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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Startup looks to begin pig-to-human organ transplants by 2022

Porcine gene edits may allow such transplants without rejection.

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  • A company called Revivicor has received clearance from the FDA to use their genetically modified pigs for medical use or as food.
  • The pigs lack genes for alpha-gal sugar, which human bodies reject.
  • Revivicor anticipates the first human transplant trials as early as this year.
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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.

  • 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?

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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.

  • 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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