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Vol. 11 No. 12, June 4, 2014


When Doctors Play This Game, You Get Better Medical Care
Patients' high blood pressure improved more quickly when their physician participated in an online educational game than when their physician read educational material, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. For the study, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Department of Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System conducted a one-year trial among primary care physicians at eight VA hospitals. About 111 physicians were divided into two groups: one group received educational content about lowering blood pressure via an interactive, online trivia game; and the other group received the content through online posts. Specifically, the education material included 32 clinical cases followed by multiple choice questions and explanations of high blood pressure treatment.
The online game used spaced education techniques, which aim to boost knowledge retention by presenting and reinforcing information over spaced intervals of time. For example, physicians in that group were emailed one question every three days. Questions that were answered incorrectly were sent again within 12 days, while questions answered correctly were sent again within 24 days. Questions were retired once they had been answered correctly twice. The game also incorporated participant competition by posting physicians' scores.
The study found that physicians who participated in the online game were able to bring their patients' blood pressure under control within 142 days, while the control group did so within 148 days.


Thinklabs One, a New Digital Stethoscope with Advanced Audio Features
Thinklabs Medical has unveiled its latest flagship model of a digital stethoscope: the Thinklabs One. The device itself fits entirely into the chestpiece and works with any headphones of your choice. It can amplify sounds by more than 100x and provides a variety of audio filtering options to better hear heart murmurs, diastolic rumbles, lungs sounds, etc, etc. The device can connect to tablets and smartphones to visually display the waveform of the audio using a matching app, which can also record and let you zoom in on specific spots in the recordings.
Polymer Nanoflower Encapsulates Two Cancer Drugs to Hit Tumors with More Punch
Many existing anti-cancer drugs can be disappointingly ineffective in clinical practice, but often it is the delivery method and not the medication itself that limits effectiveness. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a “nanoflower” made out of a hydrophilic polymer that carries camptothecin and doxorubicin directly into cancer cells. The hydrophobic drugs are encapsulated within the polyethylene glycol structure similarly to how proteins fold in on themselves. At about 50 nanometers in diameter, the nanoflowers can be injected into the bloodstream to seek out cancer cells.


EU Launches World's Largest Civilian Robotics Program - 240,000 New Jobs Expected
The European Commission and 180 companies and research organizations (under the umbrella of euRobotics) have launched the world's largest civilian research and innovation program in robotics. Covering manufacturing, agriculture, health, transport, civil security and households, the initiative - called SPARC - is the EU's industrial policy effort to strengthen Europe's position in the global robotics market (€60 billion a year by 2020). This initiative is expected to create over 240,000 jobs in Europe, and increase Europe’s share of the global market to 42% (a boost of €4 billion per year). The European Commission will invest €700 million and euRobotics €2.1 billion.
Slovakia: e-Health Plan Postponed
People waiting for electronic services in healthcare will have to wait another year. The Health Ministry halted the competition over the system to secure, among other things, connections between hospitals and general practitioners’ clinics, and postponed the implementation of its e-Health project to 2017 over concerns that it might have to return some EU funds.
India: Government Plans to Set Up e-Health Authority
The Ministry of Health and Family welfare is looking at setting up a central authority to ensure healthcare providers — both institutional as well as individuals — comply with the electronic health record guidelines. “We need to have an e-health authority which will be the regulator and which will see that EHR standards are being adhered to,” Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, while addressing a conference organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India. He also said the Government is looking at framing metadata and data standards (MDDS) for the healthcare sector, which will provide a common data information model for various stakeholders — national and state, public as well as private.
United States: Doctors' Use of Electronic Health Records More Than Doubles
Almost 80% of doctors in the United States have switched from paper to electronic health records, new government statistics show. By 2012, almost 72% of physicians had made the change, compared to just under 35% in 2007, according to the report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, the number of doctors using electronic health records has increased even more. Of the doctors who turned to electronic health records by 2012, 39.6% used a basic system, up from 11.8% in 2007, the researchers found. And 23.5% had a fully functional system, up from 3.8% in 2007.
Health Ontario Unveils Project to Share Patient Information across Province
Healthcare providers from across the province will soon have quick access to their patients’ diagnostic reports, thanks to a new initiative from eHealth Ontario. In the summer of this year, more than 100 healthcare providers will take part in a limited production release of the Diagnostic Imaging (DI) Common Service, an initiative that will enable the sharing and viewing of patients’ diagnostic reports from across Ontario, to hospital and community-based health care providers anytime, anywhere. The initial deployment of this initiative will enable health care providers to have access to DI reports regardless of their location. The reports will be available through eHealth Ontario’s One Portal, with further access channels enabled in subsequent releases.

Canada: 6,200 – 12,200 More Needed in HI & HIM: HR Report
An additional 6,200 – 12,200 health informatics (HI) and health information management (HIM) professionals, including 70% in IT and HIM roles, will be needed in Canadian healthcare over the next five years due to replacement and growth demand. This is a major finding in Health Informatics and Health Information Management Resources Outlook 2014 - 2019, released June 2, 2014. The projected moderation of e-Health investments and related shift to HI and HIM roles supporting the optimization of existing e-Health technologies and retirement are also identified as significant challenges through 2019.
B Sharp Technologies' B Care Ambulatory EMR Platform Version 5 Achieves Canada Health Infoway Certification
Canada Health Infoway and B Sharp Technologies Inc. announced that B Care Ambulatory Electronic Medical Record (EMR) version 5 has achieved Infoway's J-class, Laboratories certification. This accomplishment ensures their solution conforms to national and international standards for privacy, security and interoperability. In order to achieve certification, B Sharp Technologies Inc. underwent an assessment process to demonstrate that it met or exceeded the standards set by Infoway Certification Services.
Anoto Digital Writing Ensures Reduction of Duplicated Information at University Hospital of Wales
Anoto, the creator of digital writing technology, has announced that the maternity department of University Hospital of Wales, part of Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, is using its digital pen technology to record results of foetal fibronectin (FFN) tests and digitise test results to reduce time spend on administration and ensure the hospital has digital records of test results. Previously, University Hospital of Wales maternity services recorded FFN test information and results using handwritten notes, which would then be manually entered into three different records; the department records, the mother’s hospital records and to the handheld notes held by the mother. This resulted in delays in getting the information entered into systems and also lead to instances of lost information. If the handheld notes were lost or forgotten at the time of labour, midwives would have no other way of accessing all the necessary information they needed for a delivery.


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