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Vol. 11 No. 24, November 19, 2014


Wikipedia 'Foresees Virus Outbreaks'
Wikipedia can be used to accurately predict the spread of certain diseases, such as influenza and dengue fever, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology. Researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory analyzed Wikipedia traffic from March 7, 2010, through Feb. 1 to see how the site's page views correlated with the spread of diseases. Specifically, researchers compared a country's governmental outbreak reports for a specific disease with the number of Wikipedia searches in the country's language for that disease.
They examined a total of seven diseases across 11 countries. Wikipedia visits proved to be an accurate indicator of outbreaks in eight of the 14 disease-location pairings. In addition, researchers found that the model could use data from an outbreak in one country to predict the same disease's spread elsewhere. Specifically, researchers were able to correctly predict: influenza's spread at least 28 days in advance in the U.S., Thailand, Poland and Japan; dengue's spread at least 28 days in advance in Thailand and Brazil, and tuberculosis cases in Thailand.
However, while the model was a successful predictor in some areas, the researchers found it did not forecast the spread of cholera in Haiti; Ebola in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and HIV/AIDS in China and Japan.


Microneedles for Easy Delivery of Drugs into Eye
A number of eye conditions can be treated by administering drugs directly into the eye. Yet, conventional needles have a bunch of drawbacks, including the patients’ fear of needles entering such fragile parts of the body and the difficulty of accurately administering medication into a targeted region of the eye. Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University have been working on microneedles and formulations to safely and effectively deliver drugs into the eye. The microneedles are designed to only penetrate to the correct depth and the formulations need to be viscous enough to stay in place and release their therapeutic compounds in a controlled fashion. The researchers have already tested the microneedles on laboratory animals and showed that they can place drugs within the targeted sections of the eye.
Smart LED Bulb Knows When Someone Falls
Union Tool Co out of Japan developed a smart LED light bulb that can monitor what’s going on in the room below it. Specifically, it was designed to automatically detect an elderly person falling and call for help. The bulb has a 24 GHz milliwave radar, developed by Panasonic, pointing downward that can measure the distance to a person’s skull below it. If this distance suddenly and rapidly increases, the bulb assumes someone fell and uses an on-board networking chip to send a signal that can be picked up by a professional service or relayed to family or caretakers. The bulb hanging at 3 meters above ground can cover an area of 13.2 square meters (142 sq ft). Having these bulbs throughout the house should be sufficient to cover most of the living space where accidents can happen.


Fraser Health and Canada Health Infoway Mark Digital Health Week with New Electronic Medical Record Systems
Canada Health Infoway, Intrahealth and Fraser Health are celebrating Digital Health Week by announcing they have partnered to implement an Ambulatory Electronic Medical Record (aEMR) system in some of Fraser Health's primary and ambulatory care clinics. This system, called Profile, enables healthcare providers to collect, share, and analyze patient information and presents a broad view of the patient's journey across different care settings. This works to improve the flow of information from the patient to the health care provider that ultimately benefits patient care.
Infoway has invested $1.8 million in this project. This project began in September 2010 and in its first phase, two clinics began using the aEMR system in June of 2011 with the opening of the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. Over the course of 2012, an additional seven primary care clinics adopted Profile as their aEMR system. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, Fraser Health plans on implementing Profile at an additional six clinics.
UE: eHealth Network Adopts Guidelines on ePrescriptions
On November 18, 2014, at the 6th meeting of the eHealth Network in Brussels, chaired by Austria and co-chaired by the European Commission, guidelines on ePrescriptions for the purpose of interoperability between Member States were adopted. National health systems are moving towards electronic systems for medical prescriptions. The Commission and EU countries have a common goal to ensure that these electronic prescriptions can be used safely in another Member State. This is why the eHealth Network, made up of all 28 EU countries and chaired by the Commission, has been working jointly on ePrescriptions. The guidelines lay out the type of data needed to share prescriptions across borders. They also describe how the data should be transferred, provided the patient gives his or her consent to use the ePrescription service. The guidelines can be used by Member States on a voluntary basis.
UK: Data Breaches 'Should Lead to Jail Time'
A leading UK privacy watchdog has called for tougher penalties for breaches of the Data Protection Act, arguing that present legislation is not enough of a deterrent. Big Brother Watch says courts should be given the option of imposing custodial sentences on those who breach the act, and that the “worst offenders” should be left with a criminal record. It also argues that staff should be given better training in a report that identifies 7,255 breaches of the DPA in the NHS over three years. Privacy campaigners have been calling for tougher laws for those who illegally access confidential information for almost a decade. The biggest fine imposed on the NHS to date was levied on Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust in 2012. It was fined £325,000 and paid £260,000 after a contractor sold old hard drives containing patient information on eBay.

Philips Inaugurates a New Imaging Systems Refurbishment Facility in Best, the Netherlands
Philips has inaugurated a new healthcare imaging systems refurbishment facility in Best, the Netherlands. The new facility marks the next step in bringing the financial and environmental benefits of circular economy to the healthcare industry. The new facility in Best will refurbish magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), interventional X-ray (iXR), computed tomography (CT) and surgical imaging systems as part of the Philips Diamond Select program. Under this program, pre-owned equipment is converted into 'as-new systems' with full warranty and re-configured to customers' needs by using the renewed components, latest software releases and updates.
Andalusia Health Service Selects Accenture and Carestream for Digitizing Medical Imaging across 1,600 Health Facilities
Andalusia Health Service has selected  Accenture and Carestream Health to deploy a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) that will allow clinicians to manage, store and share diagnostic imaging data across more than 1,600 healthcare facilities in Spain. This initiative by the Andalusia Health Service is expected to go live in late 2015, creating one of the largest medical imaging systems in Europe. Accenture has worked with Andalusian Health Service since 1998 and Carestream has conducted implementations with four health systems in Andalusia since 2005.

Infectious Social Media Campaigns Result in Awards for Canadian Public Health Organizations
Reaching you with important health messages, faster. That's what public health organizations are doing with social media. Putting a different spin on the word viral, Canada Health Infoway named the award recipients of its Public Health Social Media Challenge. The Public Health Social Media Challenge, the latest initiative in the Infoway ImagineNation Challenge series, was designed to support public health organizations in a quest to harness the power of social media to address public health issues and concerns. Teams with the most infectious social media campaigns were eligible to share awards and incentives. A panel of judges, including communications and public health experts, was tasked to review all of the entries to select their top three choices as well as one campaign they deemed as the most 'innovative.' First Place and the award of $30,000 went to Toronto Public Health, for the condomTO campaign promoted sex positive behaviour and addressed condom fatigue and stigma around condom use.


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