The Telemedicine Reporter- International Edition August 04, 2011

Professor John Burton Chair of Emergency Medicine of Virginia Tech joins US Tele-Medicine Board

Professor John Burton, Chairman of the Emergency Medicine of Virginia Tech’s Carilion School of Medicine and Chief of ER Medicine at the Carilion group of hospitals in Virginia, is appointed Member of the Medical Advisory Board  of US Tele-Medicine.“The award winning Professor Burton brings pioneering skills to the emerging world of Telemedicine Triage,” said Jacques von Speyer, Chairman and CEO of US Tele-Medicine,“ Years before telemedicine became the practical solution to rising healthcare costs and expanding the delivery of care, that is so manifest today, Doctor Burton was working with NASA to develop telemedicine protocols for astronaut care in space.” Previously, Professor Burton served as Professor of Emergency Medicine at Albany Medical College and Professor of Surgery at the University of Vermont School of Medicine. Professor Burton is Fellow, American College of Emergency Physicians and Diplomat, American Board of Emergency Medicine.

Scientists Fabricate Lithium-Ion Batteries as Thin as a Nanowire

Researchers at Rice University (Houston) under Pulickel Ajayan, a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, have created the smallest lithium-ion battery yet. As reported in Nano Letters, the scientists have designed a lithium-ion energy-storage device into a single nanowire, paving the way for a miniaturized rechargeable source to power a new generation of nanoelectronic products. Miniaturized medical devices could also possibly benefit from this new technology.

Social media could help strengthen public health emergency response

Social media tools could put emergency medical teams and public health professionals in a better position to respond to disasters, according to a perspective article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Globe and Mail reports. The perspective was authored by Raina Merchant, Stacy Elmer and Nicole Lurie of the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. The authors outlined how social media platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter are affecting the public health system.

What types of medical conditions do people self-disclose online after being diagnosed?

Of medical conditions that were self-disclosed online in 2010, 40 percent were cancer-related, 16 percent were diabetes-related, and 5 percent were related to sexually transmitted infections, according to an analysis conducted by marketing firm Russell Herder. According to the analysis, breast cancer had nearly the same amount of online self-disclosures as prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, bone cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, lung cancer, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer and brain cancer combined.experts of the clinic as well as their partners are available to provide support and advice to the participants.

Can telehealth provide stop-gap coverage for your hospital?

Sara Jackson writes, “I recently stumbled across an article about a hospital putting telehealth to an intriguing new use: as a bridge for the the facility in between hiring in-house, on-staff psychologists. Mental Health Center of North Iowa lost all three of its staff psychologists over the past three months, with no immediate prospects for replacement. The practitioners had joined the staff in 2009, but it took hospital administrators several years prior to that to bring those staff members on board, according to a story published in the Mason City Globe Gazette.”

Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India to Drive e-Health Innovations –

Hospitals across India could be on the brink of finding a solution to closing the gap between the quality of healthcare between city dwellers and those residing in India’s villages. Telemedicine, an umbrella term for new technology and techniques that facilitates healthcare diagnosis and treatment remotely, is being hailed by the industry as an answer to ensuring that India’s poorer classes have access to the best healthcare possible. In a bid to modernise India’s telemedicine industry and improve the standard of care for the country’s rural inhabitants, some Indian hospitals are now looking to introduce Electronic Health Records (EHR). With the growing use of India’s private sector using EHR and EMR technology to differentiate itself, the Technology Development Board, Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt. of India is driving the government’s role and has sanctioned 2,69 billion rupees for e-health and mobile initiatives.

New Computerized System to Prevent SIDS Developed

BabyBeat – a computer system developed by students of Ben Gurion University in Israel, Departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences could be used to battle Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), as well for telemedicine applications. It uses computer algorithms to convert video footage to pulses that represent a baby’s heartbeat and skin tone. In the event that the system detects an abnormal heartbeat, an alarm sounds to awaken the baby, change its breathing pattern and alert the parents.

Cost Savings of Tele-Medicine Validated –

According to results of a pilot study presented at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America 31st Annual Conference, Prolonged exposure (PE) therapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be safely and effectively delivered to veterans living in rural areas via telehealth,. Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center, Charleston, found veterans who received PE therapy via telehealth experienced similar improvements in PTSD symptoms as their counterparts receiving in-person care. Furthermore, the safety profile of the 2 treatment delivery methods appeared to be equivalent. risk-free way to explore and experiment with the service can increase the development of accurate perceptions and user needs—which in turn will increase patients’ acceptance of telemedicine. Future studies should investigate the effect of continued usage on patients’ perceptions of telemedicine, the researchers said.

TELEMEDICINE IN THE WORK SITE:

A STUDY OF FEASIBILITY, AND PATIENT AND PROVIDER SATISFACTION Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester We examined the use of telemedicine for improving access to care in a work-site clinic. A prospective study of 100 patients was conducted over a four-month period in a work site that housed 700 employees. Sinusitis (10 visits), upper respiratory tract infections (9 visits), otitis media (9 visits), hypertension (9 visits) and back pain (8 visits) were the most common reasons for the visits. In 99 visits, clinicians were of the opinion that the telemedicine visit felt similar to a face-to-face visit. For most of the visits (67), patients strongly agreed or agreed that telemedicine had a positive effect on their relationship with the health-care provider. The otoscope, microscope and stethoscope telemedicine peripherals were important in aiding diagnosis (and ruling out other causes) in about 55% of the visits (upper respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, otitis media, cough, sore throat, nevi, rhinitis and ear wax related concerns). The ability for the patient to watch their ENT examination and see any associated abnormalities was appreciated by many patients. Physicians, nurses and patients were capable of using the technology with little training.

Barzilai Armored Emergency Room Due at End of 2014 – Israel

It was announced, at Monday’s meeting of the Knesset Control Committee, that the armored emergency room at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon should be finished by the end of 2014. Committee Chairman Ronnie Bar-On said the State Comptroller should investigate how delays in construction of the facility tie in with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s attempts to speed up construction in general.

Rural Health Study

A new white paper titled “Modernizing Rural Health Care: Coverage, Quality and Innovation” offers data detailing the challenges rural Americans face and proposes solutions for improving quality, access and affordability to health care in rural areas. The paper suggests that telemedicine might help to take up the slack in the system created by an expected shortage of rural physicians and rising demand. The report features a new analysis by The Lewin Group, which projects an increase of around 8 million insured rural residents by 2019 due to Medicaid expansion and a state insurance exchange. The paper, released by the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, reported that South Dakota’s 430,000 rural residents comprise 53 percent of the state’s total population. Among the findings: • South Dakotans have less access to health care. There are only 73 primary care physicians per 100,000 rural South Dakota residents compared with 110 primary care physicians per 100,000 urban and suburban South Dakota residents. • Rural Americans are more likely to receive lower quality health care through a highly fragmented local care delivery system, to be obese and to participate in public, taxpayer-funded health plans, such as Medicare or Medicaid. • Nearly half of rural doctors nationwide expect to see a shortage of physicians and mid-level health professionals in the coming years. • Nationwide, rural patients reported an average distance of about 60 miles between their local primary care physician’s office and a specialist’s office. • There will be a potential increase of around 5 million insured rural residents nationwide by 2019 — even as the number of physicians in rural America lags. • Physicians living in rural areas were more likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to say diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, and cancer are major health problems affecting their communities.

CMS’ actuaries: Healthcare spending will continue to increase, despite reform promises

The landmark 2010 healthcare law will not slow the nation’s ballooning healthcare spending in the coming decade, and it will drive spending away from hospitals and toward physicians and pharmaceuticals, according to projections from the government’s healthcare actuaries. The latest estimates of the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act indicate that healthcare spending will continue to increase markedly in almost every respect through 2020. Those increases run contrary to one of the central promises of the law’s advocates, including President Barack Obama: that it would slow the rise of ever-higher healthcare costs. The findings, calculated by the CMS’ Office of the Actuary, were published last week in the journal Health Affairs.

Healthcare IT to defy spending cuts, says forecaster

Spending on healthcare IT in the UK will hit $5.1bn (£3.01bn) in 2016 – a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% from 2010, predicts a healthcare IT market forecast. The UK’s ageing population is driving increased investment in healthcare IT, as is the urgent need to cut costs in the sector says research group, Ovum. Telehealth is expected to show the strongest growth, with a CAGR of 15.1%. However, electronic health records (EHR) and digital imaging, especially picture archiving (PACS), will continue to be the key investment area for the UK. Ovum’s healthcare technology analyst, Cornelia Wels-Maug, said: “A key driver of the investment is the urgent need to do more with less, due to the ever-increasing number of patients with chronic illnesses as the population lives longer. The cost of delivering a healthcare service that doesn’t compromise on quality is spiraling out of control. Investments in IT are part of the solution.”

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