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| Vol. 14 No. 4, February 22, 2017 | 


Digital Health Reduces Wait Times by Pulling Canadians Out of the Queue
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) has released a survey How Canada Compares:  Results From The Commonwealth Fund's 2016 International Health Policy Survey of Adults in 11 Countries, which shows that Canadians report some of the longest wait times for doctors, specialists and emergency department visits compared to citizens in peer countries. 
Below are some examples of digital health solutions that are increasing access and reducing wait times: 
Patient portals: In Nova Scotia, 91 per cent of individuals who used MyHealthNS, a province-wide patient portal, to send a message seeking medical advice said they might have otherwise made an in-person appointment to see their doctor.  Source: (NS PHR-Pilot Evaluation).
Lab Results: British Columbians who received their lab results online were significantly less likely to need an in-person visit to receive or discuss their most recent lab results (59 per cent vs. 83 per cent) Source:  (BC Direct Access to Labs Study).
Virtual Visits: 57 per cent of BC residents who had a virtual visit with a primary care provider said they avoided an in-person visit with their doctor/regular place of care.  Source:  (BC Virtual Visits Patient Survey)
Telehomecare: 86 per cent of tele-homecare patients indicated less need to visit an emergency department while receiving remote care in their own homes.  Source: (OTN).


Study Reveals Key Barriers and Facilitators to Implementing Digital Health Programme
A new study led by the University of Glasgow reports on key barriers and facilitators to implementing a digital health programme - and provides recommendations to move the field forward.
The study, which is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, suggests that while there are many challenges, these are not "insurmountable". The authors write that the current UK healthcare system, as well as the wider population and market, are not entirely ready for a wide scale digital health programme or digital health platforms.
Alongside revealing barriers and facilitators, the authors of the study also reveal their ten key recommendations to aid and accelerate uptake in the digital health field.
Digital Health programmes include apps, personal health records, telehealth and wearable activity trackers.
The researchers found that while there is receptiveness to digital health, key barriers remain at every level: market and policy level, organisational level and within the general professional and public population but intensive engagement, clinical endorsement and upskilling efforts can prove beneficial.

China Struggling to Sustain Digital Health Initiatives
The healthcare IT sector appears to be booming in the U.S. with EHRs, medical apps, and artificial intelligence software like Watson that are popular with both clinicians and patients. But according to a report by Bloomberg, China’s hopes to cash in on online and digital health care platforms have yet to catch on. It appears that lack of data and too much regulation have forced the global economic titan to reconsider its strategy if companies hope to make money.

Digital Health World Congress: May 23-24, 2017. London, England
Register Now. Keynotes and speakers for Digital Health World Congress 2017 in London. These include IBM, NHS, ARM, Roche, Orange, Accenture and many more.


3D-Printed Prosthetic Limbs: the Next Revolution in Medicine
Slowly but surely, 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has been revolutionizing aspects of medicine, just as it has had an impact on so many other industries, from cars to clothing. Perhaps this is not surprising, given that its key benefit is to enable the rapid and cost-efficient creation of bespoke products. There are few commercial products that need to suit a wider variety of shapes and sizes than medical devices made for human beings.
Experts have developed 3D-printed skin for burn victims, airway splints for infants, facial reconstruction parts for cancer patients, orthopaedic implants for pensioners. The fast-developing technology has churned out more than 60m customised hearing-aid shells and ear moulds, while it is daily producing thousands of dental crowns and bridges from digital scans of teeth, replacing the traditional wax modelling methods used for centuries.

MRI Contrast Agent That Turns On at Sites of Disease
At the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in South Korea, researchers have developed a new type of MRI contrast agent that only lights up when near a target. It consists of two components, an “enhancer” which is the actual contrast agent that lights up and a “quencher” that controls the activation of the enhancer. The enhancer remains in an “on” state as long as the quencher is at a distance, but as soon as the two are brought within 7 nanometers of each other, the contrast agent turns off and becomes invisible under MRI.


NHS Digital Will Not Face “Regulatory Action” from ICO
NHS Digital has avoided regulatory action from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over its treatment of patient data.
The ICO announced on 10 February that, after an assessment into NHS Digital and the organisation agreeing to the recommendations, “regulatory action will not be necessary at this stage”.
In April last year, the ICO criticised NHS Digital, then called the Health and Social Care Information Centre, for not honouring the wishes of patients who had opted out of sharing their records beyond direct care.
The ICO published an undertaking requiring NHS Digital to make changes to how it shared patient data. NHS Digital was obliged to honour all these opt-outs, known as “type 2”, by 19 October, 2016.
In a statement, an ICO spokesperson said: “A formal assessment by ICO good practice auditors in December identified a small amount of work to do, but the team was satisfied that the requirements of the undertaking were being met”.

Daily Digital Transactions Jump 31% for Kaiser Permanente
Digital healthcare transaction volume at Kaiser Permanente posted a hefty increase in 2016 and a lot more patients are interacting online with Kaiser using their mobile device.
Kaiser, which has poured more than $400 million into digital healthcare and electronic health records technology in the past decade, reported that digital transactions occurring between the giant healthcare system and patients totaled about 678,000 interactions per day in 2016, an increase of 31.4% from 516,000 daily interactions in 2015. Kaiser defines its digital interactions as logins to its patient portal, telehealth visits, secure text messaging and related online transactions.
In its just-released annual report, Kaiser, which serves 10.7 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, also says 61% of visits to are now done from a mobile device.

Microsoft Takes Another Crack at Healthcare, This Time With Cloud, AI and Chatbots
Microsoft Corp. is trying again in healthcare, betting its prowess in cloud services and artificial-intelligence can help it expand in a market that's been notoriously hard for technology companies.
A new initiative called Healthcare NExT will combine work from existing industry players and Microsoft's Research and AI units to help doctors reduce data entry tasks, triage sick patients more efficiently and ease outpatient care. 
Microsoft has tried to expand in health care before, with mixed results. It had a Health Solutions Group for many years, but combined that into a joint venture with General Electric Co. Last year, it sold its stake to GE.
Microsoft unveiled the new effort ahead of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference next week.


Maple’s Virtual Doctor Office is Taking Care of Business (and Patients) Online
A Toronto startup touting itself as Uber for healthcare says its new 24/7 virtual doctor’s office is the first of its kind in Canada.
Ontario residents can register for Maple online, type in a description of their symptoms and click to request a consultation with a doctor. Patients select a video chat or text chat appointment and can also share photos with the physician.
The doctors are practicing physicians who work for Maple “in their off hours to provide care to patients after hours,” said co-founder and CEO Dr. Brett Belchetz.


DigiCert Healthcare Solutions Win Gold at ISPG Global Excellence Awards
DigiCert healthcare solutions for connected medical devices have been recognized as the gold winner for "Best Security Solutions for Healthcare" at the 13th annual Info Security Product Guide's 2017 Global Excellence Awards. Winners were announced earlier this week at an awards dinner held in conjunction with the RSA security conference in San Francisco.

Onyx Healthcare Named Winner at Prestigious UBM Americas ACE Awards
Onyx Healthcare won the coveted “Internet of Things Product of the Year” category at the Annual Creativity in Electronics Awards in San Jose.
Onyx Healthcare USA, Inc received the coveted “Internet of Things Product of the Year” award at the prestigious UBM Americas ACE (Annual Creativity in Electronics) Awards. This award recognizes ONYX solution’s achievement and contribution in connecting patient care workflows and to enable IoT infrastructure in healthcare environment.


How Appropriate Is All This Data Sharing? Building Consensus Around What We Need to Know About Shared Electronic Health Records in Extended Circles of Care    
Josephine McMurray, Kelly A. Grindrod and Catherine Burns
The bulk of healthcare spending is on individuals who have complex needs. Their care involves many different professions which makes interoperable electronic health records increasingly essential.
The objective of this paper is to describe the use of a nominal group technique to develop a stakeholder-centred research agenda for clinical interoperability in extended circles of care.


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