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Volume 18, Number 19, September 14, 2022


Pandemic-Fuelled Virtual Healthcare Boom Shows No Signs of Slowing, Experts Say

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, between April 2020 and March 2021, physicians provided an average of 152 virtual services per month, compared with 39 virtual services per month the year before. Canadian Health Infoway says 33 per cent of all patient-reported visits between January 2021 and March 2022 were virtual.
Virtual care researchers and stakeholders say all signs point to a future where more Canadians receive care from home, while improvements in technology open the door for more advanced health monitoring from afar.
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How Telehealth Can Keep People with Disabilities out of the ER

Emergency departments should be a last-stop medical option, but for people with disabilities, who visit EDs at a disproportionate rate compared with those without disabilities, this last stop becomes more commonplace. Virtual care has inherent advantages that help to prevent excess visits to the ED for all populations, including people with disabilities.
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How to Make Remote Patient Monitoring Work for Consumers

Like other virtual health technologies, remote patient monitoring grew in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. One study published in JAMA Internal Medicine earlier this month found a steep incline in its use among traditional Medicare beneficiaries, increasing from 91 claims per 100,000 enrollees in February 2020 to 594 claims per 100,000 enrollees in September 2021.
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How to Use Digital Health Data to Improve Outcomes

The amount of health information generated by digital tools is rapidly growing. It can and should be used to improve the quality of healthcare. This article makes the case and explains what will be required to make it happen.
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Motion Sensors to Detect Age-Related Disease

Researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland have developed a motion tracking system that is intended to assist in detecting age-related disease in elderly people. The system could be installed in someone’s home or in assisted-living facilities, and consists of a series of motion sensors that can monitor for signs of unusual movement. The system can inform caregivers if an emergency arises, such as a fall, which can be detected when someone does not return to their bed at night or is stationary for a long period,
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AI Device Monitors Breathing to Diagnose Parkinson’s

Researchers at MIT have developed an AI system that can diagnose Parkinson’s disease and track its progression, simply by monitoring someone’s breathing patterns as they sleep. The device looks like an internet router and can be mounted on the wall in a bedroom. It emits radio waves and then a neural network analyzes the reflected waves to assess breathing patterns.
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Telemedicine Can Give Vulnerable Women Access to Safe Medical Abortions

A new study published in The Lancet shows that medical abortion can be carried out both safely and effectively via telemedicine, without a routine ultrasound examination. The study, which is a collaboration between researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Cape Town in South Africa, highlights the opportunities to provide safe and effective abortion services in low-resource settings.
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Scots Microwave Health Tech Start-Up Celebrates 200,000 Treatments

The number of treatments carried out with Swift devices has now surpassed the 200,000 mark. With the Swift distributor network growing globally, this number is split across several markets including the UK, Australia, Canada and the US. The firm has also just staked its first foothold in the European market thanks to a deal earlier this year with a respected Munich firm which distributes specialist medical devices across Germany and Austria.
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FBI Spotlights Cybersecurity Risks of Outdated Medical Devices

Recently the FBI issued a report offering recommendations to address a number of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in active medical devices stemming from outdated software, as well as the lack of security features in older hardware. Once exploited, the vulnerabilities could impact healthcare facility operations, patient safety, data confidentiality and data integrity. 
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How to Make Telemedicine Work for Visually Impaired Patients

People who are visually impaired or blind face barriers to using telemedicine, as a survey conducted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) discovered. The AFB surveyed 488 adults in the U.S. who are blind, have low vision or are deafblind and found that 70% of visually impaired patients tried to use telemedicine, but 57% reported problems accessing the platforms.
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How Virtual Reality Can Help Address the Mental Health Professional Shortage

Virtual reality is the "goldilocks" the mental health sector has been waiting for, says Risa Weisberg, chief clinical officer at mental health technology vendor BehaVR, a licensed clinical psychologist and an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy. She also is a professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of family medicine at Brown University.
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News From Canada

Virtual Care Available to More Patients in Nova Scotia

All Nova Scotians on the Need a Family Practice Registry can now get free, online medical appointments through Virtual Care Nova Scotia (VirtualCareNS). Previously, people had to receive an email invitation to use VirtualCareNS. As of August 31 anyone on the Need a Family Practice registry can sign up for the service.
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Saskatoon Software Developer Builds Map to Share Sask. Health Service Disruptions

A Saskatoon software developer has developed a web map of Saskatchewan Health Authority facilities' service disruptions across the province. The web map transforms the information published on SHA website about service disruptions into a view of the provincial map.
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Milton, Ontario Boy Takes One Million Steps Aided by Robotic Legs

8-year-old Mitchell Robert wasn’t supposed to walk. The love of his parents, support of a community and the existence of robotic legs all came together to ensure he would. And walk he did – hitting one million steps so far.
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Vancouver Healthtech Startup Curatio has Merged with Australian Medtech Firm RxMx

 RxPx stands for prescription medication and patient experience. The newly combined entity aims to combine the strengths of both Curatio and RxMX to deliver “next level” solutions to patients, especially those on specialty therapies meant to treat more serious diseases.
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The Rise of Medtech in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region is home to companies that make a wide range of innovative medtech products, from blood-clot treatment technology to surgical navigation tools, post-operative monitoring systems, remote home-care and blood-testing platforms, life-science research tools, medical imaging and record-sharing software, a variety of AI and nanotechnology components for the makers of other medtech products, and more.
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How to Prepare for the Future of Healthcare with Intelligent Automation

At an online roundtable hosted by SS&C Blue Prism and HIMSS for both public and private healthcare organisations in Singapore, Jesse Tutt, Program Director, IT Intelligent Automation at Alberta Health Services (AHS), gave his insights into the success factors behind his organization’s digital transformation. As the largest healthcare provider in Canada, AHS supports 4.5 million people across Alberta. Around 180,000 employees and contractors use its IT systems, including Epic, to which AHS is currently migrating.
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