What We're Reading: EMR COVID-19 Data Access Limited; LA to Test All Residents; Social Distancing Challenges

April 30, 2020
AJMC Staff

Doctors are reporting challenges when it comes to accessing electronic medical record (EMR) data for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); Los Angeles will be the first US city to test all residents, regardless of symptom presence; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollees are struggling with social distancing guidelines.

Hospitals Struggle to Obtain Reliable EMR Data

Los Angeles Will Test All Residents, Regardless of Symptom Presence

SNAP Enrollees Report Grocery Challenges

In the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, hospitals have run into significant roadblocks when attempting to retrieve necessary electronic medical record (EMR) data, Kaiser Health News reports. In recent years, federal officials have spent around $36 billion to transition from paper to electronic health records to enable timely and efficient sharing of patient EMR data. However, the challenges are mainly due to software built by rival technology firms operating at different hospitals. Because of the different systems, doctors are struggling retrieve and share reliable information to judge which COVID-19 treatments are helping patients recover.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that all residents of Los Angeles city will receive a COVID-19 test regardless of whether they show symptoms, The Hill reports, making Los Angeles the first major US city to do so. Garcetti hopes to expand testing to Los Angeles County in the coming weeks. Plans are already in place to test the county's first responders, grocers, and healthcare workers, even if they are asymptomatic. Although testing will be free to all, Garcetti notes patients with symptoms will be prioritized over asymptomatic individuals.Individuals enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) report difficulties when trying to attain groceries, NPR reports. Nearly 40 million Americans are enrolled in the food assistance program, and many have disabilities or restrictive medical conditions. Due to shelter-in-place orders in place throughout the country, some individuals have turned to online grocery delivery services. However, few of these services will accept SNAP payments, forcing already at-risk individuals to face potential exposure by going out in person to buy groceries.