healthcare

  • Surgery students spend so much time on screens that they have lost the ability to perform simple tasks such as stitching and sewing up patients, a professor has warned. Roger Kneebone, a professor of surgical education at Imperial College, London, says the focus on academic knowledge has come at the expense of craftsmanship. “It is important and an increasingly urgent issue,” Kneebone told the BBC. “It is a concern of mine and my scientific colleagues that whereas in the past you could make the assumption that students would leave school able to do certain practical things – cutting things out, making things – that is no longer the case.” The professor, who teaches surgery to medical students, believes that this is down to an increase in technology which takes away the experience of handling materials and developing skills. ”An obvious example is of a surgeon needing some dexterity and skill in sewing or stitching,” he explained. ”A lot of things are reduced to swiping on a two-dimensional flat screen” Kneebone adds that a growing number of students are becoming “less competent and less confident” in using their hands, resulting in young professionals who “have very high exam grades but lack tactile general knowledge”. The professor will be speaking on Tuesday at the V&A Museum of Childhood in east London, at the launch of a report, published by the Edge Foundation, calling for more creativity in the curriculum. The report warns that entries to creative subjects have fallen by 20 per cent since 2010, including a 57 per cent fall in design and technology GCSE. Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, who will be speaking alongside Professor Kneebone added: “Creativity is not just for artists. “Subjects like design and technology, music, art and drama are vitally important for...
  • One of lung cancer’s most lethal attributes is its ability to trick radiologists. Some nodules appear threatening but turn out to be false positives. Others escape notice entirely, and then spiral without symptoms into metastatic disease. On Monday, however, Google unveiled an artificial intelligence system that — in early testing — demonstrated a remarkable talent for seeing through lung cancer’s disguises. A study published in Nature Medicine reported that the algorithm, trained on 42,000 patient CT scans taken during a National Institutes of Health clinical trial, outperformed six radiologists in determining whether patients had cancer. It detected 5% more cancers and cut false positives — when cancer is suspected though a nodule is harmless — by 11% from reviewing a single scan. It performed on par with the radiologists when prior images of patients were also included in the evaluation. The results underscore AI’s potential to improve lung cancer screening and help radiologists diagnose malignancies earlier and with greater accuracy — though the research did not show whether the Google system would help patients live longer. Lung cancer is by far the most common killer of Americans among cancers, resulting in about 160,000 deaths in 2018. A large NIH study — the same one that supplied data for Google’s algorithm — established that screening of high-risk patients such as long-term smokers can reduce the risk of death by about 20%, but it also raised concerns about false positives leading to unnecessary testing that can harm patients. It reported that several deaths resulted from false positives that led patients to undergo invasive biopsies and other procedures. Ongoing concerns about the overall accuracy and benefit of screening have led to low rates of such testing. Meanwhile, about 50 percent of lung cancers are diagnosed after they have already spread, when the disease is harder to effectively...
  • Aidoc, the leading provider of AI solutions for radiologists, announced today that it was granted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for an additional product in its expanding suite of AI-based workflow orchestration solutions. The clearance is for Aidoc’s Pulmonary Embolism (PE) solution that works with radiologists to flag and triage PE cases in chest CTs. The approval comes just weeks after Aidoc closed a $27 million funding round, bringing its total funding to $40million. “In addition to the significant value provided to the department by Aidoc’s ICH solution, we recently added the PE module to the workflow”, says Dr. Pressman, Chair of Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “I was impressed by the fact that the coverage continuously grows, allowing us to add this product in the workflow of more radiologists, becoming part of our daily work. I was also pleased by the ability of the software to prioritize PE studies accurately.” In the United States alone, Up to 200,000 people a year die due to PE. Undetected or late-detected PE is one of the most common causes of preventable death in hospitalized patients. PE diagnosis can be highly challenging due to its variable and non-specific presentation, making AI-driven workflow triage especially beneficial. Recent research published at ECR in Vienna further shows the accuracy and value Aidoc’s solution can provide. “It is clear that AI will play a tremendous role in the future of radiology,” said Daniel J. Durand, M.D., Chair of Radiology at LifeBridge Health. “Considering the complexity of vascular diagnosis, we are eager to see how Aidoc’s solutions can benefit our pulmonary embolism patients and bring tomorrow’s technology to LifeBridge Health, today.” LifeBridge Health operates four hospitals in and around Baltimore, Maryland. The new clearance, combined with Aidoc’s other proven solutions, gives Aidoc the most clearances for deep learning solutions in radiology and positions it firmly at the forefront of making AI...
  • KCI, now a part of the Acelity Company, has announced that its PREVENA negative pressure incision management system is the first to receive FDA’s indication to help with reducing superficial surgical site infections in those at high risk of post-op infections. The approval comes under the FDA’s de novo pathway that was designed to bring forward new technologies that may help address important medical necessities. The PREVENA system is a disposable product that is used to cover and protect a wound, and it negative pressure force of -125mmHg helps to drain the wound of fluids. It was previously approved by the FDA to prevent seromas. “This indication from the FDA is further proof of our intent to bring to market technologies that accelerate healing while reducing the cost of care,” in a statement said R. Andrew Eckert, Chief Executive Officer, KCI. “PREVENA™ Incision Management System has a multitude of published studies that consistently demonstrate efficacy in lowering post-surgical wound complications, specifically SSIs. This indication from the FDA demonstrates our commitment to addressing the infection-related burdens faced by healthcare systems and the emotional toll faced by patients.” Some details on the studies that led to the approval, according to KCI: A meta-analysis including 30 studies from a systematic literature review of 540 publications from a 13 year period entitled, “Meta-Analysis of Comparative Trials Evaluating a Single-Use Closed-Incision Negative-Pressure Therapy System,” recently published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, demonstrated that PREVENA™ Therapy performed significantly better at reducing the incidence of SSIs in comparison to traditional and advanced wound dressings. Randomized controlled trials and observational studies were assessed across specialties, including cardiothoracic, lower extremity, colorectal/abdominal, obstetrics and vascular surgery. For Article Source Click Here
  • Despite the health sector employing five million workers in India it continues to have low density of health professionals with figures for the country being lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil, according to a World Health Organisation database. This workforce statistic has put the country into the “critical shortage of healthcare providers” category. Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the worst hit while Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat compare favourably. “Southeast Asia needs a 50% increase in healthcare manpower to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. India faces the problem of acute shortages and inequitable distributions of skilled health workers as have many other low- and middle-income countries,’’ said K. Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India. New courses needed He said that the need of the hour is to design courses for different categories of non-physician care providers. Competencies (and not qualification alone) should be valued and reform must be brought in regulatory structures to provide flexibility for innovations, he added. “Data on the prevalence of occupational vacancies in the health care system in India overall is scarce. Government statistics for 2008, based on vacancies in sanctioned posts showed 18% of primary health centres were without a doctor, about 38% were without a laboratory technician and 16% were without a pharmacist,” says a paper titled ‘Forecasting the future need and gaps in requirements for public health professionals in India upto 2026’ published in the WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health. The health workforce in India comprises broadly eight categories, namely: doctors (allopathic, alternative medicine); nursing and midwifery professionals; public health professionals (medical, non-medical); pharmacists; dentists; paramedical workers (allied health professionals); grass-root workers (frontline workers); and support staff. Click here for the article source 
  • Research shows that music therapy in neonatal intensive care units helps infants get released from the hospital early. Experts in Florida helped pioneer the practice, and now it’s expanding. For centuries, lullabies have helped soothe babies to sleep. But it’s only in the last couple decades that research showed, for premature babies, these slow, simple tunes could be life-changing. Rich Moats, who manages the music therapy program at AdventHealth Orlando, said babies in the neonatal intensive care unit are unique patients. “The mom’s belly is the most protective environment for them, but when they’re born early they’re thrust into this world they’re not quite ready to handle,” she said. “So lights, sounds, being touched at different times, learning how to eat is even a thing as adults we don’t think about that, but that could also be a stressful experience for these tiny little babies.” And when a baby is stressed, that can affect its brain permanently. Treatment with roots in Florida Jayne Standley directs the music therapy program at Florida State University and is considered by many to be the pioneer of its use in NICUs. Jayne Standley, music therapy professor at FSU CREDIT FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY She started experimenting with the treatment about 20 years ago after she learned kids born premature were 50 percent more likely to need special education when they got older. “For fetuses, the neurological system develops in the third trimester, the last three months, so a baby that’s born three months early is having its brain develop in the conditions of the NICU,” she explained. Those conditions can lead to unstable breathing and heart rates. Poking and prodding from medical procedures can also cause infants’ brains to associate touch with pain. And living off a feeding tube for an extended period of time can leave babies...
  • A doctor friend – let’s call her Anne – was teaching three smart medical students who were told to diagnose a woman complaining of nonspecific pain and anxiety. After 20 minutes of questions, the students wrote seven pages of notes and recommended two drugs: a painkiller and an antidepressant. Anne considered the students’ analysis and agreed that it was based on sound medical evidence. But something told her there was more to the story. She sat beside the patient, asked general questions and listened carefully. After a few minutes, the woman broke down in tears and told her about a personal tragedy involving a family member. After some comforting, the woman’s tears, shoulder pain and anxiety went away. Anne’s dose of empathy cured the woman, without the need of resorting to drugs. This is an important consideration, given that even relatively mild painkillers may contribute to the opioid crisis as some patients subsequently seek stronger and stronger drugs. The high value now placed on good empathic communication in medicine is relatively new. Until the 1970s, the doctor-patient relationship was often paternalistic. An anxious patient was less likely to be given a shoulder to cry on and more likely to be given a prescription for Valium (“mother’s little helper”). In the best enactment of the paternalistic doctor, the fictional surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt, in the 1969-70 British TV series Doctors in the House, tells a patient who has become distressed at being diagnosed with a serious tumour: “This is nothing whatsoever to do with you.” Colleagues tell me that the scene is an accurate depiction of how things were. At that time, there was little if any communication skills training. Many doctors believed it was an innate skill that could not be taught. The 1980s saw a change, with the General Medical Council (which...
  • In a major medical breakthrough, Tel Aviv University researchers have “printed” the world’s first 3D vascularised engineered heart using a patient’s own cells and biological materials. Their findings were published on April 15 in a study in Advanced Science. Until now, scientists in regenerative medicine — a field positioned at the crossroads of biology and technology — have been successful in printing only simple tissues without blood vessels. “This is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” says Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, who led the research for the study. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United States. Heart transplantation is currently the only treatment available to patients with end-stage heart failure. Given the dire shortage of heart donors, the need to develop new approaches to regenerate the diseased heart is urgent. “This heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In our process these materials serve as the bioinks, substances made of sugars and proteins that can be used for 3D printing of complex tissue models,” Prof. Dvir says. “People have managed to 3D-print the structure of a heart in the past, but not with cells or with blood vessels. Our results demonstrate the potential of our approach for engineering personalized tissue and organ replacement in the future.” Research for the study was conducted jointly by Prof. Dvir, Dr. Assaf Shapira of TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences and Nadav Moor, a doctoral student in Prof. Dvir’s lab. “At this stage, our 3D heart is small, the size of a rabbit’s heart,”...
  • Author: Jeroen Tas Over the past two decades many everyday experiences have turned digital. I remember when my team at Citibank launched Internet banking in the mid-nineties. People thought we were wasting our time, as “nobody would trust the Internet with their financial data”. But almost all of us now bank digitally and even cash is being replaced with the tap of the phone, while payments can be made seamlessly around the globe. Healthcare is moving in the same direction, albeit slowly. As described in my blog two years ago, the future of a hospital is not brick and mortar. Instead, care will be provided in “meshed up” digital and physical networks that provide 24/7 access, improve patient outcomes and provide personalized patient and staff experiences, while simultaneously optimizing operations. Healthcare will find its way into the fabric of communities in different forms and shapes, bringing neighbours, friends and family into care teams. Those providers who are leaders in specialized care, for instance in specific cancer types, cardiovascular or neuro diseases, will increasingly make their expertise available globally. Like internet banking, which took time to really take off, we’re at an inflection point where digital models are getting close to scale. The merger of CVS and Aetna in the US is a sign of the times, providing a one-stop shop for primary care, diagnostics and pharmacy, combined with a virtual consumer experience. People are increasingly seeking care closer to home, without having to travel and wait hours to see a doctor, and in a more comfortable, consumer-friendly environment. They want to get personalized health content and tools on their phones, just like their other consumer experiences. Even complex, minimally invasive procedures, like inserting a stent in an artery, are now increasingly performed in “office-based labs” that are located in communities close to where people...
  • Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) or nosocomial infections are complex to treat and are a growing global burden. HAIs affect about one in 25 patients in the US and situation is worse in resource-poor nations. A prevalence survey conducted under WHO in 55 hospitals of 14 countries showed that ~8.7% of in-patients had HAIs. At any time, over 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from infectious complications acquired in hospital. HAIs contributes to increased economic burden, negatively affecting quality of life and deaths. 1,2 As per the existing methodologies direct observation is the gold standard to monitor compliance and to prevent or reduce HAIs. Frequent surveys, interviews and inspections are the other commonest methods implemented as prevention of HAIs. Indirect monitoring involves automated monitoring systems (video monitoring , real time location systems) monitoring hand hygiene product consumption). Hospitals with sophisticated information systems are in a position to streamline surveillance process through computer-based algorithms that identifies patients at highest risk of HAI.3 4 Computerized surveillance helps in better implementation of preventive strategies, but lower infection rates have not been proven conclusively. Conventional training methodologies have not proved to be significantly impactful in knowledge retention and message recall. A newer approach called Gamification is a positive and effective method to change behaviour. It can engage, motivate and influence people. It is a concept that has unknowingly been applied for years though the term was widely used only after 2010. A ‘serious game’ is defined as an ‘interactive computer application, with or without significant hardware component, that has a challenging goal, is fun to play and engaging, incorporates some scoring mechanism, and supplies the user with skills, knowledge or attitudes useful in reality. A hand hygiene improvement campaign in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (Scotland, UK) using the SureWash gesture recognition system (SureWash, IRL) which concluded that...

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  • Researchers at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology have developed a glue gun to put the human body back together when it has been seriously injured. The pins and stitches currently used to treat serious injuries come with drawbacks: They can be painful, they leave scars, they require high skill from the doctor, and they sometimes have to be removed after the tissues heal. Suture on the intestine, lungs or blood vessels often leak and therefore require a sealant. The medical glue that the researchers have developed is a “two in one,” said Prof. Boaz Mizrahi, head of the Biomaterials Laboratory of the Technion. It replaces both stitches and the sealant, and is good for both external and internal injuries, he said. All sorts of medical glues are already being used in dermatology, surgery, and other areas. Israeli startup Nanomedic Technologies Ltd., for example, has developed a medical device that it says can dress burns and other wounds with nano materials that mimic human tissue and peel off once the skin below is regenerated. Still, the glues currently in use to replace sutures and staples are limited by their mechanical properties and toxicity, the researchers said. Because they are very toxic, they can be utilized only on the surface of the skin. In addition, hardening of the glue may make the organ less flexible or the adhesion may not be sufficiently strong. With these limitations in mind, researchers have been on the hunt for a glue that is suitable for different tissues, nontoxic, and flexible after hardening. Such a glue would also need to decompose in the body after the tissue is fused together. Mizrahi worked together with doctoral student Alona Shagan and came up with what they say is a “very strong, nontoxic tissue adhesive that remains flexible even after solidification.” Their study...
  • Pinnacle Ventures has launched a pharmacogenomics programme to enable genetic testing to drive personalised prescribing decisions. The innovation arm of Pinnacle Midlands Health Network, a not-for-profit primary health care management company in New Zealand, is also working on embedding biomarker information into electronic health records and linking it to a clinical-decision support prescribing tool that can help prescribers by providing direct access to international pathways and guidelines. Pharmacogenetics involves prescriptions being tailored to a person’s genetic make-up, as people metabolise drugs in different ways, which can have a significant impact on a drug’s effectiveness. Ventures plans to do about 5,000 pharmacogenetic tests over the next 12 months, says chief executive John Macaskill-Smith. Some will be self-funded because individuals are struggling with their medications and others will be fully funded by Ventures, targeting specific groups within the Midlands population. Macaskill-Smith says it is a simple test that covers 65–70 per cent of medications frequently prescribed in New Zealand. “The New Zealand health system is under strain but using testing like this you could reduce the trial and error of prescribing and prevent adverse reactions to medications,” he said. Ethnicity plays a big part in how a person metabolises drugs, but the clinical trials that prescribing information are based on very rarely involve Māori or Pasifika test subjects. Macaskill-Smith said Ventures is partnering with key kiwi groups, Auckland University and Otago University medical schools and Callaghan Innovation to support research and develop a better understanding of how unique New Zealand populations respond to different medications. People who have a pharmacogenetic test can choose to consent to contributing their non-identifiable demographic information to researchers. Embedding the biomarker information into EHRs ensures a patient’s results are used for both current and future prescribing decisions, he said. Macaskill-Smith says a lot of direct-to-consumer online genetic-testing tools involve people...
  • Surgery students spend so much time on screens that they have lost the ability to perform simple tasks such as stitching and sewing up patients, a professor has warned. Roger Kneebone, a professor of surgical education at Imperial College, London, says the focus on academic knowledge has come at the expense of craftsmanship. “It is important and an increasingly urgent issue,” Kneebone told the BBC. “It is a concern of mine and my scientific colleagues that whereas in the past you could make the assumption that students would leave school able to do certain practical things – cutting things out, making things – that is no longer the case.” The professor, who teaches surgery to medical students, believes that this is down to an increase in technology which takes away the experience of handling materials and developing skills. ”An obvious example is of a surgeon needing some dexterity and skill in sewing or stitching,” he explained. ”A lot of things are reduced to swiping on a two-dimensional flat screen” Kneebone adds that a growing number of students are becoming “less competent and less confident” in using their hands, resulting in young professionals who “have very high exam grades but lack tactile general knowledge”. The professor will be speaking on Tuesday at the V&A Museum of Childhood in east London, at the launch of a report, published by the Edge Foundation, calling for more creativity in the curriculum. The report warns that entries to creative subjects have fallen by 20 per cent since 2010, including a 57 per cent fall in design and technology GCSE. Tristram Hunt, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, who will be speaking alongside Professor Kneebone added: “Creativity is not just for artists. “Subjects like design and technology, music, art and drama are vitally important for...