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| Vol. 13 No. 16, August 10, 2016 |

Virtual doctor visits praised by patients
With a large majority B.C. patients saying they received equal quality of care from a virtual visit with a doctor as an in-person appointment, one health leader says more should be done to make e-visits more accessible.
Survey results from Canada Health Infoway showed 79% of B.C. patients said they received at least the same quality of care through a videoconference visit with a doctor, while 37% said their care received in a virtual visit was even better than what they’d expect from an in-person appointment.
Half of the 400 survey respondents said a virtual visit saved them at least 30 minutes of travel and an average of $19 in transportation costs, while more than one-third said a video appointment helped them save on caregiving arrangements. Another 13% said they wouldn’t have otherwise sought medical attention at all.


Sun Life Financial launches digital health solutions division
Days after the company relinquishes a top executive to the digital health startup League, Sun Life Financial has expanded its own reach into the digital health space.
Sun Life Financial announced on Thursday the launch of its Digital Health Solutions segment that will help Canadians access the latest innovations in digital health.
Digital Health Solutions will attempt to help Canadians find new ways of accessing healthcare services, make health choices to support wellness goals and better manage chronic conditions with advanced technology and insights.
“We’re excited about launching this new business area to expand our extensive network of health care providers and digital capabilities to make it easier for Canadians to manage their health,” said Kevin Dougherty, the president Sun Life Financial Canada, in a statement.
“This new business area will connect Sun Life with technology startups and health care innovators to fast track the development of new digital ideas in the health space to engage and help Canadians.”

The doctor is online, anytime — it's the freewheeling world of eHealth
On-demand telehealth is in growth mode
in B.C. with a handful of businesses putting patients in video contact with a doctor over smartphones, home computers or in specially equipped consultation rooms.
A newly arrived business called MedviewMD from Chatham, Ont. has set up shop in four pharmacies in Kamloops, Langley and Chilliwack. Customers can quickly renew prescriptions by meeting via video link with a doctor in Ontario, and it’s all covered under B.C.’s medical services plan (MSP).
While telehealth — also called eHealth, telemedicine or virtual medicine — has been growing for years, it has ben mostly limited to video links between clinics from rural areas or First Nations asking big-city doctors for an opinion. Now a host of direct-to-consumer businesses are offering fast access to doctors from patients’ homes or the corner drugstore.


Nova Scotia’s new online portal will deliver health test results to smartphones
A new online portal that will deliver medical test results to Nova Scotians via smartphones is the kind of innovation that’s long overdue in Canadian health care, says the federal health minister.
Jane Philpott was in Halifax on Thursday for the launch of the MyHealthNS portal, which has been tested for the past three years in a pilot project involving 30 family doctors and 6,000 patients.
Philpott, who worked as a family doctor, said using technology to create a single patient record is part of improving overall primary care.
“This is exactly the kind of innovation that we need to see more of. This is an important step along the way and Nova Scotia is clearly at the cutting edge on this.”
Dust-sized sensors are the latest in health technology
As health technology advances, it's also getting smaller and more sophisticated. The latest biosensors are no larger than a speck of dust and they hold the potential to a range of life-enhancing possibilities.
A model for the smallest working sensor has been developed by University of California, Berkeley researchers. This new sensor is no larger than a grain of rice and the next wave is likely to be no larger that a speck of dust. The sensors have a range of potential medical benefits, from collecting important information about the status of organs to helping those fitted with prosthetic limbs to control movements seamlessly through nerve impulses.
How technology is changing the way your GP treats you
Doctors were armed with a stethoscope and thermometer 50 years ago, but new technology means GPs now have a bag full of gadgets to find out what is wrong with patients. There are around 20 different tools that GPs use to diagnose a range of conditions, including ear and eye infections, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.
Dr Hamed Khan, of St George's, University of London, who has practised as a GP for five years, said the equipment used by doctors has become more sophisticated.
"The new gadgets save more lives as they have helped improve the quality of care, diagnosis and treatment," he said.
"It has also improved safety as equipment has been upgraded by eradicating the use of dangerous metals such as mercury, which used to be in devices like thermometers."
Some of the equipment found in GPs' bags include a doppler ultrasound that is used to check a baby's heartbeat, as well as an otoscope that allows doctors to look inside ears for eardrum ruptures and infections, as well as locate foreign bodies.


Leading digital health alliances announce partnership to support inaugural World of Health IT hosted by HIMSS Europe
The European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) and Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) have signed a pivotal agreement to deliver key programme elements for the inaugural World of Health IT (WoHIT) event being held by HIMSS Europe.
As part of the agreement, ECHAlliance and PCHA will provide support in developing the topics, speakers and sessions addressing changing needs of the eHealth community. Innovative content will focus on critical areas in healthcare including cybersecurity, genomics, mHealth as well as relevant programmes for CIOs and the HIMSS Europe Communities.
The ECHAlliance has a long history of supporting key stakeholders in digital health to overcome the challenges facing wider adoption of innovative technology in healthcare. PCHA, a strategic business unit of HIMSS, works collaboratively with health, technology and life sciences, public policy, research and advocacy groups to support a new norm of personal health engagement, positive behaviour change and improved wellbeing and health outcomes.

eHealth Milestone: Over 5 Million Americans Have Been Insured Through the Nation's First & Largest Private Online Health Insurance Exchange
eHealth, Inc., which operates, the nation's first and largest private online health insurance exchange, announced that it has enrolled over five million people in health insurance products through, and the company's other online properties.
"We're tremendously proud of our success and honored by the loyalty and patronage of our customers," said eHealth CEO Scott Flanders. "Our customer survey from April this year shows that 35% of those who purchase coverage through eHealth were referred by a friend or are repeat customers."
Mr. Flanders continued, "We're also very proud of the fact that approximately 35% of our customers were previously uninsured. Since January of 2016, that number has even increased slightly to over 37%3 of new customers."
"We've built an efficient and transparent online marketplace, supported by a world-class customer care center," said Mr. Flanders.


Infoway calls for e-prescribing proposals
Canada Health Infoway issued a call for proposals for a $40-million national electronic prescription service called PrescribeIT. The service would connect clinicians and pharmacists so prescriptions could be issued electronically. The aim of the proposals, according to the July 15 call, is to deliver a system operating in at least two provinces or territories by late 2017.
Federal Health Minister Dr. Jane Philpott told a drug policy summit in Ottawa on June 22 that she wants Infoway to develop a system capable of “capturing all prescriptions issued by doctors, not just what was dispensed.”
Drugs are the second largest health care expenditure in Canada, after hospitals. According to Infoway, an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government, adverse events and misuse of medication remain problems.

Developing Telemedicine Market Forecasted to Top $1.2 Billion by 2020 as Innovative Mobile Health Applications Drive Healthcare Sector Forward
Experts forecast mobile applications and telemedicine to become one of the paramount factions of the healthcare industry as convenience and efficiency improve with enhanced technologies. The Telemedicine market alone is forecasted to double in size within next five years as mobile health applications & technologies become more user friend in the Community-Based Healthcare Sector. HealthCare companies in the sector today to watch are Reliq Health Technologies Inc. (OTC: RQHTF) (TSXV: RHT), Cigna Corp. (NYSE: CI), Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) & UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE: UNH).
Reliq Health Technologies Inc. (OTCQB:RQHTF) (RHT.V), a technology company focused on developing innovative mobile health (mHealth) and telemedicine solutions for Community-Based Healthcare, is pleased to announce that it has been accepted into the National Health Service (NHS) United Kingdom's (UK's) Test Beds program and will begin piloting its virtual care technology with aLondon-area hospital in Q4 2016.

Apple working on a “killer” health device for 2017
Apple is expected to release a second generation Apple Watch in the coming months, but an even more exciting product may be in store for 2017.
According to an article in Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, Apple is planning to launch a “killer” health device next year to coincide with the 10 year anniversary of the launch of the iphone. Details are sketchy and hard to discern from the translated Chinese language report, but the new product will collect information on pulse, heart rate and blood sugar changes. The report goes on to say that technical director Jay Blahnik and a team of researchers have been working on the mystery product for more than two years now.

$300,000 awarded to launch startups and commercialize neurotechnologies
The Ontario Brain Institute [OBI] today announced the 2016 winners of its ONtrepreneurs Program to help Ontario neurotech entrepreneurs take their ideas "from the lab to the marketplace." With the continued success of the entrepreneurs program, it was recently renamed the ONtrepreneurs (Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneurs) Program to better reflect its contributions to growing the NeuroTech Ontario cluster.
ONtrepreneurs were selected from a competition that involved pitching their neurotechnology to a panel of expert judges from organizations including Yocto Law, Biomedical Zone, Emmetros, AGE-WELL, Ironstone Product Development Inc. and OBI.


Evaluation of a Shared Electronic Health Record     
Karen Kuhn and Francis Lau
The authors evaluated a web-based, view-only electronic health record (EHR) system implemented to support information sharing across organizational boundaries and disparate clinical information systems.
Evaluating the Adoption of E-prescribing in Primary Care     
Gurprit K. Randhawa, Francis Lau and Morgan Price
The authors found that recruited physicians are using most of the e-prescribing and EMR features available. However, there are several gaps between the ideal, possible and current states of e-prescribing.

Transforming Healthcare through Better Use of Data*
Hospitals and health systems have more reasons — and more incentives — than ever to become data-driven. Increasingly they are being expected to take on more responsibility for improving the quality and safety of care for patients, improving care outcomes, and tackling healthcare cost inflation.


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