COVID-19 tech and disparities

This issue focuses on how the pandemic has driven technological change but also highlighted inequalities in our society.


The pandemic has required people in many occupations to use technology to complete necessary work while reducing interpersonal contact. As this month's main story explains, that has included hospital medicine, usually one of the most hands-on jobs around. From chatbots and check-in systems to machine learning and video visits, some new technological tools have helped hospitalists deal with COVID-19 and may stick around to improve practice in the long term.

Our feature stories address less positive effects of the pandemic. We've all heard about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color, but a feature story looks into the details, causes, and potential solutions surrounding this problem. Another article focuses on the patients who can't follow the common current advice “stay at home” because they don't have one. Being homeless makes the novel coronavirus more difficult to avoid and to recover from, but some cities, hospitals, and hospitalists are doing what they can to ameliorate this situation.

This issue also has two articles related to patient flow. In conference coverage from a recent virtual summit on recovery from the pandemic, one hospitalist offers her six tips for building capacity in a full hospital by increasing clinical efficiency. In a Perspectives piece, another hospitalist describes how the need to increase patient throughput helped her develop a thinking framework that may be applicable to other complex challenges of hospital medicine.

COVID-19 is obviously one of those challenges, but don't let the pressure to do something override the importance of evidence-based medicine, two hospitalists urge in another Perspectives piece. Have your own wisdom to share? Email us at acphospitalist@acponline.org.

Sincerely,
Stacey Butterfield
Editor-in-Chief