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Leveraging Technology, Making America Great Again

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Tekisha King
April 18, 2020

In the era of the novel 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), originating in China (in December 2019) and rapidly unfolding in the United States, has risen the influence of technological breakthroughs and emerging trends in the public health sector. Exercising a multicultural leadership theory approach with the Path Goal Theory, public health leaders have instantaneously partnered with local, state and federal authorities to develop an endless global preparedness plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a 2018 issue of International Journal of Business and Management, the situational theory of leadership underlines the effectiveness of leadership by understanding the situation within an adaptive leadership model (as stated by Blanchard and Hershey), while yielding to precipitous disruptions, and also commanding versatility from leaders to achieve one goal. Ethical business practices with telemedicine, quality improvement initiatives and artificial intelligence applications are involved with machine learning programming to lessen inequities in healthcare access defiant with the Executive Order No. 10, enacted by the governor, JB Pritzker in Illinois. Thus, the genesis of a developed modernized society with minimal disparities and active social-distancing habits denotes a new day with the efficacy of technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic has justified the cogency of routine health behaviors, self-care and contingency planning. Healthcare costs and services will surge continuously with economic developments expanding access to healthcare for Americans. First, routine healthcare is outlined as a commitment with a board-certified primary care physician (PCP), dental provider, audiologist (doctor of hearing) or otolaryngologist (ears, nose, and throat) and ophthalmologist or optometrist. Additionally, healthcare can also be given by a specialized medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist (in terms of mental health), or a behavioral health specialist, as needed. Individuals can affect their own health through self-care, which embraces health and wellness techniques appropriate for one’s lifestyle to decrease uncontrolled life stressors. Lastly, an emergency plan can be a great step in taking care of one’s health. This includes essential items vital for human survival in all households. These steps can equip Americans with knowledge management values to sustain unforeseen diseases and illnesses in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affects vulnerable populations, including; the elderly (aged 65+), individuals with underlying diseases and illnesses and substance abuse disorders (SUD) populations. These groups have created a surge in telemedicine practices in healthcare. On March 20, 2020, under the President’s Trump Leadership, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) broadened access to Medicare health benefits on a temporary basis under the Section 1135 waiver authority and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act in patients’ residences starting on March 6, 2020.

Additionally, section 1009(b) of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) of Patients Community Act maximized telehealth flexibilities to prevent vulnerable beneficiaries direct patient care at healthcare facilities, but grants remote telehealth access to unique populations. Lastly, with robust efforts to protect vulnerable populations with access to healthcare, on April 2, 2020, CMS approved Medicaid waivers under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), bringing the total number of approved Section 1135 waivers for the Medicaid program to 44 in the United States. This decreased direct patient care with the progression of telehealth practices during the COVID-19 pandemic in support of patient safety to improve health outcomes.  

Quality reporting measurements promote quality improvement initiatives, funding, and health data vital for academic and clinical trial research programs. On March 22, 2020, CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, said, “The Trump Administration is cutting bureaucratic red tape so the healthcare system can direct its time and resources toward caring for patients,” by granting exceptions and extensions to clinicians, providers and facilities participating in Medicare Quality Improvement programs. On February 17, 2009, the American Reinvestment & Recovery Act (ARRA) modernized the nation’s infrastructure with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECT) Act to include meaningful use with electronic health records led by the CMS & the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONCHIT).

Furthermore, since the early 1990’s, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has set quality improvement initiatives which measure transparency and accountability with accrediting healthcare providers, medical practices, health plans, and other health entities with health information technology (HIT) to highlight top performers. This disparages administrative burdens on clinicians, providers, hospitals and facilities participating in Quality Reporting programs to focus on patient care.

Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the authenticity of sophisticated artificial intelligence with machine learning applications and software has validated best practices with big data in the public health sector. On April 9, 2020, in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) e-Newsletter, Director of Science, Andrew Wyckoff said, “Digital transformation is accelerating around network capacity, privacy and digital security prompting scientific advances more resourceful for a global view.”

The OECD has developed open data AI initiatives which have attracted AI experts worldwide from over 29,000 academic research institutions to develop AI-powered innovations to support COVID-19 prevention. For instance, an AI-Powered COVID-19 watch was developed using Tableau Public software as a dashboard embedded with health data from the World Health Organization (WHO) to monitor, track, detect and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus globally in real-time. In conclusion, the path-goal theory authenticates collaborative leadership allegiance to better healthcare and healthier communities to improve health outcomes.

Author: Tekisha King, MPA, BS Doctorate Candidate. Tekisha attested and sponsored the transformation to a Valued-Based Care (VBC) healthcare model(s) expansion to improve accessible cost-effective health services exceeding quality standards. She is firmly focused on the integral delivery of interpersonal collaboration, integrated technologies, and robust business partnerships to benefit diplomatically. Tekisha manages voluminous local, state, and federal projects as a devoted respected doctorate candidate at Walden University. E-mail: [email protected]

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