Monday Roundup

Photo by Sven Read on Unsplash

The Wall Street Journal offers an interesting story about how many patients with long or long haul COVID-19 (about 10% of total case) wind up receiving cognitive rehabilitation.

Cognitive problems are some of the most persistent and common long-term symptoms that people struggle with months after getting Covid. Patients report short-term memory problems, slow processing speeds, poor word recall and difficulty multitasking. To help them, doctors at medical centers including Mayo Clinic, Yale and Johns Hopkins are starting to refer some patients to cognitive rehabilitation more typically used for patients with concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. 

AHIP presents an interview with Kim Lauersdorf, Vice President of Marketing at EmblemHealth, about crafting communications about vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccines.

What should health care organizations take away from the study, what are some next steps to help drive vaccine adoption and acceptance?

Lauersdorf: As health care professionals, we need to accept responsibility when communicating to our base and know that if we are not intentional of the language we use, the voices we amplify, and the methodologies we use to get our messages out, we will perpetuate greater health disparity.

First, it’s clear that terminology matters. The widely used term “shot”, for example, evokes significant negative connotations across all populations, but specifically in low-income, younger, and Black communities. Clinically, it evokes needles, injection, and pain. Non-clinically, it evokes violence. Continued usage of the term will drive continued disparity in vaccine adoption.

Second, we must amplify trusted voices. People, across the board, trust their primary care providers above all other messengers. To take this even further, people have more trust in primary care providers who look like them or come from their same communities.

In addition, word of mouth—especially from trusted sources—is as important today as it ever was. Even more so, as we are each dealing with a worldwide crisis, coupled with a large scale, new, possible way out of it. We have to understand that this is all new territory that this generation has never experienced before. That too fosters hesitation.

Third, we must use multiple channels to get our messages out. While there has been an increase in digital health adoption, as seen through rising telehealth usage, we have to know that many of our communities still don’t have reliable Internet access or access to certain technology. We have to get our message to all of those we serve to ensure vaccine adoption doesn’t perpetuate existing health disparities.

The American Hospital Association reports on five takeaways from a maternal / mental healthcare conference. Here’s one of them:

Technology alone will not be enough.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven how crucial technology is for health care delivery. Telehealth improves access to OB/GYNs, doulas, lactation consultants and specialists. Remote patient monitoring, chat and text-based navigation services, and apps have provided additional ways to support and coordinate care. 

Yet, speakers acknowledged technology alone will not be enough. Melissa Hanna, founder and CEO of Mahmee, which delivers data-driven care coordination and personalized support to new moms, shared “technology will not be the end all be all solution” to our challenges in maternal health. She also shared, “this is always going to be about care, and it’s plenty of people working together to center the experiences of mothers, and be there in a proactive way to guide, support and advocate.” 

We have seen firsthand that a combined approach of offering health care services through technology and human connection can drive better outcomes for mothers. Mayo Clinic developed the OB Nest program to optimize prenatal care for low-risk expectant mothers. The program uses a combination of in-person and telehealth prenatal visits, home monitoring, and a social media community that allows patients to share their experiences with other mothers. It also has dedicated nurses that help with patient education and serve as a resource for mothers throughout the program. This combination has provided pregnant moms with more autonomy in their prenatal care. 

In other benefit news

  • Fierce Healthcare reports that Verizon has jumped into the telehealth market with an offering directed at providers of care.

Many hospitals and health clinics have adopted video conferencing services during the pandemic for providing patient care. BlueJeans Telehealth, which launched Monday, was designed from the ground up for healthcare organizations to simplify the virtual experience and offer greater access to care, Verizon executives said in a press release.

  • Employee Benefit News informs us that

Benefitfocus, a cloud-based software solutions provider for healthcare and benefits administration, published a report on the current state of employee benefits. The research provides insight into employee enrollment behavior for the last four years, and takes a closer look at how 2020 impacted employee benefits.

The EBN article offers an interview with Benefitfocus’s director of consumer advocacy.

Finally former NTEU President Robert Tobias presents in his thoughts on the National Academy of Public Administration’s recent report on the future of OPM.