Ebola: 10 Tech Responses To Deadly Disease - InformationWeek

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10/24/2014
09:16 AM
Alison Diana
Alison Diana
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Ebola: 10 Tech Responses To Deadly Disease

Tech companies are addressing the Ebola scare by offering everything from germ-zapping robots to Ebola tracking apps.
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(Source: NIAID)
(Source: NIAID)

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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
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10/24/2014 | 10:04:40 AM
ICD-10 wont' save us from Ebola
While it's true the ICD-10 coding mandate that was supposed to be implemented this Fall (before Congress authorized a delay) includes many more diagnosis codes, I can't imagine that would have made a difference in the Dallas case that resulted in the first Ebola death in the US. The problem was the clinicians didn't recognize the warning signs and didn't know what they were dealing with when the patient first showed up at the emergency room (or even later, when he was first admitted to the hospital).

Once the diagnosis was made, it didn't require an ICD-10 code to communicate that to anyone in the hospital -- it was being announced in press conferences and broadcast everywhere. If Ebola were to spread more widely, proper coding might eventually be useful for statistical tracking of the disease. But not for detection and treatment.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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10/24/2014 | 10:32:17 AM
Donation Update
As reported in this morning's USA Today, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen donated $100,000,000 to the US State Department for containment units to evacuate health professionals from West Africa. Bill and Melinda Gates' foundation gave $50 million. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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10/24/2014 | 10:35:30 AM
Re: ICD-10 wont' save us from Ebola
No, ICD-10 won't save us from Ebola but what many executives hope we take away from this crisis are larger lessons that healthcare, government, and consumers can translate to other likely epidemics in the future. That's why some were adament that patching Ebola-specific features into EHRs is short-sighted; rather, they said, we should use this virus as a prompt to adopt flexible, open capabilities that will work equally well for Ebola, anthrax, smallpox, measles, swine flu, or something we've not even heard of yet.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
10/25/2014 | 1:09:48 PM
Silver Lining
Considering the hundreds of thousands of annual deaths caused by obesity, alcohol, tobacco & automobile accidents compared to the single casualty of ebola, you'd think there was a pandemic.  But then I guess if not for yellow "journalism" Americans wouldn't have anything to obsess over needlessly.  On the other hand, the development of ebola-specific apps/tech can't be a bad thing. 
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
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10/26/2014 | 12:10:30 AM
Re: Silver Lining
Hopefully one of the things learned about consumers out of this crisis is why fear and obsession spreads faster than the disease, and how best to control it. The 24/7 news business is feeding and manipulating this, but they wouldn't if it didn't get ratings. In other words, consumers want this "yellow journalism." They want their fear and obsession fed. Even with the Black Death in the middle ages, news of death ships and other affected cities spread ahead of the epidemic.
progman2000
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progman2000,
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10/26/2014 | 10:14:21 AM
Re: Silver Lining
The media is definitely playing this one for every bit of drama they can muster.  In a way I'm thankful for the reprieve from the serial murderer stories and ISIS beheading videos that the media had been feasting on.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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10/27/2014 | 10:21:40 AM
Re: Silver Lining
Within the United States, all the attention on Ebola is really overblown. Within parts of Africa, we haven't -- as a nation -- paid enough attention when you look at the staggering death rates and high rate of transmission from patient to patient. Looking at Ebola selfishly in the West, I think we need to take it as a wake-up call for what we'd do if it wasn't Ebola, if it was something that did spread via air, that did make people sick faster, and that was harder to treat or much faster spreading in the west. As we've seen, US health systems are unprepared for Ebola -- and would be unprepared for anything even worse, more contagious, or more lethal. 

With that in mind, government and health leaders must figure out the weak points, review the failures and any highlights, and determine how they can improve the system so fewer people (consumers, healthcare workers, government agents) would be affected in the face of a full-blown pandemic. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
10/27/2014 | 10:22:42 AM
Re: Silver Lining
Oh absolutely! There has been so much misinformation out there, on all major networks, that it would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. 
tzubair
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tzubair,
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10/27/2014 | 11:35:39 AM
germ zapping robots
I wouldn't call germ-zapping robots an  innovation. Hospitals have been equipped with machines that use UV radiations to kill air-borne germs in operation theatres for a long time. But around a 50 percent drop rate in hospital acquired infections is indeed a tangible imporvement.I wonder what makes them more effective than our routine sterilization equipments
tekedge
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tekedge,
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10/27/2014 | 4:23:31 PM
10 Tech Responses to Deadly Disease
It is really blown out of proportion here in the US. Yes one has to  be safe than sorry. But the govt and health agencies  are acting fast after someone died here from the disease  and I hope that there is some relief for the outbreak in Africa because of the solutions that are coming up here! I hope the apps are useful for affected regions. Do they really have the technology to access them and will the health workers who are working tirelessly going to be helped with these technologies gaining popularity here in the US...
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