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Island Health telehealth services get top marks in accreditation review

One of the programs assessed during the week-long survey period was the expanding Home Health Monitoring program, for which Lisa Saffarek, Senior Telehealth Specialist in Nanaimo, recently won an award at the Canadian Health Informatics Awards in Vancouver. 


Including the patient and family in all aspects of care and program development is a focus of the 2018 standards overall. During the initial “self-assessment” stage of preparation, Telehealth identified areas where more inclusion of patient and family input could be sought as a way to improve service. To address these areas, the team engaged with the Patient Voices Network, who proved very helpful and assisted with soliciting interest from two wonderful individuals who have already begun to help the team make changes to communications tools, web sites and physical space.


Modernizing Canada's healthcare system through virtual care


A new report by Dr. R. Sacha Bhatia and William Falk argues that virtual care cannot flourish under the old pillars of the Canadian healthcare system. Namely, while technology has improved by leaps and bounds, progress in healthcare is being held back by regulations, policies and special interest groups. The authors suggest ten practical steps for improvement, including making secure email addresses compulsory for every provider, making virtual care part of physician on-call duties, and integrating telemedicine into the healthcare system instead of keeping it a siloed service.


FDA approves implantable sensors for diabetes management

Eversense continuous glucose management system


The FDA has approved its first implantable glucose-monitoring device. The continuous glucose management system by Eversense is worn under the skin and lasts up to 3 months. It uses a fluorescence-based sensor to automatically detect spikes or dips in blood glucose levels, sending alerts to a wearable transmitter and mobile app.



Walmart, Amazon launch healthcare blockchain technology


Blockchain healthcare services are already being adopted by some big-name players. Walmart was recently awarded a patent for storing and retrieving patient vital medical records in a blockchain in emergency situations, with access to the records obtained via patient biometrics. Amazon already jumped on the wagon a few months ago by offering blockchain as a service within Amazon Web Services, targeting healthcare.



Chinese tech giant unveils new open-source AI for tumour detection 


Baidu, one of the largest Artificial Intelligence and Internet companies in the world, is advancing AI research for cancer diagnoses by creating an open-source algorithm that outperforms current tumour identification methods for pathology slides. The algorithm helps pathologists identify small areas of cancerous cells within imaging files billions of pixels in size. If proven successful, it has the potential to increase efficiency and accuracy compared to previous methods.



Virtual Reality lets doctors and patients travel inside the human heart


Pediatric cardiologists at Stanford are using virtual reality to help families and students better understand congenital heart defects in children. The immersive technology takes users inside of the heart, making it possible to inspect individual sections and making complex conditions easier to visualize than by diagrams or models alone.