How New York's largest hospital system is predicting COVID-19 spikes

Northwell Health is using insights from website traffic to forecast COVID-19 hospitalizations two weeks in the future.

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  • The machine-learning algorithm works by analyzing the online behavior of visitors to the Northwell Health website and comparing that data to future COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • The tool, which uses anonymized data, has so far predicted hospitalizations with an accuracy rate of 80 percent.
  • Machine-learning tools are helping health-care professionals worldwide better constrain and treat COVID-19.
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The social determinants of health, explained

Want to tell someone's future in the US? You don't need a crystal ball, just their zip code.

Employees work to create to-go donation meals for a company called Collective Fare on May 20, 2020, in the Brownsville neighborhood of New York City.

  • Social determinants of health, such as income and access to healthy food, affect well-being long before people may enter medical facilities.
  • They're one reason neighborhoods in the same city can maintain life expectancy gaps larger than a decade.
  • With growing awareness of how societal ills determine health, medical professionals and their partners are devising more holistic approaches to health.
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Telehealth will save lives—for as long as it has funding

The federal government and private insurers greatly increased Americans' telehealth access during the pandemic. Will these changes be permanent?

During COVID-19, most U.S. health care organizations managed to massively increase their virtual consultations, keeping patients and doctors safe.

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  • When telehealth visits began skyrocketing after the pandemic began, hospitals had to increase their number of virtual appointments by magnitudes. Most did it seamlessly.
  • Big Think spoke to Dr. Martin Doerfler, senior vice president of clinical strategy and development at Northwell Health, about this transition and how it benefited patients.
  • Telehealth has proven its value during the pandemic, but it might stop evolving unless the federal government redesigns the regulatory framework so that insurers cover it and patients can afford it.
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Can hospitals prevent gun violence? This ‘universal screening’ study will find out.

Gun violence is a public health crisis that is notoriously difficult to study because of politics. Finally, a new research initiative has the green light to collect life-saving data.

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • New York's Northwell Health system recently received a $1.4 million grant for a new study on gun violence prevention.
  • The study tasks doctors with asking all patients about their access and exposure to guns, and recommending interventions and safety tips as needed.
  • The goal is to destigmatize doctor-patient conversations about guns, and reframe gun violence as a public health issue.
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COVID-19 amplified America’s devastating health gap. Can we bridge it?

The COVID-19 pandemic is making health disparities in the United States crystal clear. It is a clarion call for health care systems to double their efforts in vulnerable communities.

Willie Mae Daniels makes melted cheese sandwiches with her granddaughter, Karyah Davis, 6, after being laid off from her job as a food service cashier at the University of Miami on March 17, 2020.

Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated America's health disparities, widening the divide between the haves and have nots.
  • Studies show disparities in wealth, race, and online access have disproportionately harmed underserved U.S. communities during the pandemic.
  • To begin curing this social aliment, health systems like Northwell Health are establishing relationships of trust in these communities so that the post-COVID world looks different than the pre-COVID one.
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What does kindness look like? It wears a mask.

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling has an important favor to ask of the American people.

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health, the largest health care system in New York state. In this PSA, speaking as someone whose company has seen more COVID-19 patients than any other in the country, Dowling implores Americans to wear masks—not only for their own health, but for the health of those around them.
  • The CDC reports that there have been close to 7.9 million cases of coronavirus reported in the United States since January. Around 216,000 people have died from the virus so far with hundreds more added to the tally every day. Several labs around the world are working on solutions, but there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.
  • The most basic thing that everyone can do to help slow the spread is to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and to wear a mask. The CDC recommends that everyone ages two and up wear a mask that is two or more layers of material and that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Gaiters and face shields have been shown to be less effective at blocking droplets. Homemade face coverings are acceptable, but wearers should make sure they are constructed out of the proper materials and that they are washed between uses. Wearing a mask is the most important thing you can do to save lives in your community.
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