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| Vol. 15 No. 12, June 13, 2018 |


Why Are Fax Machines Still the Norm in 21st-Century Healthcare? André Picard
Two-thirds of Canadian doctors say their primary means of communication with other physicians is by fax.
Medical clinics in this country, on average, send and receive a mind-boggling 24,000 pages of faxed information annually. Only about one-third of family physicians and specialists e-mail their colleagues for clinical purposes, never mind patients.These data, from a 2017 survey of clinicians by TELUS Health, remind us that, in the digital age, healthcare continues to cling desperately to the facsimile machine, a clunky technology that most industries have long ago relegated to the scrap heap.
The majority of primary care physicians – 77 per cent, according to Canada Health Infoway – uses electronic medical records to maintain clinical notes. But the systems they use come from a wide variety of vendors and are often unable to communicate with each other.
That means GPs often can’t send files to specialists, share imaging such as MRIs, or e-prescribe. (Almost half of prescriptions are still written by hand.) Sometimes, two departments within the same hospital can’t even communicate electronically.
Read the full article at the link below:


Telehealth Market to Reach $48.8B by 2023, Growing at 14.8% Per Year
The telehealth global market is expected to reach $48.8 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent between 2018 and 2023, according to a report conducted by P&S Market Research in New York City.
The growth will be driven by an aging population, increasing demand for remote monitoring and a growth of chronic diseases. Telehealth will also benefit from increasing medical tourism, more government funding, continued technological innovation and ubiquitous smartphone use.
The elderly population was cited as the primary reason for telehealth’s growth. More illness and increased recovery time make telehealth an easier and cost-effective option.
The report also highlighted the growing prevalence of partnerships in the telehealth market. These collaborations focus on accelerating and streamlining telehealth solutions and technological management to offer a range of services for hospitals and ambulatory care.


Canadian first: Sunnybrook Acquires New MR-Linac Machine
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre's Cancer Ablation Therapy Program program has acquired three game-changing radiation technologies that will allow Sunnybrook to provide individualized, precision care to more patients, and conduct leading-edge research to invent the future of healthcare. Sunnybrook is the first in Canada to have this trio of highly specialized cancer ablation therapy machines that combine radiation and high-resolution MRI to target tumours and monitor response to radiation with unprecedented precision.
These precise machines will help change the way tumours are targeted and expand an individualized, patient-centred approach. The can harnesses a range of precision therapies to destroy tumours without the need for invasive surgery.
Sunnybrook’s researchers will help perfect the way these machines are used to treat patients in the best and safest ways possible.

Automatic Robot Draws Blood, Performs Hematology Analysis
Researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey have created a desktop system that can automatically take patient blood samples (robotic phlebotomy) and process them without any human intervention. Making such technology available for hospitals and clinics may have significant consequences, as blood draws are the most common clinical procedures.
Though they may seem simple from the patient’s perspective, they’re often challenging to perform and require trained staff for proper handling back in the lab. If an automated system can reduce problems and errors while providing quick results, the benefits could be tremendous.
The system’s venipuncture robot transfers the samples it gathers to a centrifuge-equipped analyzer. In an early feasibility study, the researchers showed that the system draws blood and can perform a white blood cell assay on its own. Other assays can naturally be added to expand the capabilities of the platform.

New MIT System Wirelessly Powers Medical Implants Using Radio Waves
For some years, researchers have known that ambient radio waves can be hijacked to generate tiny amounts of power for small devices. The hurdle in translating that technology into implantable devices is that these waves generally don't penetrate very far into human tissue.
Last year, a team composed of researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Brigham and Women's Hospital first demonstrated an innovative new way to power implants using radio waves. That technique, called mid-field coupling, successfully delivered power to several antennas inside an animal model at levels high enough to run a range of medical devices.
This earlier study still needed its external transmission device to sit on the skin outside of the body. Now, in new research to be presented at the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM) conference in August, the team has refined the technology to show that devices as deep as 10 cm (3.9 in) inside a body can be effectively powered from a distance of 1 m (3.2 ft).
The new system is called "In Vivo Networking" (IVN) and it involves emitting several radio waves at differing frequencies.


Kaiser Permanente Cultivates the Digital Doctor-Patient Relationship
Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, Calif., closely manages the medical care of people enrolled in its health insurance plan, who use Kaiser’s integrated network of hospitals and doctors. Increasingly, that network is also a digital one.
In the past year, the percentage of Kaiser’s insurance enrollees who used its online prescription refill, scheduling and laboratory-result tools climbed, as did use of secure emails between Kaiser and its patients. The company also is redesigning its hospitals, using technology to make patient visits more efficient, from the check-in process to the interaction between doctors and patients. Doctors also have access to a platform that enables video consultations with patients. Virtual interactions with patients rose to 59% of total interactions last year from 56% in 2015, as total interactions grew to 131 million from 113 million, according to Kaiser.
Overseeing the growth of Kaiser’s digital operations is Dick Daniels, the company’s chief information officer. He took questions from The Wall Street Journal about what is driving digital health-care demand and where Kaiser is headed. Click the link below to read edited excerpts of the exchange.

Zebra Medical Vision Gets $30M Series C to Create AI-Based Tools for Radiologists
Zebra Medical Vision, an Israeli medical imaging startup that uses machine and deep learning to build tools for radiologists, has raised a $30 million Series C led by health technology fund aMoon Ventures, with participation from Aurum, Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC Inc. (the conglomerate’s venture capital arm), Intermountain Health and artificial intelligence experts Fei-Fei Li and Richard Socher. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Nvidia, Marc Benioff, OurCrowd and Dolby Ventures also returned for the round.
Zebra also announced its Textray research, which it claims is the “most comprehensive AI research conducted on chest X-rays to date.” Textray is being used to develop a new product that has already been trained using almost two million images to identify 40 clinical findings. Scheduled to launch next year, it will help automate the analysis of chest X-rays for radiologists.
Chest X-rays are one of the most common radiographs ordered, but also among the most difficult for radiologists to interpret. There are several groups of researchers focused on using artificial intelligence algorithms to make the process more accurate and efficient, including teams from Google, Stanford and the Dubai Health Authority.

Joseph Cafazzo is the Inaugural Wolfond Chair in Digital Health
Joseph Cafazzo, a Canadian biomedical engineer, educator, and researcher, is known for his work on the design of health technologies and how they facilitate patient self-care of complex chronic conditions. He has advised and conducted research for public sector policy makers and private sector medical technology companies on the design and safety of healthcare technology.
He has led the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation since 2007 and founded Healthcare Human Factors in 2004 at the Toronto General Hospital, part of University Health Network. He is an associate professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.


The Operating Room of the Future
The operating room is getting smarter, more effective—and a lot less risky for patients. Hospitals are investing in new devices, designs and digital technologies that promise a new era of innovation for surgery. The moves are part of a growing shift away from traditional open procedures that involve big incisions, lots of blood loss and long hospitalizations. They point toward a future where more patients can choose minimally invasive outpatient surgeries, with faster recoveries, fewer complications, and less pain and scarring. 
These new technologies cover a range of advances. With some, surgeons can control robot cameras with eye movements as they move into patients’ bodies through tiny incisions. With others, doctors can create a GPS-like map projected onto a patient’s body to virtually see inside the anatomy before an operation, track their surgical tools and help them operate more precisely.
Other advances aim to reshape the operating room itself, by adding more space for surgeons to work as well as imaging equipment that lets patients receive X-rays and other tests on the operating table instead of getting shuttled around the hospital. And machine learning and artificial-intelligence technology is being developed to let surgeons tap into big data before, during and after they work, to get guidance from computer systems that have analyzed the procedures and learned to make recommendations.
Read the full article at the link below:


The 2018 Canadian Health Informatics Awards
The Canadian Health Informatics Awards (CHIA) honour the digital health leaders and visionaries who are reimagining healthcare delivery in Canada today. The 2018 CHIA Award winners were announced at the CHIA Gala in Vancouver on May 28, 2018.

  • Payal Agarwal, Innovation Fellow at Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, was awarded the Steven Huesing Scholarship. The scholarship is named for the founder of the association, Digital Health Canada, and reflects the spirit, dedication and innovation Steven Huesing brought to health informatics for more than 40 years.
  • Amelia Chauvette, Thompson Rivers University, William Lake (BC) Campus, was awarded the Canadian Nurses Foundation’s Dr. Kathryn J Hannah Nursing Informatics Scholarship, which recognizes the crucial role that nurses play in healthcare.
  • Bailey Griffin, Manager, Virtual Care Program, Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV), won the Emerging Leader in Health Informatics Award, which is awarded to a person displaying notable qualities of leadership while still in the early years of their career.
  • Greg Leake, Executive Director, Virtual Care Strategy at the BC Ministry of Health, accepted the Innovation in Adoption of HI Award on behalf of the BC Home Health Monitoring Initiative, a provincial virtual care program that uses remote patient monitoring technology to enable patients with chronic conditions to monitor and share their health information from home.
  • Lisa Saffarek, Senior Specialist, Virtual Care & Telehealth, Island Health, Vancouver Island Health Authority, was awarded the Excellence in Telehealth Award for her ongoing work delivering patient-centric care for people with multiple chronic conditions in the comfort of their home.
  • John Chen, Vice-President, Finance and Support Services, CFO, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences was awarded the Leadership in Health Informatics Award for leading the development of the first-ever “Patient Portal” in mental health, enabling patients to access their medical record, communicate with their providers, request prescription renewals, and schedule appointments.
  • Project Implementation Team Award went to the Dovetale Project at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. ITAC Health established the Project Implementation Team Award to recognize a healthcare company and client team that successfully implemented a health-IT solution at a healthcare organization, honouring the collaborative private and public sector team effort.
  • imTEEN (including WeUsThem, Dr. Stan Kutcher, The Sandbox Project and TELUS Health), an app that empowers youth to track and take care of their mental health on a daily basis, won the Patient Care Innovation Project Team Award. ITAC Health established the Patient Care Innovation Project Team Award to recognize a team that has successfully implemented a solution that has positively impacted on patient care in innovative ways.
  • For successfully implemented a solution that has provided a complete patient record in a provincial region that is now available to all health providers in the patient’s circle of care, Alberta’s Community Information Integration (CII) was awarded the Project Team Innovation and Care Delivery Award. ITAC Health established this award to recognize a healthcare Company and client team that has successfully implemented a new innovative health-IT solution at a healthcare organization.
  • Tectonic, the Canadian Enterprise Corporate Citizenship Award winner, has demonstrated outstanding achievement in supporting and participating in industry conferences and events, academic institutions, and publications, and has extensively volunteered on many projects and initiatives, and contributed to the development of health information standards, emerging trends, success stories and best practices.
  • Orion Health, the Multinational Corporate Citizenship Award winner, has demonstrated their commitment to supporting the HI and Digital Health Community by presenting top quality papers and abstracts, delivering valuable topical workshops, supported publications, and extensively volunteered resource time to projects and initiatives.

The Medical Device R&D Summit Spring June 28-29, 2018 - Las Vegas, NV
The conference will cover areas like the Summit offers an intimate environment for focused discussion on cutting-edge technology, strategy and implementation of solutions to forward-thinking medical device companies interested in staying ahead of the market.


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