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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Why patients have begun to lead the way in the fight against rare diseases

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There are hundreds of millions of rare disease patients, half of them children, whose conditions aren’t getting enough funding for research and treatment. But by banding together, the patients are changing how the medical community responds to their diseases. Several years ago, I was working in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where I had the privilege of helping lead the effort to develop President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative—an effort that aimed to catalyze a new era of medicine where patients receive the right treatments at the right time. Read Full Story

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If you’re in the hospital with COVID-19, this robot dog might come take your vital signs

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Dr. Spot will see you now. A study found the robots were good at gathering information from patients—and the patients like them too. If you had a COVID-19 test at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston earlier this year, you might have been approached by a dog-like robot mounted with cameras. In an attempt to find ways to lower exposure to the virus for medical professionals, researchers from the hospital and MIT were testing new ways to monitor patients’ vital signs without needing face-to-face contact. Read Full Story

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These recycled shipping containers double as intensive care units

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CURA, an open-source design, hopes to expand emergency facilities for hospitals treating coronavirus patients. COVID-19’s rapid spread has strained hospital resources across the globe. Personal protective equipment isn’t being manufactured quickly enough to keep up with demand, and emergency wings are being forced to prioritize high-risk patients while sending milder cases home. While some hospitals are erecting temporary tents to receive more patients, coronavirus is easily transmitted, which means they don’t just need more space but more areas designed for complete isolation. Read Full Story

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Yale students 3D-print a cheap device for relieving the ventilator shortage

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Ventilators are in astonishingly short supply. This $250 device allows two patients to share the same ventilator. Ventilators are in short supply all over the world, from the United States to Africa . One concern is that this will lead desperate hospital workers to hook up multiple patients to one jury-rigged ventilator, which can be dangerous , even if it may be better than no treatment at all. Read Full Story

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3 things hospitals can do right now to prepare for COVID-19

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Architects who specialize in mitigating the transfer of infectious diseases share three design changes hospitals can make right now, as the coronavirus crisis escalates. While much of the American public sits at home under quarantine, hospitals are racing to prepare for an onslaught of COVID-19 patients. The outlook is grim. In a “moderate” infection scenario , in which 40% of adults catch the virus over the next 12 months, 40% of markets around the country would not have enough hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients. So what can hospitals do right now to help as many patients as safely as possible? Read Full Story

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