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Vol. 12 No. 4, February 24, 2015


App with Guidelines Helps Nurses Increase Diagnosis Rates
Nurses using mobile devices loaded with a custom app prompting evidence-based guidelines were significantly more likely to identify health issues such as obesity, smoking, and depression during routine exams, according to a study published in the Journal for Nurse Practitioners. The researchers from the Columbia University School of Nursing (US) evaluated diagnosis rates for tobacco use, adult and pediatric depression, and obesity during 34,349 patient exams conducted by 363 registered nurses enrolled in nurse practitioner programs at Columbia. Students were randomly assigned to use mobile apps with or without decision support for guideline-based care.
Use of mobile apps with decision support features resulted in up to 44 times more diagnosis rates than apps with just simple tools for recording results from a patient exam. That high rate was for pediatric depression (4.6% vs. 1.1%) and diagnosis of obese and overweight patients increased seven-fold from 4.8% to 33.9%; diagnosis of tobacco use increased five times from 2.3% to 11.9%; and diagnosis of pediatric depression increased four-fold from 1.1% to 4.6%.


Magnetic Nanoparticles Significantly Speed Up Destruction of Blood Clots
Endovascular clot retrieval might become the standard future treatment for ischemic strokes, thanks to recent research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. While this option may be better than existing clot busting drugs, researchers at the Houston Methodist Research Institute have developed new magnetic nanoparticles that can deliver a high concentration of a drug directly to the clot site, dissolving it orders of magnitude faster than direct injections. The nanoparticles are made of iron oxide coated with albumin, which cloaks the nanoparticles so that the immune system does not immediately target them. Because the particles are magnetic, they are readily seen under MRI and can be steered using an external magnetic guidance system. Moreover, the same magnet can induce a high frequency vibration of the nanoparticles, heating them up to further help with clot destruction.
Contact Lenses that Magnify, Controlled by Smart Wink Detecting Glasses
A collaborative effort between researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, University of California San Diego, Paragon Vision Sciences, Innovega, Pacific Sciences and Engineering, and Rockwell Collins has developed a contact lens that can switch between regular and zoom vision. The entire device is only 1.55 mm thick and works thanks to tiny mirrors that can selectively direct light to move straight or through the built-in telescope. The lens provides 2.8X magnification and works thanks to a smart pair of glasses that can detect when the wearer is winking. A right eye wink will turn on the magnification while a left wink returns the lens to normal mode. Normal eye blinks are ignored. The glasses don’t actually control the contact lens, instead polarizing light as it passes through them. The contact lens lets only light with certain polarization pass through the zoom and unmagnified paths, so that the glasses can select which section of the contact lens is transmitting the image ahead.

Reuse is Key for Danish Telemedicine Project
Reuse is one of the main reasons for the development as open source of OpenTele, a Danish e-health telemedicine project. The health sector is crying out for open source ICT solutions, says Mike Kristoffersen, a senior software architect at the Danish Alexandra Institute. On February 1, Kristoffersen presented OpenTele at the Fosdem conference in Brussels. The project is currently piloted for pregnancies with medical complications, and for chronic diseases such as diabetes and lung disease. OpenTele allows remote monitoring, and lets patients monitor their own health. In some cases, patients can even decide themselves if they need medication. OpenTele is already managing the records of 1,103 patients, Kristoffersen said, with 800 new users to be added soon.
OpenTele is a project by 4S - Stiftelsen for Software-baserede Sundheds-Services, the foundation for software-based health services. Its members are Denmark’s eHealth authority, three of the five Danish regions (which manage public hospitals and secondary healthcare), municipalities (which are responsible for primary health care and social care), the University of Aarhus and the Alexandra research institute. OpenTele is published under the Apache free software license.
UK: London Air Ambulance Launches App
London’s Air Ambulance charity has launched a new mobile app to transmit incident information more rapidly and reduce dispatch times by up to two minutes. The air ambulance’s advanced trauma teams are dispatched to around 2,000 patients each year by the London Ambulance Service emergency operations centre, using helicopters during the day and rapid response cars at night or when weather is too poor to fly. The new app, developed by mobile app developer Mubaloo and digital communications provider EE, automatically transmits details of any incidents suitable for the air ambulance service over 4G to the trauma teams, including incident information and navigation details with real-time flight and route data. The app, which runs on 4G-equipped tablets, has reduced the time it takes for the air ambulance service to dispatch its trauma teams by up to two minutes, with rapid response cars being dispatched in as little as ten seconds.
Extremadura, Canary Islands Pilot eHealth Card
The governments of Extremadura and the Canary Islands, two of Spain’s autonomous regions, are testing the interoperability of an eHealth card, to be used for prescriptions and in pharmacies in both regions. The administrations of the two regions presented the eHealth card on February 16, at an eHealth conference in Madrid. During the pilot-phase, Extremadura will dispense prescriptions to a fictional patient, to test if the medicines can be picked up at pharmacies on the Canary Islands. If this works, the pilot will be reversed. In the next phase, the test will involve a controlled group of patients in both regions. The two phases together should not take more than two months. When successful, Extramadura suggests that the system can be extended to other regions.
The Islands’ electronic prescription card should give health care professionals up-to-date information on medication per patient. With the card, patients can get their medications anywhere the card system is implemented. Patients can also receive information about their medication and treatment.

Opinion Article: What Answers Does Health IT Hold for the EU Baltic Region?
In May, the eyes of European health IT practitioners are going to be fixed in one place: Riga, Latvia, in the lovely Baltic region of North-Eastern Europe. Once frozen in time under a rigid Communist oppression, that country has rapidly opened itself up, becoming not just part of the wider European Union political structure but also becoming one of the most Internet-friendly, 'wired-up' countries in the whole continent. Riga will be hosting (May 11-12) the second mHealth Summit Europe - HIMSS Europe's rolling, global program of focused conference and exhibition around the theme (and enormous potential) of practical mobile-driven healthcare. Even better: it's fantastic to be able to confirm that the Summit (see more here) is not just a follow-on from a successful first run last May (in Berlin): it's a definite next step in terms of agenda, expected audience numbers, sponsorship and commercial support.

University of Saskatchewan Faculty Recognized for Interprofessional eHealth Award
Children living in northern Canada are receiving the preventative health, vision and dental interventions they need thanks to University of Saskatchewan faculty and their innovative program, Northern Caring for Kids Where They Live. The program, recently recognized with the inaugural 2015 Faculty Interprofessional eHealth Award, provides educational opportunities for healthcare students to deliver care in northern Saskatchewan using digital health solutions. The team's submission demonstrated a commitment to an integrated health care model that brings together professionals from different disciplines and focuses on patient-centred care.
Members of the Faculty Interprofessional eHealth Award recipient team from the University of Saskatchewan include: Dr. Jill Bally, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing; Dr. Shelley Spurr, Assistant Professor, College of Nursing; Dr. Lorna Butler, Dean, College of Nursing; Dr. Alyssa Hayes, Assistant Professor, College of Dentistry; Dr. Shahab Khan, Ophthalmologist, College of Medicine; Mr. Mark Tomtene, Director of Information and Communications Technology, College of Nursing.
The award is a component of the Canada Health Infoway's "Next Generation: Clinicians in Training" and is in partnership with the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC) and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN). The focus of the network is to enable faculty to embrace a culture of change and transform how they educate students to provide patient-centered, interprofessional and collaborative care, in a technology-enabled environment.
Support New Dr. Kathryn Hannah Nursing Informatics Scholarship
The Canadian nursing informatics community and the Canadian Nurses Foundation are partnering to establish the new Dr. Kathryn J. Hannah Nursing Informatics Scholarship, as a tribute to the health informatics leader and innovator. The annual scholarship, to be awarded to a nurse pursuing graduate studies to continue to advance leadership and innovation in nursing informatics and innovation, will be launched at the Canadian Health Informatics Awards Gala during e-Health 2015 June 2, 2015. Donations are needed for the scholarship; this is an excellent way to honour Kathryn and demonstrate support for nursing informatics. To make a donation, please follow the instructions on the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association (CNIA) website at:

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