viernes, 28 de febrero de 2014



Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information 
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services


February 27, 2014

View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive


CDC Launches App to Prevent Group B Strep Infections in Newborns

A new smartphone application (app) eases implementation of evidence-based guidelines to prevent group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections in neonates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the app in an announcement published in the February 21 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The app was written in response to the fact that GBS remains, in the United States, a leading cause of early-onset neonatal sepsis. GBS testing and intrapartum GBS prophylaxis are indicated for women who present with threatened preterm delivery. The app provides an efficient way for providers to have the newest management recommendations on hand.
"CDC's 'Prevent Group B Strep' app was developed with and endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Geared towards obstetric and neonatal providers, this interactive app delivers real-time patient-specific guidance at the point of clinical care. Users provide patient clinical characteristics by responding to a series of up to 12 questions, and the app returns patient-specific recommendations based on the 2010 Guidelines for Prevention of Perinatal Group B Strep, Alison Patti, MPH, from the CDC, told Medscape Medical News. The app reminds clinicians when intrapartum antibiotics are indicated and suggests antibiotics based on patient characteristics. The recommendations use a decision-tree guideline. Once downloaded, the free app does not require an Internet connection.


Coping With Infectious Disease

There is much to be done. Although 196 countries have signed an international agreement, reached in 2005, to report outbreaks promptly to the World Health Organization and take steps to control them, the vast majority have not fully complied. The odds for improvement this time around may be better. The health systems in poor countries, though still fragile, have improved thanks to international programs to combat AIDS and other diseases, and those systems could be expanded. pilot project in Uganda last year, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that biological specimens from sick patients could be gathered in remote areas of the country and carried by motorcycle and overnight delivery service to a well-equipped central laboratory, and the test results could be transmitted back by cellphone to the remote areas. A new technology currently being tested in Uganda is a dipstick, like those used for pregnancy tests, that can diagnose pneumonic and bubonic plague at the patient’s bedside in 20 minutes. A relatively small investment can get this health security initiative off the ground. The Defense Department and C.D.C. are spending a combined $40 million this year (mostly from the Pentagon budget) to help detect and contain infectious disease threats in 10 countries. The administration said that it will propose an increase of $45 million in the C.D.C. budget for 2015 to help additional countries.


Lab Testing a Medicare Cost Saver

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a longtime champion of improving chronic disease care, is in a position to play an important role in reforming Medicare. Wyden has long advocated a Medicare program that would feature improved care coordination for chronic disease, which would save lives and improve the quality of life for beneficiaries, while saving Medicare resources. One vital component of early chronic disease care that can save precious Medicare dollars is the increased utilization of diagnostic lab services. Clinical laboratory testing plays a pivotal role in identifying chronic conditions, accurately characterizing a particular disease and helping clinicians devise the most appropriate course of treatment to manage the disease. The value of these services cannot be overstated — in fact, 70 percent of all physician decisions today are informed by clinical lab results, yet lab services make up less than 2 percent of Medicare spending. Kidney disease — a chronic condition diagnosed in thousands of patients every year — is a prime example of where early clinical laboratory tests and effective care coordination can reduce costs and improve outcomes. Regular lab testing for diabetes can also prevent more costly complications down the road — hospitalization, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney failure or dialysis, to name a few.


Powering Down on Excessive Test Use

Utility companies can generate electricity in many ways—fossil fuel, nuclear reaction, solar panel, wind turbine. Which power source is preferable depends on the circumstances and the work that needs to be done. Generating optimal laboratory utilization is much the same. Providing an efficient and effective combination of tests for diagnosing hematologic neoplasms requires a different approach from achieving appropriate repeat ordering of chemistry tests in ICU patients. Delivering only the necessary blood components to cardiovascular surgery patients may take different tactics from curbing orders of expensive molecular genetic send-out tests. Pathologists today face all of these challenges and more. Fortunately, they have a variety of methods to power their utilization objectives.


Pap Smears in Perpetuity

Most older women don’t need the routine Pap tests used to check for cervical cancer. Deanna Kepka, a population scientist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, and her co-authors reviewed the responses of nearly 9,500 women participating in the National Health Interview Survey in 2010. They found that:
  • More than 58 percent of those over age 65 (who hadn’t undergone a hysterectomy and still had cervices) reported getting a Pap test within the past three years. Some of these women were in their 80s.
  • Of these 65-plus women, more than 20 percent said they’d gotten Pap tests annually, “because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do,” Dr. Kepka said.
  • Even among women who had undergone hysterectomies, after which the guidelines say Pap tests should stop, more than half had gotten them in the past three years.
 Why all this Pap-ing?


Progress Against Hepatitis C, a Sneaky Virus

Recognizing that deaths from hepatitis C are rising and more than three-fourths of infections are being diagnosed in baby boomers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that everyone born from 1945 through 1965 be screened for the virus. But what about other people who are walking around with undiagnosed hepatitis C infections? Should they wait until their livers are seriously damaged? “I would recommend that everyone who comes in for a checkup be screened for hepatitis C,” said Dr. Hillel Tobias, a liver specialist at New York University Medical Center. “It can be added to a blood test and is covered by insurance.” 


Rapid Matters: POCT for HIV

Awareness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) serostatus is widely considered a key component in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 180,900, or 15.8%, of the nearly 1.2 million persons over the age of 13 living with HIV in the United States do not know that they are infected. Rapid testing for HIV provides a highly valuable solution for the need to connect at-risk populations and those unaware of their positive status with accessible testing and treatment referrals. Relatively new to the POCT market is an FDA-approved and CLIA-waived one-minute rapid test for the detection of HIV that is already showing promise. Using flow-through technology and ready-made solutions to process the test, this new assay enables results that can be read as soon as the final solution has been absorbed through the membrane, making it much faster than lateral flow testing devices. Organizations that conduct mass testing or mobile campaigns can employ this uniquely rapid technology at large-scale events where a high number of individuals need to be tested within a short amount of time. Speed proves essential in such applications.


DNA Prostate Test 'Will Predict Deadliest Cancer Risk'

DNA testing can predict which men face the highest risk of deadly prostate cancer, scientists say. The team at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, say men could soon be offered genetic screening in a similar way to breast cancer in women. They have shown 14 separate mutations can greatly increase the odds of aggressive prostate cancers, which could form the basis of a test. Prostate Cancer UK said such testing could "revolutionise" care for men. Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men in many countries, including the UK - where more than 40,000 people are diagnosed each year. But not every patient has, or needs, invasive therapy that results in severe side-effects. Identifying which men will need treatment - those who are likely to develop the most aggressive and deadly form of the cancer - is a huge challenge.


Blood Sample Might Predict MS Long Before Symptoms Start

An antibody linked with multiple sclerosis (MS) might be detectable in the blood of people with the disease before symptoms appear, a new study indicates. The findings could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment of the central nervous system disorder, the researchers said. "If our results can be replicated in larger populations, our findings may help to detect MS earlier in a subgroup of patients," said study author Dr. Viola Biberacher, with Technical University in Munich, Germany. "Finding the disease before symptoms appear means we can better prepare to treat and possibly even prevent those symptoms." The researchers analyzed blood samples from 16 blood donors who were later diagnosed with MS and samples from 16 people of the same age and sex who did not develop the disease. The samples were collected two to nine months before the patients first experienced symptoms of MS. The investigators were looking for an antibody to the KIR4.1 protein, which is found in some people with MS. None of the people without the disease had the antibody. But among those who later developed MS, seven people tested positive for the antibody and two showed borderline activity. The study, released Feb. 21, is scheduled for presentation at the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Philadelphia this spring.


Biomarker May Identify Benign Pancreatic Cysts

Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) levels in pancreatic fluid may distinguish serous cystic neoplasms (SCN) from premalignant or malignant pancreatic cysts, according to a prospective study published online February 12 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. If the findings are confirmed, use of this biomarker could potentially reduce the costs and risks associated with monitoring and surgical intervention.


Cross-Cancer Analysis Clarifies Characteristics of Circulating Tumor DNA

A study in Science Translational Medicine has started cataloguing the characteristics, constraints, and potential clinical applications of circulating tumor DNA. Members of an international team led by investigators at Johns Hopkins University started by using tumor-guided PCR-based approaches to consider ctDNA levels in blood samples from hundreds of individuals with early or advanced cancers — a comparison that revealed both tumor stage and tumor type-related differences in the ability to detect ctDNA. In addition to showing that ctDNA can be detected in instances where circulating cells cannot, the group went on to consider the sensitivities and specificities associated with using ctDNA to find treatment-related mutations and follow treatment response in individuals with metastatic colorectal cancer.


Hospital Adds Next-generation Sequencing to Clinical Services, Advancing Donor Matching and Research

Immunogenetics experts at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP; Philadelphia, PA) have developed a laboratory test to characterize the genes that encode human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules. The test relies on next-generation sequencing technology (the MiSeq sequencing platform from Illumina [San Diego, CA]) to type HLAs, which are complex, highly variable proteins on cell surfaces that are essential to immune function. The new test may improve transplantation outcomes through a more refined assessment of donor compatibility, and will expedite the donor selection process from bone marrow registries. It also provides an advanced tool for research in immunological diseases, infectious diseases, and pharmacogenomics—the field that studies the influence of genetic variations on drug efficacy and toxicity.


MolecularHealth Readies NGS-based Oncology Assays

MolecularHealth is in the final stages of validating a targeted sequencing panel and an exome sequencing test for cancer patients and plans to launch the tests within the next couple of months, the company told Clinical Sequencing News at Molecular Medicine Tri Conference in San Francisco. The company is also planning to develop a test for blood-based cancers.


20/20 GeneSystems Wins $750K SBIR Contract to Develop Kidney Cancer CDx

20/20 GeneSystems said it was awarded a $750,000 contract by the National Cancer Institute to develop a test for predicting which patients with advanced stage kidney cancer may benefit from anti-angiogenic therapy. 20/20 GeneSystems said that there were an estimated 65,000 new cases of kidney cancer in the US last year.


LabCorp Acquires Covance's High-Complexity Genomic Laboratory

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings has acquired Covance's high-complexity genomic laboratory for an undisclosed amount. Additionally, the companies have entered into a five-year services agreement under which Covance and LabCorp will collaborate to continue offering the Seattle-based laboratory's services to clients. LabCorp said in its LabCorp Clinical Trials Newsletter that the genomic analysis services offered by the Covance lab include gene expression studies, translational biomarker projects, and next-generation sequencing applications to support drug development work


Different Way for Lab Tests

Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford University about 10 years ago to start a blood-testing company called Theranos. Holmes tells Wired that she was moved to start the company so that people could get needed labs tests before they wound up in the emergency room and without having to use needles. "We wanted to make this service convenient, to bring it to places close to people’s homes, and to offer rapid results," she says. She says that all the company's tests — according to its website, the company offers a range of tests, from platelet counts to fasting glucose and from chlamydia to hepatitis B — can be turned around in about four hours.


Genea Biocells to Provide Stem Cells to U.S.

In a boon for Australian stem cell company Genea Biocells, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry has approved 52 of its human embryonic stem cell lines (hESC) for use in the US. Genea’s hESC lines will support medical research into new treatments for serious genetic or acquired diseases, including orphan diseases. Amongst the 52 stem cell lines listed with the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry are 43 disease-specific hESC lines representing 24 different genetic diseases. 


From Surgery to Laboratory and Back Again

A University of York scientist's experience in seeing his partner in hospital recovering from a double lung transplant prompted him to design and synthesise new chemical agents that could revolutionise post-operative patient care. "I realised that my research group had developed expertise which could lead to chemical agents to bind, and perhaps remove the heparin. These chemical agents can be carefully designed to minimise side effects and so improve patient care," Professor Smith says. He designs small drug-like molecules, which assemble spontaneously into larger nanostructures in order to bind the heparin using multivalent (many-bonds) interactions. In the latest research, published in Chemical Science, Professor Smith and his team, which includes researchers from University of Liverpool, University of Trieste, and Freie Universität Berlin demonstrate that this approach works in vitro in human plasma, reversing the effect of heparin and allowing clotting to begin. Importantly, the system is biodegradable unless bound to heparin, with the molecules slowly breaking down, leading to nanostructure disassembly and inactivation. This means that, in principle, plenty of this compound could be used, because any excess will be less likely to cause side effects.


Chemists Discover Two New Weapons in the Battle Against Bacteria

Proteases are vital proteins that serve for order within cells. They break apart other proteins, ensuring that these are properly synthesized and decomposed. Proteases are also responsible for the pathogenic effects of many kinds of bacteria. Now chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have discovered two hitherto unknown mechanisms of action that can be used to permanently disarm an important bacterial protease.


In the Teeth

Using shotgun DNA sequencing, researchers from the University of Zürich and elsewhere characterized the oral microbiome of skeletons uncovered in a medieval German cemetery with evidence of periodontal disease, as they report in Nature Genetics. The researchers found that the oral microbiome of these 1,000-year-old or so Europeans is marked by disease-related bacteria. For instance, they found traces of both DNA and proteins from Tannerella forsythiaPorphyromonas gingivalis, and Treponema denticola, all known to be periodontal pathogens, in their samples.


$5B Initiative Proposed for Stem Cell Research

Supporters of California’s multibillion dollar stem cell program plan to ask for $5 billion more to bring the fruits of research to patients. Robert Klein, a leader of the 2004 initiative campaign that established the program, said he’s going to be talking with California voters about the proposal. If the public seems receptive, backers will work to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot to extend funding for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Klein outlined the proposal at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, during a symposium on how to speed research to patient care.


The Future of Clinical Utility Gene Cards in the Context of Next-generation Sequencing Diagnostic Panels

EuroGentest, an EU-funded Coordination Action, aims to harmonize genetic testing across Europe. EuroGentest unit 2 ‘Genetic testing as part of health care’ and the European Society of Human Genetics promote and coordinate the establishment of ‘Clinical Utility Gene Cards’ (CUGCs). These guidelines focus on the ability of a genetic test to significantly affect the clinical setting and patient outcome and hereby evaluate the benefits and risks of the test application. CUGCs, mainly aimed at clinicians, geneticists, referrers, service providers and payers in their decision to offer a genetic test to a person, are freely accessible.


Scientists Struggle to Replicate Stem-Cell Research Breakthrough

Scientists say they are struggling to replicate a new approach for creating stem cells, raising further questions about the breakthrough technique whose announcement garnered international attention. The experiments have come under increased scrutiny after Japan's Riken research institute, where the work took place, opened an investigation last week into whether there were any irregularities in images used in two scientific papers describing the stem-cell technique using mouse cells.


Dramatic Results With CARs in B-Cell Leukemia

More dramatic clinical results with engineered T-cell therapy have been reported, this time from a trial showing that 14 of 16 patients (88%) with advanced adult B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) achieved complete remission (CR). The findings were published in the February 19 issue ofScience Translational Medicine. "These extraordinary results demonstrate that cell therapy is a powerful treatment for patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies," said senior author Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Cell Engineering at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City. 


Meta-analysis Reveals New Blood Pressure Loci

In a study appearing online in the American Journal of Human Genetics, an international research team described 11 new blood pressure-linked loci identified through a gene-focused meta-analysis of genome-wide association study data on more than 150,000 individuals of European ancestry. By bringing together genotyping data on more than 156,000 individuals for their meta-analysis and replication studies, the researchers narrowed in on 27 known and 11 new sites in the genome that showed ties to systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and/or pulse pressure.


Clinical Study Used Live Ticks to Test for Persistent Lyme Infection

In a first-of-its-kind study for Lyme disease, researchers have used live, disease-free ticks to see if Lyme disease bacteria can be detected in people who continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue or arthritis after completing antibiotic therapy. The technique, called xenodiagnosis, attempts to find evidence of a disease-causing microbe indirectly, through use of the natural disease-carrier - in this case, ticks. It was well tolerated by the volunteers, but investigators could not find evidence of Lyme disease bacteria in most of the cases where enough ticks were collected to make testing possible. Larger studies are needed, the scientists say, to determine the significance of positive xenodiagnosis results in cases where Lyme disease symptoms persist following antibiotic therapy.


Vitamin E, Selenium Supplements Might Double Chances of Prostate Cancer

Men taking selenium or vitamin E supplements might double their risk of prostate cancer, depending on the levels of selenium already in their bodies, a new study suggests. Men who already have high concentrations of selenium in their bodies nearly double their risk of aggressive prostate cancer if they take selenium supplements, said lead author Dr. Alan Kristal, associate head of the Cancer Prevention Program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The new study, published Feb. 21 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also found that vitamin E supplements can more than double a man's prostate cancer risk, but only if the man has low concentrations of selenium in his body. The upshot, said Kristal, is simple: Don't take high-dose selenium or vitamin E supplements.


Iron Deficiency May Raise Stroke Risk

Low iron levels can raise your risk of stroke by making your blood more sticky, a new study indicates. Investigators looked at data from nearly 500 people with a rare hereditary disease that causes them to have enlarged blood vessels in the lungs. Typically, blood vessels in the lungs don't allow clots to enter the arteries. But in these patients, clots can escape the lungs, travel to the brain and cause a stroke. Those who had an iron deficiency had stickier platelets -- which are small blood cells that trigger clotting when they stick together -- and were more likely to suffer a stroke, according to the researchers at Imperial College London in the U.K. Even those with moderately low iron levels were about twice as likely to suffer a stroke as those with iron levels in the middle of the normal range, according to the study published Feb. 19 in the journal PLoS One.


Blood Pressure Drugs Tied to Risk of Falls

Older adults who take blood pressure drugs have a greater risk of serious falls, a new study reports. Researchers looked at nearly 5,000 Americans over age 70 during a three-year period. They found that those who were taking antihypertensive medications had a 30 to 40 percent greater likelihood of experiencing severe fall-related injuries like hip fractures and head trauma. A majority of older adults have high blood pressure, and antihypertensive medications are among the most commonly used drugs nationwide. Though the drugs help lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks, the size of the reduction in risk is comparable to the increase in risk of serious injuries from falls, said Dr. Mary E. Tinetti, chief of geriatrics at Yale-New Haven Hospital and an author of the new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. “The question is, are we trading off the benefit in terms of stroke prevention for the increased risk in serious fall injuries?” she said.


Cooking Meat 'May Be Dementia Risk'

Browning meat in the oven, grill or frying pan produces chemicals which may increase the risk of developing dementia, U,S. researchers suggest. Advanced glycation end (AGE) products have been linked to diseases such as type-2 diabetes. Mice fed a high-AGEs diet had a build-up of dangerous proteins in the brain and impaired cognitive function. Experts said the results were "compelling" but did not provide "definitive answers". AGEs are formed when proteins or fats react with sugar. This can happen naturally and during the cooking process. Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York, tested the effect of AGEs on mice and people. The animal experiments, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that a diet rich in AGEs affects the chemistry of the brain. It leads to a build-up of defective beta amyloid protein - a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. The mice eating a low-AGEs diet were able to prevent the production of damaged amyloid. The mice performed less well in physical and thinking tasks after their AGEs-rich diet. A short-term analysis of people over 60 suggested a link between high levels of AGEs in the blood and cognitive decline.


Cashiers May Absorb Controversial Chemical When Handling Receipts

People who work a cash register all day are most likely absorbing a potentially toxic chemical from the receipts they handle, new research finds. Thermal receipt paper contains bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to prevent the color on paper from running or bleeding. Researchers discovered that people working a two-hour shift at a cash register saw their BPA levels increase three to five times from handling the receipts, according to the research letter published in the Feb. 26 issue of theJournal of the American Medical Association.


Rare 'Polio-like' Disease Reports

U.S. doctors are warning of an emerging polio-like disease in California where up to 20 people have been infected. A meeting of the American Academy of Neurology heard that some patients had developed paralysis in all four limbs, which had not improved with treatment. The US is polio-free, but related viruses can also attack the nervous system leading to paralysis. Doctors say they do not expect an epidemic of the polio-like virus and that the infection remains rare. There have been 20 suspected cases of the new infection, mostly in children, in the past 18 months, A detailed analysis of five cases showed enterovirus-68 - which is related to poliovirus - could be to blame. In those cases all the children had been vaccinated against polio. Symptoms have ranged from restricted movement in one limb to severe weakness in both legs and arms.


Flu Hit Working-age Adults Hardest This Year

Young people and middle-aged adults were at high risk this flu season. Working-age adults accounted for 61% of influenza hospitalizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Last flu season, about 35% of flu hospitalizations were in people ages 18 to 64, CDC reported. People in that age range accounted for about 60% of flu deaths. That compared with 18%, 30% and 47% for the three previous seasons, the CDC reported. "One of the reasons flu is hitting young adults hard is such a low proportion, get the flu shot," said CDC Director Tom Frieden. "Only one-third were vaccinated." That's in contrast to a 60% vaccination rate for seniors and more than 50% for children.


Pfizer Pneumonia Vaccine Study Meets Clinical Objectives

Pfizer Inc. (PFE) said a clinical study of its pneumonia vaccine treatment for older adults showed the immunization prevented several kinds of community-acquired pneumonia. Pfizer's Prevnar 13 is a vaccine meant to prevent pneumococcal diseases, or illnesses caused by s. pneumoniae bacteria, which occur when the bacteria enters the bloodstream or causes an infection in the lungs. The Prevnar 13 trial tested the effectiveness of the vaccine in 85,000 patients aged 65 or older against pneumonia, which Pfizer said makes it the largest double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled vaccine efficacy trial conducted in adults. The immunization was effective against the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia, or pneumonia spread from normal social contact rather than a hospital. Prevnar 13 also prevented the first episode of non-invasive community-acquired pneumonia as well as the first episode of vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease.


Many U.S. Hospitals Fall Short in Preventing Infections

Many U.S. hospitals don't follow rules meant to protect patients from preventable and potentially deadly infections, a new study shows. Researchers examined adherence to infection control policies in more than 1,600 intensive care units at 975 hospitals across the nation. They focused on three of the most common types of preventable infections in hospitals: central line-associated bloodstream infections; catheter-associated urinary tract infections; and ventilator-associated pneumonia.


The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index

For the sixth consecutive year, global well-being improvement leader Healthways and world-leading management consulting firm Gallup have released their analysis of the state of well-being across the United States. The analysis is based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, a definitive measure and empiric database of real-time changes in well-being throughout the world. More than 178,000 interviews nationwide fueled the 2013 analysis, which examined Americans’ perceptions on topics such as physical and emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, social and community factors, financial security, and access to necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare to create a composite well-being rank for each state.
Source: Web Site Icon

Globally, Cancer Kills 50% More Men Than Women

Figures published by Cancer Research UK reveal that more than 4.6 million men and 3.5 million women die of cancer worldwide every year, putting the global rate of cancer death among men (126 per 100,000) 50% higher than that of women (82 per 100,000). The figures also show every year, more than 14 million people worldwide find out they have cancer, with men 24% more likely to be among them than women. Dr. Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, says it is vital that governments tackle the inequalities reflected in these figures.


FDA Weighs Fertility Method That Raises Ethical Questions

The Food and Drug Administration is weighing a fertility procedure that involves combining the genetic material of three people to make a baby free of certain defects, a therapy that critics say is an ethical minefield and could lead to the creation of designer babies. The agency has asked a panel of experts to summarize current science to determine whether the approach — which has been performed successfully in monkeys by researchers in Oregon and in people more than a decade ago — is safe enough to be used again in people.


How to Hide Your Genome

As the cost of genetic sequencing plummets, experts believe our genomes will help doctors detect diseases and save lives. But not all of us are comfortable releasing our biological blueprints into the world. Now, cryptologists are perfecting a new privacy tool that turns genetic information into a secure yet functional format. Called homomorphic encryption and presented at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science, the method could help keep genomes private even as genetic testing shifts to cheap online cloud services.


Florida Docs Gear Up for Fight Against Telemedicine Bill

The Florida Telemedicine ActExternal Web Site Icon would create licensure and registration requirements and regulate private insurance and Medicaid reimbursement. “The FMA is opposed to the bill as drafted,” said Erin Vansickle, FMA spokeswoman. “We look forward to working with lawmakers to craft legislation that protects patient safety and privacy, and ensures fair reimbursement for physicians.” She did not detail which provisions of the bill the association opposes.
Vansickle said the FMA's opposition was not directed toward the state's annual influx of winter snowbirds, residents who move south for the season but who may stay connected to their home state doctors via telemedicine. Twenty-two states have telehealth billsExternal Web Site Icon before their legislatures, according to the American Telemedicine Association.


Funding for Safer Health IT Practices

AHRQ is interested in funding projects that will generate evidence on safe health information technology (IT) practices that other Federal agencies can use to inform health IT certifications and other forms of policy guidance. AHRQ has issued two funding announcements called Special Emphasis Notices (SENs) following receipt of a fiscal year 2014 appropriation of an additional $4 million in health IT funding for research on the impact of health IT on patient safety.
The (R01)SENExternal Web Site Icon focuses on projects that promote post-deployment safety testing of electronic health records (EHRs) for high prevalence, high-impact EHR-related patient safety risks, and focused research demonstration projects that provide evidence to inform the safe use of health IT. The (R21)SENExternal Web Site Icon focuses on applications addressing any of the following:
  • Clinical patient safety: Clinical patient safety topics impacted most by health IT.
  • EHR system integrity: Frequency of and optimal mitigation strategies for EHR downtimes.
  • Health IT safety reporting: Optimal health IT patient safety reporting strategies.


ONC Releases Proposed 2015 EHR Technology Certification Criteria

True to its word, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a proposed rule containing the next edition of electronic health record technology certification criteria.  The proposed rule, to be published in the Federal Register Feb. 26, represents ONC's new approach to update the criteria more frequently in order to include improved standards and improve regulatory clarity, according to a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announcement.
The new certification criteria, known as the "2015 Edition," is the first edition of certification criteria not tied to actual Meaningful Use regulations, and will be voluntary. The 2015 Edition proposes, among other things:
  • New certification criteria on functionality to support patient population filtering of clinical quality measures
  • Improved interoperability exchange for transitions of care and clinical decision support
  • A path for certification of non-Meaningful Use EHR technology
  • Closer alignment with other HHS program policies and OIG recommendations


10 Healthcare Data Security Challenges

List of top 10 security challenges to consider.
  • Insider abuse 
  • Medical devices 
  • EOL (End of Life) systems 
  • Malware 
  • Cloud and BYOD 
  • Business Associates 
  • Social media 
  • Breach and incidents 
  • Security expertise 
  • Regulatory requirements


Health IT Transforming Rural Care

"Rural is not a smaller version of urban," said Tom Morris, associate administrator for rural health policy at Health Resources and Services Administration, speaking at the pre-conference symposium, "Health IT and Rural Healthcare: Embracing Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges." In sparsely populated areas, where 46.2 million Americans live, things are very different from the cities where most health policy is developed. The provider base is different, with a bigger focus on primary care. The payer mix is different, with a heavier reliance on Medicare and Medicaid. Technology infrastructure is more limited. Small hospitals struggle with regulatory burdens, even as they're stretched thin dealing with more prevalent chronic disease. And, of course, geography – with vast open spaces between care facilities – poses huge challenges for patients and providers alike.


Deloitte Taps the Zen of Data Analytics

Envisioning a future when healthcare is data-driven in a big way, Deloitte Consulting has launched a new business unit and is investing between $150 million to $200 million in life sciences and healthcare analytics and launching ConvergeHEALTH, a new business unit to give the work of transformation momentum. The formation of ConvergeHEALTH is one part of a $150 million to $200 million investment Deloitte is making in life sciences and healthcare analytics. 


Denmark, World Leader in Health IT, Tests New Systems With US Companies

Keeping health care expenditure down in times with a growing aging population and an increase in chronic diseases is a universal challenge, but Denmark has managed to do that. While US healthcare spends 17.9% of the GDP on average, Denmark has kept its cost at 10.5% of GDP. This is in large part due to an expansion of health IT solutions throughout the sector. Now, the Danish government has initiated the modernization of its healthcare sector, beginning with a new hospital structure. Denmark is constructing 16 new hospitals, including 8 new super hospitals with a state-of-the-art health IT structure.


Dog Database to Limit Droppings

By developing a database of dog DNA linked to the dogs' owners, Naples hopes to eliminate dog waste from its sidewalks, the New York Times reportsExternal Web Site Icon. "Now, when I walk the streets, the presences have greatly diminished," says Captain Enrico Del Gaudio from the Municipal Police, referring to droppings. "Before, it was like an obstacle course. Every day, a child would walk into school with a little gift under her shoe."


New Canadian Lab to Serve as Hub for HIV Research

Named after Dr. John Charles Wilt, a medical doctor and microbiology professor in Manitoba for more than 40 years, the $42 million federal project will be associated with the National Microbiology Laboratory. It will serve as a hub for HIV and AIDS research in North America and will also combat anti-microbial resistant organisms that cause food related illnesses.


Half of Labs to Be on NPEx

Half of all laboratories in England should be on the National Pathology Exchange by the end of the year, says an NHS England report. ‘National Pathology Programme Digital First: Clinical Transformation through Pathology Innovation’, highlights the use of digital pathology systems and innovation across the country. The National Pathology Exchange, or NPEx, is a national data exchange service that provides a direct interface between laboratory information management systems and a national hub to create a streamlined process.


Indian Doctors Get Access to U.S. University Medical Expertise

A prominent American university has offered Indian doctors access to its medical expertise through telemedicine, with an objective of improving care for patients. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has entered into an agreement with Bangalore-based TeleChikitsa Ventures, under which through advanced, web-based technology, the American physicians specialising in oncology, pulmonology, colorectal surgery and other specialties will provide second opinions to their counterparts in India. Using secure telemedicine applications, developed in part at UPMC’s Technology Development Center, the physicians can share patient records and images and consult with their Indian counterparts within 48 hours, a university statement said.
Source: Web Site Icon

Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.

External Web Site Policy This symbol means you are leaving the Web site. For more information, please see CDC's Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.

No hay comentarios: