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Vol. 11 No. 15, July 16, 2014


Poll: More Than 75% of Patients Want To Use Digital Health Services
According to a survey of thousands of patients in Germany, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, the adoption of digital healthcare services remains low because existing services are either low quality or not meeting patients’ needs. The survey, conducted by consulting firm McKinsey, included responses from at least 1,000 patients in the three countries.
More than 75% of survey participants said they wanted to use some type of digital health service. In addition, the survey found that: patients of all ages "are more than willing to use" digital health services; requests for mobile health technology are "not universal" and therefore such technology is "not the single critical factor" driving digital health services; awareness and process demonstration are the "core drivers" for patient adoption of digital health services, and it is better for vendors to "start small and act fast" when implementing digital health services, rather than building a comprehensive platform. Additionally, older patients are more interested in websites and email while younger patients are more interested in newer media channels.


Stanford Microchip Identifies Diabetes Type, Works in Minutes
Decades ago, the two types of diabetes were easy to differentiate in presenting patients. These days, age, weight, and family history are often not good predictors of diabetes type, which has posed a challenge for clinicians. Researchers at Stanford University have now developed a gold plasmonic chip capable of detecting the autoantibodies using near-infrared fluorescence–enhanced (NIR-FE) technology. The glass of the chip is coated with nano-sized bunches of gold which amplify the fluorescence produced. It produces results in minutes, will cost roughly $20 once commercialized, and requires little blood. Moreover, the device is reusable for at least 20 successive runs.


UK Digital Health Centre Opens in China
A digital health demonstration centre for UK companies has opened in China as part of efforts to promote the British healthcare sector overseas. The ‘Healthcare is GREAT’ centre opened at Ningbo Number 2 Hospital in Zhejiang Province in June. The centre is a collaborative project between the Zhejiang Health and Family Planning Commission, the Ningbo Number 2 Hospital, UK Trade & Investment China, and Healthcare UK, a government body set up to promote the UK healthcare sector overseas. The centre will be open for the next nine months to showcase digital health technologies from leading UK companies, allowing visitors to observe, learn and interact with the companies and their products.
Services being demonstrated at the centre include telehealth, electronic records, medicines management and self-care online platforms for long-term conditions such as dementia.
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Issues Statement on the Use of Genetic Test Results by Life and Health Insurance Companies
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is urging the life and health insurance industry to call on its members to refrain from asking applicants for access to existing genetic test results for the purposes of underwriting an insurance policy at this time. The step called for in the policy statement issued today would effectively expand the industry’s current voluntary moratorium on asking applicants to undergo genetic testing. The statement outlines the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s  position with respect to the application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to this practice.
‘eHealth for Africa’ Initiative Makes Debut in Nigeria
Aa part of efforts to strengthen health system in Nigeria, Novartis has introduced ‘eHealth For Africa’ initiative into the country – being an updated version of the Short Message Service (SMS) for Life system in public health facilities. And given the Lagos State Ministry of Health’s approval, the initiative is set to commence operation in public health facilities in Lagos. ‘eHealth For Africa’ is a new computer-based solution to support medical stock visibility and reporting, disease surveillance, and health workers’ training. The program originates from SMS for Life, a Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership Initiative led by Novartis and introduced in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon. ‘eHealth For Africa’ will provide the Lagos State Ministry of Health with information covering disease areas such as malaria, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), measles, yellow fever and cholera.

'Big Data' Technique Improves Monitoring of Kidney Transplant Patients
A new data analysis technique radically improves monitoring of kidney patients, according to a University of Leeds-led study, and could lead to profound changes in the way we understand our health. The research, published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, provides a way of making sense out of the huge number of clues about a kidney transplant patient's prognosis contained in their blood. By applying sophisticated "big data" analysis to the samples, scientists were able to crunch hundreds of thousands of variables into a single parameter indicating how a kidney transplant was faring. That allowed the team of physicists, chemists and clinicians to predict poor function of a kidney after only two days in cases that may not previously have been detected as failing until weeks after transplant. The extra few days would give doctors a better chance to intervene to save a transplant and improve patient recovery periods. In some cases, the team was able to predict failure from patients' blood samples taken before the transplant operation.
Better Use of EMR Makes Clinical Trials Less Expensive
Using electronic health records (EMR) to understand the best available treatment for patients is more efficient and less costly for taxpayers than the existing clinical trial process, a new study shows. Research led by Professor van Staa, carried out while he was a member of the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) and who is now based at The University of Manchester's Health eResearch Centre, published in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) looked at the use of statins in 300 people with high risk of cardiovascular disease by tracking their electronic records.


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