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One of the many ways The Center for Health Design works to make research and practical tools accessible is through the creation of Topic Toolboxes. We’ve produced more than a dozen of these toolboxes on both micro and macro issues, relating to everything from technology to emergency department throughput. Each toolbox contains a wide array of resources to fit every learning style, such as issue briefs, executive summaries, webinars, industry expert interviews, and design strategies. Within each toolbox, some of the resources are open to all and then some are available only to Affiliate+ members.

Creating easy access to the research and resources that design and healthcare professionals need to make informed decisions has never been more important than during this last year. Thanks to a partnership with industrial supply company Grainger, all of the resources in the Safety Toolbox are being made available to everyone until the end of … Read the rest

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In Missouri and Other States, Flawed Data Makes It Hard to Track Vaccine Equity

Throughout the covid-19 vaccination effort, public health officials and politicians have insisted that providing shots equitably across racial and ethnic groups is a top priority.


This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and KHN. It can be republished for free.

But it’s been left up to states to decide how to do that and to collect racial and ethnic data on vaccinated individuals so states can track how well they’re doing reaching all groups. The gaps and inconsistencies in the data have made it difficult to understand who’s actually getting shots.

Just as an uneven approach to containing the coronavirus led to a greater toll for Black and Latino communities, the inconsistent data guiding vaccination efforts may be leaving the same groups out on vaccines, said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist at the University of California-San Francisco.

“At the very least, we need the same … Read the rest

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Penn Medicine, Interventional Support Center

Seeking new solutions to improve efficiency and increase quality, Penn Medicine envisioned a new offsite Interventional Support Center (ISC) as a comprehensive facility to support multiple facilities throughout the Philadelphia region. The ISC centralizes sterilization of surgical instruments, sterilization of linens, and storage of surgical supplies and soft goods. The consolidation of services at the ISC will standardize instrument processing, instrument sets, and soft goods across the health system. The ISC will allow storage space for extended inventory of supplies on hand. Case carts will be transported to and from the ISC from various facilities in temperature controlled trucks on a prescribed schedule to facilitate maximum efficiency.

Stantec’s team integrated healthcare planners, architects, designers, engineers, and industrial designers to design the new facility. Solutions were tested and validated using time motion studies and simulation modeling to identify gaps and bottlenecks in the flow.

The facility supports a one-way forward flow … Read the rest

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FDA Weighs Approval of a Lucrative Alzheimer’s Drug, but Benefits Are Iffy

The Food and Drug Administration’s decision next week whether to approve the first treatment for Alzheimer’s disease highlights a deep division over the drug’s benefits as well as criticism about the integrity of the FDA approval process.


This story also ran on The Daily Beast. It can be republished for free.

The agency said it will decide by June 7 the fate of Biogen’s drug aducanumab, despite a near-unanimous rejection of the product by an FDA advisory committee of outside experts in November. Doubts were raised when, in 2019, Biogen halted two large clinical trials of the drug after determining it wouldn’t reach its targets for efficacy. But the drugmaker later revised that assessment, stating that one trial showed the drug reduced the decline in patients’ cognitive and functional ability by 22%.

Some FDA scientists in November joined with the company to present a document praising the intravenous drug. But … Read the rest

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Analysis: Mounting Pressure on China About Covid ‘Lab Leak’ Could Backfire

President Joe Biden has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to determine whether the covid virus, or a near ancestor, emerged from a cave, a live-animal market, a farm — or a secretive Chinese laboratory.

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But it’s doubtful this probe will yield definitive insights, and it could even backfire.

Some experts hypothesize that global pressure could prompt a Chinese scientific whistleblower to come forward with evidence of a lab leak. After all, it is unlikely such an accident could have occurred without dozens of people finding out about the leak, or an ensuing cover-up.

But the growing political pressure to discover Chinese malfeasance or a lab accident at the root of the pandemic could make a definitive answer less, rather than more, likely, according to virologists and experts on U.S.-China scientific exchanges.

“We have to reduce the political tension and let the scientists … Read the rest

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Don’t worry, be happy: How excessive worrying may influence the rate of neurodegeneration

Worrying and the Aging Brain (Dana Foundation):

Over the past decade, scientists and clinicians have noted a significant association between common mental health conditions and accelerated brain aging—the changes to brain structure, physiology, and function that are thought to lead to later cognitive decline. Both depression and anxiety disorders, for example, are strongly correlated with the development of dementias including Alzheimer’s disease later in life, yet it has been unclear why. Neuroscientists and gerontologists around the globe have diligently worked to investigate which particular symptoms might contribute to age-related cognitive decline.

New research from the University of Pittsburgh, using a machine learning model to predict a person’s “brain age,” suggests that excessive worrying and rumination may influence the speed of neurodegeneration and the memory and attention deficits that come along with it. Keep reading the excellent article Worrying and the Aging Brain over at Dana Foundation’s website.

Recent Study:

Affective … Read the rest

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Newsom Wants to Spend Millions on the Health of Low-Income Mothers and Their Babies

Amid a pandemic that has pushed millions of mothers out of the workplace, caused fertility rates to plunge and heightened the risk of death for pregnant women, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic lawmakers are seeking a slate of health proposals for low-income families and children.

Newsom, a self-described feminist and the father of four young children, has long advocated family-friendly health and economic policies. Flush with a projected budget surplus of $75.7 billion, state politicians have come up with myriad legislative and budget proposals to make poorer families healthier and wealthier.

They include ending sales taxes on menstrual products and diapers; adding benefits such as doulas and early childhood trauma screenings to Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program; allowing pregnant women to retain Medi-Cal coverage for a year after giving birth; and a pilot program to provide a universal basic income to low-income new parents.

“COVID-19 laid inequity bare for … Read the rest

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From Racial Justice to Dirty Air, California’s New AG Plots a Progressive Health Care Agenda

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a longtime Democratic state lawmaker, comes to his new role well known for pursuing an unabashedly progressive agenda on criminal justice issues. He has pushed for legislation to eliminate cash bail and to ban for-profit prisons and detention centers. But Bonta also has a distinctive record on health care, successfully advancing legislation to protect consumers from so-called surprise medical bills when they inadvertently get treatment from out-of-network providers and framing environmental hazards like pollution as issues of social justice.

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He was among the Democratic lawmakers leading the charge at the California Capitol to take on Big Soda, pushing to cut consumption of sugary drinks through taxes and warning labels. Such proposals so far have faltered under the influence of the soda industry.

Bonta, 49, was an infant when his family, in 1971, moved to California from … Read the rest

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Eye-tracking pioneer Smart Eye acquires MIT spin-off Affectiva to augment driver monitoring systems and more

Emotion-detection software start-up Affectiva acquired for $73.5M (TechCrunch):

Smart Eye, the publicly traded Swedish company that supplies driver monitoring systems for a dozen automakers, has acquired emotion-detection software startup Affectiva for $73.5 million in a cash-and-stock deal.

Affectiva, which spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2009, has developed software that can detect and understand human emotion, which Smart Eye is keen to combine with its own AI-based eye-tracking technology. The companies’ founders see an opportunity to expand beyond driver monitoring systems — tech that is often used in conjunction with advanced driver assistance systems to track and measure awareness — and into the rest of the vehicle. Together, the technology could help them break into the emerging “interior sensing” market, which can be used to monitor the entire cabin of a vehicle and deliver services in response to the occupant’s emotional state … The opportunity will initially be

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Behind The Byline: Finding a ‘Superstar’ to Interview

KHN has never been busier ― and health coverage has never been more vital. The Behind The Byline series on YouTube and Instagram TV offers an insider’s view.

Journalists and producers from across KHN’s newsrooms take you behind the scenes in these bite-size videos to show the ways they are following the story, connecting with sources and sorting through facts.

Jenny Gold — Finding a ‘Superstar’ to Interview

Senior correspondent Jenny Gold started her yearlong project with a question: How will covid shape the next generation of doctors? In June 2020, more than 30,000 new doctors graduated from medical school and started their training on the front lines of the pandemic.

Dr. Paloma Marin-Nevarez — a woman from Los Angeles whom Gold describes as thoughtful and outgoing — stood out from the beginning. She was about to start her residency in Fresno, California, a city in the state’s agricultural Central … Read the rest

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