Facebook, Google Launch Ebola Relief Fundraising Campaigns
November 13, 2014 in News
Facebook and Google have launched separate Ebola relief fundraising campaigns, soliciting donations from their millions of users, NPR’s “goats and soda” reports (Klibanoff, “goats and soda,” NPR, 11/11).
- The International Medical Corps;
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; or
- Save the Children.
As of Nov. 11, the recipients of Facebook’s campaign had not yet received any donations, according to “goats and soda.”
Similarly, Google on Nov. 10 announced its own campaign on the company’s blog asking users to click to donate to:
- The International Rescue Committee;
- Partners In Health;
- The Network for Good, which will distribute the funds to Doctors Without Borders; or
- Save the Children.
Google will match every dollar donated with $2 until $2.5 million has been donated and Google has contributed $5 million, according to “goats and soda” (“goats and soda,” NPR, 11/11).
HIPAA Privacy Rule Compliance During Emergency Situations
In related news, HHS’ Office for Civil Rights has issued new guidance for complying with HIPAA privacy rules during an emergency situation, such as the Ebola outbreak, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 11/10).
According to Healthcare IT News, privacy rules still apply during such situations, but OCR outlined several exceptions to allow additional flexibility in sharing information in an emergency (McCann, Healthcare IT News, 11/10).
Under the new guidance, covered entities can:
- Disclose information that is necessary to treating the patient or another patient without consent;
- Disclose protected health information without patient consent to public health officials to protect public health and safety;
- Report births and deaths; and
- Conduct public health surveillance, interventions and investigations.
Further, the guidance allows public health authorities to share patient information with foreign government agencies that are assisting with the situation. Meanwhile, patient authorization is not required before notifying other at-risk individuals if other laws, such as state laws, authorize the sharing of such information to prevent or control disease outbreaks, according to the guidance (Health Data Management, 11/10).
Ebola Crowdsourcing Campaign
Meanwhile, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology business professor has launched an online crowdsourcing campaign aimed at eradicating Ebola in 100 days, the Boston Globe reports.
Trond Undheim operates an online network of specialists called Yegii, through which he has asked members to contribute ideas, data and analysis on ways to stop the Ebola outbreak. In September, Yegii issued its request for proposals and later picked five contributors from 26 applicants.
According to the Globe, Undheim and his team of contributors plan to send their ideas to public health officials, volunteer organizations and drugmakers by the end of November (Newsham, Boston Globe, 11/12).
Health Care Workers, Technologists Discuss Ebola Treatment Methods
In related news, robotics researchers and health care workers last week met to discuss ways technology can aid Ebola control and treatment efforts, Computerworld reports.
The workshops, hosted by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Texas AM University, aimed to create a discussion among health care workers and technologists about tools that are needed to help stop the spread of the virus.
Catherine Brown, a veterinarian with the Massachusetts Bureau of Infectious Disease, said health care workers could benefit from:
- Automated methods of testing for Ebola;
- An automated or robotic method for disinfecting equipment or specific areas;
- An automated method for handling blood samples in labs; and
- Remote monitoring technologies, such as sensors, to monitor the sterility of a working environment (Gaudin, Computerworld, 11/7).