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 | Vol. 12 No. 21, October 21, 2015  |

Patient Tweets May Reveal Insights into Health Outcomes, Hospital Experiences in US
Everyday social media posts may provide insights about health, health outcomes and the quality of care at hospitals, according to two new studies published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. For the study, researchers at Boston Children's Hospital sought to determine whether Twitter could be used to supplement survey-based methods for measuring patient experience and care quality in inpatient settings. The researchers gathered more than 400,000 public tweets directed toward the Twitter accounts of about 2,400 US hospitals between 2012 and 2013. They then categorized tweets directed toward 1,726 hospital-owned accounts based on sentiment. Sentiment was determined using natural language processing.
According to the study, 34,735, or 9.4%, of tweets directed at hospitals' Twitter accounts were related to patient experience. The study found hospitals with at least 50 such tweets were more likely to have fewer Medicare patients then the national median, have a higher nurse-to-patient ratio than the national median and be a not-for-profit hospital.


Montreal Scientists Developing New Tools to Better Visualize Angiographies, Preop CT Scans
Anyone but trained professionals may be surprised at how much interpretation and extrapolation needs to be done to understand what’s going on in the X-rays and angiography images. Researchers at University of Montreal’s Hospital Research Centre have developed a novel software that converts those textured, difficult to understand images into much more comprehensive color coded visualizations. The vessel walls, clot itself, and nearby calcification is shown, and there are plans to add additional parameters that can point to tissue that’s particularly strained and at risk of rupture. The team is also working on technology to address a problem with how pre-op images are combined with fluoroscopy X-rays taken during an intravascular procedure.
MobileODT Brings Cervical Cancer Diagnostics to Remote Places
Early detection significantly improves the survival rates for cervical cancer patients. Regular pap smear testing flags women who should be further examined with a colposcope to identify abnormal tissue in the cervix which will then be biopsied. Unfortunately, the WHO estimates that 85% of women reside in developing countries where this screening is not readily available.
MobileODT is inspired by the insight that smartphones are more readily available than physicians, and has leveraged this into a new cervical cancer screening product. Their cervical cancer screening system allows any smartphone to be turned into a colposcope, making this part of the screening process readily available for most clinics. The hardware is equipped with a light source and magnifying lens that gives a phone’s camera lens excellent visualization of any abnormalities in the cervical tissue. Once visualized, the nurse can make a diagnosis or capture photos of the patient’s cervix and transmit them securely to a physician for further analysis. MobileODT’s smartphone application supports annotation of these images and transmission of final recommendations by the remote physicians.
The device is very accessible for clinics in developing countries at around 10% of the cost of traditional colposcopes, which can run to $2000 a piece. It is CE-marked and MobileODT is starting to make the device available in some markets.

Canada: e-Health 2016, Abstracts Due November 12
Interested in sharing your excitement and enthusiasm about your project with peers? Submit an abstract to present at e-Health 2016 in Vancouver, BC. Submissions that describe initiatives, technologies, processes or delivery models that have the potential to set the stage for changing the face and focus of healthcare delivery in Canada are invited. Areas of interest include:
  • Innovations in big thinking including strategy, health policy, analytics, and governance (system, data and information);
  • Innovations in people & processes including design, delivery, implementation, consumer health and engagement, adoption and use, benefits realization and performance measurement;
  • Innovations in technology including approaches to telehealth, mobile and virtual health, standards, systems integration, big data, internet of things and interoperability.
Abstracts should highlight the key objectives, focus, activities and outcomes of your work as outlined in the specific submission templates for Panel Sessions, Concurrent Sessions, Rants & e-Posters.
Australia Developing 21st Century EHR System
Australia is revamping its personalized My Health Record system for patients and doctors as part of a $485-million package to deliver a new electronic medical record system. “A functioning national electronic medical records system is essential to ensure doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers across the country had instant access to the information needed to treat patients safely and efficiently without having to gamble on unknowns in their medical history,” said Minister for Health Sussan Ley.
Robyn Kruk was appointed as the independent chair of the eHealth Implementation Taskforce Steering Committee that would be responsible for the establishment of the Australian Commission for eHealth.
US: Major EHR Vendors Agree to Adopt Metrics to Measure Interoperability
Leaders from a dozen electronic health record (EHR) vendors have agreed to adopt a set of metrics to measure interoperability, although more details are relatively unknown at this point. At the KLAS Keystone Summit in Utah earlier this month, key EHR solution executives and healthcare provider organizations convened to discuss interoperability challenges facing the industry. The executives in attendance released the following statement in conclusion of the Summit: “On October 2, 2015, a broad group of EHR stakeholders, including vendor CEOs and provider CIOs, agreed by consensus to objective measures of interoperability and ongoing reporting. Leaders of 12 different EHR vendor companies proactively stepped forward to have an independent entity publish transparent measures of health information exchange that can serve as the basis for understanding our current position and trajectory(…).”
The 12 EHR vendors represented at the Summit were: Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare, Greenway, Healthland, McKesson, MEDHOST, MEDITECH, NextGen Healthcare.


One Step Closer to Personalized Medicine
On September 21-23, 2015, the p-medicine consortium composed of 19 partner organizations from all over Europe and Japan came together for their final project meeting in Homburg/Saar, Germany. During the meeting, the project's final achievements were presented to representatives of the European Commission, the local government as well as interested companies, research institutions and patient/parents groups.
The project’s research resulted in a series of computer-based tools, which will help cancer patients to better understand the nature of their disease and support clinicians in finding the right treatment for the individual patient by analyzing ‘big data’ from individual patients. In the end, these tools will help not only to facilitate the communication between doctors and patients and guide them to make decisions about the patient’s treatment together but will help researchers to detect new knowledge out of shared and joined health data combined with open access data.
Healthcare App Market Valued at Half a Billion Dollars
According to a Kalorama Information report, the 2015 medical app market is worth nearly $490 million and growing. In 2015 alone, the medical app market was worth $489 million with nearly 40 percent of sales coming from health monitoring apps.
The most common types of medical monitoring apps are ones that track diabetes and heart conditions. Other areas also show widespread adoption including tracking behavioral and mental health, cancer, respiratory disorders, pain, and obesity.


The Leading Edge Awards 2016: Time for Solutions Leadership in Healthcare IT
Based on the success of their first hosting of the same awards program in 2016, Healthcare Informatics is delighted to announce the opening of the submissions process for the Leading Edge Awards 2016. At a time in healthcare when the need for IT solutions to facilitate a vast array of operational improvements in healthcare is unprecedented, it is also time to recognize achievements on the vendor side of healthcare IT. Once again, they are looking for vendor companies in the US healthcare IT space to submit entries that demonstrate customer success in controlling costs, enhancing clinician workflow, and improving interoperability.


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