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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How open-source medicine could prepare us for the next pandemic

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The old drug discovery system was built to benefit shareholders, not patients. But a new, Linux-like platform could transform the way medicine is developed—and energize the race against COVID-19. At the end of March, I was supposed to attend a dinner party where the core topic of discussion was how online collaboration could tackle diseases that are traditionally ignored by Big Pharma. Instead of wine and good food, experts from the National Institutes of Health, Harvard University, Takeda Pharmaceutical, and I were forced to settle in at our home offices and dial into Zoom. In some ways, it was the perfect format to discuss how open-source tools could help find new cures. 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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Ending the pandemic will require big pharma to put ethics before profits

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To stop the virus will require everyone getting a vaccine, no matter the cost. As COVID-19 surges in the United States and worldwide, even the richest and best-insured Americans understand, possibly for the first time, what it’s like not to have the medicines they need to survive if they get sick. There is no coronavirus vaccine, and the best-known treatment, remdesivir, only reduces hospital recovery time by 30% and only for patients with certain forms of the disease. Read Full Story

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I’m an emergency medicine doctor: Here’s how we’re using ultrasound in innovative ways to combat COVID-19

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I work at one of Philadelphia’s biggest hospitals, where we’re starting to see a surge in COVID-19 cases, and we’ve been able to adapt this common technology to more quickly diagnose coronavirus than using other techniques. Tall and thin, wearing blue jeans, the patient walked past me in the emergency department. Wearing a surgical mask, he walked behind the triage nurse following her to the patient room and got hooked up to the heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen monitor. When I entered, rolling a cart with an ultrasound machine the size of a laptop, I heard the fast beeping accompanying the rate of his heartbeat. I was wearing the uniform that’s become standard in the last two months: the awkward set of equipment and garments that people have come to know as PPE (personal protective equipment). Bouffant hat, light-blue plastic gown wrapped and tied at the waist, oversized goggles, …

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I’m a doctor. Here’s how I talk to my patients about COVID-19 conspiracies

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Listening with empathy and respect is the best medicine for those who believe health misinformation. A few weeks ago, I took an uncomfortable trip down the rabbit hole of COVID-19 conspiracy theory videos. As a newly minted M.D. who will soon be taking care of patients at a safety-net hospital on the front lines of an ongoing pandemic, I was especially pained by what I saw. There was the infamous “Plandemic” video, which asserts that a cabal of elite individuals and organizations is using COVID-19 to cement power. There were also false claims that the new coronavirus was created with the backing of Bill Gates, for the purposes of diminishing our freedoms. 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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Should You Test That? When to Engage in SEO Split Tests

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Posted by Portent This blog was written by Tim Mehta, a former Conversion Rate Optimization Strategist with Portent, Inc. Running A/B/n experiments (aka “Split Tests”) to improve your search engine rankings has been in the SEO toolkit for longer than many would think. Moz actually published an article back in 2015 broaching the subject, which is a great summary of how you can run these tests. What I want to cover here is understanding the right times to run an SEO split-test, and not how you should be running them. I run a CRO program at an agency that’s well-known for SEO. The SEO team brings me in when they are preparing to run an SEO split-test to ensure we are following best practices when it comes to experimentation. This has given me the chance to see how SEOs are currently approaching split-testing, and where we can improve upon the …

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Should You Test That? When to Engage in SEO Split Tests

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Posted by Portent This blog was written by Tim Mehta, a former Conversion Rate Optimization Strategist with Portent, Inc. Running A/B/n experiments (aka “Split Tests”) to improve your search engine rankings has been in the SEO toolkit for longer than many would think. Moz actually published an article back in 2015 broaching the subject, which is a great summary of how you can run these tests. What I want to cover here is understanding the right times to run an SEO split-test, and not how you should be running them. I run a CRO program at an agency that’s well-known for SEO. The SEO team brings me in when they are preparing to run an SEO split-test to ensure we are following best practices when it comes to experimentation. This has given me the chance to see how SEOs are currently approaching split-testing, and where we can improve upon the …

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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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