Addressing social health drivers could be big business for innovators

Public Health

Proximity to nutritious food. Safe and secure living environments. Transportation options. Exercise opportunities. Access to preventive care. These are the factors largely responsible for the quality of a person’s health, and the former CEO of Merck suggests that entrepreneurs can play an enormous role in improving such factors by collecting data, connecting healthcare to social services, raising health literacy, and expanding virtual care.

Source: StatNews

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CA considers expanding school health clinics

Public Health

CA Governor Gavin Newsome is poised to sign a bill that would allocate $100 million to creating new school health clinics and enhancing existing ones, which would improve access to free medical, dental, and mental health services in many communities where children and their families may otherwise struggle to access care. But the inclusion of reproductive counseling—while not typically involving on-campus pregnancy terminations—is raising objections from anti-abortion activists.

Source: RecordNet

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AR dogs in the waiting room: innovations in patient experience

Public Health

Virtual fishing. Guided meditations. A customizable “puppy”—using Augmented Reality (AR). UC Health is upping its patient distraction techniques, using leading technologies to engage patients while they sit in the waiting room.

Source: HealthcareIT News

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Can telehealth help solve the transgender youth healthcare crisis?

Public Health

With certain states banning gender-affirming care, there is a growing need for families to seek critical medical and mental health services elsewhere. This author argues that telehealth offers a vital solution for getting vital care to transgender and gender-fluid kids and teens, who—without the right support—are at a high risk for depression and suicide.

Source: Scientific American

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Microparticles enable vaccines to be “self-boosting”

Public Health

Vaccination against many diseases—including polio and COVID-19—require multiple shots over time. But new technology being developed by MIT scientists could allow people to receive a complete course of a vaccine in one shot. Cup-like microparticles made of special polymers release their contents at separately timed intervals, so that one jab could provide full inoculation. In addition to increasing patient compliance, the technology could be useful for administering childhood vaccinations in underdeveloped countries that lack access to care.

Source: MIT News

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FDA opens access to OTC hearing aids

Public Health

Of the 30 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, only about one-fifth are currently using hearing aid devices. But thanks to a new ruling by the Food and Drug Administration, consumers will be able to acquire hearing aids in retail stores—without relying on expensive exams and fittings. Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., asserted that the move will enable convenient and affordable access while encouraging innovation and competition in hearing aid technologies.

Source: The FDA

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