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  • WASHINGTON: India has shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, say scientists who found that lack of staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing live-saving drugs. Even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them. High out-of-pocket medical costs to the patient are compounded by limited government spending for health services, according to the report by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in the US In India, 65 per cent of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and such expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year. The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections. Researchers at CDDEP in the US conducted stakeholder interviews in Uganda, India, and Germany, and literature reviews to identify key access barriers to antibiotics in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Health facilities in many low- and middle-income countries are substandard and lack staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics. n India, there is one government doctor for every 10,189 people (the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1,000), or a deficit of 600,000 doctors, and the nurse:patient ratio is 1:483, implying a shortage of two million nurses. “Lack of access to antibiotics kills more people currently than does antibiotic resistance, but we have not had a good handle on why these barriers are created,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director at CDDEP. The findings of the report show that even after the discovery of a new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability,” Laxminarayan said in a statement. “Our research shows that of...
  • 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...
  • MUMBAI: A prescription by a doctor without a diagnosis first would amount to culpable negligence, said the Bombay high court while rejecting a pre-arrest bail plea of two doctors accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for death of a woman patient five days after child-birth. “The time has come for weeding out careless and negligent persons in the medical profession,” said Justice Sadhana Jadhav, while rejecting the plea made by the gynaecologist couple Deepa and Sanjeev Pawaskar, from Ratnagiri. The HC, however, stayed its order, and consequently their arrest, till August 2 to enable them to appeal. “When a doctor fails in his duty, does it not tantamount to criminal negligence? The courts cannot ignore the ethical nature of the medical law by liberally extending legal protection to the medical professionals. The ethical issues raised by failure to assist a person in need arises from positive duties. According to this court, the breach of these duties could fall within the realm of a criminal law of negligence,” said Justice Jadhav. The couple had said it was a civil case where compensation could be paid to the patient’s family. Can compensation buy a child her mother and beloved wife for a husband, asked the Judge The woman had delivered at Pawaskars’ hospital on February 6. She was discharged three days later, with no check-up and in their absence, as the doctors were out of town for a conference. The woman was re-admitted a day later, unable to keep anything down. Her treatment was done through telephonic instructions by Dr Deepa Pawaskar to her staff and an embolism went undiagnosed and untreated till it was too late, observed the HC. She had to be rushed to another hospital in a pre-dawn emergency and died there within hours. The widower filed an FIR in March...

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  • More than eight out of 10 teachers say mental health among pupils in England has deteriorated in the past two years – with rising reports of anxiety, self-harm and even cases of suicide – against a backdrop of inadequate support in schools. In a survey of 8,600 school leaders, teachers and support workers, 83% said they had witnessed an increase in the number of children in their care with poor mental health, rising to 90% among students in colleges. Many described a sense of helplessness in the face of the crisis. One said it was “like a slow-motion car crash for our young people that I am powerless to stop and can’t bear to watch or be part of any more” Others complained that real-terms funding cuts in schools were making it harder to support pupils in need, with fewer support staff available. “We are at a crisis point with mental health,” one respondent said. “Much more anxiety, self-harming. Three suicides in three years in my school alone,” said another. The survey of members of the National Education Union before their conference in Liverpool this week also asked about the support available in schools to pupils in distress. Fewer than half said their school had a counsellor, three out of 10 (30%) had been able to access external specialist support such as NHS child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), fewer than 30% had a school nurse and only 12% had a “mental health first aider”, as favoured by the government. More than a third of respondents (37%) had training in the past year to help with supporting young people with mental ill health, but there were complaints that it was often inadequate and ineffective. “Mental health first aid is a lip service,” said one. “Seven members of staff trained – nothing...
  • With the rising influence of tech companies such as Amazon and Google in almost every sphere of life, it may be no surprise that these major players are now venturing into the healthcare space. Emerging healthcare technologies 2019 Our world has become increasingly digitised and this has created the opportunity for electronic devices such as smart speakers to streamline patient experiences. Products currently used by tens of millions of US citizens include Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. These devices have the potential to decrease the time spent manually updating patient records, allowing physicians to spend more time with their patients. Such technologies might also reduce the financial burden on healthcare systems by allowing patients to have certain medical questions answered, book appointments and receive reminders. With this market estimated at about $3.5 trillion the financial incentive for tech companies to enter the healthcare industry is significant. US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Recently, Amazon announced it would allow developers to create HIPAA-compliant healthcare abilities for its electronic assistant, Alexa. These developers will have to comply with HIPAA (the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), which functions to ensure the protection of patient information. Programmes currently in development for Alexa will allow patients to access their medical records and check the results of certain medical tests. For instance, Livongo has created a programme for patients to access their blood sugar level readings by voice commands. Amazon has also launched its Comprehend Medical, a machine learning tool that gathers information on physician notes and patient health records. Other companies with electronic assistants, such as Google, have the potential to compete with Amazon in the healthcare sector but will need to catch up with Amazon’s HIPAA compliance if they want to stay competitive. According to the HIPAA Journal, Google...
  • WASHINGTON: India has shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, say scientists who found that lack of staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing live-saving drugs. Even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them. High out-of-pocket medical costs to the patient are compounded by limited government spending for health services, according to the report by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in the US In India, 65 per cent of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and such expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year. The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections. Researchers at CDDEP in the US conducted stakeholder interviews in Uganda, India, and Germany, and literature reviews to identify key access barriers to antibiotics in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Health facilities in many low- and middle-income countries are substandard and lack staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics. n India, there is one government doctor for every 10,189 people (the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1,000), or a deficit of 600,000 doctors, and the nurse:patient ratio is 1:483, implying a shortage of two million nurses. “Lack of access to antibiotics kills more people currently than does antibiotic resistance, but we have not had a good handle on why these barriers are created,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director at CDDEP. The findings of the report show that even after the discovery of a new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability,” Laxminarayan said in a statement. “Our research shows that of...