December 11, 2020

Around the nation: Google launches new health studies app

Daily Briefing

    Google on Wednesday announced the launch of its Google Health Studies app and said its first study—conducted in partnership with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital—will look at the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Massachusetts, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

    • Massachusetts: Google on Wednesday announced the launch of its new Google Health Studies app and said its first study, which the company will conduct in partnership with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, will look at the spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases. For the study, participants will use the new app to report any Covid-19 symptoms and preventive measures they're taking against the novel coronavirus, as well as any test results and vaccinations they receive against the virus. The app also will track a person's location and determine how many times a person leaves their home. The study aims to gain insight into how respiratory diseases like Covid-19 and the flu spread in different communities (Brodwin, STAT+, 12/9 [subscription required]; Morgan/Eastham, "The Keyword," Google, 12/9; Kim Cohen, "Transformation Hub," Modern Healthcare, 12/9; Landi, FierceHealthcare, 12/9).
    • Ohio: The Cleveland Clinic has reached a deal with Sisters of Charity Health System to acquire Mercy Medical Center, a 476-bed facility serving five counties in southeastern Ohio. The companies did not disclose the terms of the deal, but they said they expect to finalize the deal by Feb. 1, 2021 (King, FierceHealthcare, 12/8).
    • Pennsylvania: A federal court in Pennsylvania has rejected the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) legal challenge to a proposed merger between Jefferson Health and Einstein Healthcare Network. FTC in the lawsuit argued that the merger would lead to reduced competition in Pennsylvania's Philadelphia and Montgomery counties, as well as price increases. However, U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Pappert in his decision wrote that those claims were "not credible" and "undercut by other evidence." FTC called the ruling "disappointing" and said it was considering possible next steps. Separately, Einstein and Jefferson praised the ruling. "We are gratified by [the] decision in which the court properly concluded that the government was unable to show that the transaction would reduce competition in the highly competitive Philadelphia area," Virginia Gibson, a partner at Hogan Lovells, which represented Jefferson in the lawsuit, said in a statement (Kacik, Modern Healthcare, 12/8; Brubaker, Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/8; Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/9).

    How Covid-19 will impact telehealth

    telehealth

    The rapid embrace of telehealth in the wake of Covid-19 is simply astonishing. In less than one month, provider practices shifted from doing almost no virtual visits to doing only virtual visits. Hospitals that did hundreds of visits in all of 2019 are now doing that many every hour.

    Read our 10-minute take to understand telehealth's sudden pivot from “nice-to-have” to a baseline expectation.

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