Category Archives: Health information technology

Growing momentum in prenatal tech
highlighted at national ob/gyn meeting

pregnant woman looking at tablet

Image by Freepik

Since the 1930s, prenatal care for pregnant people has looked essentially the same: a series of 12 to 14 in-person obstetrician visits delivered by a doctor or other health care provider in an office. With patients and health systems becoming increasingly complex, and with more people having access to smartphones and other technologies, the time is ripe to rethink the perinatal care model, panelists said at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in May. 

One panel focused on larger issues of technology while another discussed digital startup companies created for pregnant Black people and pregnant people of color. Here is a summary of their remarks, which could tip off journalists to interesting stories to pursue.

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Telehealth could help combat
infectious diseases clinician shortage

doctor on telehealth call

Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

It may or may not be obvious, given that we’re emerging from a worldwide pandemic, that the country is facing a shortage of infectious diseases (ID) clinicians. To try to expand services to areas without easy access to these experts, ID experts at the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 launched a telehealth-based infectious diseases consultation service, which they discussed during a May 2023 webinar hosted by Becker’s Healthcare. 

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Why prescription digital therapeutics
is still a hot topic for health care reporters

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki via pexels

Pear Therapeutics made headlines in 2017 as the first company to have a prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of disease. Despite a promising start, on April 7, the company announced it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was laying off 170 employees including its CEO and was planning to sell its assets. But with numerous PDTs in the pipeline and pending legislation to get the therapies covered by Medicare, it’s still a hot area for health care journalists to follow.

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Resources for covering nationwide ransomware attacks on medical centers

Photo by Sora Shimazaki via pexels

Ransomware attacks continue to impact the daily operations of large and small hospitals nationwide. Journalists can find interesting story ideas by following the news or find local story angles by talking to hospitals affected by attacks or inquiring about measures medical centers are taking to prevent attacks.

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How journalists found that some telehealth startups share patient information with social media trackers

From left to right: Katie Palmer of STAT, Todd Feathers and Simon Fondrie-Teitler of The Markup

In September 2022, I wrote about how journalists with The Markup found that many hospital websites were sharing patients’ medical information with Facebook through a tracking tool called the Meta Pixel. Then in December, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that entities covered by HIPAA can’t use pixel trackers if they transmit protected health information without patient consent or if they don’t have a signed agreement with the technology-tracking vendors, Becker’s Health IT reported.

In a follow-up story published in December, The Markup/STAT investigative team found that websites run by dozens of telehealth startup companies also contained tracking tools that shared users’ potentially sensitive health information with big tech organizations.

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