Health News Roundup

Connecticut long-awaited health information exchange is set to launch at a critical time, and more in this week’s roundup

As pandemic wears on, Connecticut prepares to launch its long-awaited health information exchange
Jenna Carlesso, The Connecticut Mirror, October 15
Connecticut is gearing up to launch its statewide health information exchange in November, a single repository of medical data that can be accessed by any provider involved in a patient’s care. The long-anticipated system is arriving at a critical time when the need for up-to-the-minute, robust patient information has become more pressing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The exchange is designed to reduce duplicative services, prevent medical errors and improve care. Similar exchanges in other states have been used during the pandemic to trace outbreaks, to identify COVID-19 hotspots in communities, to analyze data on race and ethnicity and to help agencies, like public health departments and regional health districts, access more extensive patient information in the midst of an emergency.

The mental health disparities faced by people of color
Kristen Rogers, CNN, October 10
Racism and stigma make it harder for people of color to get services, and it’s gotten worse during the coronavirus pandemic. During the pandemic, many people have experienced mental health stressors such as unemployment, sick and lost loved ones, disrupted social lives, uncertainty about the future and a lack of internal peace — all of which threaten people’s socioeconomic status and stress levels. And minorities, who already disproportionately experience those misfortunes, face additional geographic and financial barriers to getting help.

From a small town in North Carolina to big-city hospitals, how software infuses racism into U.S. health care
Casey Ross, STAT, October 13 
By crunching data on patients, software developers promise to help U.S. hospitals and insurers accomplish a crucial task: identifying those most in need of stepped-up care to manage their chronic illnesses. But a new investigation found that these software systems are infusing racism into health care by systematically overlooking obstacles faced by people of color.
Related: Five takeaways from investigation of bias in use of health software, Casey Ross, STAT, October 13

New poll shows Black Americans see a racist health care system setting the stage for pandemic’s impact 
Michael A. Fletcher, The Undefeated, October 2020
African Americans have a dim view of the nation’s health care system, which they see as infected by the same racism they encounter on the job, out shopping, in the classroom or interacting with the police. A new nationwide poll by The Undefeated and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that 7 in 10 African Americans believe that people are treated unfairly based on race or ethnicity when they seek medical care. It’s a feeling born of unequal history and intensified by the coronavirus pandemic, which is disproportionately ravaging Black lives both physically and economically. The poll, which included interviews with 777 African Americans, is the most comprehensive survey of Black attitudes and experiences with health care since the start of the pandemic.
Related: Black Americans are more skeptical of a coronavirus vaccine, Drew Altman, Axios, October 14