| Vol. 13 No. 7, April 6, 2016 |
FACTS AND STATS
Popular Blood Pressure App Misses the Mark
A popular smartphone app purported to accurately measure blood pressure simply by placing a cellphone on the chest with a finger over the built-in camera lens misses high blood pressure in eight out of 10 patients, potentially putting users' health at risk, according to research from Johns Hopkins. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Although the app, called Instant Blood Pressure, is no longer available for purchase, it was downloaded more than 100,000 times and is still functional on phones, the researchers say.
For their study the researchers recruited 85 adult volunteers among patients and staff members in clinics associated with Johns Hopkins Medicine. The participants self-reported a range of body mass measurements, races and ethnicities, all factors known to influence blood pressure. Each participant had his or her resting blood pressure measured twice using a reliable automated blood pressure monitor commonly used in research studies to avoid measurer variation or error. Participants also used the app to measure their own blood pressure twice on the same day.
Results showed that blood pressures measurements from the app were overwhelmingly inaccurate. Close to 80% of those with clinically high blood pressure, defined as 140/90 millimeters of mercury or above, measured by the automated blood pressure monitor showed normal blood pressure with the app.
Though the results of this study were discouraging, the researchers say improvements in the technology could make blood pressure measurement apps accurate and useful. The app studied here, which cost $4.99 (US) when it was sold, was removed from Apple's App Store in late August 2015 for reasons that are unclear.
Ensuring EHR Data Quality: What Comes Out Must Go In (Opinion)
Much of the conversation at this year’s HIMSS conference was removing the barriers to the data that exists in electronic health records (EHRs). At least one session- the HIMSS Supply Chain Special Interest Group – focused on the overlooked need to first populate EHRs with quality data about the products used in healthcare. Otherwise, you know the old adage: Garbage in, garbage out.
The source of product data for EHRs should be the item master, the database of products purchased in the materials management or enterprise resource planning system. When those products are used in patient care, they can be documented in a specific patient’s medical record. To understand how they have an impact on quality, if not cost of care, the data on those products needs to be accurate and complete.
Biopen Used to Deposit Stem Cells, Repair Tissue within Joints
Stem cells have the capacity to be used to reconstruct and repair native tissues, but to apply them so that they survive and live on in their new home can be quite challenging. Now researchers at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science have developed a “biopen” that can deposit stem cells wherever needed. The technology was developed to allow surgeons to repair damaged cartilage within the intra-articular confines of joints. The stem cells are first encapsulated within a hydrogel ink that is pushed through the pen. A light within the pen is used to adhere the material together as it is dispensed out. The surgeon simply pushes a button on the pen and the stem cell/hydrogel material is released and deposited onto whatever the pen touches. In laboratory studies the researchers achieved a greater than 97% survival of the cells deposited using the biopen.
Canadians to Benefit from Telehomecare, Improved Medication Management
Federal funding for digital health will benefit Canadians for generations to come and improve health system efficiency, said Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. The federal government allocated $50 million over two years to Infoway in its 2016-2017 budget.
Ireland: HSE to Spend €875m on Health Records System
The HSE (Health Service Executive) is to spend up to €875m rolling out a national electronic health record system (EHR) that will enable patient information to be instantly accessed by approved medical personnel. The project is being overseen by eHealth Ireland, a dedicated entity tasked with using information and communication technology to modernize the health system.
The total costs involved in EHR will be outlined in a business case due to be published by eHealth Ireland, once it is approved by the HSE. However the HSE’s chief information officer Richard Corbridge — who is also the eHealth Ireland chief officer — confirmed reports in the Medical Independent that the scheme may cost up to €875m to introduce depending on which implementation plan gets the go-ahead.
Zimbabwe: e-Health Project Gathers Momentum
The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) has said the US$300 000 tele-medicine deal it signed with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is now at its execution stage. The contract, which was signed in November last year, was an initiative meant to benefit all rural health facilities around the country and was expected to begin in January this year. Tele-medicine is the use of telecommunication and information technologies to provide clinical healthcare using two-way communication between the patient and a healthcare provider.
Last December, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services permanent secretary Engineer Sam Kundishora said the project was set up to foster improvement in the delivery and provision of cost-effective and accessible health services, particularly to people in rural areas.
Doctors Without Borders Using 3D Printing, Virtual Reality to Plan Hospitals
Médecins Sans Frontières, aka Doctors Without Borders, is investigating how 3D printing and virtual reality technologies can help the organization setup field hospitals that are well suited to their environment and the situation being addressed.
In addition to their traditional 2D plan drawings, the team also created 3D models and a virtual reality reproduction of a recently designed facility in Cantahay, Philippines that was built to help people after a 2013 typhoon. The models and VR world allow physicians to evaluate the facility in terms of its benefit for patients, to find bottlenecks and limitations, and make corrections that will result in more appropriate designs.
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