July 10, 2009
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New data yesterday from a home telehealth monitoring program developed by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute claims a whopping 54% cut in hospital readmission for heart failure patients. Readmission rates dropped to under 15% for patients on the program, which includes daily vitals monitoring and immediate contact if anything seems amiss. UOHI says they realize up to $20,000 in savings for each patient safely diverted.
Of course, any time you create electronic medical records, you create privacy risks, as this week’s fiasco in Alberta shows. Over 11,000 patients were notified of a privacy breach after a virus infected over 100 Alberta Health Service computers. A follow-up CBC story quotes a computer security expert who is appalled (the virus is 7 years old).
If you still want to hop on the electronic medical record bandwagon, McGill University Health Centre is collaborating with Medical.MD to promote a 300-subscriber beta test (first-come, first served) for Medical.MD’s web-based personal health records management tool — MedforYou. Medical.MD says the service will be very user-friendly and will include information on allergies, procedures, providers and medications as well as a journaling function.
April 17, 2009
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First time for blood stem cell factors: Dr. Guy Sauvageau of the University of Montreal produced a large number of blood stem cells in the lab from a smaller sample taken from bone marrow using a novel screening technique to identify mediators of the stem cell repopulating activity. The study was published in this week’s Cell. Dr. Sauvageau said that “[i]t could be possible to envision transplants for all adults from existing umbilical cord blood banks.”
First time for viral destruction of cancer stem cells: A group out of Dalhousie used reovirus on fresh breast cancer tissue removed from a patient, while most cancer studies use cancer cell lines developed for laboratory use. Not only does reovirus kill the cancer stem cells and cancer cells, it also stimulates the body’s anti-cancer immune system.
First time for a dual axis rotational cardiac X-ray: The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) has the first one of these X-ray machines for clinical use in North America. It produces better images in less time with less dye and less radiation.
First time for driving into space: The headlines said “Calgary scientists determine outer space only an hour’s drive away.” Apparently all the debate about where the atmosphere stops and space begins could have been solved if the scientists involved had gotten out of the lab and into their cars a bit sooner.
First time for a meta-diet: A group at McMaster conducted a meta-study of the effects of various diets on coronary heart disease and concluded that the Mediterranean diet is meta-good, and that trans-fats are meta-bad. The WSJ Health blog said: “So [the analysis] is a useful, if not particularly surprising, guide.”