EHRs among top technology priorities for health care utives

Electronic health records are among thetop 10 technologies that health care utivesshould pay close attention tothis year, according to a new report fromresearch firm ECRI Institute, HealthcareIT News reports.

The report — titled, Top 10 C-SuiteWatch List: Hospital Technology Issuesfor 2012 — aims to help health care utives prioritize their efforts to implementand improve health care technologies.

In its discussion of EHRs, the reportnotes that medical device integration andthe federal meaningful use program ultimately aim to improve health care and patientsafety. Successful deployment shouldnot only ensure reimbursement, but alsoenhance patient safety and quality of care,facilitate nursing workflow and increase physician and nursing satisfaction.

Medical students using virtual human bodies to learn about anatomyfor health care utives

New YorkUniversitysSchool ofMedicine ispioneering the use of3-D simulationtechnology to teach medicalstudents abouthuman anatomy, the New York Times reports.

In a laboratory atNYU Langone MedicalCenter in Manhattan, anatomy students wear3-D glasses to dissectvirtual human bodies that are displayed on aprojector screen.

Using a computer, studentscan examine closeupviews of simulated 3-D organs and otheranatomic structures thatare animated to function as they would in a livingbody.

John Qualter– an assistantprofessor of educationalinformatics at NYUs School of Medicineand the founder of BioDigital Systems,which created the virtualhuman models — said the program is like a livingdigital textbook.

Qualter said Bio-Digital plans to furtherdevelop the technologyon its medical educationwebsite to provide a searchable, customizablemap of the humanbody that could be used by physicians andmedical websites. NYUadministrators saidthey plan to use the virtual human bodies as acomplementary teachingmethod that will not replace the use ofreal human cadavers,which provide a more tactile understanding ofanatomy.

Corporate Update
Bharti Airtel ReligareTechnologies to offermedical advisory

Airtel, Indias largest mobile phone operator,has recently tied-up with Religare Technologies,a company controlled by promoters ofthe Fortis hospital chain, to offer healthcaresolutions and guidance over telephone.

By paying an introductory tele-consultationfee of Rs 15 a call, Airtel customers canget basic medical guidance on non- mergencyhealth problems through this service,24 hours, seven days a week. Airtel chargesjust 50p for this call. With a customer baseof 173 million, Airtels latest value addition isexpected to provide a productive platformfor Religare to promote their e-health service.

Airtel is not the first to introduce a mobilehealth scheme in the country, a recent trend.Some months earlier, telecom operatorsAircel and Idea had launched a similar servicein association with the Apollo Hospitalgroup-promoted Healthnet Global.

US diagnostic market to witness unprecedented growth

The US diagnostic market holds a significant share in the global diagnostic market, andaccounts for the majority of the total healthcare market. A huge investment in researchand development, and commercially successful innovations in the diagnostic industry hasfacilitated the US to outperform other prominent diagnostic markets, including the EU andJapan. According to a latest report, US Diagnostic Market Outlook 2014, by RNCOS, theincreasing prence of chronic and infectious diseases, emergence of new technologiesin molecular diagnostics, and awareness among health professionals and patients willlead to a further growth in the US diagnostic market.

The report, which is spread over 60 pages, provides an in-depth research and rationalanalysis of the current demand for the diagnostic products and clinical lab services marketin the United States. It also provides the forecasts for IVD products, medical imagingequipment and clinical lab services market for 2012-2014.

PET can detect mediastinal lymphomain children

FDG uptake of thymus measured by PET/CT is an effectiveindicator for the differentiation of mediastinal lymphomafrom normal thymus in pediatric patients, according to astudy published in Radiology.

Heike E. Daldrup-Link, MD, of Stanford University Schoolof Medicine in Stanford, Calif., and colleagues wanted to uate the use of PET/CT in diagnosing malignant lymphomas,which are the most common pediatric malignantmasses of the anterior and middle mediastinum. More than two-thirds of pediatric patients with Hodgkin lymphoma andhalf of pediatric patients with lymphoblastic non-Hodgkinlymphoma present with a mediastinal mass, according tothe studys background information.

The researchers retrospectively reviewed 282 FDG-PET/CT studies in 75 pediatric oncology patients, who were dividedinto four groups: 16 with anterior mediastinal lymphoma(group a), five with anterior mediastinal lymphoma with subsequentrecurrence (group b), 16 with lymphoma outside the mediastinum (group c) and 38 with other malignant tumorsoutside the thymus (group d). The analysis included themeasurement of maximum standardized uptake values ofanterior mediastinal mass, thymus (SUVt), on PET images.

Results of the study showed a mean prechemotherapySUVt of 4.82 for group a, 8.45 for group b, 2.00 for groupc and 2.09 for group d. Postchemotherapy SUVt for groupb was 4.74 and thymic rebound was seen in 44 percent of patients at an average interval of 10 months from the end ofchemotherapy.

Biocon sees larger licensing incomefrom pharma

Biocon , Indias top-listed biotechnology company, expects togenerate larger licensing income from pharmaceuticals business,its Chairman and Managing Director said.

The Bangalore-based drugmaker earlier said consolidated net profit fell 15.8 percent in December quarter, while revenue rose3 percent. The sales growth in the fiscal third quarter ended December31 was flat on lower licensing income.The company said, licensing fees and income dropped to 292 million rupees in October-December from 768 million rupees a year earlier.

Biocons presence straddles four main therapeutic areas Diabetology, Cardiology, Nephrology and Oncology even as it plansto introduce two new divisions, Comprehensive Care, and Immunotherapy,
this year.

Corporate Updates
Wal-Mart plans ambitious expansion into medical care

Wal-Mart issued a statement saying itsrequest for partners to provide primarycare services was overwritten and incorrect. The firm is not building a national,integrated low-cost primary health care platform, according to the statementby Dr. John Agwunobi, a seniorvice president for health and wellness atthe retailer.

The nations largest retailer is planningto offer medical services ranging fromthe management of diabetes to HIV infections, NPR and Kaiser Health Newshave learned.

In the same week in late October thatWal-Mart said it would stop offeringhealth insurance benefits to new parttimeemployees, the retailer sent out arequest for partners to help it dramatically … lower the cost of healthcare … bybecoming the largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation.

The 14-page request, which you canread here, asks firms to spell out their expertisein a wide variety of areas, includingmanaging and monitoring patientswith chronic, costly health conditions.Partners are to be selected in January.

Analysts said Wal-Mart is likely positioningitself to boost store traffic, possiblyby expanding the number of itsin-store medical clinics and the servicesthey offer.

The move would also capitalize ongrowing demand for primary care in2014, when the federal health law fullykicks in and millions more Americans areexpected to have government or privatehealth insurance.

We have a massive primary careproblem that will be made worse byhealth reform, says Ian Morrison, aMenlo Park, Calif.-based health-careconsultant. Anyone who has a plausibleidea on how to solve this should be allowedto play.

In-store medical clinics, such as thoseoffered by Wal-Mart and other retailers,could also be players in another effort inthe health law: collaborations between doctors and hospitals to streamline careand lower costs.

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Related February 2012