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Phone Apps Eyed As Potential Contact Tracing Helper But Reliance On Bluetooth Magnifies Security Risks

KHN Morning Briefing

The plans of governments and tech companies to use mobile devices to aid coronavirus tracking efforts depend on users always keeping Bluetooth on. But security and privacy researchers warn that Bluetooth can be vulnerable to hacking and is less accurate than other location services like GPS. Also in health IT news is the latest bumpiness on the road of electronic health records and the continued growth of telemedicine during the pandemic.

In The Middle Of The Country, A Hospital And Its Community Prepare For The Surge

KHN Original

Because the surge of COVID-19 cases hasn’t yet hit all parts of America, some hospitals are able to learn lessons from the hot spots and prepare for the onslaught. In Wichita, Kansas, Ascension Via Christi hospitals converted a portion of a hospital cafeteria into a grocery store and offered alternative housing and child care for staff members working long hours in a stressful setting. The hospital group is also working with local aircraft manufacturers and 3D-printing hobbyists to produce face shields and other safety materials.

‘When It Starts Getting Into Your Local Hospital, It Becomes Real’

KHN Original

Located about 45 minutes from New Orleans in one of the hardest-hit counties nationally, the 25-bed rural St. James Parish Hospital has hunkered down as staffers became infected, patient intake numbers have doubled, and intubations have skyrocketed. This is what it looks like inside a rural hospital when COVID-19 hits.

Premiums Could Spike Next Year As Health System Absorbs Economic Challenge Of Treating Coronavirus

KHN Morning Briefing

Depending on how many people need care, insurers, employers and individuals could face anywhere from $34 billion to $251 billion in additional expenses. “No insurer, no state, planned and put money away for something of this significance,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California. Meanwhile, two major health insurers say they will waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment.

Physicians Fear For Their Families As They Battle Coronavirus With Too Little Armor

KHN Original

Doctors sent an impassioned, desperate letter to Congress describing the lack of protective equipment across the country — from masks to respirators to gowns to goggles. They’re using equipment from construction sites and home-repair stores or wearing the same mask from patient to patient. And they worry about what exposure without sufficient protection means for them and their families.