From telehealth to data analytics to artificial intelligence, how will Health IT contribute to the COVID-19 battle? Tell us your thoughts in this running blog.

The “Apollo 13” scene where NASA engineers are challenged to repurpose a CO2 filter — “We have to make this fit into this using only this” — in order to save the 3 astronauts imperiled in space, brings to mind how we are charged with rolling up our sleeves to come up with new ways to use existing solutions. Yet our goal should remain uniform: marshaling all our resources to slow the spread of the virus, and speeding up the ability of our healthcare system to respond.

Anna Grimes, PR Strategist at Golden Spiral

We’re facing the greatest population health challenge of our generation with COVID-19. The entire healthcare community is desperately trying to keep a population healthy. While we’re seeing health systems like Geisinger and UPMC ramp up their telehealth efforts and adopt other innovative strategies to respond to this challenge, getting people to take all precautions seriously, and to practice them consistently, will go a long way towards flattening the pandemic’s infection rate curve so that we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system.

Our company helps people change their behavior for better health, using a combination of behavioral science and artificial intelligence. The same technology/techniques that we provide to a hospital’s digital communications to increase, for example, mammography screenings, can be applied to the vital messaging needed for helping to contain the pandemic. Our Bias Briefs offer a consistent stream of communication tips for overcoming biases and moving people to action that can save lives. 

While we’re taking all the necessary precautions towards containment in our own operations — working remote, virtual meetings and only essential travel — we know that getting on the other side of this crisis will take the combined efforts of every healthcare professional. We are actively looking for ways to support our front-line healthcare professionals in any way we can, such as donating blood because so many blood drives have been canceled.
– Marten den Haring, Chief Operating Officer at Lirio


At Vanderbilt, HealthIT already is hard at work with two major initiatives. First, we have been quickly advancing our telehealth capabilities, so that our providers may continue serving our patients but in a less busy and certainly more easily controlled set of environments.  Second, we have launched a new mobile platform, called VUMC2GO. As one of the largest employers of people in middle Tennessee, we quickly recognized our role in delivering timely, accurate, and clear information about COVID-19.  We are using that platform, in concert with frequently updated web sites to which it points, to accomplish this goal.  Within our academic enterprise, we have researchers hard at work using genomic and other health information to see what we can discover that might improve our ability to manage this pandemic and save lives.

— Kevin B. Johnson, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor & Chair  Department of Biomedical InformaticsProfessor  Department of PediatricsInformatician-in-Chief  Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Telehealth will have a major impact on the COVID-19 outbreak. From initial COVID-19 screenings to regular appointments where patients can be seen virtually. This will reduce the volume in clinics and hospitals while elevating the level of care and facilitating continuity of care. I believe we’ll all learn to embrace telehealth tremendously and see the value of it grow.

— Tom Mitchell, Stratipoint Advisory


Everyone, including the digital healthcare community, got a wake-up call when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit. Before this crisis, we did not have nearly enough adoption of #digitalhealth tools, including #virtualcare, though we were already in the throes of digital transformation. One positive thing about this crisis is that it does drive innovation – by necessity. Digital care management, virtual access to care, and real-time digital-first healthcare communication need to be addressed as we race to meet the current needs in our industry.  

At OptimizeRx, we have the ability to help the communication flow during this crisis and we are utilizing our technology to reach as many people as possible with important health information. We leveraged our digital communication platform to offer timely and authoritative information sourced directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to help physicians and the public stay up-to date about the spread of the coronavirus and provide guidance on what to do if affected.  Immediately after COVID-19 became national news, we built a free alert system into our national digital electronic health record (EHR) provider network so that healthcare professionals (HCPs) could receive timely coronavirus information within their workflow. We also launched a free interactive text message alert program where consumers can text VIRUS to 55150 to subscribe to the service. OptimizeRx immediately expanded our virtual care solutions (RMDY) to include COVID symptom tracking and to help healthcare providers adapt to treating patients remotely during the pandemic.  We launched a TelaRep™ service which allows pharmaceutical companies to support specialists who treat patients with chronic health conditions. As we move forward during this crisis, the #healthIT community needs to continue leaning in to collaborate and accelerate adoption. We all see the media reports on the tipping point for #telehealth, but in a broader sense, this is a tipping point for all #healthIT. 

– Miriam Paramore, President and Chief Strategy Officer, OptimizeRx


Dear colleagues, we are at an unprecedented time in our history and much of the impact of COVID-19 has not been experienced in our lifetime. Most health systems have well-established crisis and disaster plans that encompasses IT, but these plans haven’t been tested to this degree until now. This article is intended on providing basic information regard initiating and adjusting these plans to deal with the current situation in our nation.  Our recommendations include the following sections:

  1. Establishing a central command and communication war room
  2. Maintaining reliability and stability of all IT systems
  3. Increased patient communication via different electronic mediums
  4. Improve or accelerate telemedicine/telehealth rollout and availability at all locations
  5. Implement telecommuting for all employees that are eligible
  6. Provide ample elbow support in the critical areas of the hospital
  7. Tracking metrics in key statistics and immediate response systems

Read the rest at:

Payman Zand, Vice President, Advisory Services at CereCore