Why COVID-19 Is Forcing Us To Axe The Fax And Embrace Technologies Enabling Better Communication Be…

Looking To 2021 Why We Need To Focus On Virtual Care

To say that 2020 has been a clunker is, well, the understatement of the year. Collectively speaking, most people around the world are more than happy to see the year overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic in their rearview mirror. For that reason, perhaps no new year in recent history has been as longingly anticipated as is 2021.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that patient access to virtual healthcare is no longer a “nice to have” innovation for the future but rather a paramount necessity of the present. The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus in March 2020 demanded that virtual health technologies like telehealth be repositioned at the forefront. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of telehealth visits during the first quarter of 2020 increased by 50 percent compared with the same period in 2019. Similarly, during a single week in March 2020, the CDC reported a 154 percent increase in telehealth visits.

For that reason, virtual care is at the dawn of a new era in patient care and communication. The technology gives patients and providers a likable pairing: the agility to prioritize one-on-one interactions and the flexibility to support health when and where it’s most convenient—for both parties. As evidence of how prevalent virtual care will become, a Deloitte survey found that one-third of health organization executives believe that at least 25 percent of all inpatient care will be delivered virtually by 2040. Given what’s happened in 2020, that date has moved forward quite a bit.

Technology brings care to home for chronically ill patients

Pediatricians want kids to be part of COVID-19 vaccine trials

Some years from now, infants and school-aged children will probably be the mainstay of a universal vaccination program against COVID-19 in the U.S. But first, doctors want to be sure that newfangled vaccines won’t harm them. If clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines aren’t expanded soon to include children, it’s unlikely that even kids in their teens will be vaccinated in time for the next school year.

The hurdle is that COVID vaccine makers are only in the early stages of testing their products on children. The Pfizer vaccine authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday was greenlighted only for people ages 16 and up. Moderna just started trials for 12- to 17-year-olds for its vaccine, likely to be authorized later this month.

It will take months to approve use of the vaccines for middle- and high school-aged kids, and months more to test them in younger children. But some pediatricians say that concerns about the safety of the front-runner vaccines make the wait worthwhile.

Although most pediatricians believe the eventual vaccination of children will be crucial to subduing the COVID virus, they’re split on how fast to move toward that, says Dr. James Campbell, professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health. Campbell and colleagues say it’s a matter of urgency to get the vaccines tested in kids, while others want to hold off on those trials until millions of adults have been safely vaccinated.