COVID-19 Information Overload & Resource Scarcity – #HITsm Chat Topic

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 3/27 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Mackenzie Boli (@mackenzieboli) from @RS21smarter on the topic of “COVID-19 Information Overload & Resource Scarcity”.

We can all agree that a tremendous amount information and data on COVID-19 has been generated and shared in the past two months. While information sharing has continued to increase, resources in the United States have dwindled.

The topic for this week’s #HITsm chat is, once again, COVID-19. This week, we will review information, data, and technology that are already being shared, accessed, and leveraged widely in the United States; and we will discuss information/data/technology gaps that must be addressed to produce better outcomes as we respond to this pandemic. The topic of resource scarcity will also be addressed in our discussions.

What We Know

On January 22nd, Johns Hopkins released the first iteration of a dashboard that is tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases, fatalities, and recoveries: Since then, countless entities have published similar tools that show how the novel coronavirus has spread.

Scientists have been working on predictive models since January to anticipate the spread of the virus. For example, Humboldt University of Berlin and the Robert Koch Institute used air travel to estimate how likely and quickly the virus is to spread to particular areas across the globe: Organizations like Nextstrain have combined COVID-19 spread data with genomic epidemiology information in compelling visual animations:

In late February/early March the conversation in the United States began to shift away from containing a COVID-19 outbreak to “flattening the curve.” As one example (of too many to count), the Washington Post published a spread simulator as a way of advocating for social distancing: Health officials, celebrities, and people from all walks of life began urging their fellow American’s to stay home via social media.

Also beginning in early March (in some places sooner), the U.S. started running out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Sometime shortly thereafter, grocery store goers began finding empty shelves where canned, boxed, and frozen goods were typically kept as non-perishable goods were hoarded by consumers.

On March 13th, the U.S. declared a national state of emergency in response to the novel coronavirus.

By mid-March, we started to see the emergence of more complex decision-making tools. A number of which were aimed at identifying and protecting vulnerable populations. On March 13th, RS21 published an Urban Health Vulnerability Index: The index measures the chronic disease burden of a census tract. Chronic conditions used to calculate the index include: asthma, COPD, diabetes, cancer, smoking, coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and kidney disease. Age (>= 65 years) is also considered in the index. On March 17th, published a free, open-source tool: ESRI has also created a map that tracks where the most vulnerable populations in the U.S. are located:

The U.S. Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced last week that they are leveraging Summit, the world’s fastest supercomputer, to screen more than 8,000 drug compounds that have potential to be used against COVID-19.

Recently, companies like Everlywell and Nurx, have started selling at-home COVID-19 testing kits. And on Tuesday, March 24th, Unacast, a company that collects and analyzes cell phone GPS data, launched a Social Distancing Scoreboard: The scoreboard grades, county by county, which residents are staying at home and which are eschewing state orders and public health advice.

By Wednesday, March 25th, stay-at-home orders will be in place for 17 U.S. states or approximately 40% of the population.

Join us for this week’s #HITsm chat where we’ll discuss COVID-19 and Information Overload and Resource Scarcity.

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:

T1: There is a ton of information and data out there about the COVID-19 pandemic. What information or data gaps do you see that, if addressed, would assist government and healthcare organizations in making more informed decisions? #HITsm

T2: How do we get intuitive, actionable information into the hands of decision-makers more quickly? #HITsm

T3: What information or data will be needed by government and healthcare organizations in the months to come? #HITsm

T4: What is the most interesting/exciting/novel application of technology you have come across as it relates to the pandemic? #HITsm

T5: Which resource shortages did we anticipate? Which were harder to predict? #HITsm

Bonus: What are the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic that are not being talked about enough today? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/3 – Healthcare “after” COVID-19: Should Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) finally take a front seat?
Hosted by Jim St. Clair (@jstclair1)

4/10 – Emerging Strategies for Measuring and Managing Provider Burnout
Hosted by Jeffrey Becker (@BeckerJMB)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.