Category Archives: Health information technology

Health journalism student explores challenge of gathering data, predicting outbreaks

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Kat Masback via Flickr

Predicting whether a pathogen will have an impact on a few people or an entire population would be a huge achievement in global health security. Public health leaders would be able to determine the most effective response, whether it is expending resources on vaccination, or quarantining people in their homes, or just letting a disease run its course if it isn’t life threatening.

Researchers have turned to information technology to develop mathematical models that may predict the next infectious disease outbreak, but the models so far rely on data from past events to predict the future. Continue reading

Health Journalism 2019 sets attendance record

Cynthia Craft

About Cynthia Craft

Cynthia Craft (@cynthiahcraft) is the director of engagement for AHCJ, joining the organization after an extensive career in daily journalism, including a decade on the health care beat. Craft most recently worked as a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee, having also worked for the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Times Herald and the California Journal.

Drawn by an influential lineup of speakers and panels – plus an intriguing offering of field trips – more than 800 conference-goers helped make AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2019 in Baltimore a record-setter in attendance.

In AHCJ’s 20 years of annual conferences, the increase in attendance has mirrored the public’s level of interest in health news and need for clear, accurate health care reporting. Today, health-care pocketbook issues, partisan politics and worrisome matters such as the re-emergence of measles and stubborn drug dependence epidemics are seen as topics likely to be front and center in upcoming elections.

From May 2 to May 5, health journalists attended more than 60 panels, including a carefully curated lineup guiding independent journalists toward success and informative sessions on how to cover aspects of the scientific revolution of genetics.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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