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May 2020 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global changes. The “new normal” has become the trending phrase and it accurately describes the radical changes the crisis has generated and how it has awakened all of us to the public health threats of new viruses and future pandemics.

The health care world has been turned upside down and with it, social workers who provide essential services to vulnerable individuals, families, and communities have had to rethink service delivery or accelerate telehealth services that were already in place. This month’s E-News Exclusive from a medical social worker describes the monumental changes in service delivery by social workers and how this experience calls for comprehensive change in the health care system to create long-term solutions to the shortcomings the pandemic has thrust into the spotlight.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
COVID-19 and the Social Work Response — The Need for Long-Term Solutions
By Dawn Whitten, DSW

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has forever changed life as we know it here in the United States and around the world. Long-held traditions such as shaking hands and greetings of hugging and kissing have now become taboo. Entire countries have been shut down along with business and day-to-day activities. Sports events, weddings, religious gatherings, and practices have all been cancelled. Fear, panic, and loneliness are now daily occurrences for many individuals, groups, and communities. Life has changed and with it the climate of health care and behavioral health care in the United States has been forever altered. The new normal is upon us and many helping professions have had to learn how to assimilate swiftly and efficiently to serve their clients well.

Rethinking Service Delivery
Social workers in all areas of the profession have had to rethink service delivery options to accommodate a life in quarantine. Behavioral health has been thrust full throttle into telemental health in efforts to help clients cope with this significant life disruption. Urban hospitals and other urban settings have been incorporating telemental health services for some time now. Unfortunately, many rural community hospitals, extended care facilities (ECFs), and community agencies still rely heavily on traditional face-to-face consultation, evaluation, and treatment methods. Health care settings are experiencing extraordinary numbers of patient admissions, and with it escalating extended patient stays. These traditional methods have left them hastening to provide service to the surrounding communities. The following are just a few domains that have been impacted by the current health care emergency.

Full story »
Tech & Tools
Telemedicine Transforms Response to COVID-19 Pandemic in Disease Epicenter

A rapid increase in “virtual” visits during the COVID-19 pandemic could transform the way physicians provide care in the United States going forward, according to a new study led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

The findings, published online in the Journal of the American Informatics Association, captures the largest experience to date of the speed, scale, and rapid expansion of video-enabled visits by patients and providers in varied and diverse settings. Specifically, between March 2 and April 14, 2020, virtual urgent care visits at NYU Langone Health grew by 683% and nonurgent virtual care visits grew by an unprecedented 4,345% in response to COVID-19, in daily averages.

Also participating in the study were researchers from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and NYU School of Global Public Health.

“The pandemic created an urgent need to divert patients from in-patient care and prevent the flooding of our emergency rooms beyond capacity,” says Devin Mann, MD, an associate professor in the departments of population health and medicine and senior director for informatics innovation and medical center information technology at NYU Langone Health, and the study’s lead author. “Through telemedicine, we pushed the frontlines to locations far from our hospitals and doctor’s offices. And because NYU Langone invested early in this technology, we quickly leveraged digital health to help hundreds of thousands of patients.”

Read more »
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In this e-Newsletter
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