Industry News: Volume 1, Issue 13

Biden outlines ways to get COVID-19 vaccine to hesitant Americans as demand ebbs

By Robert King

FierceHealthcare.com—President Joe Biden laid out a new goal to have 70% of adult Americans get at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by the Fourth of July and have 160 million Americans fully vaccinated.

The goal, outlined by Biden in a speech Tuesday, comes as the federal government is pushing to convince reluctant Americans to get vaccinated.

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Coronavirus deaths are down in the US, and vaccines may be partly responsible

By Jacqueline Howard

CNN.com—Covid-19 deaths are declining in the United States—and some health experts credit this drop in death to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.

The seven-day average of new Covid-19 deaths in the United States was 670 newly reported lives lost each day as of Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Teens, tech and mental health: Oxford study finds no link

By Zoe Kleinman

BBC.com—There remains “little association” between technology use and mental-health problem, a study of more than 430,000 10 to 15-year olds suggests.

The Oxford Internet Institute compared TV viewing, social-media and device use with feelings of depression, suicidal tendencies and behavioral problems.

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COVID shot in the arm not enough to keep pharmacies in business

By Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News

FierceHealthcare.com—Tobin’s pharmacy and department store had already stocked its shelves with Easter and Mother’s Day items last spring, and the staff has just placed the Christmas orders.

The shop in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, had been operating on a razor’s edge as retail sales moved online and mail-order pharmacies siphoned off its patients.

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To reopen our economy, digital proof of vaccination is a game-changer

By Mike Nash

MedCityNews.com—Now that nearly 30 percent of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, businesses are eager to return to pre-Covid revenue levels. Confirmation of vaccination has the potential to facilitate greater customer density in restaurants, concert halls and even healthcare facilities, without excluding unvaccinated patrons.

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CVS, Walgreens have wasted more Covid vaccine doses than most states combined

By Joshua Eaton and Rachana Pradhan

NBCNews.com—Two national pharmacy chains that the federal government entrusted to inoculate people against Covid-19 account for the lion’s share of wasted vaccine doses, according to government data obtained by Kaiser Health News.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March, three months into the country’s effort to vaccinate the masses against the coronavirus. CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens was responsible for 21 percent, or nearly 128,500 wasted shots combined.

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US Parents Excited Over Prospect of Virus Shots for Children

By Associated Press

USNews.com—After more than a year of fretting over her 13-year son with a rare liver disease, Heather Ousley broke into tears when she learned that he and millions of other youngsters could soon be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This day is the best day in the history of days!!! I love this day!!!” she texted, joining other parents and educators in welcoming the news that the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine by next week for children ages 12 to 15.

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Telehealth increases nurses’ workload

By Brian Consiglio

Showme.missouri.edu— When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Chelsea Howland saw firsthand how telehealth helped her dad, who has Type 2 diabetes and lives in rural Illinois, see his diabetes specialist virtually. As a nurse herself, Howland understands the convenience virtual appointments provide for patients, particularly in rural communities where access to health care can be limited.

However, she also sees the strain telehealth puts on the workload of nurses, who are already stressed in the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage.

So, in a recent study, Howland, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, reviewed the activities nurses completed to document and analyze blood glucose and blood pressure data that was transmitted from diabetic patients’ in-home, telehealth devices to six family medicine clinics affiliated with MU Health Care. After comparing the results with nursing activities completed during traditional, in-person appointments, she found the use of telehealth leads to twice as many activities completed by nurses, which impacts their workload.

“Telehealth can be an effective and convenient service for patients managing chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension, but what often gets overlooked is all the work being done by the nurses on the back end to assist patients,” Howland said. “They are entering the data they receive into medical records, identifying instances when patients have abnormal blood glucose levels, reminding patients to self-monitor and submit their data, requesting input from primary care providers, and making referrals to other providers for more specialized care.”

While the patients who attended in-person appointments followed up once every three months on average, the patients using telehealth submitted their blood glucose and blood pressure levels multiple times a week. As a result of the increased communications with nurses, the telehealth patients received more guidance to help them monitor their chronic diseases more closely, leading to more medication adjustments and lifestyle changes, ultimately resulting in better health outcomes.

“As a nurse, I am always thinking of new and innovative ways to use technology to help people manage their chronic conditions and live a more healthy, active lifestyle,” Howland said. “As telehealth continues to become more popular, it can be used to get health behavior intervention tools to the people who need them most, but we also need to keep in mind the strain it puts on nurses that are going above and beyond to make this possible.”

Howland’s goal is to improve access to chronic disease management resources to people like her father who live rurally.

“My dad often worked the midnight shift in a factory when I was younger, so he was exhausted during the day,” Howland said “Driving more than an hour to see the nearest endocrinologist was likely not his highest priority, so telehealth has helped reduce access barriers for rural patients seeking the care that they need.”

While telehealth will continue to increase accessibility for patients, Howland’s research shines a spotlight on how nurses have integrated new telehealth systems into their daily routines.

“We can’t expect nurses to use these tools successfully without better understanding the impact it will have on their workload,” Howland said. “Going forward, this research can provide the framework for quantifying how much time nurses spend on these telehealth tasks, especially with the current nationwide nursing shortage. If the nurses are completing twice as many tasks via telehealth, should they be responsible for half as many patients?”

“Primary care clinic nurse activities with a telehealth monitoring system” was published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research. Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.

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