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Vol. 11 No. 13, June 18, 2014


In US, Patients Prefer Doctors Who Offer e-Mail Communication
Ninety-three percent of adults in US would prefer to go to a doctor that offers e-mail communication, according to a recent survey of 433 Americans aged 21 and over from Catalyst Healthcare Research. Of this 93%, 25% said they would still prefer a doctor that uses e-mail communication even if there was a $25 fee per episode.
The margin of error for the survey was 4.7%.
Catalyst split the survey participants into four categories: Generation Y, aged 21 to 33; Generation X, aged 34 to 48; Baby Boomers, aged 49 to 67; and the Silent Generation aged 68 and over. The survey found that 84% of Baby Boomers use the internet to get information about a medical condition or drug, a higher number than any other age bracket, while Generation Y had the highest percentage of users that looked for info about doctors online, 62%, and checked how much medical procedures cost online, 41%.


Onion-Like Dendrimersomes for Pre-Programmed Release of Drugs
Researchers at University of Pennsylvania have taken lessons from how cells safely carry the contents within them in order to create new vesicles for drug delivery. The researchers used dendrimers, molecules that branch out repeatedly, to create concentric spheres of bilayers similar to cellular membranes. Any number of these spheres can be created together, one stuffed into the next like a matryoshka doll.
The advantage of such a design for drug delivery is that different drugs can be infused between the layers, being released in a pre-programmed fashion as the layers of the vesicle get broken down. Moreover, the same drug, placed within the layers at different concentrations, can be released at different rates as necessary.
MIT’s WiFi System Detects People’s Breathing, Heart Rate, Even Through Walls
Seeing through walls has been a fantasy for many of us since childhood, but while the rest of us grew up, researchers at MIT are now doing things previously thought impossible. While they still don’t have the technology to literally see through walls, researchers of the NETMIT group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, are using WiFi signals to detect the breathing and heart rate of individuals in a room. Videos showing off the technology in action are available here:


US: Federal Inmates to Get More Advanced Electronic Health Records
The Bureau of Prisons is starting to shop around for a new electronic health record system for federal inmates. The federal prison system already has a basic EHR -- the Bureau Electronic Medical Record, which has been in place in 2006, handles inmate data, prescription drug information, and supports some more advanced functions, including telemedicine for X-rays. The BOP now appears to be scoping out a more advanced system that includes clinical decision-making capabilities, mobility, infectious disease outbreak management, and compliance with meaningful use guidelines promulgated by government and industry. The EHR would serve a population of 219,000 federal offenders, about 80% of whom reside in federal facilities, with the rest scattered in privately-managed or local institutions.
Canada: Province Spent $500 Million on Incomplete Electronic Health Record
Saskatchewan’s auditor says a long-awaited electronic health records system is still incomplete and it’s impossible to say whether the $500 million spent on the project to date is worthwhile. Acting Provincial Auditor Judy Ferguson said there are repositories of information necessary to feed the system — including lab results, drug tests and diagnostic reports — but only one, immunization information, is considered complete. That situation is “troublesome,” she said, because key data is needed for the system to work. The auditor acknowledged the system will always be evolving, but said eHealth Saskatchewan, the entity responsible for the records, needs to determine what data is key — and how to get the system to be “substantively” complete.

Digital Healthcare in Latin America: Chileans Prefer Seeking Online Healthcare Info via Search Engines than Mobile Apps
With more Latin Americans gaining access to online media, the region's population has become more engaged with digital healthcare. According to a January study by the think tank TrenDigital, approximately 9 out of 10 Internet users in Chile have searched for healthcare information on the Internet at least once.
The report, titled "Primer Reporte de E-Health en Chile," disclosed 91.6% of respondents find healthcare information online. Nearly two-thirds of respondents, or 66.7%, said they've made searches at least once per month. The most common place Chileans stated they find healthcare information was through search engines. While using search engines was the top preference for Chileans -- with 91.6% -- specialized healthcare websites ranked second with 89.6%.


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