Digital health news briefs for 3/14/2018

By Laura Lovett
12:24 pm

Two different perspectives. A recent study found that doctors and nurses, by and large, use different terminology when talking about patients. A team of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago used computer science technology to compare individual-level patient care provided by doctors and nurses using information routinely documented by EHRs. The algorithm was used to identify the key biomedical terms used in each summary and to link synonyms or related terms via a graph traversal, which showed integrated relationships of language and health terminology. 

The study focuses on 58 EHRs of patients who had a diagnosis of heart failure and sought care at a single academic medical center over the course of eight years. The records included both a physician discharge summary and nursing plans of care. The algorithm found that only 26 percent of patient records showed an overlap in terms, and that there were only four terms that were used between the two professions. 

It’s conductive. Researchers at Texas A&M have created a new conductive coating that is stretchable, bendable, and foldable. The development could be key for emerging technologies like artificial skin as well as biometric and wearable devices, according to a statement. In the past creating wearables like this has been a challenge because the devices need to maintain electrical conductivity, but also fit into a variety of surfaces. The researchers solved this roadblock by using metal carbides coatings instead of sheets. 

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A tool for school. Educational resource startup Square Panda is teaming up with tennis star Andre Agassi to create new educational tools for kids with dyslexia. It is part of the Andre Agassi Early Childhood Neuroscience Foundation initiative, which focuses on developing innovation for people with dyslexia. 

“I am committed to helping improve children’s access to quality education as I know firsthand how important it is to have that choice,” Agassi said in a statement. “At each junction in my 25-year involvement in education, I have strived to support solutions that could be scaled to create greater impact. By undertaking dyslexia assessment and remediation using the latest understandings from the neuroscience of early learners as the Foundation’s first project, it is the objective to not only make a life-changing impact on children but to also demonstrate the societal potential of this approach to all early learning challenges.”

Doctor’s helper. The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland has partnered with Discerning Digital to create a new app that helps training physicians manage their clinicals, schedules, and learning tools. The app allows doctors-in-training to access learning material, books on courses, and network with other medical professionals from the same disciplines. 

“The launch of the RCPI app is a great moment for us and for our members,” Joanna Holly, deputy CEO at RCPI, said in a statement. “They told us they needed better access to our services that make them world-leading clinicians, and they needed the flexibility to work when they could, wherever they were. The RCPI app helps them do this and more.”

Fall prevention. Inhealthcare will be working with the UK’s National Health Service to provide a new digital health infrastructure to prevent people from falling. The company will identify, monitor, and manage the risk of those falling. 

“We strongly believe in the region-wide approach to digital health, which empowers patients, supports over-stretched staff, and increases capacity and productivity,” Bryn Sage, chief executive at Inhealthcare, said in a statement. 

Sci-fi contacts. A team from Harvard Medical School developed contact lenses that can deliver medications directly to the eye over days or weeks. Last week the team, which are calling themselves Theraoptix, won first place at the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovation Prize competition, scoring them $25,000. According to MIT News, the lenses can deliver eye medication in a controlled or sustained release. The lenses can be worn for up to two weeks and are intended to help with patient compliance. 

And with this tracker I wed thee.  Oura has recently released the second generation of its smart ring activity tracker. The ring is smaller than the first generation and and gives users the ability to customize the device, Engadget reports. It is intended to work as an activity tracker and can measure the physiological signals of the user’s body, understand the user’s life style, and guide them towards making optimal daily choices, according to the company's webpage. 

A spoonful of health food. UK-based startup Spoon Guru is launched their dieting app in the US this week. The app aims to help users find specific types of food easily. It claims to be able to accurately and safely identify products for each user with special food needs and help retailers tailor their product offerings. The Spoon Guru app was first launched in 2016.


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