• COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to Decrease in Emergency Department Wait Times

    For years, public health and medical professions have been worried about the impacts of long emergency department (ED) wait times. Emergency departments are routinely crowded, and the long wait before receiving care can have serious consequences on patient outcomes. As areas became impacted by COVID-19, ED visits plummeted, creating a new problem: patients forgoing emergency room care. 

    As COVID-19 hit, a mixture of public fear about EDs being hotbeds for the virus and solutions implemented by EDs to divert non-emergent patients in preparation for the pandemic seems to have decreased demand for emergency care. While many non-emergent patients seem to have stopped going to the ED, so did many urgent patients. Indicators of medical neglect, like cardiac death, began to rise. This, and other statistics like it, provide evidence that ED demand is, at least partially, driven by public perception. 

    For JAMA Health Forum, Austin Frakt and I delve into the reasons for this drop in acute care acquisition and discuss how to keep wait times manageable as the pandemic subsides. Check out the full article here!

    Research for this piece was supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

     
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  • Covid-19 and Long-term Recovery

    Most of the world has been working on the assumption that when a person recovers from Covid-19, everything just goes back to normal. As the pandemic progresses though, we’re learning about some patients who experience long-term complications from the disease.   @DrTiff_PhD

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  • Why can’t we have nice(r) things? Google Nest Protect edition.

    I’ve had Google Nest Protect smoke/CO detectors for about 10 months now. Here’s an update to my prior post about them and how they could be better. When the story left off, I had noticed some annoyances upon initial installation and routine troubleshooting. What I didn’t write about is that after a few more weeks […]

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  • COVID-19 and Convalescent Plasma

    The FDA recently issued an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19. The idea is that plasma from a donor who has recovered from Covid-19 has antibodies that can help treat patients who are now in the early stages of infection. Does this work? Are there any downsides to this emergency approval? Let’s […]

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  • Radiation therapy for cancer: Two weeks left

    To remind you: I am undergoing radiation treatment for an oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma. I have now completed 26 radiation sessions, and there are just 9 more to go. Treatment will end on Friday, September 18th. I am going to get through this, but it is not enjoyable. Here are some notes on what it […]

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  • The Disasters That Built the FDA and Where We Go From Here

    Transparency, integrity, and rigorous evaluation of drug safety and efficacy are the bedrock of the FDA. Diverging from these tried-and-true principles, such as by issuing an emergency use authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine candidate without clear emerging evidence of its benefits outweighing its risks, would jeopardize both the public health and the public’s trust in the agency. 

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  • Rethinking Testing for Covid-19

    PCR tests for Covid-19 are pretty accurate, but supplies can be scarce and results sometimes aren’t available in time to be useful. Faster tests are available, but are less accurate, so some have argued against their use. We disagree because, in a pandemic, frequency and speed of testing matter more than pinpoint accuracy. As we […]

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  • Childcare During a Pandemic

    Zoe Bouchelle, MD, is a Pediatrics Chief Resident at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Irit Rasooly, MD, MSCE, is pediatric hospital medicine physician and researcher in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biomedical & Health Informatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a fellow of Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine in Diagnostic Excellence. Tara Bamat, […]

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  • Spotlight on Naloxone Co-Prescribing

    This is a guest post by Adm. Brett Giroir, Jessica White, Teresa Manocchio, Sean Klein, Zeid El-Kilani. Adm. Brett Giroir is the 16th Assistant Secretary for Health (@HHS_ASH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Jessica White, Teresa Manocchio, Sean Klein, and Zeid El-Kilani work for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation […]

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  • Blood Types & Covid-19

    There’s been a lot of discussion about differences in susceptibility and symptom severity among people with different blood types. Does your blood type determine how likely you are to contract COVID-19 and/or the severity of your case? We’re looking at some initial data to see how this idea holds up.   @DrTiff_PhD

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