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Vol. 11 No. 14, July 2, 2014


Study: Search Engine App Boosts EHR Use, Cuts ED Imaging Overuse
Search engine technologies can help sift through electronic health records to cut back on the overuse of imaging in emergency departments, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Imaging and laboratory tests give ED physicians more objective information than a physical examination, leading some doctors to overuse such services, the study found.
To find a more efficient method for using imaging data, researchers modified a 2005 semantic search application created at Massachusetts General Hospital called the Queriable Patient Inference Dossier, or QPID. In an ED setting, the tool pulls data from an EHR system and compiles the information for the user. The QPID application used in the study included 74 query topics relevant to patient screening and management, such as: antibiotic use, discharge notes and history of pregnancy. Researchers found that the search engine application could complete all 74 queries for a single patient in an average of 15 seconds. In addition, they found that structured data searches had a positive predictive value of 87% and a negative predictive value of 86% and unstructured data searches had a positive predictive value of 75% and a negative predictive value of 88%.


Computer-Aided Diagnosis of Rare Genetic Disorders from Family Snaps
Computer analysis of photographs could help doctors diagnose which condition a child with a rare genetic disorder has, say Oxford University researchers. The researchers, funded in part by the Medical Research Council (MRC), have come up with a computer program that recognizes facial features in photographs; looks for similarities with facial structures for various conditions, such as Down's syndrome, Angelman syndrome, or Progeria; and returns possible matches ranked by likelihood.
Using the latest in computer vision and machine learning, the algorithm increasingly learns what facial features to pay attention to and what to ignore from a growing bank of photographs of people diagnosed with different syndromes. The researchers report their findings in the journal eLife. The study was funded by the MRC, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the European Research Council (ERC VisRec).
Vibrating Electronic Glove Teaches People to Read/Write in Braille with Little to No Effort
Reading and writing in Braille can be a frustrating new skill that people who lost their eyesight have to learn. Typically, to become a natural at Braille requires many hours of learning, but researchers at Georgia Tech developed a glove that can help learn Braille without even thinking about it. The electronic glove has vibrating motors sitting atop each knuckle and was originally used to teach people to play piano. The knuckles can be made to vibrate in different patterns that correspond to phrases written in Braille. In studies, to be presented at the 18th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) in Seattle in September, the researchers had volunteers wear the glove while focusing on learning Braille, while other participants played unrelated video games during the same Braille learning sequences. Remarkably, even those that didn’t consciously focus on Braille were able to repeat writing phrases taught by the glove. Moreover, not only did writing of Braille improve, but the study participants were also able to read Braille with greater ease.


Doctors of the World Launches First Mobile Medical Clinic in the Streets of Montreal
Doctors of the World Canada is proud to announce the launch of its very first mobile medical clinic in Montreal, an initiative that is unique in North America. With this state-of-the-art vehicle, the volunteer doctors and the nurses employed by the organization will be able to provide healthcare services to marginalized people in several downtown districts. The Doctors of the World mobile clinic is divided into two main areas: one for patient reception and nursing care, and a second, more spacious area with an examination table and the doctor’s workstation. In addition to the volunteer doctor, the team will comprise a driver, a nurse and volunteers. The vehicle will also be equipped with TELUS Health technology for registering patients in the healthcare system.
UK: Nine CSU Alliances Created for Future
Nine commissioning support unit alliances have been created, based on a mix of partnerships and merging CSUs, NHS England has announced. The nine alliances have all put in bids to become part of NHS England’s lead provider framework, which will allow clinical commissioning groups to purchase services on a ‘call-off’ basis, and will include CSUs, charities and private companies. Originally, the Department of Health estimated that between 25 and 35 CSUs could be set up to provide services to clinical commissioning groups from 1 April 2013. That number has steadily declined since. South CSU and South West CSU will remain as two separate organisations working together, whereas Central Midlands CSU and Staffordshire and Lancashire CSU have now merged.

Tech Giants Launch New e-Health Network
Dutch healthcare and lighting company Philips said it was teaming up with Salesforce, one of the biggest cloud-computing companies in the United States, to offer online management of chronic diseases. The venture will involve a cloud-based software platform that will take data fed from networked medical devices in homes and hospitals to allow nurses and doctors to monitor the health of hundreds of patients simultaneously. The companies said they would launch two new medical applications, Philips eCareCoordinator and Philips eCare Companion, later in the summer as part of the partnership. In a demonstration of the platform, the companies showed how a nurse could remotely use a networked weighing scale and a pill dispensing box to assist elderly patients.


Infoway Congratulates the 2014 Canadian Health Informatics Award Winners
Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) applauds the individuals, project teams and organizations honoured for their leadership, innovation and excellence at the Canadian Health Informatics Awards (CHIA) Gala, which was held in conjunction with the e-Health 2014 Conference. Infoway celebrates all the winners, and is especially pleased that the following Infoway-sponsored projects were recognized:
  • The First Nations Panorama Implementation Project in British Columbia received the Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics award.
  • Health PEI / Cerner Canada’s Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) Project received the Project Team Implementation award.
  • The Nova Scotia Personal Health Records Project team received the Patient Care Innovation award.
In addition, Richard Alvarez, President and CEO of Canada Health Infoway, won the prestigious Leadership in the Field of Health Informatics Award in recognition of his 30-year career in Canadian healthcare. The award honours individuals whose leadership has made a significant contribution to or strongly influenced health outcomes or health system improvements. Mr. Alvarez was also honoured with the 2014 Innovation Award for Healthcare Leadership by the Canadian College of Health Leaders earlier this month. This annual award recognizes the outstanding capabilities and achievements of a senior executive who has made innovation a focal point of their organization’s strategy in order to create high impact results.
Swedish Diabetes App Video Wins Two International Awards
A video promoting Triabetes™, the all-in-one diabetes control app from Swedish medtech firm Diabetes Tools, won the "Internet/Online Video - Health and Fitness" category at the 35th Annual Telly Awards in New York, USA on 16 June 2014. The Triabetes video was created by Swedish film agency Populate who won seven awards at this year's international competition. The two-minute video combines live action and animation to show how to use the Triabetes smartphone app in daily life. Previously on 14 May 2014, the same video won a silver award in the "Sales promotions: Health care" category at the World Media Festival in Hamburg, Germany.


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