Ensuring “compassion” is at the core of compassionate dialysis screening

End-stage renal disease, or ESRD, is a serious medical condition caused by failure of the kidneys that also has significant social and economic implications. The only treatments for end-stage renal disease are regular courses of dialysis or a kidney transplant. For individuals with ESRD who do not have access to treatment, either because they are uninsured or they may not be a legal residents of the U.S., often their only option is to resort to going to the emergency room in order to receive dialysis. However, mandatory hospital and even county protocols structured to prevent emergency room congestion can result…

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Drones and defibrillators: Saving minutes to save lives

Cardiovascular disease, a term for a number of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, is a serious and steadily growing threat to global health, causing even more deaths every year than cancer. In the U.S. alone, nearly 660,000 people, or 1 in 4, die of heart disease annually. In particular, cardiovascular disease can lead to cardiac arrest, a serious condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. One of the most effective methods of treatment for cardiac arrest is an automated external defibrillator, which can not only correct an episode of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, but can restore the…

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Improving guidelines for hypertension treatment to save lives

According to the CDC, nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have hypertension or are taking medication to control it. Of these individuals, only about 1 in 4 actually have their condition under control, whether through improved diet and exercise, making different lifestyle choices such as not smoking, or with prescription medications. Knowing when to start treating someone for hypertension is extremely important, as elevated blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even death. However, there can be some uncertainty in the medical community on when it is appropriate to begin medication, as guidelines are frequently revised,…

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Helping valuable donor milk reach infants in need

Over 15 million infants around the world are born prematurely each year and can experience health complications and lengthy hospitalizations as a result of underdevelopment and immature immune systems. One of the best resources for these babies can come from their mother’s breast milk, which has unique growth factors and nutritional qualities that can help combat a number of serious conditions that can impact premature infants. But for babies whose mothers may be unable to produce milk due to their baby’s premature birth, or have health conditions or medications that preclude breastfeeding, and a physician recommends breast milk as the…

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Shining a light on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution

After a year dominated by the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 dawned with an optimistic look ahead, as we witnessed the start of the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine. But as we are still in the earliest stages of this effort, there are still challenges ahead and a great deal of uncertainty. Joining me to shine some light on this is Anna Nagurney, the John F. Smith Memorial Professor in the Department of Operations and Information Management in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also the Founding Director of the Virtual…

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How much do your peers’ diets impact your weight loss? More than you think!

After months of living, working, teaching, learning, and perhaps most importantly for the purposes of this podcast, eating from home, many of us might admit we’ve seen what has become known as the “Quarantine 15” sneak up on us, to some extent. As the summer and “bikini season” stretch on, for those who may be looking to shed a couple of pounds, you are not alone. Each year in the U.S., the weight loss industry generates more than $20 billion from 100 million dieters, with countless options available relating to diet and exercise.    In fact, we are inundated with…

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Speaking the language of healthcare data

Imagine a world where you could access your healthcare data the same way you access your financial data. A world where you get notifications on your iPhone when lab test results are ready and where you can use third party apps to seamlessly track chronic conditions. That world now exists thanks to the health data standard recently mandated by the federal government. Joining me to shed some light on the role that operations research is playing in this development are IBM data scientists Dr. Nasim Lari and Will Rosenfeld, both members of the INFORMS Washington, D.C. chapter, where Nasim serves…

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Creating better YouTube content for patients with chronic disorders

Many of us rely on YouTube for instruction on a wide range of interest areas, from beauty tutorials, to a new recipe, to basic DIY home improvement projects, and more. But what if YouTube tutorials could improve our lives in a different way, by helping us better understand and manage our health and wellness? Joining me for this episode is Rema Padman, trustees professor of management science and healthcare informatics at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, whose research has identified guidelines for organizations to provide YouTube video content for individuals with chronic health conditions…

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Can doctor ego impact your diagnosis?

Operations research and analytics play a key role in advancing medical technology and methodology, with improvements to diagnostic testing, both conventional and AI-based tools, helping doctors more easily and accurately identify and treat medical conditions, providing better patient outcomes. But what happens if doctors aren’t using these tools, either out of concern over the costs incurred by the patient, or because they hold their own personal diagnostic abilities in higher regard, relying on that over diagnostic testing? In this episode, I am joined by Tinglong Dai with the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School and the Johns Hopkins School of…

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Working smarter, not harder, to improve healthcare transparency

Healthcare is a complex, often overwhelming subject, and the effort to match patients with providers based on patient needs and provider ability, known as the patient provider alignment (or PPA) problem, has consistently proven difficult to tackle. In the past, this was thought to have been exacerbated by the limited availability of information available to the public regarding providers and their performance, which could help facilitate better patient provider matches. However, despite efforts to increase transparency by making healthcare data open and available to the public, the PPA problem still persists.  In this episode, I am joined by Soroush Saghafian…

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