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Vol. 11 No. 19, September 10, 2014


Facebook Ads Can Help Track Local HPV Vaccination Rates
Facebook is an effective way to estimate variations in human papillomavirus vaccinations among populations at the local level, according to a new study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The researchers designed the study to assess whether targeted social media advertising campaigns, recruitment strategies and online surveys could provide data on local geographic regions. For the study, they recruited participants between November 2012 and January 2013 using targeted Facebook advertisements to participate in an online survey about HPV vaccination rates.
According to the study, 1,003 of the 2,079 individuals who responded to the ads completed the survey. The study found that 13% of male respondents reported obtaining at least one dose of the HPV vaccine; and 65.6% of female respondents reported obtaining at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. State data estimated that 53.8% of young women in Minnesota and 20.8% of young men in Minnesota reported obtaining at least one dose of the vaccine and national data estimated that 34.5% of women and 2.3% of men obtained at least one dose. The researchers said the findings indicate "that recruiting a representative sample of young men and women based on county and postal code location to complete a survey on HPV vaccination uptake via the Internet is a cost-effective and feasible strategy."


New Automatic Test for Malaria to Reduce Requirement on Trained Clinicians, Bring Testing Into the Field
Malaria continues to ravage many parts of the world. The places where it survives tend to be poor and remote, and access to clinical laboratories with proper stains and microscopes sparse. Researchers from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) have now developed a new malaria test that doesn’t require any staining and can be used by minimally trained personnel out in the field. The new test uses magnetic resonance relaxometry (MRR) powered by a .5 Tesla magnet to spot hemozoin crystallites, a metabolic byproduct of the parasite. Because the crystals affect the magnetic spin of hydrogen atoms, magnetic fields can be used to detect their presence by watching how hydrogen behaves. A primary magnetic field is used to align the atoms, while a second, weaker field is used to disturb this alignment. When some of the atoms are affected by the hemozoin crystals, the response to the changing secondary field is noticeable because the atoms don’t settle down together in synchrony. The prototype is currently the size of table-top laboratory equipment, but the team behind it plans on miniaturizing it into a handheld device.


Infoway Helps (More) Canadians to Click+Book Appointments
Nine in ten Canadians want to be able to e-book healthcare appointments and clinicians are listening. Licensed physicians and nurse practitioners who signed up for the Canada Health Infoway e-Booking Initiative between April 2, 2014 and June 30, 2014 care for nearly 700,000 Canadians. Based on the success of the original e-Booking Initiative, Infoway is launching wave two on October 15, 2014. E-booking offers Canadians the ability to book medical appointments online or with a mobile device, manage those appointments and receive appointment confirmations and reminders electronically. The e-Booking Initiative offers clinicians financial support to offset costs associated with implementation and participation in the e-Booking Initiative.
UK: Health Tech Innovator Fund Launched
A program has been launched to support UK health technology start-ups and help them get their products into the healthcare sector. The Health Social Innovators Programme is offering a £40,000 grant and a four-month support program to up to ten companies. The program is being run by business incubator Healthbox, social investment consultancy Numbers4Good, and UCL Business, which commercializes technologies developed through University College of London research. The £1.2m programme has received 50% of its funding from the Cabinet Office’s social incubator fund, with the remaining amount supplied in matched funding from pharmaceutical company Janssen Healthcare Innovation and the Trafford Housing Trust.
Canada: eSafety Guidelines Available to Alberta & NWT Public Healthcare Orgs at No Charge
Public healthcare organizations in Alberta and the Northwest Territories now have free access to the COACH eSafety Guidelines, a unique best-practice patient safety resource, through a new jurisdictional licensing agreement between COACH and Alberta Health. COACH spent more than two years developing the 148-page resource, conducting extensive research across Canada and around the world. The eSafety Guidelines provide a foundational model for an eSafety management program (eSMP), which all organizations involved in the design, implementation, operation and use of eHealth systems need to minimize the risk of an adverse event caused by failure, malfunction or misuse.
Australia: e-Health Needs Information, Not Just Data
Data collected for e-health must be useful information to clinicians and system managers otherwise it is not worth collecting and providing, NSW Health’s chief information officer has told an information industry forum in Sydney this week. Michael Walsh, who is also the newly-appointed CEO of the government’s two-month old e-health entity, was giving an update on the state’s 10-year $1.5 billion e-health strategy to the Australian Information Industry Association’s state healthcare forum on Wednesday. Highlighting the federated model of eHealth NSW, which comprises 17 local health districts, four pillars, two specialty networks and other agencies, Mr Walsh said the intention of the organization was around partnerships. He said the appointment of a clinical chief information officer (CCIO), which was made to intensivist Dr John Lambert two weeks ago, was the start of strengthening that partnership.

TELUS Health Acquires Electronic-Prescription Technology ZRx Prescriber from ZoomMed
TELUS Health is adding new functionality to its existing health technology portfolio through its acquisition of an interest in the underlying technology of the ZRx Prescriber from Quebec-based ZoomMed. ZRx Prescriber is an web-based prescriber that allows physicians to use a mobile device to quickly and accurately write and deliver prescriptions for patients while accessing the patient’s insurance coverage information directly at the moment of prescription. This technology will provide physicians across Canada instant access to patients’ insurance coverage information, allowing them to prescribe within the patient’s plan parameters when possible, speeding up the insurance claim and improving the patient’s experience during the dispensing process. When using the ZRx Prescriber, physicians are prompted based on their prescription habits and their most commonly prescribed drugs for each condition; they also have access to contextual drug information from pharmaceutical companies about new drugs and drug substitutions.
Apple Tightens Health Data Rules
Apple has tightened privacy rules for developers collecting data from its new health app as it prepares to launch a range of new products – which may include a wearable tech device. In June this year, the technology giant unveiled plans for its HealthKit platform to capture biometric data for vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate, as well as statistics for diet and exercise. HealthKit, part of Apple’s new iOS 8 operating system, will initially store around 60 different types of health data, such as blood pressure and glucose levels. Apple’s ‘Health’ app will display the data gathered by HealthKit, and will allow users to share information with their doctor if they choose. To address privacy concerns about how the data is gathered and shared, Apple has released new rules for developers of apps that want to take advantage of HealthKit. The guidelines state that while developers can collect the data that Apple will hold, they “may not use user data gathered from the HealthKit Application Programme Interfaces for advertising or other use-based data mining purposes other than improving health, medical, and fitness management, or for the purpose of medical research”. Any apps that share user data acquired via HealthKit API with third parties for medical research purposes must first get user consent or they will be rejected. The security of Apple’s products and systems has come under heightened scrutiny in recent weeks, after a hacker gained access to the iCloud accounts of a number of celebrities and posted naked pictures online.
Google Fit Preview SDK Now Available
Google has announced Google Fit: an open platform for developers to more easily build fitness apps. According to the official blog post, Google Fit provides a single set of APIs for apps and device manufacturers to store and access activity data from fitness apps and sensors on Android and other devices (like wearables, heart rate monitors or connected scales). This means that with the user's permission, developers can get access to the user's fitness history - enabling developers to provide more interesting features like personalized coaching, better insights, fitness recommendations and more.


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