Massachusetts Hospitals Pour Resources into Affordable Housing

Boston Medical Center has invested $6.5 million in housing aid in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, such as its $800,000 investment in government subsidized brownstones in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. 

A recent article by WBUR highlights how this particular investment enabled a neighborhood development company to turn the downtrodden brownstones into affordable apartments for the poor and/or homeless, citing that social factors such as housing dictate up to 80 percent of a person’s health status. 

In Massachusetts alone, two additional hospitals — Boston Children’s Hospital and Baystate Medical Center — are setting aside funds to help with public housing, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners HealthCare and Brigham Health also have announced their interest in helping in this area.  

Apple’s Newest Health Feature Could Be Ticket to Interoperability 

Computerworld speculates that Apple will position itself as a health resource company, given its relationships with electronic records software companies, interest in the health field and the company’s large stockpile of consumer data. Author Ryan Faas says that the tech innovator is moving toward making the iPhone a personal health hub, as evidenced by the upcoming Health Records feature. This release will let patients see electronic medical records and other clinical information on their iPhones through an API, essentially enabling medical facilities to connect to various EMR systems to share data between providers and patients.

Currently, hospitals and health systems can connect their records internally, but a lack of interoperable resources have sometimes challenged them to share records with other organizations.

Will This Tech Company Be the Amazon of Chinese Health Care?

Chinese health data company WeDoctor is gaining an edge in the patient data intelligence industry partly because China doesn’t regulate personal data sharing as other parts of the world do, Bloomberg reports. As China operates without patient data protection laws and builds health profiles on 1.3 billion citizens, WeDoctor wants to become “nothing short of an Amazon for health care,” Bloomberg states. The tech giant, which is currently valued at $5.5. billion, seeks to streamline the Chinese health care market by facilitating online follow-up consultations, handling drug prescriptions and operating physician-staffed clinics. The company is currently building its own artificial intelligence to help detect ailments, and also sells a product that links to fitness wearables and acts as a doctors' hotline.

“AI won't replace doctors, but it will become an important tool for doctors and help improve their efficiency and accuracy,” founder Jerry Liao Jieyuan told the publication.

Nurses, Physicians and Other First Responders Carry Emotional Burden from Tragedies

As tragedies and wide-scale disasters proliferate, first responders pay an emotional toll, California Healthline reports. With mass shootings, fires, hurricanes and other catastrophes happening at a higher rate, doctors, nurses, social workers, police and others who come to victims’ aid often are haunted by their experiences, the publication says. This has commonly led to depression, job burnout, substance use disorder, relationship problems and even suicide.

“When we have these national disasters or have a guy take a truck and run people over … those are added stressors we aren’t prepared for,” Jeff Dill, a former firefighter and licensed counselor, told the publication.
 
More peer support programs are popping up to help combat this as the culture around mental health awareness is changing on a national scale.

(Related: See how nurses are getting emotional tools to deal with treating patients with opioid use disorder.)