Flyover Country fights the pandemic
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Tech firm expands its platform to aid a safe return to the office
Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay
Cincy tech company Avuity has added features to its workspace usage platform to help clients safely return to the office. Before the pandemic, Avuity’s products were focused on helping organizations assess and optimize how their office space was used. Now, the company has added several new features to promote a safe working environment.
Avuity’s software collects and analyzes data about space utilization. That functionality has been expanded to provide real-time notifications when an area is too populated, automatic workstation booking to manage worker proximity, and notifications when areas such as workstations, conference rooms, and bathrooms have reached a visitor threshold and need cleaning. The platform, which has a redesigned user interface, is also built to be adaptable as office needs change.
Avuity reports that earlier this year, corporate clients made up 90% of its core customer base. With the arrival of COVID-19, other sectors, including universities and retailers, have begun to show an interest in its products.
UofL’s Trager Institute to offer nursing homes COVID-19 training
The University of Louisville’s Trager Institute, which focuses on optimal and innovative aging, will train nursing homes in best practices for COVID-19 preparedness. The institute is an official training center for nursing homes as part of the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network. The effort is a collaboration of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Project ECHO, and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The 16-week training is free to nursing homes.
Nursing homes are highly vulnerable to COVID-19. Not only are their residents at high risk for contracting the virus because of their age and underlying conditions, but even those who do not get sick often suffer from loneliness caused by social isolation. The Trager training will provide practical information, skills, and resources nursing homes need to protect both residents and staff. There are significant benefits to nursing homes that participate in the training. They will learn best practices to keep people safe and they will also receive $6,000 in compensation for staff time and a certificate that makes them eligible for a portion of the $2 billion relief fund that is part of the federal CARES Act.
Minnesota's Medical Alley Association is making big COVID contributions
Lots of large corporations are on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, but plenty of small companies are too. Accordingly, Minnesota’s Medical Alley Association, a group that supports Minnesota’s healthcare industry, compiled a list of small companies making big COVID contributions. Here’s are just a few:
Breathe99 raised $745,000 via crowdfunding to create the B2 mask, an industrial-strength mask for public use that didn’t disrupt the supply of masks going to frontline workers.
Flywheel Exchange and Imbio partnered to provide AI-based lung visualizations free to academic and clinical researchers.
Carrot Health developed an index to predict populations and communities at the highest risk for virus outbreaks.
U Deliver Medical created bFed, a system that helps tube feed patients on ventilators, including those at home.
Vyriad developed a test to detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The test is currently being used by the Mayo Clinic.
Zipnosis, a telehealth provider, implemented a new COVID-19 protocol and patient screener that reduced the wait times for patients seeking telehealth to ten minutes, down from the industry average of 22 hours.
WashU, St. Louis startup working on AI solutions for COVID-19
Can augmented intelligence, genomics, and big data help find new treatments for COVID-19? That’s the hope of a new collaboration between the Washington University School of Medicine and a St. Louis startup called PercayAI. Their joint research hopes to identify drug combinations that can treat patients with the virus.
Computational scientists at PercayAI will use clinical and genomic data from WashU’s Institute for Informatics and McDonnell Genome Institute to look for potential new combinations of drugs. Using AI and genomics, they’ll be able to analyze massive amounts of data quickly to find patterns that could lead to new medications. Any findings from the pilot project will be evaluated in further research studies to determine the viability of new drug combinations.
University of Kansas will study COVID-19 and the lungs
COVID-19 is brutal to the lungs. And while scientists are making great strides in keeping COVID patients alive and breathing, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus and respiratory problems like asthma and COPD. Researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Centerwill lead and mentor other universities in a $25 million study of COVID-19 and lung health. The study is supported by the American Lung Association and its research arm, the Airways Clinical Research Centers Network.
The KU Medical Center will also conduct a cohort study of millennials that examines the impact of environmental exposures on respiratory health of young people. That study, which is funded by a $24.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, will include research on COVID-19 and vaping. A third study, also funded by the NIH, will look at telehealth and its impact on adolescent and young adults with asthma. The latter two studies will provide much-needed data on lung health and young people, as most lung research focuses on children and the elderly.
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