Consider this: Emerging facial recognition software requires ethical checks and balances

Globe and Mail– 24 July, 2011

“The law doesn’t treat facial data any differently from other personal data, but it should start doing so. A ban on the sale or trade of the data that comes from facial-recognition software and more controls on its use – disclosure that it is being used; quick disposal of information collected by machines that have it – would be a good start.”

Read article here.

Telemedicine: An Essential Technology for Performed Healthcare July, 2011

“Healthcare reform in dozens of countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Chile, Canada, Taiwan, China and the United States, is generating dramatically new approaches to care delivery. Although the details and the level of maturity of the efforts differ across countries, the overall trends are universal: they reflect the need to contain costs while improving access and care quality, to overcome a shortage of providers, and to take care of a growing sicker and ageing population.”

Find link here.

Text messages ‘help smokers quit’

Petersfield Post, AP, 30 June 2011

“Motivational text messages sent to smokers’ mobile phones can double their chances of giving up tobacco, a study published in The Lancet medical journal has found. The “txt2stop” trial, conducted by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and funded by the Medical Research Council, tested the effects of inspirational text messages designed to encourage quitting on almost 3,000 smokers.”

Find article here.

The digital divide: a profound public health issue that needs work

Croakey, the Crikey health blog, 6 June 2011
Author: Melissa Sweet
“More than three million Australians are at risk of being left on the wrong side of the digital divide, with profound consequences for public health and economic wellbeing, according to Don Perlgut, CEO of the Rural Health Education Foundation. …In other words, if you are poor, Indigenous, old or disabled and live in outer regional/remote areas of Australia, your chances of being “online ready” are pretty low.  And who are the people who will most need the chronic disease monitoring systems the Government is starting to put in place?   The poor, the elderly, the disabled and the residents of outer regional and remote Australia.”
Find article here.

Insurer hopes to coach patients and cut costs

The Australian, By Adam Creswell, 27 November 2010

“A health coaching service has been shown in overseas trials to cut hospitalisation rates by 10 per cent.  It has been launched in Australia as a means of improving patient outcomes while saving money. The Health Dialog service, launched in Australia by health insurance giant Bupa earlier this month, involves a nurse phoning a patient with a chronic disease such as diabetes to help them better understand and manage their condition. This includes advising patients on adopting healthier habits as well as explaining the importance of taking prescribed drugs or following other treatments ordered by their doctor.”

Find article here.

HCCC v Staraj: NSW Medical Professional Standards Committee

HCCC statement, 4 November 2010
“The Health Care Complaints Commission recently prosecuted a complaint against Dr Sergio Staraj before a Medical Professional Standards Committee. Dr Staraj was employed by the Advanced Medical Institute when he undertook a telephone consultation with a patient with erectile dysfunction.”
Find full statement and link to decision here.

Mobile phone kits to diagnose STDs

The Guardian UK, By Dennis Campbell, 5 November 2010

“People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.”

Find article here.