BLOG: ITN Offers Unique, Exclusive Coverage of COVID-19’s Impact
In January, we started hearing about a new virus, novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and read reports about how fast it seemed to have spread across China. As an industry, we made note. But we weren’t sure if, or how, it might affect the U.S. healthcare system. Fast forward one month. We slowly started to see its effect on radiology in February, as the crisis grew, spreading to the states, and started to make headlines.
Soon, research showed that an artificial intelligence deep learning model could accurately detect COVID-19 and differentiate it from community acquired pneumonia and other lung diseases; policies and recommendations stemming from a panel of experts on radiology preparedness during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) public health crisis were released; and reports showing the importance of CT in diagnosis and monitoring of the infection were published. Just a few weeks later, it consumed the headlines — and our daily lives.
At present, we are living in a vastly different world than we were even a week ago. New reports literally come out by the hour; each day brings something completely new, adding to the staggering statistics. Schools and universities across the nation have been cancelled, and one by one states are shutting down and declaring residents must “shelter in place.” We are seeing a surge in telemedicine, and not just with radiologists; physicians and psychiatrists are making their practices virtual in an attempt to help “flatten the curve,” while still serving their patients. The government has deemed certain jobs “essential” — including healthcare workers, and everyone else has been ordered to stay at home. The healthcare system struggles to get a grasp on the situation at hand; we as journalists struggle to keep up with the rapid-fire of information. And we know it is going to get worse before it gets better.
A pivotal moment for ITN came when the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced it was cancelling its five-day 2020 conference for the first time in its 58-year run. Numerous healthcare systems began to announce they would not allow their employees to travel or attend conferences in case they needed to implement emergency plans due to the sudden spread of COVID-19. Many other conference cancellations were soon to follow. There was so much information that needed to be shared; so ITN began to look at alternative ways of reaching its audience.
Our extensive online coverage of COVID-19 began in January and will continue throughout this unprecedented time in history. ITNonline.com offers daily coverage of the industry’s involvement with this pandemic, as do our social media channels. We encourage everyone to actively join in the conversation. ITN has been reaching out to medical experts to share their expertise via exclusive virtual interviews, which we encourage you to watch and share. In the March/April issue, you will find an article by Jilan Liu, M.D., who is the CEO for HIMSS Greater China. She shares China’s groundbreaking approach in deploying health IT after the Wuhan outbreak.
Do you have a story to share? Please contact me. Knowledge is power, and sharing experiences will help fight this pandemic.