Brazil’s Health Minister Seeks to Stem Inefficiencies to Cut Costs

WST, 8 November 2016
Author: Paulo Trevisani
“Brazil’s government is renegotiating contracts and searching for inefficiencies in the country’s mammoth public-health system ahead of a likely tightening in public spending starting next year, Health Minister Ricardo Barros said. The government has already managed to reduce the price it pays for drugs provided to millions of patients by renegotiating contracts with labs. The savings will grow as the ministry speeds up a plan to automate paperwork in the public-health network so that information about each user will be more readily available.”
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How can doctors use technology to help them diagnose?

The Conversation, 24 October 2016
Author: David Tuffley
“In Japan’s first reported case of artificial intelligence (AI) saving someone’s life. A woman with a rare type of leukaemia was correctly diagnosed by the AI. Even more remarkable, it took just ten minutes to compare the woman’s genetic information with 20 million clinical oncology studies to arrive at the life-saving diagnosis. Does this mean robots are going to replace our doctors? Not quite, but increasing volumes of medical data, more powerful computers and smarter algorithms could see a future medical science in which human doctors are helped by AI.”
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Medical Technology Start-Ups In Free Fall As Industry ‘Grays’

Forbes, 18 October 2016
Author: Bruce Japsen
“The number of start-up companies in the U.S. medical technology industry has dropped nearly 70 percent over the last three decades amid regulatory challenges and competition for young talent. The number of new medical technology and device-making startups plummeted to about 600 in 2012 from nearly 1,500 annually three decades ago. The industry blames regulations such as a slow review process for devices and hurdles raised by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which has stricter rules on devices it will allow Medicare to pay for.”
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Cancer register bill passes Senate with privacy fixes

IT News, 13 October 2016
Author: Allie Coyne
“The Senate has passed a bill enabling the Australian federal government’s planned national cancer screening register after the government agreed to fix privacy holes pointed out by the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner pointed out the draft legislation authorised the use of personal information contained in the register for research purposes, bypassing a framework within the Privacy Act set up to grant exemptions for data access in the case of health research. The bill also allowed the register to collect comprehensive Medicare claims information, rather than just information related to bowel and cervical cancer screening.”
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Social media for tracking disease outbreaks – fad or way of the future?

The Conversation, 12 October 2016
Author: C Raina MacIntyre
“Infectious diseases kill more than 17 million people every year. Large outbreaks, known as epidemics, are becoming more frequent. And more serious infections have emerged in the past decade than any time previously. The social and economic impacts of epidemics can be severe. We need better surveillance systems to detect epidemics early. But while there is the potential to predict epidemics by mining data of rumours and news reports (rumour surveillance), or clusters of disease symptoms (syndromic surveillance) described by social media users, we’re not quite there yet.”
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Spine Care Practice Pays Ransom, Regains IT Systems

Health Data Management, 5 October 2016
Author: Joseph Goedert
“New Jersey Spine Center, with six sites, recently reported that it paid a ransom payment to hackers to regain control of its information systems after a ransomware attack. The attack, using the CryptoWall ransom virus, occurred on July 27, according to a notification letter to patients from the organization, which operates six locations serving northern and central New Jersey. Compromised patient information included medical and demographic data and, in some cases, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and account information.”
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What is the Medical Technology Association and how does it wield its power?

The Conversation, 27 September 2016
Author: Bruce Baer Arnold
“If your health practitioner has used a syringe, tongue depressor (to look at your throat), pacemaker, stethoscope, X-ray or MRI scan, blood test, dental filling or joint implant to treat you, you’ve encountered a product from the medical technology industry. Many of the businesses are represented by the Medical Technology Association of Australia (MTAA). The MTAA is quietly influential because it persuaded the government to reject the recommendation to establish mandatory registries for use of high-risk implantable devices such as hip joints. Those registries would be overseen by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the industry-funded national drugs and devices regulator.”
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Opioid crisis in rural areas may be tackled through telemedicine

Washington Post, 27 September 2016
Author: Shefali Luthra
“In Virginia, problems surrounding prescription opioid use far outstrip the capacity of psychiatrists and addiction specialists to treat them. But some health professionals, as well as the federal government, think technology could offer a solution — by using video chat to connect patients in need with faraway physicians who know how to treat addiction. Their telemedicine effort is part of a larger initiative to fight the opioid epidemic in hard-hit rural areas such as Appalachia.”
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Teva, Intel to develop wearable technology for Huntington’s disease

Reuters, 15 September 2016
Author: Natalie Grover and Steven Scheer
“Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said on Thursday it was collaborating with Intel Corp to develop a wearable technology platform to track the progression of disease in patients with Huntington’s, a fatal degenerative disorder. The inherited condition causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain, resulting in a gradual decline in motor control, cognition and mental stability. Patients will use a smartphone and wear a smartwatch equipped with sensing technology that will continuously measure functioning and movement. The data from the devices will then be wirelessly streamed to a cloud-based platform that will translate it into scores to assess motor symptom severity.”
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China Investigating Data Leak and Swindling of H.I.V. Patients

NYT, 21 July 2016
Source: Sinosphere
“Hundreds of people with H.I.V. across China were reporting that they were being called by someone who claimed to be from the government and had access to their medical records and other personal information.The director of a support network based in Beijing for people with H.I.V./AIDS, said he began receiving the messages about two weeks ago. While awaiting answers as to how their medical data was hacked or leaked, people with H.I.V. are worried about the possibility of new swindles or blackmail.”
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