| Vol. 12 No. 9, May 6, 2015 |
FACTS AND STATS
e-Health Records May Not Boost Stroke Care
While electronic health records are touted as the holy grail of a transparent healthcare system, a new study finds they don't improve treatment results for some stroke patients in the United States. Patients fared about the same in terms of quality of care and illness progression whether their hospitals had embraced electronic health records or not, researchers report May 4 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The records "do not appear to be sufficient, at least as currently implemented, to improve overall quality of care or outcomes for this important disease state," lead author Dr. Karen Joynt, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a journal news release.
Between 2007 and 2010, researchers looked at 1,236 hospitals, more than 500 of which used EHR. They found that the records made no difference to ischemic stroke patients' recovery even when they adjusted statistics for various patient characteristics. However, the researchers did find that patients in hospitals with electronic records were discharged sooner. Ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked, is by far the most common type of stroke.
Artificial Vessels Designed to Degrade and Be Replaced by Natural Vasculature
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology and Vienna Medical University in Austria have developed artificial blood vessels that are already proving themselves in animal models. Created out of thermoplastic polyurethane, the implants biodegrade into the body while being replaced by healthy endothelial cells. Importantly, this happens while the vessel is able to maintain its strength, slowly changing from an artificial implant into a real vessel made with the body’s endogenous cells.
The researchers tested the new vessels on laboratory rats, implanting them and checking up on them six months later. In the study published in journal Acta Biomaterialia, the researchers showed that the new vascular prostheses did not lead to any aneurysms, thromboses, or inflammation.
Implant Delivers Antiretroviral Drug to Stop Spread of HIV
Researchers at the Oak Crest Institute of Science in Pasadena, California have developed a small implant that can deliver tenofovir alafenamide fumarate, a prodrug developed by Gilead Sciences to help treat and prevent HIV infection, in a controlled manner.
The device looks like the now commonly available subdermal contraception implants and releases its cargo evenly over a period of 40 days. It was tested on dogs to see whether there are any side effects, the researchers not detecting any adverse events in the study. It’s now hoped that the technology may soon be made available for at-risk populations, as the drug is looking very promising as a prophylaxis for HIV, as well as for treatment of infected patients. Some details from the study in journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Latvia: Use of Technology and Patient-Focused Healthcare Is a Presidency Priority
Digital Europe has been one of the most important priorities for the Latvian EU council presidency. Rapidly growing information technologies are a source of tremendous opportunities that will boost smart, sustainable and inclusive growth for the EU, but they also come with a number of challenges that will need to be addressed in a timely manner so that these opportunities - including in the health sector - can be properly seized. A high level conference on eHealth titled 'Me and my health - transcending borders' takes place in Riga on 11-13 May. Co-organized by the Latvian presidency and the commission, it is the first large-scale eHealth conference to be held in Latvia. The overall theme of the conference is 'my health empowered by me', which reflects the central idea behind the meeting - the design and use of eHealth and mHealth solutions to support the active participation of patients in their healthcare and enhance their health literacy and communication with health professionals, with the aim of improving their health and wellbeing.
The Latvian presidency will concentrate on patient-focused healthcare, and the empowerment of these patients, addressing the use of technology to improve the quality of healthcare, innovation in eHealth and mHealth, cross-border exchange of health data and patient data protection issues.
EU: MyAirCoach - Involving Patients to Develop a Mobile System to Self-manage Asthma
Despite the wide availability of asthma therapies, many people with asthma still experience lots of symptoms impacting significantly on their quality of life. In line with this year's World Asthma Day theme "You can control your asthma", myAirCoach, a leading pan-European project is recruiting patients to develop a monitoring device which is integrated with mobile technology to help people with asthma to take the right steps to stay on top of their condition and reduce their risk of an asthma attack.
MyAirCoach will use a network of sensors to collect data about a person’s symptoms, inflammation inside the airways and the environment. The data will be transferred to a mobile device for analysis and will feed into a personalized digital model of each individual’s asthma, supporting patients to better manage their condition and optimise their treatment. Given that asthma needs individualised attention, myAirCoach will put patients at the centre of their asthma management. The project has set up an Advisory Patient Forum (APF) that will guide researchers to ensure that the resulting self-management system is relevant to patient needs. Patient representatives from EFA and Asthma UK will inform the design of myAirCoach through focus groups and surveys to make sure it is useful to patients in the real world.
UK: King's Pilots Apple Watch App
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the first trusts in the UK to use the newly launched Apple Watch as part of patient care. A limited number of cancer patients at the London trust will have access to an Apple Watch app developed by tech company Medopad to support their chemotherapy. The company, which will also provide the watches, said the oncology app was developed with input from doctors at King’s College Hospital and features several capabilities mainly focused on improving patient adherence to medicines. Patients using the app will receive reminders to take their medication and a tap alert for personalized drug regimens. The app also allows patients to record their temperature and any symptoms if they have a negative experience with a medicine. This data is sent instantly to a doctor’s Medopad platform on their iPad. The aim is to allow doctors to adjust drug regimens when they are required, helping to personalize chemotherapy care and reduce side effects.
Canada: Privacy Commissioner Announces Funding for Independent Privacy Research
Independent research and knowledge translation projects supported through the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s 2015-2016 Contributions Program will explore a wide range of emerging privacy issues, such as fitness tracking devices, lawful access and children and privacy policies. The Commissioner also announced today that the Contributions Program has been renewed for another five years following an independent evaluation of the Program. The Contributions Program funds not only research but also its application in ways that have a real impact of Canadians. Some examples of this year’s projects include:
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) received 39 proposals for the 2015-16 funding cycle of the Contributions Program. Those proposals were evaluated by the Privacy Commissioner's Office, as well as an external peer review panel of privacy experts.
- Privacy and fitness tracking devices: This project will examine the relationship between the data collection and transmission practices of fitness tracking devices, the cloud services they integrate with, and how third parties may access their personal information from the providers of these services.
- Lawful access: This project will explore the implications of the Edward Snowden revelations regarding the relationships between government signals intelligence authorities and private sector telecommunications companies over access to and sharing of metadata and private communications.
- Children and mobile privacy: This research is aimed at helping to improve children's understanding of mobile online privacy, enable them to recognize potentially risky situations, and empower them to better protect themselves.
- Open data and privacy: This initiative will survey government open data portals and their exploitation by commercial private sector data analytic firms, and assess potential implications for Canadians’ privacy.
Philips Launches Innovative 3D Navigation System to Enhance Minimally Invasive Treatment of Vascular Disease
Philips has announced the launch of VesselNavigator*, its latest innovation in live 3D catheter navigation to guide the minimally invasive treatment of patients with vascular diseases such as aortic aneurysms (ballooning of the aorta). This new catheter navigation solution enhances the precision and accuracy of stent placement, while at the same time significantly reducing contrast medium usage. As a result, minimally invasive treatment options will be available to patients previously unable to benefit from new image-guided intervention techniques.
Developed in collaboration with clinical partners such as the University Hospital Cologne (Germany) and the University Hospital Ghent (Belgium), VesselNavigator complements Philips’ current image-guided therapy portfolio within the field of endovascular and hybrid suite solutions.
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