COVID-19 Twitter chat round up

24 June 2020

COVID-19 Twitter chat round up

On Friday 19 June 2020, Future Science Group hosted a Twitter chat on #TalkCOVID19. The COVID-19 pandemic has been dominating global news headlines and medical communities have been working tirelessly to combat the pandemic, and to ensure that other areas of clinical medicine are not detrimentally affected. In light of this, Future Science Group wanted to extend the conversation to a panel of experts to see their views on the changing healthcare environment. Michael Thompson (Aurora Health, WI, USA), Nikhil Sharma (University College London Queen Square Institute of Neurology, UK), Narjust Duma (University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, WI, USA), Boghuma Titanji (Emory University, GA, USA) and Jordan Strom (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MA, USA) made up the panel, bringing expertise from many areas in clinical medicine including infectious diseases, neurology, oncology and real-world evidence.

Below are the questions put to the panelists, and the discussion that ensued.

1. Please could you introduce yourselves?

The panelists each introduced themselves, their area of expertise and what they have recently been involved in working on.

2. What have been some of the biggest changes to clinical practice and care provision within your specialty as a result of COVID-19?

The panelists are quick to highlight how healthcare systems all over the world, including the NHS in the UK, have done tremendously well to cope with the surge in cases and patients with COVID-19, but they note certain aspects have been unavoidably disrupted from having to weigh up the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

3. What might we be able to learn from some of the challenges faced by healthcare systems so far during this pandemic?

We have seen that when there is a need for action, healthcare communities are learning to overcome challenges in innovative ways and hopefully this will inspire different ways of working in the future. Jordan Strom also points out that the pandemic has brought system disparities to light and challenges us to take heed of these issues and resolve them for a better standard of care in the future.

4. How has use of telemedicine and digital health technologies within your specialty changed because of COVID-19?

The panelists show a general consensus that telemedicine can certainly play a role in each of their fields, but it certainly cannot completely replace some in-person aspects.

Mike Thompson makes a good point building on what Jordan Strom commented, saying that innovation in telemedicine could increase disparities in healthcare and this mustn’t be overlooked if telemedicine is going to be a permanent feature of future healthcare systems.

5. What are some of the benefits and challenges associated with telehealth protocols within your specialty?

6. How can telehealth practices be optimized to ensure they are a valuable and lasting resource for protecting at-risk patient populations, whilst maintaining delivery of high-quality healthcare during – and beyond – the pandemic?

This question prompted some in-depth responses, highlighting very important issues such as access to telemedicine, adapting care based on individual patient characteristics, and logistical considerations including pay and medical insurance.

7. Do you think we could see a sustained use of telemedicine in years to come?

The overarching opinion here was certainly a yes from the experts, but with caveats that it must be used appropriately for the setting.

8. What impact has COVID-19 had on treatment regimens/use of certain medications/initiation of treatment rounds within your specialty?

In the scientific community many concerns have been voiced over the redirection of resources away from high-profile diseases in terms of treatment and research, such as in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (as pointed out by Nik Sharma):

9. How are you maintaining interdisciplinary communication between medical specialties during this time, to ensure fully informed and best treatment decisions are made?

Luckily, many tools have been made available to facilitate increased communication, with patient care at the forefront of clinician’s minds.

10. Is the focus on COVID-19 taking away crucial resources from other critical treatments? How could we tackle this?

We can see the impact of this across many different fields of medicine, with exposure being a large risk factor as well as from the patient’s side – delaying reaching out for treatment.

11. What do you think the leaders of patient care organizations should be thinking about, and doing, right now?

Now this question was a real thought-provoker – there are a lot of big issues including racial disparities, mental health and the state of the economy that all need to be addressed, and only once this has happened can we hope to move on and progress in a sustainable way that leaves us more prepared for the future.

12. Do you think the COVID-19 outbreak will result in long-term changes to clinical practice, if so, how?

The final question in the Twitter chat gave a positive outlook, as the medical field hopes to learn and progress to improve standards of care, summed up nicely by Boghuma Titanji. The hope is that the support will be there so that we can prevent future outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you again to our panelists for spending their time with us for the #TalkCOVID19 Twitter chat, we had some challenging questions and even more challenging answers! It is really important to see different perspectives from all fields in medicine especially in open conservations on global platforms such as Twitter. Hopefully we will see some of the actions our panelists raised as we move forward from this pandemic.


Discover more content on the COVID-19 pandemic across our digital hubs:

Infectious Disease Hub – COVID-19: latest news and case numbers

Oncology Central – An oncologist’s perspective of COVID-19: “I wish I could hug you”

Neuro Central – COVID-19: the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health and what we can all do

The Evidence Base – Social distancing and self-isolation 100 years after the 1918 influenza pandemic: what have we learnt from pandemics of the past?

The Nanomed Zone – Ray Owens on nanobody technology for use against SARS-CoV-2



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