidemic, rural health spurring wider adoption of telehealth, panel says

In just the past few years, telehealth has gained some momentum, in part spurred by the opioid epidemic and an aging rural population.

Medicare, in particular, has loosened some of its requirements around telehealth reimbursement starting in 2017, said Mei W. Kwong, executive director for the Center for Connected Health Policy and National Telehealth Policy Resource Center, which tracks state and federal telehealth legislation. Continue reading

Think of artificial intelligence as city planning, not building construction, panel says

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest topics in health care and it has the potential to transform care delivery in hospitals, clinics and in the home.

The Health Journalism 2019 panel “Hope vs. Hype: Reporting on AI” offered some examples where AI is being applied to medical care today. It also tapped the brakes on some of the hype. Continue reading

Speaker spotlight: Eliminating disparities in maternal and child health

Rebecca Dineen

Rebecca Dineen, assistant commissioner for the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health at the Baltimore City Health Department, will be the awards luncheon speaker for Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore on Saturday, May 4.

Dineen joined the Baltimore City Health Department in 2008 and leads the B’more for Healthy Babies campaign, which promotes proper infant sleeping practices to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths in children under age one. The campaign offers parents and other caregivers best practices to promote safe sleep and breastfeeding. It also works to reduce teen pregnancy. Continue reading

Can a HIPAA-enabled Amazon Alexa help patients at home?

Amazon’s recent announcement that its cloud-based voice service Alexa can support health care entities that are subject to the HIPAA federal patient privacy law offers some interesting story ideas for reporters.

The Alexa Healthcare Skills Kit program is invite-only. So far Amazon announced the launch of six Alexa skills built by health care entities, including Boston Children’s Hospital, Livongo, Providence Health and Services and Cigna. (You can see the full list of players and their projects at this Amazon blog post.) Continue reading

Report highlights patient safety issues with EHRs and the opioid epidemic

Photo: The.Comedian via Flickr

While technology alone cannot solve the opioid epidemic, it can play an important role in reducing overprescribing and co-prescribing opioids with other drugs that can raise the risk of overdose. A new report has offered recommendations on improving technologies in clinical settings for safer prescribing practices.

The ECRI Institute, a respected patient safety research nonprofit, and the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association, an electronic health records (EHR) trade group, convened a workgroup to analyze health IT data from patient safety organizations and other sources. Continue reading