As thousands of doctors’ offices shutter, telehealth becomes a way of life

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Virtual healthcare has exploded during the pandemic, while traditional primary care offices have closed at an extraordinary rate. Can telehealth really replace primary care as our health system’s first line of defense? Like many other physicians, Dr. Sandra Esparza and her husband Ramon closed their 17-year old primary care practice in December. It had always been a strain to both run the business and be the practice’s lead physicians, but the pressures of the pandemic made operating their company unsustainable. After closing their practice, Ramon, who is a pediatrician, started working full-time at a local clinic in Austin. Esparza started working for Doctor on Demand. She’s now licensed in 10 states caring for a stream of patients she’s never seen before and probably won’t see again. Read Full Story

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Doctors are turning to GoFundMe to stay afloat during the pandemic

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Small primary care practices now depend on crowdfunding and government loans to avoid bankruptcy. Their instability signals another healthcare crisis waiting in the wings. A few weeks ago, I received an unsettling email. The staff at my daughter’s pediatrician’s office—a family-run private practice in Brooklyn that serves more than 3,800 patients—was shifting to part-time. The practice had applied for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program , meant to help small businesses weather the economic turmoil brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the money wasn’t coming, at least in the initial round of funding. Read Full Story

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Telehealth has a hidden downside

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In a rush to roll out telemedicine, doctors have starting moving faster than regulators, putting patients’ privacy at risk. Doctors are quick to adopt new technologies when they are used to treat illnesses, but they are practically luddites when it comes to the technology used to communicate with us, their patients. But one of the pandemic’s more surprising side effects has been the new drive to treat patients remotely via telemedicine. Now, in the rush to expand contactless medicine, doctors are moving much faster than the regulators, potentially leaving some patients at risk. Read Full Story

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Health network shows that yes, personalization is a thing — and it works

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Indiana-based nonprofit healthcare system Community Health Network (CHN) is leveraging personalization to improve patient experience and communication. That’s saying something considering the strict limits it faces regarding patient privacy thanks to HIPAA regulations. “We pride ourselves on offering convenient access to healthcare services where and when patients need them — in hospitals, health pavilions and doctor’s offices, as well as workplaces, schools and homes,” said Debbie Kenemer, executive director of digital marketing at Community Health Network. “Our digital properties have to be equally focused on our patients and their needs.” Community Health Network is the largest Indiana network of primary care physicians, managing over 200 sites of care and affiliates throughout Central Indiana. The network’s continuum of care also integrates hundreds of physicians, specialty and acute care hospitals, surgery centers, home care services, behavioral health and employer health services. Serving personalized content to patients — and keep up with HIPAA …

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COVID-19 is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Here’s how telehealth could help

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Dr. Tzvi Doron, senior vice president at telehealth startup Ro, argues for new digital tools to mitigate the coronavirus crisis. As a healthcare provider, I’ve spent my career working as a family doctor in a clinic for the underserved. I’ve seen a lot of things as a physician, including a range of chronic and acute conditions, but more importantly I’ve seen firsthand just how strained our healthcare system already is. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, both in our ability to treat and handle it. Read Full Story

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Study: Female doctors spend more time with patients, but get paid less than men

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The medical industry agrees that the more time doctors spend with patients, the better the health outcomes. But that way of working is costly for female primary care doctors. Differences in how women and men get paid in the U.S. abound across sectors . While certain economists have suggested that the wage gap is attributable to women working fewer hours than men, recent studies have found more nuances in the differences between the way men and women work that may lead to a discrepancy in pay. A new study out of Harvard shows that in the world of medicine, female doctors are sacrificing pay to spend more time with patients. Read Full Story

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Best EMR Systems

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Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission. In the fight to stay organized, healthcare professionals have an uphill battle. Billing is more complicated than the human genome. Government regulations add extra steps to every task. Decisions are time-sensitive. Small mistakes can have serious consequences. On top of all of this, everyone’s busy. There’s no extra time to search for a patient record or reorder an incorrect prescription. The best electronic medical records (EMR) systems can simplify a lot of the complex challenges today’s providers face. They are not a silver bullet by any means, but finding a product that works for your practice will make you more efficient today and better prepared for tomorrow. Here are the top EMR systems that are helping practices improve care, reduce burnout, and make every day less stressful for everyone …

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How voters are casting their ballot in the state that’s made it hardest to vote in 2020

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Mississippi has a long history of voter suppression. Its lack of pandemic accommodations are the latest extension of its anti-democratic legacy. Though she is temporarily working in Maryland, Amber Thomas, 32, is registered to vote in her native Mississippi. Earlier this year, she was denied her right to vote in that state’s primary election through no fault of her own. In order to make sure her vote is counted in Mississippi for the general election, she’s driving 14 hours to Jackson to cast her ballot. Read Full Story

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This map tells you if you live in a ’15-minute city’

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Find out if you can meet all your needs within a 15-minute bike ride of your house. In a “15-minute city,” it’s possible to meet your basic needs within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. Instead of sitting in traffic during a rush-hour commute, you can work at home or walk to an office nearby. You can walk to get groceries, go to the doctor, take your kids to school, or run any other everyday errand. Housing is affordable, so a barista could live in a walkable neighborhood as easily as a lawyer. It’s a concept championed by the mayor of Paris and, more recently, pitched by a global network of cities as a tool for helping urban areas recover from the pandemic—and improve sustainability and health as people start to get more exercise while conducting their day-to-day activities. Read Full Story

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How to tell your boss you’re not ready to return to the office

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If your offices are reopening and you don’t feel safe (or otherwise ready) to return, here’s how to go about discussing it with your manager. As offices start to reopen, some employees are finding themselves in a dilemma. Working from home has become convenient, especially if you’re simultaneously caring for children or older parents. And the thought of returning to a workplace may not be welcome due to schedules or potential exposure to the virus. Read Full Story

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