| Vol. 12 No. 12, June 17, 2015 |
FACTS AND STATS
Study: Mobile Systems Could Improve Access to Immunization Data
Implementing a mobile phone-based immunization information system could improve access to vaccination data, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). In the article, researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Toronto wrote that mobile immunization information systems could help ensure vaccination data are accessible by patients, providers and health officials in real time, which could help to improve public health. The researchers noted that such systems could be implemented in three phases: unidirectional flow of data, which includes ensuring vaccination information can be transmitted from mobile applications to the immunization information system, bidirectional flow of data, which would require authenticated data in the system to be accessible and downloadable on patients' mobile devices and additional features, such as the ability to scan barcodes on vaccination vials to receive extra information or for patients to self-report post-immunization experiences.
The researchers note that there are barriers to such a program, including issues regarding privacy and security of patient information, which would mean a need for data encryption, unique identifiers and informed consent. Engagement problems also could arise if patients do not have access to mobile devices, which could mean creating a Web-based portal available at kiosks or public computers.
Apps have been used before in Canada to help track vaccinations. One, called ImmunizeCanada, was initiated and funded by Canada's federal health organizations to help citizens across the country's 10 provinces and three territories keep track of immunizations and required vaccinations.
New, Robust and Inexpensive Technique for Protein Analysis in Tissues
A new technique to study proteins, which does not require advanced equipment, specialized labs or expensive reagents, has been developed at Uppsala University, Sweden. The technique could be further developed to be used in point of care devices, for instance for diagnostic purposes. The possibility to identify and localize proteins in tissues is essential for understanding disease mechanisms and for diagnostics.
In the most recent issue of the journal Nature Communications the researchers present a technique that could be used by for instance hospital staff, to detect relevant proteins. The technique is based on the binding of antibodies, either to two sites on the same protein or to two proteins that are localized very close to each other. The antibodies have been linked to DNA strands that will attach to each other if they are close enough. When this happens a chain reaction will start in which increasing numbers of DNA strands are attached. To each DNA strand a fluorescent substance has been linked, which will emit light when it is irradiated with light of a certain wavelength.
World’s First Prosthetic Leg With Real Sense of Feeling
Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria are reporting the installation of the first prosthetic leg with the ability of letting the wearer feel the ground beneath. The device has sensors at the bottom of the soles that detect pressure differences applied throughout the foot. Before the fitting, the patient had a targeted sensory reinnervation procedure performed that transferred nerves in order to reactivate the nerves that led to the original foot. The sensors in the prosthetic are therefore now able to send their data, via converted signals, to the nerves and so create actual natural sensations of what a real foot would feel when walking over terrain. They showed, at least in the initial patient, that the technology allowed the wearer of the prosthetic to be able to more easily walk, climb, and do things that otherwise would require quite a bit of practice to get right.
Canada: First National eSafety Summit: A Patient-Safety Must Oct. 27
What does eSafety mean for me? How do I know eSafety is imperative? What can I do to help enable safer health software and health information systems? Find the answers to these and other important questions at the first National eSafety Summit, presented by COACH, Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health in Edmonton Oct. 27.
If you want to connect, target and initiate action on leading practices to make software systems safer and contribute to greater patient safety, the Summit is a must-attend event for you. It will be a unique opportunity to learn about the emerging discipline of eSafety, which is vitally important to patient safety.
UE: Call to Improve mHealth Data Protection
Greater efforts must be made to protect patient data collected by mobile devices, according to Europe’s data guardian. European data protection supervisor Giovanni Buttarelli says mobile health has “great potential for improving healthcare and the lives of individuals”, but that both app designers and legislators should do more to enhance data security in the “complicated” market. In an opinion piece published at the end of last month, Buttarelli splits mobile health into two categories; medical tools for physicians to support healthcare; and wellness tools for the general public. It is the latter category that is most important for the data protection supervisor, who says that although there is a high level of protection for information about health, there is a lack of clarity on what actually constitutes health information in practice when it comes to the wellness market.
UK: Cancer Patients Get Records Access
Cancer Research UK, the National Cancer Registration Service and brain tumour support charity brainstrust have created a portal to give cancer patients online access to their treatment records. The aim is to ultimately expand access to all UK cancer patients. A pilot of the portal involved 88 patients and ended in March this year, revealing that patients responded positively to having their details available online. Patient Portal allows people to look at reports on samples of their tumour as well as details of their hospital visits and treatments and any other records held about them by the NCRS. They can flag up if something is missing or incorrect in their records and use a ‘quality of life’ section to fill in questionnaires to help track different factors such as fatigue. There is also space for patients to add their own notes, keep a list of contacts and directory of links to helpful information about support, treatment, clinical trials and research.
US: Veterans Affairs Set to Test New-look Health Record Interface
The Department of Veterans Affairs will soon launch a new electronic health record system interface that is designed to share data with the Department of Defense's EHR system, increasing interoperability between the agencies. The interface, called the Enterprise Health Management Platform, is a Web-based system that relies on applications and widgets to provide data regarding patients': allergies, clinical visits, lab results, medical conditions, prescribed medications and vital signs.
In addition to sharing data with DOD, the interface will allow VA providers to access and update patient records at different facilities. Providers will be able to customize the way they view patient data and use the system to track patients' specific conditions and view short-term and long-term care plans. The system also will allow providers to search medical records.
Dell and Translational Genomics Research Institute Help Support the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer Across Europe and the Middle East
Dell has announced its extended partnership with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to help clinical researchers and doctors globally expand the reach and impact of the world's first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved personalized medicine trial for pediatric cancer. The renewed commitment includes an additional $3 million Dell grant to support continued collaboration with TGen and support the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium's (NMTRC) expanded pediatric cancer clinical trials in EMEA, starting with sites in France and Lebanon. This is the second grant Dell has provided TGen to accelerate treatment of pediatric cancer, bringing its total contributions to more than $15 million since 2011.
The grant will also allow TGen to use Dell technology to bring genomic sequencing to point of diagnosis and enable TGen to extend its capabilities past pediatric cancer to support sequencing for other medical conditions affecting children including rare childhood diseases. By leveraging the capacity of Dell’s technology infrastructure, TGen is able to redirect some of its attention and resources to research rare disease sequences and help families get answers more quickly.
Virtualware Launches Therapeutic Video Game for Neurorehabilitation
Virtualware Health announced the release of VirtualRehab 3.0, the first clinically validated therapeutic video game solution for Hand & Body therapy with CE approval. Designed for professional therapists who work with patients that suffer from severe neurological conditions, VirtualRehab 3.0 will help patients to improve balance and fine motor skills using clinically tested therapeutic games and motion capture technology powered by Microsoft's® Kinect Xbox One and Leap Motion®. VirtualRehab 3.0 is available now. Designed for supervised use with clinical professionals and therapists, the VirtualRehab 3.0 platform was created for patients who suffer from temporary to long-term neurological conditions including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, peripheral neuropathies, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and to help improve mobility in the elderly.
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University of Waterloo Team Wins Infoway Innovation Award at e-Health 2015
A team of innovators from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo has won the Infoway Innovation Award as part of the Hacking Health challenge held during e-Health 2015. The team was recognized for its Tele-Cardiac Rehab idea, which would provide patients with tools to help them manage cardiac rehab remotely and on their own time. Tele-Cardiac Rehab would eliminate common barriers that hinder compliance with cardiac rehab including travel time and work demands. The team was presented with their award on Tuesday, June 2 by Michael Green, President and CEO, Canada Health Infoway. The team members recognized are: Helen Chen, Assistant Professor, Ben Kim, PhD Student, Usability Analyst, Chong Li, MHI student, Mobile Developer, Zhonghan Li, MSc student, Clinical Analyst, Saravana Rajan, Architect, Product Manager and Lingkai Zhu, Lead Developer.
The team has received a cash prize of $1,000 to continue to develop their prototype, two complimentary registrations to the 2015 Fall Partnership conference, an opportunity to write a blog for publication on Infoway Connects, and the opportunity to be profiled in Interchange, Infoway's monthly compendium of news and events of interest to digital health leaders.
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