Healthcare Hot Takes: 5 “Must Read” Updates

Healthcare Hot Takes is Luma Health’s monthly rundown of healthcare innovations and events happening right now. Check out what the healthcare industry is thinking, reading, doing.

As we all know, the healthcare industry news cycle — and virtually every news cycle — has been dominated by COVID-19 the past few months. Now states are gradually beginning to open up again, and staying informed with relevant, accurate information will enable communities to remain safe as quarantine restrictions are lifted. Here are some key updates everyone should know about the coronavirus pandemic and what’s ahead.

1. Medical care during pandemic: According to a May poll of 1,189 adults by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 48% of Americans have postponed or skipped medical care during the pandemic. Of those who opted to delay care, 68% plan to get the care they missed some time within the next three months.

Though access to care has been limited in the face of COVID-19, 86% of adults say that their physical health has been largely unaffected. Many feel, however, that their mental health has been negatively affected. (Source)

At least 36,000 lives could have been saved, had shelter-in-place measures began just one week earlier.

2. Importance of sheltering-in-place: The latest modeling from Columbia University has revealed that at least 36,000 lives could have been saved, had shelter-in-place measures been imposed even just one week earlier. By the beginning of May, this would have amounted to 54,000 fewer deaths.

Though these numbers are only predictions, they still speak to the importance of early preventive action during the outbreak of a disease, especially with something as contagious as COVID-19. Studying the initial lag in response to the pandemic has also enabled modelers to estimate the effects of completely opening up the country. Now that states are beginning to loosen up quarantine restrictions — while there is still a lack of adequate testing — it’s likely that the spread of coronavirus could surge again if preventative measures are not respected, especially given the lag time between time of infection and show of symptoms. (Source)

3. Antibody testing: The CDC has released preliminary guidelines regarding antibody tests and their ability to determine immunity. Results show that the COVID-19 antibody tests are inaccurate almost half the time. Even when using the most accurate tests available, providers may still need to test patients twice.

At this time, there is simply not enough data available to make any recommendations on policy, and preventative measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing, should continue to be respected to keep the public safe. (Source)

4. Process changes for the FDA: COVID-19 has challenged the status quo across industries and is forcing everyone to examine “the new normal” — including the FDA. Having to adapt and innovate quickly during the pandemic, the agency identified many unnecessary roadblocks in their procedures. Now FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D. is committing to making these changes permanent in order to streamline processes and improve operational efficiency.

These initial changes will help to accelerate the review and authorization process in drug development, but Dr. Hanh sees even more potential for learnings and improvement in FDA processes and policies as the agency continues to address the pandemic. (Source)

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about how to leverage reimbursable HIPAA-compliant virtual visits to deliver care and minimize appointment backlogs and cancellations.

5. Digital health: In a true testament to how much COVID-19 has changed the healthcare industry, digital health stocks have been surging since the pandemic began in February. While the overall market has been in decline, many digital health stocks have grown up to 50% or more.

The healthcare industry has largely been slow to adopt technology, and many government regulations have stalled the growth of digital health. However, shelter-in-place forced both to confront change and rethink the ways in which care can be delivered, opening up the opportunity for health tech to thrive, especially in the telemedicine space. (Source)

Luma’s Take: COVID-19 has truly transformed the way healthcare is being delivered, on a global, national, and individual level. If you’re like us, it’s been hard to keep tabs on all the news and developments surrounding the pandemic and we hope that providing a succinct, monthly roundup will continue to be helpful. As we begin to move into phases of reopening, continuing to keep an eye on data driven news and results will help keep us and our communities safe.

We’re working to enable patient-provider communication at a time when it’s absolutely crucial. Our end-to-end COVID-19 solution ensures healthcare providers quickly recover from the pandemic and seamlessly adapt to healthcare’s New Normal. It’s built to ensure healthcare systems, primary care practices, specialty clinics, and FQHCs can efficiently deliver ongoing routine, preventive, and chronic care services in a way that meets new — more modern — patient expectations.

We’re proud to be part of an industry that is working around the clock to fight COVID-19, and we are grateful to every single person who’s been a part of that effort. Lastly, we want to remind everyone to stay indoors and to take social distancing guidelines seriously. All of our individual actions affect each other — and at the end of the day, we are all in this together.

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