EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 3/18/21
I completed my HIMSS21 rollover registration, so we can finally get some return on the money Mr. H fronted back in the fall of 2019. HIMSS is pre-managing any future refund requests by noting that it’s not a true rollover of the registration fees – it’s a “complimentary registration” for 2021 due to the cancellation of HIMSS20, and as such is non-cancellable, non-refundable, and not subject to the documented cancellation and substitution policies. If you’re going to do the rollover, you have to follow a specific link you receive via email. Interestingly, the link arrived in my inbox shortly after another one from HIMSS announcing a decrease in individual membership prices, so my previous membership is now good for an additional six months.
I’m not thrilled about the campus-style venue, which means traipsing or shuttling from the Venetian-Sands Expo Center to the Caesars Forum Conference Center and the meeting space at Wynn. I’m sure they’re doing it so that events can allow for social distancing, so I get it from a public health standpoint. When I’ve been to conferences that did the campus approach, the experience ranged from successful to downright painful. Hopefully, they’ll keep similar programs or tracks together to make it more likely to achieve the former.
HIMSS is not announcing its specific health and safety protocols at this time, but promises to deliver the info as it gets closer. I expect a fat waiver absolving HIMSS of any and all responsibility should attendees be exposed or infected during the conference. Since the badges are going to have headshots on them this year, I’m going to bring some stickers and put a mask on my badge so my photo matches the in-person version. There were some issues with the photo upload process where my picture was clear at the time of upload but grainy when I came back to the screen later, so who knows what it will look like in reality. I also got a kick out of the registration page’s recap of demographics, which due to the magic of formatting, displayed my professional title as something that evokes Pinocchio:
Since HIMSS will also have a digital track this year, it will be interesting to see what post-event surveys reveal about attendee satisfaction and perception of value. The boom in videoconferencing has created plenty of psychological research around its impact on users. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are looking at perceptions of self-image from those who are having increased video interactions. The findings were published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders and found that most women have not had a change in their satisfaction with personal appearance despite increased time spent on Zoom. They noted that people spend 40% of their time on Zoom looking at their own image, with some reporting 100% self-gaze.
I’m glad I ran across the article because it introduced me to Zoom’s “touch up my appearance” feature, which I had not been aware of. The researchers plan to follow up with a study to look at the same factors for male users. They note limitations of the study in that the research began in May 2020, and as the year has progressed, we all have spent more time on video chat, with the lead researcher noting that, “What it means to us now might be very different than what it meant to us then.”
The American Medical Association ran a recent piece that is targeted at helping physicians adjust to the new reality of patients seeing their visit notes. For many physicians, the idea of patients seeing their own documentation is terrifying, with physicians wondering if they are going to have to completely change their documentation style to avoid creating anger, confusion, or resentment in their patient population. The idea of open notes is not new for many organizations, and I’ve watched several physicians who come from institutions where this is practiced coaching those who are afraid.
The AMA encourages physicians to think about how greater transparency can benefit patients or help them have more buy-in with their care plans. Still, I think there will be opportunity for physician consultants to coach individual providers through the process of creating notes that adequately paint the clinical picture while avoiding potentially inflammatory content. I’ve done this a couple of times in the past and am always happy to put my literature background to work.
Best Buy Health has partnered with Apple to offer remote monitoring services via Apple Watch. Users can access the Lively app to contact Urgent Response Agents to assist with everything from medical emergencies to roadside assistance. Best Buy is also credited for working with Apple to create an upcoming fall detection features that “make it easier for older adults to stay safe, healthy, and connected.” Consumers who agree to a two-year Preferred Health & Safety contract will receive a discount off a watch purchase at Best Buy.
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association caught my eye this week. It looks at how technology can be used to detect if people in video streams are wearing masks. Being able to pick up if people are wearing masks is a good thing, but even better would be to identify those who are not wearing them properly and perform some kind of remediation. It still amazes me that people are unwilling to wear masks properly now that we’re a year into this adventure. My state recently opened the vaccination tier that includes teachers, and my hometown newspaper prominently featured a photo of a teacher being vaccinated who had her entire nose exposed out the top of her mask. If the teachers can’t model correct mask-wearing, I’m not sure how they’re supposed to make sure students are doing the right thing.
By this point in the game, those of us who want to wear masks full time or those of us who have to wear them for work should have figured out what mask style works best for us and how to keep it from moving around. I have a handful of go-to styles depending on what kind of activities I’m doing and how long I have to wear it. What have you found as the most comfortable and practical mask, or just the one that makes you smile? Leave a comment or email me.
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