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| Vol. 14 No. 7, April 5, 2017 | 


From Smart Beds to Smart Sticks: The Health Technology Transforming our Lives
Medical science has shifted from curing the human body in recent decades to strengthening it to a point where in some countries, 100 years old will soon become commonplace.
The McKinsey report Living Longer and Healthier Lives predicts that humanity is standing “at the cusp of a healthcare revolution that will eclipse the achievements of past centuries in its speed and impact”.
Scientists have been able to re-engineer immune cells and direct them to help fight cancer – a similar approach could be used to treat a wide range of diseases. Genome editing has the potential for combating and correcting genetic diseases which cost hundreds of thousands of lives each year, the report notes.
Regenerative medicine, 3D printing, advanced sensors, and data analytics are just some of the other areas that can help medical science deliver longer and healthier lives.


Visiting a Doctor Just Got Easier with the Launch of a New App
Canadian telehealth company GOeVisit, has launched their new app complementing their existing online medical platform that provides virtual access to visits with Canadian doctors, for minor illnesses, any time, anywhere. GOeVisit is using the same technology people are already using daily, turning a computer, smartphone or tablet into a private, face-to-face medical visit. Now, they just made it easier with the launch of their free mobile app.
GOeVisit can diagnose, treat and prescribe for more than 50 minor illnesses ranging from coughs, colds and flu, to general medical concerns, minor injuries and pediatric care.  There is no fee to enroll or to use the service.

Resolve Digital Health Raises $5 million to Debut the First Standardized Patient Experience for Medical Cannabis
Resolve Digital Health is set to change the way cannabis is prescribed by physicians and experienced by patients with $5 million raised in a Series A round led by Aphria Inc  and brokered by Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. This marks the next phase in the company's development with an upcoming California launch of their debut medical device system, Breeze. The technology behind the product has been in development since 2015, following an initial seed investment with CannaRoyalty Corp..
Unlike existing cannabis products, Breeze provides a more accurate, metered, treatment solution with pre-packaged, single use Smartpod™ filled with the highest quality cannabis buds or oil. The cannabis Smartpod™ is inserted into the Company's proprietary patent pending vaporizer. The patient experience is tracked through a mobile application with all data securely stored for sharing with doctors, pharmacists and other caregivers.


Health Canada Approves Stand-alone 3D Mammography Screening With Siemens Tomosynthesis Platform

  • In reader study, Mammomat Inspiration with Tomosynthesis Option is first Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) solution to show superior results to 2D as stand-alone 3D exam.
  • 3D-only use increases cancer detection and decreases recall rates by an average of 19 percent at a lower dose than DBT combined with 2D.

Siemens Healthineers has announced that Health Canada has approved the use of 3D-only screening mammography utilizing the company’s Mammomat Inspiration with Tomosynthesis Option digital mammography system. The Siemens system is the first and only 3D digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) platform to be approved in Canada as a stand-alone screening and diagnostic system
Approval of the 3D-only application follows a pivotal reader study in which participating radiologists demonstrated their ability to increase cancer detection at a lower radiation dose than combined 2D and DBT. In the study, radiologists decreased average recall rates by an average of 19 percent without the need for a 2D image.
The study involved the review of over 450 images by 31 Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) certified radiologists and evaluated the accuracy of the readers in detecting and diagnosing malignant lesions using 3D only screening compared to 2D. Of the readers, 29 of the 31 showed improvement in breast-level receiver operating characteristic (ROC) areas.

GeneNews Launches Blood-Based, Biomarker Test for Breast Cancer Risk Assessment
GeneNews Limited announced today the launch of BreastSentry™, a new risk stratification test for breast cancer, via its Virginia-based clinical reference lab, Innovative Diagnostics Laboratory ("IDL"). BreastSentry incorporates a blood-based biomarker test with a sophisticated algorithm to determine a woman's five-year and lifetime risk for developing breast cancer.  
BreastSentry measures the fasting plasma levels of two biomarkers in the blood, proneurotensin ("pro-NT") and proenkephalin ("pro-ENK"), which are highly predictive of a woman's risk for developing breast cancer. Various longitudinal clinical studies have shown that elevated levels of pro-NT and decreased levels of pro-ENK are strong, independent risk factors for the development of breast cancer. In addition, BreastSentry measures seven key risk factors, based on the Gail Model, for developing breast cancer to provide an additional level of personal data into the risk stratification algorithm to create an enriched, personalized score.

Three Squishy Medical Robots That Are as Soft as You Are
The inside of the human body is mostly squishy (that’s a technical term), and our soft innards don’t always fare well when hard objects are placed inside. Not only can sharp edges damage organs and blood vessels, but the body’s defense system can also surround the foreign object with scar tissue and interfere with its intended function. So researchers are working on soft robots that may be better tolerated within the body, permitting machines to make intimate contact with human tissue without jeopardizing safety.
These three experimental bots are designed for different purposes—two are implants, one is a potential surgical tool—but they all showcase a gentler kind of robotics, enabled by new materials and flexible actuators.


Refreshed NHS Strategy Names Digital Exemplars and Pledges to Encourage App Innovation
NHS England has published an update to its Five Year Forward View document that sets out plans for the NHS as it turns 70, focusing on the need to ease pressure on frontline services and make further efficiency savings.
The document, Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View, comes two-and-a-half years into the original five year plan and has sections dedicated to specific areas of healthcare, for instance urgent and emergency care, cancer and mental health.
In addition, there is a section focusing on making the best use of technology and innovation to speed up the transformation of the health service, which builds on the recommendations and pledges that followed the Wachter review into IT in the NHS. This includes a push to offer people greater access to their medical records, improve online booking systems and encourage people to use more healthcare apps.

Swiss Hospitals Will Start Using Drones to Exchange Lab Samples
A pair of hospitals in the Swiss city of Lugano have been testing the use of drones to transport laboratory samples. Since mid-March, logistics company Swiss Post has operated more than 70 tests flights between the two hospitals, and announced today that it plans to establish a regular service by 2018.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen drones used to transport medical samples. (Silicon Valley firm Zipline uses fixed-wing craft to carry out this task in rural Rwanda.) But Swiss Post claims it’s the first ever commercial deployment of drones in an urban area. Operating drones in towns and cities is particularly challenging due to the risk of civilian injury, but Swiss Post says it has been working with the country’s aviation regulators, FOCA, since tests began earlier this year.

The U.S. Bill That Could Sideline Medical Research and Digital Health
In March, U.S. House Republicans released the American Health Care Act, their first complete bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which caused a firestorm on the Hill and backlash from policymakers on both sides of the aisle. While Republicans have been making noise and scrambling to push this bill through committee as fast as possible and sidestep Congressional Budget Office review, another bill lurking in the shadows could unravel patient protections and has been gradually making its way through House committees.
The Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act removes limitations on the collection of health information about employees and their family members by employer wellness programs, put into place by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
Furthermore, employees may also be much less likely to share health information and data in the fear that it may be used by employers to increase their premiums or, if the data showed a potential risk of the employee incurring significant medical costs in the future, lose their job altogether. This would be a significant reversal from current trends in health data sharing.


Canada ‘Freeloading' Off American Innovation, Pfizer CEO Says
Canada and other countries with universal health care systems are keeping drugs cheap by “freeloading” off of American innovation, says the chief executive of one of the world’s largest pharma companies.
“Canada is cheaper because of (drug) ration(ing). And Canada is cheaper because ... it free rides off American innovation,” Pfizer CEO Ian Read said in an appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last week.


Toronto Health Innovation Week
April 3-7, 2017 - Hundreds of investors, startups, enterprises and policymakers will be convening to do business in the healthcare sector for Toronto’s first ever Health Innovation Week.

Unnecessary Care in Canada Webinar - April 6, 2017. 9:00-10:30 a.m. ET
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) invite you to join them for a national online discussion featuring David O’Toole, President 7 CEO, CIHI, Dr. Wendy Levinson, Chair & Co-Founder, CWC and Dr. Laurent Marcoux, President-Elect CMA.
For information on how to join the webinar click here.


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