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Vol. 10 No. 20, September 25, 2013


EHR Use Linked to Improved Care for Diabetics
The use of electronic health records (EHRs) in a clinical setting led to a decrease in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found.
Researchers, from the Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente, looked at the medical records of 169,711 diabetic patients over one year of age in the Kaiser Permanente diabetes clinical registry before and after the implementation of the organization’s EHR system. What they found was that room 29 fewer times per 1,000 patients and were hospitalized 13 fewer times per 1,000 patients annually after the implementation.
Annual ED visits declined 5.5%, from 519 visits per 1,000 diabetes patients before electronic health records to 490 visits per 1,000 diabetes patients. Hospitalizations declined 5.2%, from 239 per 1,000 diabetes patients before EHRs to 252 per 1,000 diabetes patients.


e-Readers More Beneficial for Dyslexia Than Paper
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders in children. Efforts to find strategies to encourage easier learning for this population are a priority in primary education. A recent study published in PLOS ONE has found that the use of e-readers among dyslexics significantly improved reading speed and comprehension, when compared with traditional presentations on paper. The students found it easier to read by iPod than paper, and for the e-reader population there was a slight increase in the speed with which students read and an improvement in comprehension.
Mind Med: Easing ADHD Symptoms without Medication
Currently available ADHD medications are typically strong, habit forming drugs, whose side-effects can often be worse than the disorder they are intended to treat. Recently, a Canadian start-up Mind Med released an iPhone app designed to help ease the symptoms of the disorder, either as a supplement to medication, or as a standalone treatment option. The premise of the app is to train the patient’s executive functions, a set of cognitive abilities related to learning, communication, behavior, decision making, working memory, motivation, and self management, which are typically inhibited by the disorder. The four intended primary functions of this app are to significantly improve concentration, work on boosting learning skills, develop self-discipline and impulse control, and to increase alertness and clarity.

Google and Apple to Launch HealthTech Company to Study Aging
Google and Apple announced the creation of Calico, a new health technology business focused on aging and related diseases. Calico will be run and operated separately and independently from Google and Apple. Its investors, besides Google, include Arthur Levinson, the chairman of Apple and biotech company Genentech, who will be Calico’s first CEO.
Sweden: Patients Approve of Online Access to Medical Records
The County of Uppsala is the first in Sweden to offer its patients access to medical records via the Internet. Research results on the use of the ‘My journal’ system presented at a conference on 2 September 2013 indicate that it is popular with patients. All the patients in the county are able to access and consult their medical records online, after logging into the ‘My care contacts’ feature of the online system. The solution has been in place since the end of 2012, and is controversial, but nevertheless preliminary research shows that patients are very satisfied with it.
UK: Quarter of GPs Offer Online Booking Services
A quarter of general practitioners (GPs) in England are now actively using Patient Access, a web-based system, it was announced on 5 September 2013. This system is used to give patients access to their records and transactional services such as online booking. The service is now being used by more than 385,000 patients, a rise of 40% over 2012. The increase in Patient Access registration has been helped by the launch of a Patient Access app, which has had nearly 30,000 downloads since March 2013.
UK: Digital Care Plans by 2015
Everyone with a long-term condition or disability must have a digital personalized care plan accessible online or via a mobile phone app by 2015, under a package of measures launched by NHS England. Transforming Participation in Health and Care is online guidance to commissioners that promotes the use of technology to put patients and their carers at the centre of treatment decision making.
The NHS Mandate set an objective that everyone with a long-term condition will be offered a personalized care plan. The new guidance says this must be digitally accessible.

Elsevier Introduces SimChart for the Medical Office, a Hands-on EHR to Teach Medical Assistant Students Electronic Documentation
Elsevier, announced the launch of SimChart for the Medical Office, a competency-based, simulated electronic health record (EHR) that gives medical assisting (MA) students hands-on practice performing front office, clinical care, coding and billing skills. SimChart for the Medical Office allows MA students to walk through a patient visit from check-in through payment collection. Interactive assignments help prepare students for externships and certification exams, and provide employers with job-ready students.
White River Family Practice Clinic Selected as 2013 Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award Winner
HIMSS honors White River Family Practice (WRFP), located in White River Junction, Vt., as a winner of the 2013 Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence. The Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence recognizes the most exemplary implementations and utilizations of EHR in independent ambulatory practices, community health clinics/organizations, and enterprise clinics.

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