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| Vol. 13 No. 25, December 14, 2016 | 


Excerpt from Understanding and Optimizing the Value of Digital Health by Jennifer Zelmer, Azimuth Health Group
The 2015 Commonwealth Fund survey of primary care physicians found that use of electronic medical records (EMRs) in Ontario was slightly above the Canadian rate but lagged the 11-country average (78%, 73%, and 88% respectively).  How family doctors use EMRs also varies. For instance, Ontario EMR users were more likely than their international counterparts to use population health management functions (e.g. listing patients by diagnosis or identifying patients who are due or overdue for tests or preventive care) but less likely to use patient care functions, such as preparing a clinical visit summary to give to the patient or listing all a patient’s medications or laboratory test results.
Likewise, the National Survey of Canadian Nurses found that only 1 in 5 of those providing direct care used electronic records exclusively. Fifty-six per cent were using a combination of electronic and paper records. The remaining 25% continued to practice in a paper record environment. This matters because nurses that used a richer range of electronic functions were more likely to report improvements in quality of care and productivity – and less likely to report drops. The barrier to achieving full value from the use of health IT nurses cited most often was the use of a combination of paper charts and electronic records.


Cornwall Community Hospital Announces Launch of EHR
Cornwall Community Hospital recently launched its sophisticated electronic health record (EHR), a system which assists healthcare providers to increase patient care and patient safety. Leaving behind traditional paper-based medical records, the centralized, electronic system works in real-time to provide patient medical information such as patient data and lab and x-ray results to nurses, physicians and clinicians, the instant it is captured. With the launch of its electronic health record, Cornwall Community Hospital is positioned as a healthcare leader and will achieve HIMSS Stage 5 designation, a value out of 7 stages to indicate the successful adoption of an electronic health record.

21st Century Cures Act and Its Effect on Digital Health
On December 7, the US Senate passed the 21st Century Cures Act and sent it to President Barack Obama, who has promised to sign it. This new legislation includes provisions that will affect how and whether certain health-related software products are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The law codifies many current FDA policies that exempt certain low-risk software from active regulation (e.g., administrative support software, software intended to promote a healthy lifestyle, and medical device data systems). The new law also would exempt certain clinical decision support software, unless FDA finds that such software would be “reasonably likely to have serious adverse health consequences.” In addition, the law includes a new standard for classifying device accessories.
These new provisions will affect not only newly developed technologies but also many currently existing digital health products and device accessories.


Silly Putty with Serious Sensing Capabilities
Researches from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and the University of Sao Paolo, Brazil have converted a silicone polymer, better known by Crayola’s trademarked name Silly Putty, into an incredibly sensitive strain sensor. It’s so sensitive that a piece of putty pressed against the carotid artery can detect not only the heart rate, but the blood pressure of a person. It can be made hundreds of times more sensitive than a traditional strain sensor, something the researchers demonstrated by detecting the footsteps of spiders walking over it.
The material is really just Silly Putty mixed with graphene, which is a bunch of tiny sheets of carbon one atom thick. The material is conductive and its electrical resistance varies significantly in response to physical strain put on it. A simple multimeter can be used to detect this change by placing electrodes at opposite sides of a piece of putty. Because it is so easy to use, made of cheap materials, and has high sensitivity it should find a lot of application in medicine.

Painless Microneedle Patch could Replace Needles
It's only a matter of time before drugs are administered via patches with painless microneedles instead of unpleasant injections. But designers need to balance the need for flexible, comfortable-to-wear material with effective microneedle penetration of the skin. Swedish researchers say they may have cracked the problem.
In the recent volume of PLOS ONE, a research team from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm reports a successful test of its microneedle patch, which combines stainless steel needles embedded in a soft polymer base -- the first such combination believed to be scientifically studied. The soft material makes it comfortable to wear, while the stiff needles ensure reliable skin penetration.

Lab-On-Skin Device Developed for Sweat Analysis
The analysis of sweat, through the metabolites produced, can reveal considerable information about human health and disease. Researchers are examining new ways to produce rapid testing.
The focus of testing is with ‘lab-on-a-chip’ technology. This involves the miniaturization of standard laboratory tests and the automation of the test process. In a new innovation, Northwestern University researchers have developed a soft, flexible microfluidic device that can be fitted to the skin of a person and monitor the wearer’s sweat. Such a device can analyse, for example, how a person responds to exercise.
The new device is small and thin and it is designed to assess key biological markers (‘biomarkers’), which provide information about human health.


Hungary Hopes Health App Will Launch New Era of Care
Hopes are high for Hungary’s new national health app, which eventually will connect patients to a central database of hospital and other medical records they can share with doctors. The goal is to improve public health, honing in on people with chronic diseases, providing lifestyle and treatment advice and ultimately saving money. Hungary has some of the worst health outcomes in Europe, with high rates of costly illnesses, such as heart disease and cancer.

Doctor Insta Receives Second Round of Funding for Digital Healthcare Sector
Doctor Insta, India’s  video medicine company that provides the best-in-class medical consults instantly has recently raised a second round A funding of $2.5 Mn from Round Glass Partners & BrahmaX Ventures, USA. Round Glass is a unique venture firm that provides financial capital and strategic expertise in the digital healthcare and wellness sectors and has a strong team with skill sets needed to build and grow business. Doctor Insta launched its services in India in December 2015 and the path breaking platform aims to fix the current problems of Accessibility, Reliability and Consistency in HealthCare and to bring it to everyone’s finger “Taps”; Anytime, Anywhere. Doctor Insta bridges the gap between doctors and patients through its innovative digital platform


How US Digital Health Companies Are Navigating The Rough Waters Of Trump Era Healthcare Politics
Healthcare is highly regulated, the federal government pays for half of it, and were are in the midst of a major reform launched by President Obama and a Democrat-controlled Congress in 2010. Now new hands are on the tiller, and they promise a sharp turn to starboard, but as of yet they not have plotted a comprehensive and coherent course. The Kaiser Family Foundation, IMHO one of the best resources for understanding U.S. healthcare, posted a distillation of President-elect Trump's declared positions on healthcare after the election. What does he intend to do beyond repealing the ACA and replacing it with something "much better"?

Google Helps to Drive Paperless Healthcare
A pilot project has begun with a hospital that is within the British National Health Service (NHS). The Royal Free Hospital, which is based in London, is working with Google’s artificial intelligence subsidiary DeepMind.
DeepMind sets out to lead the way with artificial intelligence research. The company is developing programs designed to solve any complex problem through programs that are ‘self-learning.’
The work with the NHS, PharmaPhorum reports, is designed to come up with a platform capable of sharing patient data with the aim of improving patient outcomes by providing information about medical conditions. In the one hospital alone it is estimated that some half a million hours per year are spent on paperwork around patient care.


A Perfect Storm: Get Ready for a Paradigm Shift in Health Services and Policy Research
There are major forces, worldwide, that are shifting the way in which health systems will operate, how health services will be delivered, and the role that health services and policy research will play in this emerging frontier.
In Conversation with Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway

In 2014, Michael Green was appointed President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. With an international track record of transforming healthcare through the use of innovative digital health strategies, Michael's mandate was to leverage expertise and experiences gained through his transformation of diagnostic imaging at Agfa to the Canada Health Infoway mandate.
Digital Drivers in a Learning Health System: Considerations for Research Innovation

Research innovation has the potential to speed progress towards seamless services, empowered patients, and safer care by guiding and bolstering new directions in digital health. Coordinated approaches to gain consensus on strategic directions and priorities would help to maximize the value of research innovation investments and minimize the risk of overlaps and gaps.


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

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Patient Engagement – Catalyzing Improvement and Innovation in Healthcare

Part of the challenge in designing successful healthcare systems arises from the obvious truth that effective healthcare at its heart relies on human interactions.

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