Hospital Management lists the top five terms tweeted on healthcare in November 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Intensive Care Unit – 615 mentions

Dearth of intensive care unit (ICU) beds in Minnesota region, Utah hospital refuting ICU claims and shortage of medical staff leading to deaths among ICU patients in Hungary were some popular topics discussed in November. According to an article shared by Liz Szabo, senior correspondent at Kaiser Health News, a non-profit news service, the Twin Cities region in Minnesota in the US is facing a shortage of ICU beds as Covid-19 cases are surging in the state. The resurgence of coronavirus cases is leading to increase in hospitalisation of patients. More than 900 inpatient hospital beds in the state had Covid-19 patients, among which 203 needed ICU treatment for breathing complications caused due to coronavirus infection, the article highlighted.

Further, Howard Luks MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, shared an article about Utah Valley Hospital taking strict measures after conspiracy theorists tried to enter the ICU. The conspiracy theorists were trying to prove that the hospital’s claim that ICU beds were filled was false. However, the Utah Valley Hospital authorities emphasised that the ICU was full, the article noted.

ICU was also discussed in an article shared by Paul Becher, a public health consultant, about doctors in Hungary cautioning that dearth of medical staff to treat Covid-19 patients admitted to ICU could lead to surge in deaths. The government directed hospitals to expand ICU capacity to take in the coronavirus patients and also bought 16,000 ventilators to meet the rising demand amid the pandemic. The pandemic could lead to the breakdown of the country’s health care system, which is currently not equipped to tackle the rising number of patients, the article highlighted.

2. Covid-19 – 367 mentions

British Columbia registering hundreds of new Covid cases, Carbon Health’s Covid-19 vaccination programme and Covid-19 deaths in the US surpassing quarter million were some widely discussed topics last month. Andre Picard, health columnist at The Globe and Mail, shared an article about a record 617 new coronavirus cases being registered in British Columbia province in Canada as the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic hits the country. Of the 617 cases, 167 patients were admitted to hospitals, with the total number of patients surging by 60% in one week. Since the onset of pandemic, more than 20,000 Covid-19 cases were registered in the province, the article highlighted.

Gary Monk, a healthcare pioneer, shared an article about Carbon Health, a healthcare company, raising $100m through funding for expansion of pop-up clinics before the start of Covid-19 vaccination programmes. The company plans to open 100 pop-clinics at 20 locations across the country. Once the vaccine is ready, a well-defined strategy is required to undertake a nationwide vaccine inoculation programme, which also entails co-ordination among various stakeholders, the article noted.

Other discussions surrounding Covid-19 included the total number of deaths caused by the pandemic in the US crossing 250,000, according to a video shared by Nurse Keith, a healthcare expert. With the number of coronavirus deaths nearing 1.5 million worldwide, the pandemic is not yet over as ignorance, political inefficiency and apathy are exacerbating the crisis, the video highlighted.

3. Nurses – 363 mentions

Rise in demand for nurses in the US, North Dakota’s new order for Covid-19 positive nurses and new job for retired doctors and nurses in England were some popularly discussed topics in November 2020. According to an article shared by C. Michael Gibson MD, an interventional cardiologist, there is a serious shortage of nurses in the US, which is pushing hospitals to offer them higher salaries. While nurses were paid $800 per week before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses in South Dakota are making upwards of $6,200 a week and North Dakota hospitals are offering nurses $8000 to $1,000 a week, the article highlighted.

Further, Liz Szabo, shared an article about North Dakota governor amending an order to allow Covid-19 positive nurses to report to duty as hospitals in the state reached full capacity. The government took the extreme measure in view of rapid increase in coronavirus cases across the state, which led to record number of hospitalisations among coronavirus infected individuals. The nurses could also be moved to medical centres if there is a paucity of staff at these units, the article noted.

Nurses also trended in discussions shared by Anant Bhan, a global health researcher, about UK’s retired doctors, district nurses and physios being recruited for the country’s biggest vaccination drive. The UK National Health Service’s vaccination programme will bring together district nurses, high street chemists and general practitioners to inoculate 22 million exposed adults, followed by the remaining population. The staff administering vaccines will undergo two hours of online training before commencement of the vaccination drive, the article highlighted.

4. Health Insurance – 195 mentions

Americans burdened by health costs despite insurance coverage and Vietnam government’s health insurance plans were some broadly discussed topics during the previous month. Dirk Stanley, a healthcare professional, shared an article about millions of Americans incurring huge healthcare costs despite the expansion of insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act passed by US Congress in 2010. According to a study, roughly 11 million US citizens incurred huge medical expenses in 2017, which implies that more than one-third of an individual’s income was spent on healthcare costs. Notwithstanding the gains in health insurance, many Americans could still be susceptible to exorbitant medical bills including high premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, the article noted.

Another discussion related to health insurance was shared by Joe Cronin, a global health expert, about Vietnam government’s universal health plan, which will cover the basic medical care costs of all its legal residents. The objective of the government’s health insurance plan is to decrease out-of-pocket costs of citizens to below 40% from the usual 80%. The country launched an electronic health record management system on the basis of social security codes in June last year, the article highlighted.

5. Nursing Homes – 191 mentions

Coronavirus related deaths in rural nursing homes and decline in staffing in nursing homes in the US during the pandemic were some popularly discussed topics in the month of November. According to an article shared by Melanie Evans, hospital reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Covid-19 deaths are rising at nursing homes located in the rural areas of the US. These nursing homes are not equipped to handle the crisis due to understaffing among other problems. Nursing homes in rural counties registered 18% of coronavirus fatalities in the last week of October, while Covid-19 deaths at facilities in small-town counties reached 17%, the article highlighted.

Further, Charles Ornstein, managing editor at ProPublica, a non-profit news portal, shared an article about scores of nursing homes in New York state witnessing a slump in staffing levels by 25% at the peak of pandemic, compared with 2019 levels. Approximately 300 nursing homes with Covid-19 positive patients reported that their staffing plunged by more than 40% in Q2. Many staff members were themselves suffering from coronavirus infections and were forced to self-isolate to avoid spreading the virus leading to the shortage, the article noted.