| Vol. 12 No. 13, July 1, 2015 |
FACTS AND STATS
HIMSS Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Healthcare Organizations Experienced a Significant Security Incident in Recent Past
Cybersecurity was identified as an increased business priority over the past year according to 87% of respondents in the newly released 2015 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey. Two-thirds of those surveyed also indicated that their organizations had experienced a significant security incident recently. Released at the Privacy and Security Forum, held in Chicago from June 30-July 1, this research reflects continued cybersecurity concerns by healthcare providers regarding the protection of their organizations' data assets.
The survey also found that at least half of respondents made improvements to network security, endpoint protection, data loss prevention, disaster recovery and IT continuity. However, despite the protective technologies available, most respondents felt only an average level of confidence in their organizations' ability to protect their IT infrastructure and data. Key findings from the survey include the following:
- 42% of respondents indicated that there are too many emerging and new threats to track
- More than 50% of information security threats are identified by internal security teams
- 59% of survey respondents feel the need for cross-sector cyber threat information sharing
- 62% of security incidents have resulted in limited disruption of IT systems with limited impact on clinical care and IT operations
- 69% of respondents indicated that phishing attacks are a motivator for improving the information security environment.
Smart Glucose Responsive Patch for Insulin Delivery to Replace Injections
Patients with both type I and type II diabetes keep a check on their blood sugar levels through regular finger pricks and often require regular insulin injections. Researchers from the University of North Carolina and NC state have now developed a smart patch that could eliminate the need for painful injections and multiple finger pricks by automatically delivering insulin as necessary. The paper, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), describes the development of the micro-array needle patch from non-toxic, biocompatible materials. The system mimics natural glucose regulators, pancreatic beta cells, which act as both factories and warehouses for making and storing insulin in small vesicles. Vesicles made by the team have sensor molecules that can detect the level of glucose and deliver insulin only when the levels are high, potentially eliminating the possibility of an overdose.
Optical Probe to Help Remove Only Cancerous Tissues in Brain Surgeries
Neurosurgeons removing a tumor have to be obsessive about resecting just enough and not too much tissue so that the cancer doesn’t come back while the patient is not left neurologically disabled. Tumors usually look the same as the healthy tissue just around them, which means the repeated biopsies and MRI scans can make such surgeries last for many hours. Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University are reporting on a new optical coherence tomography (OCT) probe that may provide surgeons real-time identification of cancerous tissues. Previously, the fact that tumors tend to be denser was the basis for many designed devices, but the Hopkins team focused on brain cancer cells’ lack of myelin sheaths as the marker that influences how light passes through them. Having identified how brain cancer cells uniquely scatter light, the researchers wrote a computer program that spots the relevant parameters within OCT scan data. The results come back as a 3D color map of the tissue under the probe, red colored areas pointing to cancerous regions while the green being healthy material to be preserved.
Canada: Online Portal Empowers Families with Children’s Health Information
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has launched a secure website that helps clients and families take an active role in managing their care by improving the way health-care information is exchanged between clinicians and clients. Holland Bloorview, Canada’s largest children’s rehabilitation hospital, is one of the first children’s hospitals in North America to offer an online portal to families and it is one of the most comprehensive in the country. Clients and their families are able to access healthcare information, including visit history, clinical notes, and test results. In a recent enhancement, connect2care was made mobile friendly and families are now able to message their clinicians and manage their appointments by making change requests and cancellations.
EU: Healthcare Trade Group to Validate Open Source Solutions
The Dutch Association of Research Quality Assurance, a trade group representing about 600 healthcare institutions and suppliers, is to assist in validating open source software solutions for use in healthcare. Approved solutions will be given so-called vendor compliance statements, asserting compliance with European and global health care ICT standards. DARQA hopes to endorse hospital information systems, document management tools, archiving solutions and software for data analysis. Validation has started for telemedicine tools OpenTele and OpenEHR, an electronic patient record system. Validation will remove a major barrier that is hindering implementation of open source in healthcare, says Hans de Raad, chairman of the ICT committee in the DARQA trade association.
Telemedicine Ignites Chinese Healthcare Transformation
China has entered a ‘New Economy’ era that favors sustainable development and improved social services at the risk of slower economic growth rates. Beijing seeks to boost its healthcare services nationwide, but daunting challenges remain ahead, such as surging costs, over-crowded urban hospitals and a declining number of doctors working in the rural countryside. China’s population standing at over 1.3 billion faces has to contend with rising rates of chronic illness. Some medical studies have indicated that one out of three Chinese citizens could be suffering from a sickness that requires extensive treatment, which may include regular doctors’ visits, therapy sessions and adhering to prescription medication regimens. Apparently, telemedicine could bridge the gap to revamp the quality of healthcare for urban and rural residents while minimizing medical costs, as well as reducing over-crowded conditions at 'Big City' hospitals.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Announces Funding for Knowledge Translation Initiatives
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has issued a call for proposals for knowledge translation initiatives to be undertaken as part of the Office’s Pathways to Privacy series. The Pathways to Privacy series was established by the Office to increase awareness of the outcomes of privacy research and knowledge translation projects in Canada. It encourages and supports the creation of initiatives that showcase projects previously funded by the OPC Contributions Program. The goal of Pathways to Privacy is to expand the reach and application of existing privacy research and projects, so that more people can benefit from this work.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Launches the First App for Visually Impaired People for Use with Apple Watch and other Smart Watches
Novartis Pharmaceuticals announced the release of new features for its ViaOpta applications, and the extension for use with smart watches. The discreet, hands-free nature of using ViaOpta app with wearable devices, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear, provides users with an experience that seamlessly fits into their existing routines allowing those with visual impairments to navigate daily life with even greater ease. ViaOpta Nav is the first turn-by-turn navigation app available for a wearable device designed specifically for visually impaired people, providing voice guidance and vibration settings, which alert the user to upcoming intersections and landmarks. The users can ask for their exact position, add waypoints to a calculated route, and find nearby destinations or landmarks and save them as favorites. Users and their caretakers can also share and access a person's exact location.
Elsevier Acquires InferMed, Provider of Clinical Decision Support Technology
Elsevier, a provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced the acquisition of InferMed, a London-based clinical decision support (CDS) technology company. InferMed’s Arezzo technology supports clinicians in choosing the most appropriate treatment path for each patient. Arezzo matches appropriate evidence-based guidelines with patient information and dynamically evaluates best-practice options in the light of current patient and disease information. Arezzo helps physicians improve care outcomes while taking unnecessary costs out of the system.
Health IT Summit in Vancouver, BC, September 17 - 18, 2015
Institute for Health Technology Transformation Vancouver Health IT Summit
SIMPLY THE BEST
UK: Accenture Wins NHSmail as Crash Reported
The UK Department of Health has announced that consultancy firm Accenture has won a £60 million contract to provide the new NHSmail service the same week the current system was out of action for several hours. Accenture was nominated as preferred supplier for the service, which allows NHS professionals to message each other on a secure network, back in April this year beating competition from BT. The final contract covering Scotland and England has now been confirmed, with the transition of accounts from the current service to the n to take place over autumn and winter of this year, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
Accenture takes over from Cable and Wireless (now part of Vodafone), which has been the supplier for NHSmail since its launch in 2002, initially using the Mirapoint platform but moving onto Microsoft Exchange 2007 in 2009. By spring 2016, following the transition period, the HSCIC says that top-up services and additional user features will be available while there are also plans for the new NHS Directory and user administration tools to go live at this time.
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