Frank Cutitta was taken to a Boston-area hospital with Covid-19 in late March of last year. He wouldn’t leave again for another 100 days, until the Fourth of July. Cutitta, currently the founder and CEO of HealthTech Decisions Lab, treated most of his time in the hospital as a longitudinal case study as the former HIMSS senior director of content analytics and the founder of HIMSS Media Lab. Cutitta noted which high-tech – and not-so-high-tech – tools he relied on throughout his battle with Covid-19, from his dissatisfaction with patient portal updates to his adoration of the splendid shower chair.
Cutitta said he had a week of symptoms he dismissed as allergies before a friend loaned him a pulse oximeter this spring. Cutitta was unconcerned even though his oxygen saturation levels were at 82 percent. After all, a grade of 82 percent is higher than a passing grade on a scale of academic achievement. Cutitta had been rushed to the intensive care unit by the time his wife had finished parking the car.
Cutitta’s recuperation was still a long way off after he regained consciousness. The loneliness, he added, was what hit him the most. He was alone for 23 hours a day, with just a transactional engagement with a masked physician to break up the monotony. When Cutitta finally told a doctor how he felt, the doctor said he, too, was lonely: he was an oncologist who wished he could grasp his patients’ hands.