Digital health news briefs for 4/9/18

By Laura Lovett
04:52 pm

Need advice? Study says look to the web. A free web-based decision aid that aims to help women with breast cancer make choices about their reconstruction surgery could help save money, according to a new study published in Psycho-Oncology. The study, which took place in Australia, looked at 106 women who used the online service, called BRECONDA, and 116 women who received the standard of care. Researchers found that women who used the online tool reported greater satisfaction with the information and less decisional conflict than their counterparts who received the standard of care. It was also cheaper, with the online platform cost around $7.40, compared to normal care costs of roughly $574. 


Every move you make, they’ll be watching you. Facebook was planning to team up with health organizations across the US to share anonymized patient data, CNBC reports. The idea was for the tech giant to match the health information with the troves of user data normally collected by the social media network, and provide those to hospitals that want additional insights. These plans came to a halt after headlines involving the social media platform and Cambridge Analytica, however. According to CNBC, Facebook said the data would only have been used to conduct research in the medical community. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a congressional hearing today regarding his company's relationship with Cambridge Analytica and data privacy. 


All things equal. A recent study published by JAMA Ophthalmology found that telemedicine is as effective as ophthalmoscopy in identifying clinically significant retinopathy of prematurity, or blindness in premature babies. The authors of the study noted that both the telemedicine and in-person approach have a high interexaminer variability. Researchers concluded that in the future, studies should use both methods. A total of 281 infants with a mean gestational age of 27.1 weeks were included in the study. Researchers found no difference in overall accuracy between the two approaches, but on average ophthalmoscopy had a slightly higher accuracy for the diagnosis of stage three retinopathy of prematurity. 


Best way to get the message across to teens? Study says online. When it comes to curbing high school drinking habits, the web might be the best bet. A recent study published by the Journal of Addiction and Offender Counseling found that short, web-based personalized feedback alone or in combination with a parent brochure is more effective than traditional educational lectures when it comes to delaying drinking initiation in ninth-grade girls. Researchers did not find the web-based or combined program more favorable than traditional resources for boys, but found all three approaches may be effective for male students. 


All from the comfort of home. A new study published in The Journal of Knee Surgery led by Cleveland Clinic researchers found that using virtual rehabilitation therapies may be equivalent to using the conventional methods for adherence, improvement of function, and relief of pain. The study used Reflexion Health’s Virtual Excersise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA) on 157 patients who underwent knee surgery. uthors of the study said the technology has the potential to allow for patient adherence, cost reductions and coordination of care. 

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(Image: "1 US Bank Note"/geralt via Pixabay, licensed under Creative Commons Zero)

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