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Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: Ontario

Ontario H1N1 Swine Flu Update: November 10, 2009. 212 Hospitalized, Seven Dead.

B&W_AntigenicShift_HiResCropThis week’s Ontario Ministry of Health Influenza Bulletin shows continuing increases across all metrics. Clinic hours have expanded, and the definition of “high risk” groups entitled to be vaccinated has expanded.  Also this week, the CDC reported a cumulative total of 4,000 swine flu deaths.

The Ontario numbers continue to look grim:

  • Nine new institutional influenza outbreaks were reported
  • 212 hospitalized cases were reported from October 28 to November 4 as compared to 104 from October 21 to October 28
  • Seven deaths caused by H1N1 were reported from October 28 to November 4

Here’s the overall picture:

Ontario Swine Flu Cases Week 43

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Trends Update — Electronic Medical Records: Ontario’s New EMR Adoption Program

floppy-disk1Ontario is providing up to $29,800 per physician over 3 years for new adopters of electronic medical records.  In the few weeks since the program has been implemented, the OMA has gotten over 650 inquiries and over 150 applicants.  There’s a local option and a cloud option, which runs off the eHealth Ontario servers.  Interestingly, up to $14,400 is available for early EMR adopters who complete upgrades to the latest spec.

Some interesting features at OntarioMD try to increase the effectiveness of the implementation:

  • EMR Advisor, an Ontario-based blog that includes information, tips and case studies;
  • A transition support program;
  • A support guide; and
  • Practice management consultants (on the government’s dime).

Meanwhile, Canada Health Infoway got its own clean bill of health from the Auditor General.

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Ontario H1N1 Swine Flu Update October 31: All Indicators Still Increasing. 2 New Deaths, 10 Toronto Clinics

B&W_AntigenicShift_HiResCropChecking out this week’s Influenza Bulletin, indications are that the Fall’s Swine Flu outbreak in Ontario is going to get worse before it gets better.  Unfortunately, the vaccine is just starting to become available.  This coming week, there will be 10 public clinics open in the greater Toronto area, but still only for those among the currently-eligible “high-risk” groups.

Sadly, two Ontarians died as a result of the virus this week.  To date (pdf), including over the summer:

“Thirty deaths have been reported among confirmed cases. Almost all of these fatalities (26/28 or 87%) were hospitalized prior to death… Of the fatal cases, 73% (22/30) occurred in individuals over the age of 40 years… [and] 26 (87%) had underlying chronic medical conditions reported.”

So Evan Frustaglio is a very sad exception to the general rule. 

Here’s some of this week’s data:

The graph below shows the total number of swine flu cases. The brown rising line on the left is the current situation (with 553 cases this week), and the green peak on the right is the data from the first swine flu wave this past summer.

Ontario Swine Flu Cases total October 30 2009

This graph shows hospitalizations due to swine flu. It lags a bit because the relevant records have to wend their way into the relevant database, but you get the picture.

Ontario Swine Flu hospitalizations Oct 30

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Ontario H1N1 Swine Flu Update October 27: Vaccine is on the Way

B&W_AntigenicShift_HiResCropThe latest actual figures on Ontario Swine Flu are in Ontario’s weekly “Influenza Bulletin”. See below for some interesting data from last Friday’s edition.

While you’re perusing those, note that vaccine is on the way.  The message from Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care is: “Get vaccinated when it’s your turn.”  

First in line:

  • People under 65 with chronic conditions;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Healthy children 6 months to under five years of age;
  • People living in remote or isolated communities;
  • Health care workers; and
  • Household contacts and care providers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines.

Here’s the data for new confirmed cases.  The big bump is the summer’s wave, the rising bars on the right are where we are today.

Ontario Swine Flu Cases October 21 2009

Here’s a view of how this Fall stacks up historically.  That early-riser on the left is 2009. Not encouraging.  Wash your hands, and go get vaccinated.  Then wash your hands again.

Influenza A Historical

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Québec’s $122 million New Biopharmaceutical Strategy Includes $30 million for Genomics, May Include SR&ED Tax Credit Financing

mdeieThe Province of Québec rolled out a new “biopharmaceutical strategy” Thursday that they say aims to provide “development support for biotech and biopharmaceutical firms.”

The Roll-Out:

The announcement was beautifully coordinated with the relevant constituencies, as illustrated by the near-immediate chorus of support:

The Big News:

BIOQuébec can’t help bragging a little that “the Minister has retained some of the recommendations made by BIOQuébec.” The pride is justified, though.  Biotech advocates have been asking — since before the last federal budget — for a way to monetize the refundable tax credits they’ve been banking.  As part of the new strategy, BIOQuébec says the government will allow

“biotechnology companies within the human health industry [to] benefit from a short term support measure thanks to the quarterly financing of their tax credits.”

Interestingly, BIOQuébec appears to have some information about that initiative that is missing from the government publications (nope, not even in the French version), which only say it aims to “implement new methods of funding R&D tax credits adapted to the specific needs of health-related biotechnology firms.”

Money Talks:

On the financial front, the initiative also highlights a 10-year tax holiday (sparse on details, but expect it to look a lot like the OTEC in Ontario) and Teralys Capital.

Finally, the strategy notes “three specialized start-up funds aimed at the technology sectors” with $41 million each that will be supported by “private-sector partners.”  Is the Pfizer-FRSQ Innovation Fund one of these?  Wednesday, that fund announced grants totalling $2.3 million for genomics studies of inflammatory bowel disease and metastatic colorectal cancer.

My Bottom Line:

This looks like a broad set of initiatives that aims to improve everything from student recruitment through R&D and commercialization to purchasing and reimbursement decisions.  I particularly can’t wait to see what the SR&ED monetization program looks like.  Hopefully we’ll learn in time to work with other governments *cough*Ontario*cough* as they start 2010 budget processes.

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Friday Science Review: September 25, 2009

A quiet week for journal publications but there were a few significant research related activities…

Canadian Stem Cell Charter: At the recent World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore, Canada stepped up and demonstrated why we are one of the leaders in stem cell research.  This time it was not a lab discovery but the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation’s launch of a charter outlining ethical principals and a code of conduct to guide stem cell research in a responsible and ethical way.

The Stem Cell Charter upholds the following principles:
• Responsibility to maintain the highest level of scientific quality, safety and ethical probity
• Protection of citizens from harm and the safeguarding of the public trust and values
• Intellectual Freedom to exchange ideas in the spirit of international collaboration
• Transparency through the disclosure of results and of possible conflicts of interest
• Integrity in the promotion and advancement of stem cell research and therapy for the betterment
of the welfare of all human beings

Bartha Knoppers, a bioethicist at McGill University’s Centre of Genomics and Policy, authored the charter in collaboration with a working group of scientists, patients, ethicists and laypeople.  She describes the purpose of the charter:

“There have been a lot of spurious claims in this area, people doing the first of this or the first of that, and it not being true,”

“It’s a wake-up call to scientists to remind them that if they want to work in this field, they have to do so under a scientific code of conduct and it’s to reassure the public that this is not the Wild West.”

“We’d like to keep it a credible science,”

“We’d like to keep it a science that merits public investment and public funding.”

Signing on (www.stemcellcharter.org) and adhering to the charter is one way of doing just that.  It is also a way for the public to show their support for stem cell research and to make their voices heard.

By the way, September 23rd was Stem Cell Awareness Day!

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF): This was mentioned in yesterday’s post on this blog.  Michael J. Fox announced the charity status of the Canadian arm of his MJFF for Parkinson’s Research in association with The McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine (MCRM) and Toronto Western Hospital (TWH).  I just want to emphasize the significance from a research perspective.  He is an advocate for stem cell based therapy and his Foundation promotes and emphasizes the sharing of scientific information to facilitate quicker results – “We don’t just fund research.  We fund results.”

Flu shot increases risk of H1N1 virus:  An unpublished Canadian study is garnering attention by suggesting that a seasonal flu shot may actually increase an individual’s chances of catching the H1N1 virus.  The report is still under peer-review and the details are not available but it was enough for Ontario to modify its flu vaccination program this season.  Younger people will not be offered the seasonal flu vaccine until they receive the H1N1 vaccine, which will not be available until mid-November.  Other provinces are also considering making some changes to their programs.

The CDC and WHO are looking into this controversial study but are taking a cautious stance, refraining from acting too quickly:

“The reason why this may be different in Canada and in this particular study than in other places of the world is not yet identified. It may be a study bias, it may be that something is real,”

“None of the other countries have been able to find anything like that”

This enhancing effect would be unusual for flu viruses but not completely new from a biological perspective.

Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Gaston De Serres of Laval University led the research study.

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TBI Mentorship Program Announced

TBIMentorshipLogoI’ve been working on the committee developing a new mentorship program for life sciences professionals in Ontario.  The formal launch will coincide with National Biotechnology Week in September.  Here’s the blurb:

The TBI Mentorship program is designed for science and business professionals at any stage in their career. It provides ongoing opportunities for career and skills development, and addresses one of the most pressing needs faced by the industry. The program matches people based on interests of proteges and industry experience of mentors to facilitate a good fit between the mentoring partners. The TBI Mentorship program allows mentors and proteges to define their goals and expectations, while providing tools, resources and training conducive to a meaningful mentoring experience.

The PwC report released in April cited “access to an experienced talent pool” as one of the most critical factors influencing the success of the Canadian life sciences and biotechnology industry, so we need as much involvement as possible. We’re accepting pre-registrations now.

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Trends in 2009: Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests Come to Canada

B&W_DNA_sequenceThis week saw the introduction of what I believe is Canada’s first personal genomics service offering.  Toronto’s Medcan Clinic paired up with California-based Navigenics to scan individuals’ genomes for a variety of disease markers.

Personal genomics is a burgeoning trend this year, which according to a special report in April’s Economist, will only be further boosted by a Moore’s Law-type improvement in sequencing power and price.  Available service offerings range from whole genome sequencing (e.g., Illumina and Knome) that costs tens of thousands of dollars to targeted scans typically offered for under $500 by a much wider variety of providers (Navigenics, 23andMe, deCODE and Pathway Genomics).

Regulation of DTC Testing:

In the U.S., the regulatory environment has settled down somewhat over the last 6 months, with most U.S. states regulating DTC genetics companies as clinical labs and the providers registering as such on a regular basis, including CLIA certification.  However, the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society is due to meet in October to further discuss whether DTC genetic tests should be regulated as medical devices.  The CDC has released a report entitled “Good Laboratory Practices for Molecular Genetic Testing for Heritable Diseases and Conditions” setting out best practices both for testing and interpretation.

In Ontario, there are a number of regulatory considerations (thanks on these points for input from Will Chung, of our renowned Life Sciences team):

  1. Private labs and specimen collection centres require licenses and are governed by the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act (LSCCLA). However, blood collection at such facilities is governed by separate legislation which controls who may draw blood and for what purpose.
  2. The LSCCLA requires that only “legally qualified medical practitioners” are permitted to examine specimens, which means that patients may not directly order testing of their own blood at private licensed labs.
  3. Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act stipulates that communicating a “diagnosis” is a “controlled act” which may only be performed by a person authorized by a health profession Act, although it is not clear that DTC genomics results are a “diagnosis.”

Medscan seems to have navigated the regulatory waters, but time will tell how these laws are applied and/or modified.

In the EU, the European Society for Human Genetics advocates for pre-market review for “truthful labeling and promotion” as well as post-market evaluation of DTC genetic tests. In May, Germany passed a law restricting the availability of DTC genomics services by requiring testing to be carried out by a licensed doctor following the patient’s consent.”

How much protection do consumers need?

Many commentators are concerned with the public’s ability to understand these tests and distinguish between those that are clinically meaningful and those that are more … snake-oily.  Others object on the basis that there is little value added absent any available treatment — many preventive measures are things we already know we should do, like eat well, exercise, etc.  A number of groups, including advocacy group Genetic Alliance and the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University have called for a national registry of DTC genetic tests that would include performance data.

Others (and not just 23andMe’s founders) take a more libertarian view.  Ronald Bailey, the science columnist at Reason, agrees that people probably don’t need to be “protected against learning such information without the guidance of a knowledgeable physician or genetic counselor.”  In fact, a lawsuit in May brought by a girl born with Fragile X syndrome against the sperm bank that didn’t test for the predisposition may drive  higher demand for genetic testing in the fertility context which may in turn drive supply of services and diagnostic tools and may contribute to normalizing broader parental testing and pre-implantation screening.

Interestingly, a NEJM report a couple of weeks ago showed no lasting psychological damage from a genetic prognosis of increased Alzheimer’s risk.  By the time a year passed after the results, subjects who had an increased Alzheimer’s risk were no more depressed, anxious, or distressed than when they started the study.

Most importantly, 98% of patients in the Alzheimer’s study who tested positive said they would still get tested if offered the choice again.  98% is a lot. It suggests that DTC services will be increasingly popular, particularly as the price drops and the quality of the data, the analytics and the available counseling continue to improve.

Stay tuned to this page for further DTC genetics news and analysis.

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Ontario H1N1 Swine Flu Update June 11: 1,562 Total Cases, 10 in Hospital. Oh, and It’s a Pandemic.

B&W_AntigenicShift_HiResCropOntario’s update yesterday brought the total number of cases in the province to 1,562 with two deaths, both fatalities having been people with underlying medical conditions.  The number of people hospitalized has increased from 6 to 10 since our last update (no word on the turn-over in that number), some of whom do and some of whom do not have underlying medical conditions.

Notably, the World Health Organization finally gave up the ghost today and declared Swine Flu to be a Phase 6 pandemic (duh), but made sure to note that it’s not severe:

“At this early stage, the pandemic can be characterized globally as being moderate in severity,” WHO said in the statement. A spokesman added that the term pandemic was “measure of the spread of the virus, not the severity of the virus.”

So we have a historic, but not too scary, announcement.  I guess the delay allowed some desensitization to the idea of a Phase 6 pandemic declaration.  Meanwhile, lest you slip from panicked straight to complacent, here are the Ontario stats:

Ontario Swine Flu cases total June 10

Some leveling-off on new cases, maybe:

Ontario Swine Flu cases average June 10

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Ontario H1N1 Swine Flu Update June 3: Two Deaths, 894 Total Cases

B&W_AntigenicShift_HiResCropCoverage of Swine Flu has declined, but incidence of Swine Flu has not.  Yesterday, we got the report of a second swine flu-related death in Ontario. 

Although the press release goes out of it’s way to emphasize that almost all the cases are considered mild, there is an interesting tidbit here:

Six people who have the H1N1 flu virus were in hospital as of June 2, a number of whom have underlying medical conditions.

… implying that at least some of those hospitalized do not have underlying medical conditions — i.e., they actually have a fairly severe case of flu.

Also, swine flu is on the rise in the Southern hemisphere and WHO is seriously considering moving to level 6, but may add some kind of severity indicator.

Here’s the Ontario data:

Ontario Swine Flu cases June 3

what’s that word again? Oh, right … exponential.  Here’s the new case average count, which I’ve moved to a 7-day rolling average:

Ontario Swine Flu cases Average June 3

Keep carrying that sanitizer a little longer, I think.

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Ontario Swine Flu Update May 26: First Death, 352 Total Cases

antigenicshift_hirescrop1Ontario reported yesterday that:

A 44-year old Toronto man with a chronic pre-existing medical condition passed away on May 23rd. On May 24th laboratory testing confirmed a positive test for H1N1 in this individual. It is not clear what role the H1N1 virus played in the fatality which is now under investigation by the Office of the Chief Coroner.

Also, there were 58 new cases since the previous report on May 22, bringing the total to 352.  Here’s how things have looked so far in Ontario, where we appear to be averaging about 15-18 new infections per day:

Average number of Ontario Swine Flu cases May 25

Also, the cumulative total:

Ontario Swine Flu total cases thru May 25

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BIO 2009: Ontario Premier’s Breakfast

BIO 2009The speeches (s-peach-es?) just finished this morning at the Ontario Premier’s breakfast.

Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson announced that Ontario has recently completed 2 new BIP investments:

Ontario’s Premier — Dalton McGuinty, winner of BIO’s second annual International Leadership Award — spoke next, highlighting the Ontario Innovation Agenda, including BIP, business tax reductions and recent funding in the Emerging Technologies Fund and the new $100 million for genomics research.

Dr. Nagy also spoke, emphasizing the $100 million of new funding and the value of a peer group of 95 P.I.’s in Ontario working on stem cells and regenerative medicine. Current work focuses on cell type switching without regression to pluripotency.

On to the omelet…

P.S.  First time here at the Cross-Border Biotech Blog?  Welcome! Check out who we are, check out our Trends in 2009 series, or hit the search and navigation tools on your right and see if you see anything interesting.

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Human Swine Flu Ontario Update May 14: Tracking the Ontario Numbers Plus Vaccine Updates

Ontario reported 36 new cases of Swine Flu today.  All cases are still considered mild, although one patient was hospitalized for unrelated reasons. 

I thought this would be a good time to look back at the Ontario press releases and plot the number of new cases reported since Ontario started releasing numbers on April 28th.  When I did that, the plot was very erratic, so I took a 3-day rolling average.  Here it is:

Ontario Swine Flu cases

We’ll see where this goes over the next few days.

Meanwhile:

Swine Flu Update Monday May 11: Ontario, Canada and Colbert Nation

antigenicshift_hirescrop1Ontario has reached a total of 110 confirmed human swine flu cases, all still considered mild.  The age range is between 1 and 62.  Canada reported its first swine flu fatality, an Alberta woman with asthma.

ScienceInsider has had outstanding coverage, and I’m adding their swine flu RSS feed to the sidebar on the right side of this page.  Interesting extracts from today:

  • Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London estimates an R0 of about 1.5 (consistent with last week’s report).
  • Based on available data, Ferguson estimates a case fatality rate of 0.4%, with a range between 0.3% and 1.5%. That’s far less than the 1918 pandemic, and likely to decrease as more mild cases (less likely to have been reported or tested early) are confirmed.

Also, Colbert had author Laurie Garrett on his show last week talking about the Swine Flu outbreak.

You can watch here from the U.S.:  http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/226864/may-06-2009/laurie-garrett

And here from Canada:  http://watch.thecomedynetwork.ca/the-colbert-report/full-episodes/may-6-2009/#clip169176

You may also apply a level of skepticism appropriate for listening to someone who has their own eponymous website.

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H1N1 Human Swine Flu Wednesday Update: Ontario, Genetics and Sanofi News

antigenicshift_hirescrop1Ontario confirms 13 new cases as of Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total to 49 in the province, all considered mild.  A lot of the public health messaging over the last 48 hours has been advising people not to relax too much.

Today also saw an interesting Canadian development on the scientific front.  Although commentary around the different numbers of flu deaths in Mexico versus other areas has included the possibility that there are genetic variations in the virus, genetic differences do not appear to be  responsible. Researchers at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg sequenced Mexican and Canadian isolates and found no significant differences. According to Dr. Frank Plummer, the chief science adviser of the national lab:

“Essentially, what it appears to suggest, is that there is nothing at the genetic level that differentiates this virus that we got from Mexico and those from Nova Scotia and Ontario, that explains apparent differences in disease severity between Mexico and Canada and the United States.”

Also, speaking of not relaxing too much, the FDA just announced that they have approved a new Sanofi Pasteur vaccine manufacturing facility in Swiftwater, PA.

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Human Swine Flu: Ontario Update and Other New Info

antigenicshift_hirescrop1There are five new confirmed cases in Ontario today, according to the press release following the 3pm call, bringing the total to 36.

Nature has a good scientific update, including the latest thinking on the basic reproductive rate, R0, “which is the number of new cases that an infected individual will give rise to,” and the generation time.

The WSJ Health Blog has its live blog posts on today’s CDC update call and WHO update call.

Here are our other (Canada-centric) posts on H1N1.

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Confirmed Human Swine Flu Cases in Ontario Double

antigenicshift_hirescrop1As testing capacity ramps up in Ontario, suspect cases are becoming confirmed cases at a rapid rate — 17 new confirmations from yesterday (and  two being re-assessed) brings the total number of confirmed cases in Ontario to 31.  The geographic and age range are both expanding, but all cases are reportedly still considered mild.  Here’s the full press release.

Oh, and in case you didn’t catch this bit of weekend payback: pigs on an Alberta farm were infected with H1N1 by a farm worker returning from Mexico.

The WSJ Health Blog has a full global update.

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Trends Update — Electronic Medical Records: Health IT and EMR Have an Advocate in New OMA President Suzanne Strasberg

floppy-disk1Dr. Suzanne Strasberg took over as the incoming president of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Saturday night at their annual gala.  The OMA press release headlines Dr. Strasberg’s call for access to family physicians, but health IT also figures prominently. Dr. Strasberg indicated that she would focus on a number of initiatives, including “expansion of the use of IT and eHealth” and cited support for “Electronic Medical Records, which have enhanced patient safety and improved the quality and continuity of care, as examples of where further expansions should be made immediately.” 

Click here for our other posts on electronic medical records.

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Brain Drain and Ontario Genomics Funding: Globe and Mail Prefers to Hear the Bad News First

On the front page of the Globe and Mail this morning: Top AIDS researcher lured away, urges Harper ‘soul-searching’, citing $148 million in cuts to the Canadian funding agencies.

Buried several links down below the fold in the National section: Ontario to provide major new research funding — in fact, $100 million to retain researchers, which makes up fully two-thirds of what the Harper budget cut.  Something we mentioned here a month ago when it was announced in the budget.

That’s more than a silver lining, it’s a whole different perspective.  Enough with the doom and gloom.  There’s money out there.  Go get it.

Update: at least the Globe has added the Ontario story as a “related” link under the Sékaly story.

Update2: Here is the MRI press release. The funding is directed to genomics research.

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Ontario Human Swine Flu Update: 16 Confrimed, All Mild

antigenicshift_hirescrop1UPDATED Sunday: A press release from Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirms 2 new cases of Human Swine Flu (aka H1N1 Influenza, aka Grippe Porcine) in Ontario today Sunday, bringing the total confirmed so far to 1416, with all reporting mild symptoms and recovering at home.

More from the press release:

The breakdown of the Ontario cases is as follows:

  • FiveSix men and nineten women
  • Three are in York, six are in Durham, one is in Peel and foursix are in
           Toronto
  • The age range of the cases is 21 – 4021-49

QUICK FACTS

  • People returning from Mexico who have symptoms of respiratory illness should contact their health care provider or call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
  • For general information on the human swine flu, call the ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-800-476-9708.

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New OHA Site for Ontario Hospital Performance Data

The Ontario Hospital Association has put up a new website at myhospitalcare.ca that compiles some publicly available hospital data and puts it in a user-friendly, layman-accessible format.

The OHA site can provide data sorted by type of care (Acute, Maternity/Pediatric, Emergency, Rehab, Chronic and Mental Health) or by indicator (Clinical Outcome, Family Satisfaction, Patient Safety, Patient Satisfaction, Perception of Care and Wait Time).  The site can also be used to review performance metrics for individual hospitals but large swaths of data appear to be missing.  For example, I was unable to locate any data on clinical outcomes for UHN or Sick Kids.

It is possible the OHA initiative was undertaken in response to the Fraser Institute’s Ontario Hospital Report Card, issued in March, which strongly criticized the hospitals for refusing to be identified in the report — only 17 out of 136 evaluated facilities agreed to be identified.  The Fraser Institute report appears to provide much more complete and detailed information, but because of the anonymity, generally cannot be used to identify specific hospitals.

Both the Fraser Institute site and the OHA site provide resources (follow those links) to help assess and compare methodologies. 

Earlier this month, the WSJ Health Blog took a look at health care performance metrics, noting a Health Affairs paper renewing a call for emulating the airline industry’s approach to safety, and an editorial on some quality-of-care pitfalls.

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Bailout Updates: Results May Vary

We’re beginning to see a round of adjustments in government budgets. 

On the one hand, some programs are facing further cuts as aspirational commitments meet fiscal reality.  For example, state legislators in Washington are proposing cuts of betwen 50 and 90 percent to spending on the state’s Life Sciences Discovery Fund over the next two years.  Similarly, the government in Ireland, which had funded a remarkable increase in innovative activity, announced an emergency budget that will reduce academic funding and salaries.

On the other hand, some early cutbacks are looking shortsighted and are being reconsidered or worked around.  For example, genomics funding that was originally cut (or not increased) in the Canadian budget has triggered an inflow of funds from other sources: $26 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and provincial funds in Ontario and Quebec.  In the UK, where the focus has been on education funding, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is providing most of the £13.5M to launch and operate The Genome Analysis Centre (TCAG) that will use genomics to support food security and animal health research.

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