workin' hard

Texas punches in as one of the hardest-working states in U.S., says study

Texans know hard work, a study shows. Photo by Tom Werner/Getty Images

Hey, Texas. Kick up your feet and give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it. The Lone Star State has been named one of the hardest-working states in the country.

In a study released August 31 just ahead of Labor Day, personal finance website WalletHub ranks Texas fourth on its list of the hardest-working states, behind North Dakota at No. 1, Alaska at No. 2, and Wyoming at No. 3. In last place: West Virginia.

Texas held the No. 4 spot in WalletHub's 2019 rankings, too.

For the study, WalletHub compares the 50 states across 10 key indicators. Those factors include average hours worked per week, share of workers with more than one job, and volunteer hours logged per person. Texas clocks in at No. 4 this year for the highest average number of hours put in during the workweek — its best ranking among the 10 key indicators.

The study of hardest-working states comes as a new WalletHub survey shows about one-third of Americans are worried about job security.

"Women are less likely than men to be concerned about job security, even though recent data shows that women are losing their jobs at a greater rate than men during the COVID-19 pandemic," WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says.

The survey also finds that about half of Americans say they've worked harder since the coronavirus pandemic began.

"Middle-class Americans were the most likely to say they have worked harder, followed by high-income and then low-income Americans," Gonzalez says.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Meet MIA — Houston Methodist's new voice technology assistant. Photo via Getty Images

Hey, MIA. Start surgery.

These are the words Houston doctors are learning to say in the operating rooms, thanks to a first-of-its-kind voice technology developed by the Houston Methodist's Center for Innovation in collaboration with Amazon Web Services. In the same way we use programs like Alexa or Siri to make our everyday tasks easier, the Methodist Intelligent Automation, or MIA, is allowing medical professionals to improve the way they interact both with technology and patients alike.

"There's been a push in the industry for a long time that people sitting behind computers and typing and staring at a computer screen is inadequate," says Houston Methodist Chief Innovation Officer Roberta Schwartz. "There's been a desire to return people back to each other rather than physicians and look at a screen and patients look at a doctor looking at a screen."

Currently in its pilot phase, MIA is working to do just that through two key functions that shift the way medical professionals work in what Schwartz calls the "era of electronic medical records."

The first is through operating room voice commands. Here medical professionals can run through a series or checklists and initiate important actions, such as starting timers or reviewing time of anesthesia, through voice instead of by typing or clicking, which can become cumbersome during lengthy and highly detailed surgeries. Information is displayed on a large 80-inch TV in the operating suite and following surgery all of the data captured is imported into the traditional EMR program. The technology has been prototyped in two Houston Methodist O.R. suites so far and the hub aims to trial it in a simulation surgery by the end of the year.

Additionally, the hub is developing ambient listening technology to be used in a clinical setting with the same goal. Houston Methodist and AWS have partnered with Dallas-based Pariveda to create specialized hardware that (after gaining patient permission) will listen into doctor-patient conversations, transcribe the interaction, and draft a note that is then coded and imported directly into the EMR.

"For EMR the feedback is that it's clunky, it's click-heavy, it's very task oriented," says Josh Sol, who leads digital and clinical innovation for Houston Methodist. "Our goal with the Center for Innovation and this technology hub is to really transform that terminology and bring back this collaboration and the patient-physician relationship by removing the computer but still capturing all the pertinent information."

The ambient listening technology is further off and is currently in user acceptance testing with clinicians.

"They've had some great feedback, whether it's changing how the note is created, changing the look and feel of the application itself," Sol adds. "All feedback is good feedback at this point. So we've taken it in, we prioritize the work, and we continue to improve the application."

And the hub doesn't plan to stop there. Schwartz and Sol agree that the next step for this type of medical technology will be patient facing. They envision that in the near future appointment or surgery prep can be done through Alexa push notifications and medication reminders or follow up assessments could be done via voice applications.

"It's all going to be of tremendous value and it's coming," Schwartz says. "We may be taking the first baby steps, but each one of these voice technologies for our patients is out there on the horizon."

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