| Vol. 13 No. 9, May 4, 2016 |
FACTS AND STATS
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Mental-Health Apps
There are more than 165,000 mobile applications available for healthcare, with the largest category for people with mental health disorders, managing everything from addiction to depression and schizophrenia. Although in wide use, the efficacy of most of these programs - software designed for use with a mobile device - has not undergone rigorous scientific review. Only 14 apps for bipolar or major depressive disorder were examined in a recent literature review. And only seven apps had been reviewed for people with psychosis. Those studies found that there was little efficacy, safety or clinical outcome data in the published literature.
A commentary published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry identifies two options for psychiatrists to choose from when considering apps and other consumer devices for clinical care. They can decide to not use apps and counsel their patients against using them, because of the limited evidence regarding their utility and efficacy.
New Coating Prevents Bacterial Biofilm Formation on Medical Devices
At the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, researchers have developed a new coating for medical implants that prevents the formation of bacterial biofilms on metal surfaces. Biofilms are particularly difficult to get rid of and are one of the main reasons for ortho implant revision surgeries. The challenge has been to create coatings that are sourced from natural materials that are not immuno-rejected, yet prevent bacteria from making home on them. The technology may end up being certainly used for implants, as well as surgical instruments, and all kinds of clinical machines that make contact with our precious bodily fluids.
Canada: Privacy Commissioner Targets IoT Health Devices in Sweep
What rumours is your fitness tracker spreading about you? In its latest “Internet of Things” themed sweep, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada reviews what personal information is being collected about Canadians by “smart” health and fitness devices.
Slovenia Modelling New eHealth Services
Slovenia’s Institute of Public Health is modelling new eHealth services. For its new Arthroplasty Registry, unveiled in November, it used the OpenEHR standard to design interoperable electronic patient records. The registry for this type of orthopedic surgical procedure collects, analyses, and disseminates the data and information on patients, and should improve the information exchanged between medical practitioners and organizations. Slovenia’s Arthroplasty Registry is one of the outcomes of Parent/Patient Registries, an EU-funded project to build and test cross-border patient registries.
To build the data model, the researchers used OpenEHR - publicly developed specifications for health information systems and building clinical models. The tool is user-friendly for both medical experts and IT specialists. The model was developed with the Valdoltra Orthopaedic Hospital in Ankaran. According to Rant, OpenEHR is also used by the Division of Paediatrics at the Ljubljana University Medical Centre.
First Free NHS Wi-Fi Targets Outlined at NIB Meeting
The National Information Board has started to lay out the timetable for delivering on health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s promise that free Wi-Fi for patients will be rolled out across the NHS. At the public meeting that it scheduled to coincide with eHealth-Week 2016 in London, the NIB was given an update on the work being done to take forward the recommendations of Martha Lane-Fox’s report on tackling digital exclusion, one of which was to roll-out free Wi-Fi across the NHS estate.
Although the government and central bodies are strongly committed to free Wi-Fi, the NIB was asked whether it would deliver the benefits claimed and be worth the investment that will be needed. The NIB meeting had been due to receive Dame Fiona Caldicott’s latest report on information governance in the NHS, focusing on security and patient consent to information sharing, particularly in connection with the care.data program.
eHealth Ontario Announces New Implementation and Adoption Partner
One of the three ConnectingOntario programs, ConnectingGTA, is now wrapping up the early adopter phase. eHealth Ontario has worked with University Health Network (UHN) to deliver the first phase of the program. As of January 2016 more than 42,000 registered clinicians have access to electronic health records (EHRs), supporting nearly 40% of central Ontario’s patient population.
Moving forward, we’re pleased to announce that Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook) will be the agency’s implementation and adoption partner across central Ontario. Sunnybrook will work with the ConnectingGTA expansion sites to make the ConnectingOntario viewer available to more clinicians across central Ontario. Sunnybrook and eHealth Ontario will also assist sites in understanding and addressing the performance challenges that may impede an end user’s experience.
Nokia Buys e-Health Startup Withings to Become Your Digital Doctor
Legacy mobile phone brand Nokia has announced plans to buy Withings, a digital health company that makes connected weighing scales, thermometers and blood pressure monitors. Nokia Technologies, the company's R&D arm, will acquire the French startup for €170m ($243m CAD) in cash. Withings has raised a total of €30m from investors such as BPIFrance and 360 Capital Partners.
Nokia exited the consumer retail space two years ago this week, when it sold its mobile business to Microsoft. Since then it has been beefing up the technical and enterprise side of the business. Its plan is to expand in the "Internet of Things" or connected devices space, with the digital health market growing at 31% every year.
SIMPLY THE BEST
Data Impact Challenge II Participants Dig Deep into Data Sets to Answer Pressing Healthcare Questions
Six teams of clinicians, academics, researchers, epidemiologists and data analysts who relied on existing Canadian data sets to find answers to pressing healthcare questions will receive their share of awards available as the Data Impact Challenge II draws to a close.
The first Data Impact Challenge demonstrated that data sets can be analyzed to quickly inform decision making. Based on its success, the Data Impact Challenge II was launched in November 2015 and was rolled out in three stages: question submission, voting and answer Submission.
Congratulations to the following teams: Best Answer Awards - $10,000 each: Team Bugs, Toronto; CASPAR (Consortium of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs Against Resistance), Toronto; Ontario Opioid Investigators, Toronto; ICES Western, London; MOXXI-McGill, Montreal; SAS, Toronto. Judges Choice - $10,000: ICES Western, London. Speed Bonus - $5,000: Team Bugs, Toronto.
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