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Vol. 11 No. 17, August 13, 2014


Electronic Reminders Help Reduce Risk of Surgical Site Infections
Electronic reminders can effectively prompt patients to follow a preadmission routine aimed at reducing the risk of surgical site infections, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. About 20% to 31% of all hospital-acquired infections are surgical site infections. According to the study, about 400,000 SSIs occur annually, resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths per year. Surgical patients can reduce the risk of SSIs by taking antiseptic showers one to two days before admission to the hospital. However, lead author Charles Edmiston said many patients forget to follow the preadmission routine.
For the study, Edmiston and other researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin randomly divided 80 healthy participants into four groups. The participants could receive electronic reminders by email, text or phone call. Text messages were the most popular form of reminders among the volunteers, with 80% popularity. Researchers found that participants in the two groups that received electronic reminders had 66% and 67% higher average concentrations of antiseptic, respectively, than participants in the other groups. The findings indicate that the groups that received electronic reminders adhered to the preadmission routine at a higher rate.


Smart Glasses Offer Vision of Future
A pair of smart glasses that can help improve the vision of people with sight loss has won a £500,000 award to go towards a large-scale test. The glasses, developed by Oxford University and the Royal National Institute of Blind People, won the People’s Choice award in the Google Impact Challenge, for UK charities using technology to tackle significant problems.
The glasses are fitted with a 3D depth camera that picks up the structure of nearby objects, separating the foreground from the background and allowing wearers to focus on objects and people nearest to them. The images are then processed by a computer and projected onto the lenses, which are transparent so wearers can see what they normally would with the projections overlaid. The original prototype glasses weigh about 300 grams and need to be connected to a laptop, but the most recently developed model has been “shrunk down” to a smaller size which can run from a handset device.


Canada Streamlines Rare Disease Treatment Information, Drug Approval
The Canadian government is the first in the Americas to launch an Internet-based effort to help its residents with rare diseases get information they need to help combat those diseases, as well as access to drugs that may help their treatment. Through an international portal called Orphanet, the new framework will be designed to spur research and innovation in Canada. Building on existing international experience and knowledge, it will provide Health Canada with new tools to gather and share information, including the registration of clinical trials. It will also facilitate patient participation in this highly specialized area. Orphanet is the world's online reference portal for information on rare diseases. The Canadian health ministry says its comprehensive database of information contributes to improvements in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with those diseases. With support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the portal is now available in Canada. It will provide Canadians with expert, peer-reviewed information on rare diseases, as well as a specialized services directory.
India Soon to Get 'e-Health Care Service'
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will soon start an "e-health care service" that will intensify health awareness in rural India, said Jagdish Prasad, director general (DG) health services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The e-health care system, which basically will be a web portal, will help the government to address the people about every health-related program and the various schemes that enable them to get free medical treatment. According to the Health ministry, over 39 million people in India remain deprived of the healthcare services, which in most cases leads to death. Prasad said that to intensify the healthcare services to the most rural parts of the country, the Indian industries need to come ahead and fund the government.
Vancouver Hospital Works with Patients to Develop Interactive Mental Health Website
Working with patients and families, a Vancouver hospital has created an innovative and interactive online resource about mental health. St. Paul's Hospital's "Change the Labels" website seeks to re-write the narrative around mental health, while helping patients and families access the services they need. The website ( includes a guided virtual tour to help patients understand their journey through the hospital, as well as detailed information about mental health programs, research at St. Paul's and stories about the people affected by mental illnesses. The hospital's mental health program simultaneously launched a campaign called Change the Labels to challenge the stigma associated with mental illness and help patients and their families access the resources they need.
Online Tool Nailed Ebola Epidemic
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is focusing a spotlight on an online tool run by experts in Boston that flagged a “mystery hemorrhagic fever” in forested areas of southeastern Guinea nine days before the World Health Organization formally announced the epidemic. HealthMap ( uses algorithms to scour tens of thousands of social media sites, local news, government websites, infectious-disease physicians’ social networks and other sources to detect and track disease outbreaks. The tool was introduced in 2006 with a core audience of public health specialists, but that changed as the system evolved and the public became increasingly hungry for information during the swine flu pandemic.
The Ebola outbreak, the largest and longest ever recorded for the disease has so far killed more than 950 people. It emerged in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
The Ebola Epidemic: Infographic

In US, Telemedicine Could Yield $6B per Year in Savings
Telemedicine has the potential to deliver more than $6 billion in healthcare savings per year to US companies, according to global analytics company Towers Watson. Managing such savings would require all employees and their dependents to use the technology-enabled interactions in place of face-to-face visits to the doctor, urgent care centre or emergency room for appropriate medical problems, according to the analysis.
In a survey 1,000 US employers, 37% said that by 2015 they expect to offer their employees telemedicine consultations as a low-cost alternative to emergency room or physician office visits for nonemergency health issues, according to Towers. Another 34% are considering offering telemedicine for 2016 or 2017. Overall, the percentage of employers offering telemedicine is expected to rise from 22% to 37%.
NHS SBS Announces Development of an NHS-wide Procurement with a Framework Value Potentially Worth £1.25 Billion
Leading NHS business support specialist, NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) is developing an NHS-wide framework for the procurement of healthcare clinical information systems that will save Trusts both time and money compared with procuring these specialist systems individually. NHS SBS has issued an OJEU notice to gather supplier responses to the framework that has been created following close collaboration with the organization’s provider clients to identify their future requirements. The framework agreement, which is due to be operational at the end of this year, has a potential framework value of £1.25 billion over a six-year period, and will be open for any NHS trust to access.
HIMSS Europe Governing Council Appoints New Board Members
HIMSS Europe just announced the newly appointed board members of the HIMSS Europe Governing Council, Pilar Raro-Garnes, MBA, PMP, Michiel Sprenger, PhD and Professor Philippe Kolh, MD, PhD, commenced their work on 1 July 2014. They will serve a three-year term until 30 June 2017. These new members succeed Angela M. Dunbar, MBA, Christian Lovis, MD, MPH and Karina Tellinger, MBA.
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Honoured with National Award for Leadership in Innovative Digital Health Solutions
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has been recognized as a national leader for its use of SunnyCare, an electronic medical record (EMR) system designed to provide authorized clinicians with quick and easy access to patient medical information on desktop computer workstations and mobile devices. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is one of seven healthcare providers across Canada to receive the LEADing Practice Award from Canada Health Infoway (Infoway), in partnership with Accreditation Canada, for demonstrating leadership in the advanced use of technology in clinical practice. The award is part of Infoway's pan-Canadian "Knowing is Better" clinician education campaign developed to generate broad awareness of the benefits of interconnected electronic health record systems in clinical practice across Canada. Sunnybrook's SunnyCare earned the national award for developing a system that provides timely access to information and allows for increased collaboration and communication among healthcare teams.


Find Out What's New and Happening at Canada Health Infoway

Infoway at Breakfast with the Chiefs
Join us for  Alvarez Unplugged In Conversation with Anton Hart "Digital Health: Looking Back…….Looking Forward"
Richard C. Alvarez, Past President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Health Infoway
Thursday, September 11, 2014 - Toronto, ON
8:00 am – 9:00 am (join us at 7:15 am for breakfast)
Location: Mount Sinai Hospital, Ben Sadowski Auditorium, 18th Floor, 600 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada
More details and registration information here.

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