Penn Medicine

December 2020

Month in Review December 2020

Each month, we round up news stories and publications about work happening at the Acceleration Lab, Center for Digital Health, Nudge Unit, and Way to Health. Want to stay in the know? Subscribe to have the Month in Review sent directly to your inbox.

Top Stories

Penn COVID-19 Twitter Map aids response efforts

In partnership with the World Well-Being Project, researchers at the Center for Digital Health have been collecting and mapping COVID-19 Tweets across U.S. counties since the beginning of the pandemic. The team processes the Tweets daily, runs language-based predictive models to measure sentiment, loneliness, anxiety, and publishes data on the Penn COVID-19 Twitter Map. The Washington State Department of Health is currently sharing information from the map in their weekly situation reports to help response planners and behavioral health system leaders understand what to expect in their communities and where to focus response efforts. 

How health systems can build a culture of anti-racism

Originally published in a viewpoint piece in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Raina Merchant, Eugenia South, and Paris Butler guide readers through actionable steps to building a culture of anti-racism within health care systems. Building upon this framework,  the three discuss how health systems can use their power, might, and resources to foster racial equality in health systems and communities.

CHCI commentaries chosen as Editors' Picks for 2020

Two commentaries penned by our team were chosen as NEJM Catalyst's Editors' Picks for 2020. The first discusses the design and implementation of COVID Watch, an automated system that monitors patients with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 remotely. The second explains how Penn Medicine leveraged machine learning and natural language processing to develop and launch an interactive chatbot to address COVID-19 concerns.

Developing a practical training method for an AI chatbot

In a piece for BMJ Innovations, members of our team, along with colleagues from Penn Medicine OBGYN, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Memora Health, discuss the development of a practical training method for an AI chatbot that efficiently improves accuracy and patient safety. Healing at Home (H@H), a program developed through the Acceleration Lab's Innovation Accelerator Program that coordinates prioritized discharge and digital access to care for mothers and newborns, serves as the use case for the piece. Penny, the program's postpartum chatbot, provides around-the-clock access to clinical guidance, screening for postpartum depression, lactation support, and more. The team's targeted training method used to optimize Penny can be readily applied to accelerate chatbot development for any clinical content across a broad range of care delivery settings. 

Monitoring patients remotely leads to a fourfold decline in returns to hospital after joint replacements

In a new study, Shivan Mehta, Eric HumeDavid Asch, Kevin Volpp, and others saw a fourfold decline in hospitalization after hip or knee joint replacement surgery among patients enrolled in an automated hovering program, HomeConnect+. The program uses wearable step counters and conversational text messaging powered by Way to Health to keep tabs on patients after surgery. In the study, just three percent of HomeConnect+ patients returned to the hospital after surgery, compared to 12 percent of patients not enrolled in the program. 

Community spread of COVID-19 tied to patient survival rates at area hospitals

According to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, COVID-19 mortality in hospitals seems to be lower when the prevalence of COVID-19 in their surrounding communities is lower. David Asch and Rachel Werner discussed the study's findings and called for citizens to do their part to keep communities safe and case rates down in an opinion piece for USA Today.

Study uncovers inequities in access to telemedicine

Lauren EberlySrinath AdusumalliChris SniderKrisda ChaiyachatiDamien LeriKatherine Choi, Eugene Gitelman, and others found that older people, non-English speakers, and those with lower incomes face inequities in accessing telemedicine for primary and specialty ambulatory care during COVID-19.  The authors end the article by stating that “As we build our telemedical health system, which is likely here to stay, a new “normal” must prioritize the needs of those who have been historically marginalized to ensure that health equity is achieved."


Date for 2021 Nudges in Health Care Symposium announced

Save the date for the Nudges in Health Care Symposium on May 20, 2021. The symposium will be virtual, and registration is free. Complete the form below to be notified when registration opens.

Additional Coverage

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