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 | Vol. 12 No. 11, June 3, 2015 |

Study: Nearly Third of Teens Changed Health Habits Based on Online Search
Some good news about teens and the Internet: Many switch to healthier habits after consulting the Web. In the first US national study in more than a decade to look at how adolescents use digital tools for health information, nearly one-third of teenagers said they used online data to improve behavior, according to a study by researchers at Northwestern University. Although it’s common to hear about “all the negative things kids are doing online,” the study highlights the importance of making sure there is accurate, appropriate and easily accessible information available to teens, “because it’s used and acted upon,” said Ellen Wartella, director of Northwestern’s Center on Media and Human Development and lead author of the report.
For the study, researchers surveyed 1,156 US teenagers between ages 13 and 18. The survey asked teens about: the topics they were most concerned about, their use of online tools, their most-trusted online sources and whether they changed their health behaviour.
Overall, the study found that 84% of teens said they used the Internet to look up health information. Teens most often searched online for information about fitness and exercise (42% of searches), diet and nutrition (36%), stress or anxiety (19%), sexually transmitted infections (18%), puberty (18%) and depression or other mental health issues (16%).
Researchers also found that nearly one-quarter of teens were going online to look for information about health conditions affecting family or friends. While most teens rely on digital resources to learn more about puberty, drugs, sex and depression, among other issues, a surprising 88% said they did not feel comfortable sharing their health concerns with friends on Facebook or on other social networking sites.


Software Recognizes Pain Levels from Face Videos
Pain assessment is a common challenge among clinicians, often even leading to discord with patients begging for relief. A team at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine developed a computer vision algorithm that can estimate pain levels from videos of patients faces at least as well as nurses can. The team tested the software on kids five to 18 years of age that went through a laparoscopic appendectomy, with a camera filming their faces in the post-op. They compared the estimates the software produced to those of the kids’ parents and the nurses taking care of them, showing that it resulted in about the same ability of detecting pain as the nurses, and equivalently well in detecting the severity of pain as the parents. This was all also compared to the kids’ own reporting of pain levels, with the study also showing that nurses tended to understate the pain of the patients compared to the computer software.
Smart Glove to Guide Blind People Inside Grocery Stores
Researchers at Penn State are working on a smart glove that can help blind people shop at the grocery store. The idea came because figuring out what items are on the shelves is a major limitation blind people report as wanting to be able to overcome. There are products in existence that can scan bar codes and tell you what’s inside the package, but they depend on the bar code facing the camera or laser used to scan it. The other problem is that these products don’t help you find what you’re looking for, but simply verify that what you’re holding is the right thing. The glove being developed at Penn State can actually guide the wearer to the exact item being searched for. The device contains a camera and vibration motors within it in different locations. The motors vibrate at different strengths, essentially pointing the user toward the direction it wants the person to go. The camera recognizes objects that are near and can further guide the hand to the destination.
Robot Walker for Elderly People in Public Spaces
Elderly people with walking difficulties are often intimidated by busy public places. This led an EU research project to develop a robot walker to guide them around shopping centres, museums and other public buildings, thus enhancing their autonomy. Shopping centres, airports, museums and hospitals are the kind of complex and confusing environments where elderly people on the verge of cognitive decline could have difficulties walking around without help. The walking frames they may currently use do not have the flexibility to help them navigate in often-crowded places. This led researchers on the DALI project to develop a robotic cognitive walker (c-Walker) that can be taken to, or picked up at, the place to be visited, gently guiding the person around the building safely. The device takes corrective actions when the user comes across the type of busy area, obstacle or incident they want to avoid.

UK: NHS 111 Goes Online
NHS England is testing an online version of non-emergency phone service NHS 111 that uses a simplified version of the algorithm used by call handlers. The online tool is being developed in collaboration with technology consultancy firm Valtech and is currently in alpha testing in Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group. The ultimate aim is for the service to be available via the NHS Choices website. This is part of a move to improve the integration of NHS 111 and NHS Choices, as outlined in the Personalised Health and Care Framework 2020.
Canada: Get Access to
Did you know that ONE ID users can gain access to – the Ontario Telemedicine Network’s new online platform for all their telemedicine products and services. As you may know, the ONE ID identity and access management service is a set of systems and processes that enables health care providers to access secure ehealth services. As a single “go to” place for telemedicine, OTNhub enables healthcare providers to connect and collaborate with their patients and peers in a variety of ways, giving healthcare providers more flexibility than ever to connect from anywhere to everywhere in Ontario.
East Africa: Kenya Set to Host East Africa e-Health Conference
East Africa's inaugural e-Health conference is scheduled to take place in Kenya, Naivasha at the Sopa Lodge from June 22 - 25, 2015. Bringing together key decision-makers and stakeholders from across the various medical, health, technology, governmental, corporate, financial, education and developmental sector, this is aimed at delivering rapid results in the journey towards realization of functioning e-Health programs in the region. An initiative of Kenya's Ministry of Health in partnership with key stakeholders, the e-Health conference 2015 will involve a series of 4-day plenary sessions and cluster-styled working groups, each focusing on key areas of the e-Health agenda.
Australia: National e-Health Sign-Ups Reach 2.2m Mark
As of June 1, 2015, 2,242,823 individuals had registered to be part of the Australian national Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system. At the moment, around 10,000 people per week are signing up for the system, which the government revealed earlier this year will be renamed myHealth Record. The sign-up figures were revealed at a Senate Estimates hearing by Paul Madden, a special advisor for strategic health systems and information management at the Department of Health.
Swiss Post Signs Two Deals to Expand Digital Healthcare Data Delivery
The state-owned postal service in Switzerland is partnering with two major national organizations to increase its role in delivering healthcare information to doctors and patients and other stakeholders. The company will work with the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) and the Ärztekasse health insurance fund on their joint project, called Health Info Net (HIN). HIN has agreed a contract to use Swiss Post’s secure digital mail system for the e-health sector, vivates, to send confidential health information electronically.
At the moment, the system comprises five different modules, each of which cover the specific requirements of individual target groups within the healthcare sector. The modules can then by combined as required. One of the modules, for example, is a referral module that allows doctors to quickly and securely transfer a patient to hospital. Other modules cover the transfer of reports, care plans and medication data between service providers.
TELUS Ventures Invests in Wellness Engagement Company Sprout
TELUS Ventures announced a strategic investment in Sprout, a Canadian organization helping companies engage employees to improve their health and wellness. Sprout helps companies and their workforces by providing technology-based tools that motivate employees to get fit and additional tools for leaders to manage and measure the positive impact to their business. This investment expands TELUS’ focus on preventative health by promoting user-friendly tools that allow employers to invest in the physical well-being of employees and encourage healthier, more productive lives, which in turn benefits their business. According to a recent study by Medisys Health Group, boosting employee engagement and satisfaction is one of the top three reasons for implementing a wellness program. Further, studies also show that employees are eight times more likely to be engaged in their work when their employers make wellness a priority.


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