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6 telehealth policy barriers to watch out for

February 23, 2018 | Julie Spitzer | Becker's Hospital Review

Healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to adopt telehealth programs, but they face a number of policy barriers that hinder their plans. This article breaks down each of those barriers, using information from PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy.  more

©2016 Josh Kohanek; photo courtesy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Kevin Barnett on Community Development and Health in Shelterforce

February 13, 2018 | Kevin Barnett, Public Health Institute | Shelterforce Magazine

Hospitals and health systems can’t solve societal challenges alone, but they can play a key role in mobilizing and aligning joint resources to bring positive changes to low-income communities. In a new piece featured in Shelterforce Magazine, Kevin Barnett, Dr.P.H., M.C.P., a senior investigator with the Public Health Institute, explores the opportunities for collaboration between the health and community development sectors.  more

Image: ThinkStock

Store-and-Forward Telemedicine Services Expand Connected Health

January 27, 2018 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Store-and-forward, an emerging telehealth modality popular with ophthalmologists and dermatologists, is now increasingly being using in primary care programs. It involves sending data from a patient through a secure e-mail or messaging service to a cloud-based platform for analysis, then a diagnosis and treatment plan are sent back to the patient or provider. PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy researches utilization of store-and-forward and other telehealth technologies across the country. Its 2017 report on the benefits of store-and-forward and regulations of it are included in this mHealthIntelligence feature article.  more

The Insidious Threat of Wildfire—Not What You Might Think

January 24, 2018 | Jeffrey D. Gunzenhauser & Linda Rudolph | The Progressive


Across the nation, wildfires burned more than nine million acres in 2017—one of the worst fire seasons in decades. And as bad as wildfires are now, they are expected to get worse, due to climate change. It is clear that fires can cause far-reaching havoc, even after the blazes are extinguished. Less visible are wildfires’ impacts on public health, which are detailed in this op-ed by PHI's Linda Rudolph and Dr. Jeffrey D. Gunzenhauser, chief medical officer and director of the Disease Control Bureau for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.  more

Advisory Panel Recommends Reducing Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit To Prevent Traffic-Related Deaths

January 17, 2018 | Charmagne Nojas | The Tech Times

Alcohol-impaired driving is a persistent problem in the United States, causing more than 10,000 fatalities each year despite intensified efforts. Since the 1980s, drunk driving has accounted for one-third of all traffic-related deaths and almost 40 percent of these fatalities are victims other than the intoxicated driver. 

"The plateauing fatality rates indicate that what has been done to decrease deaths from alcohol-impaired driving has been working but is no longer sufficient to reverse this growing public health system," explains Steven Teutsch, senior fellow at the Public Health Institute.  more

Is a Federal Junk Food Tax In Our Future?

January 11, 2018 | Lela Nargi | Civil Eats

In response to the diabetes and obesity epidemics public health advocates and policymakers have proposed numerous strategies, including education programs, encouraging more physical activity, and developing holistic hospital and community interventions. None of these interventions has generated the same level of response or opposition as soda taxes, says the author of this Civil Eats article. A new study out from New York University and Tufts reports that these taxes work, and are legally and administratively viable—corroborating a PHI study last year showing a 9.6 percent drop in sugary drink sales one year after the sugar-sweetened beverage tax was enacted in Berkeley, CA, in March 2015.  more

The end of net neutrality could make rural broadband a heavier lift

January 09, 2018 | Jim Galloway | Politically Georgia

Within the space of 24 hours last month, a House Republican task force at the Georgia state capitol released its blueprint to extend broadband internet access in rural areas, allowing doctors to treat patients remotely, give students in poor school systems access to advanced courses, and provide employers with a firm and speedy connection to the rest of the world. But one day earlier, the Federal Communications Commission, pushed by its chairman, Ajit Pai, had declared an end to net neutrality. 

“It’s great that Georgia is thinking of extending broadband connectivity to these rural areas. They desperately need it,” Mei Kwong, executive director of PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy, says in this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Politically Georgia. Kwong says the end of net neutrality, however, means rural communities could be vulnerable to the “pay prioritization” governing a cash-driven internet.  more

Image: Thinkstock

Telemedicine is rural health care safety 'net' that must remain neutral

January 08, 2018 | Dusty Nix | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Accessing health care in rural areas is a serious, growing challenge in the state of Georgia—a crisis that may now worsen with the FCC's recent vote to end net neutrality rules, saying Columbus Ledger-Enquirer opinion writer Dusty Nix. The lack of high speed connection for telemedicine services that could result are worrying some, including Mei Kwong, interim director of PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy: “Without that connectivity, telemedicine doesn’t work ... You need it on the patient end and the provider end,” said Kwong.  more

Image: University of Victoria

Booze warnings worked in U.S., says researcher after Yukon labels pulled

January 03, 2018 | Laura Kane | Toronto Star

After a study on alcohol warning labels in Canada's Yukon territory was halted due to pushback from the liquor industry, Thomas Greenfield, PhD, scientific director of PHI's Alcohol Research Group, responded that similar labels related to drunk driving and drinking during pregnancy have proven effective in the U.S.

In the U.S., “the industry essentially ended up taking up the position they wouldn’t fight it... So it’s interesting that in other parts of the world as close as Canada, the industry is going back to its former position of fighting everything such as this,” said Greenfield, who was a consultant on the Yukon study.  more

Getty Images/Anilakkus

9 states with telehealth legislation taking effect in 2018

December 27, 2017 | Erin Dietsche | MedCity News

PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy has unveiled a list of telehealth legislation approved in 2017. Here are the 11 pieces of legislation in nine states that will officially take effect in 2018.   more

2017: A Look Back At The Year In State Telemedicine Legislation

December 21, 2017 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Some 63 pieces of legislation focusing on telehealth or telemedicine were approved by 34 state Legislatures this year, according to PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy. The various bills cover a wide variety of digital health issues, from defining terms like telemedicine, telehealth, store-and-forward technology and virtual visits to establishing care standards before a doctor can use telehealth to serve new patients. This article provides a look at some of the more interesting bills.  more

FCC repeals net neutrality rules, potentially affecting telemedicine

December 14, 2017 | Rachel Arndt | Modern Healthcare

The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules established under Presendent Obama prohibiting internet providers from slowing or blocking internet content. This opens up the possibility that internet users could encounter differing connection speeds—something that could hurt telemedicine, says Mei Kwong, interim executive director and policy adviser for PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy.  more

Why big business will love California’s new marijuana rules, and why you should worry

December 07, 2017 | Lynn Silver | The Sacramento Bee

The state of California recently proposed emergency rules to regulate marijuana when recreational use becomes legal in January. PHI's Lynn Silver cautions against allowing unfettered commercialization and predatory marketing to vulnerable groups in this op-ed in The Sacramento Bee, saying the health and well-being of our communities must be put first.   more

Meet the intrepid doctors and scientists who are viewed as the ‘Zena warrior princesses of women’s health’

November 30, 2017 | Pamela M. Norick | The New York Times

Bethany Young Holt, head of PHI's CAMI Health, is profiled in this New York Times article highlighting the network of women scientists, experts, health advocates, and innovators leading the reproductive health field to develop multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) — new technologies that would simultaneously prevent two leading causes of death for women: sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies.

“The science is there to prevent unintended pregnancies and many sexually transmitted infections, but the art of combining them into one product that women will want to use hasn’t yet been realized,” says Young Holt.  more

Image: ThinkStock

CCHP’s State Telehealth Report Shows Gradual Advances in Coverage

November 07, 2017 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Nearly every state provides Medicaid reimbursement for video-based telehealth, according to the latest report from PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy. In addition, 15 states cover store-and-forward or asynchronous services, and 21 states cover remote patient monitoring – while only nine states reimburse for all three platforms.

But the rules and regulations covering telehealth and telemedicine are as confusing as ever, says the author of this mHealthIntelligence article on the Center for Connected Health Policy's fifth annual report.  more

Rx for a Healthy Community

November 01, 2017 | Michael O. Schroeder | U.S. News & World Report

Poverty and discrimination are powerful social determinants of health. They make it more difficult to buy healthy foods, find leisure time for exercise, live in clean, affordable housing and obtain preventive care. They also ratchet up stress to sometimes unbearable levels, says PHI senior investigator Kevin Barnett in this U.S. News & World Report article. "We call it toxic stress,” he says, “this day-to-day almost life-and-death kind of stress has a corrosive impact upon our direct cardiovascular function [and] upon glucose tolerance,” which can raise diabetes risk.  more

Warming planet means more dangerous hot days

October 24, 2017 | Jenny Staletovich | The Miami Herald

“Extreme heat events already cause more deaths in a typical year than any other weather event, and climate change is causing more extreme heat days. So it’s important to understand we can reduce heat deaths and heat illness by taking common sense steps,” said Linda Rudolph, director of PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health, in response to a new report from the Natural Resources Defence Council on extreme heat days.

Rudolph participated in a press call for the report's release, saying public health infrastructure needs to be strengthened to prepare for more dangerous hot days.  more

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

North Bay wildfires: How climate change made the disaster worse

October 20, 2017 | Chris Roberts | Curbed San Francisco

Climate change played a role in the deadliest, most costly wildfire in California history this month, which killed at least 42 people and destroyed nearly 8,500 structures. PHI's Linda Rudolph, director of our Center for Climate Change and Health, addresses the additional health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke in this Curbed San Francisco article.  more

Baby Your Baby: Lead Poisoning Testing

October 20, 2017 | Leslie Tillotson | KUTV

This week is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and Salt Lake City's KUTV produced this report citing research from PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program showing that children across the country are under tested for lead poisoning, particularly in western states.  more

Mikey Burton

How To Win Against Big Soda

October 15, 2017 | Anna Lappé and Christina Bronsing-Lazalde | The New York Times

A recent PHI study is highlighted in this New York Times op-ed arguing that efforts to pass sugary-drinks taxes are better able to withstand attacks from the soda industry when they're driven and supported by community coalitions that build public awareness early on, as was the case in Berkeley, CA. PHI's study found that the volume of sugar sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley declined by 9.6% in the year after implementation of its sugary-drink tax. The study also found no negative impact on overall beverage sales at studied local businesses, and that overall grocery bills did not go up.  more

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