Hospital CIOs accelerate telemedicine initiatives to combat spread of coronavirus  

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., hospital and health systems CIOs face a plethora of IT tasks to mitigate the outbreak, according to a March 10 Wall Street Journal report.

As of 9:45 a.m., March 11, the U.S. reported 1,040 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths. Globally, 121,545 cases have been confirmed, with 4,373 total deaths. Hospital CIOs are now focusing on fast tracking telemedicine initiatives, creating digital dashboards for patient triage and testing systems that will allow staff to work from home, according to the report.

"You don't want to totally overreact, but on the other hand, you don't want to be falling behind," NYU Langone Health CIO Nader Mherabi told the publication.

The New York City-based health system is reaching out to its partners and vendors to help increase bandwidth and server capacity, if necessary, in case some departments are asked to work remotely.

St. Luke's University Health Network in Bethlehem, Pa., is testing a videoconferencing tool designed for older patients, who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and typically don't use the health system's mobile telemedicine platform. The hospital aims to deploy the technology by next week in order to screen patients without requiring them to come to a hospital in person, according to the report.

New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System is targeting data access amid the coronavirus outbreak; the health system has developed a digital database of information, displayed as a dashboard, created specifically for COVID-19 in its EHR software. With the dashboard, clinicians can view screening information, X-rays and lab tests, among other data, to collaborate on treatment.

More articles on telehealth:
5 hospitals, health systems launching telehealth services
Spectrum Health & more offer free virtual screening for COVID-19
How telehealth is being used to limit the spread of coronavirus: 6 things to know

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