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The ways in which technology benefits healthcare
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Vaccination Passports - What are they?

Vaccination Passports - What are they? | healthcare technology |

As mass vaccination programs are being rolled out globally, vaccine passports have become a major topic of discussion.


COVID test results and proof of vaccine will be required in many countries for quarantine-free travel, just as it has been for polio and yellow fever vaccinations in the past.


Countries will need to look at convenient and secure ways for verifying COVID-19 test results and vaccination information at airports and borders.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also called for a “global standard to securely record digital proof of vaccination”.  They have been promoting the IATA Travel Pass Initiative (



In February, Qantas completed a trial run of an app for this purpose on an international repatriation flight from Frankfurt to Darwin.


The idea behind the app is that health or border officials and airline staff may be able to easily verify COVID-19 test results and vaccination history of an individual.


The app links customers with certified testing labs to allow their results to be automatically uploaded onto it.


Similar digital solutions are being developed in several other countries around the world to enable travel again. For instance, travellers from Singapore will receive a notarized certificate following a negative COVID-19 test that they can present at airports around the world.


Another example is France taking part in a month-long trial of a vaccine passport that leverages a smart phone app. 


Its important that such digital health technologies, whether apps or chip cards, or health tracker add ons, be easy to use. It important that the process  be as seamless as possible for flyers share the relevant information as well as get the information validated by the ground and air staff so they people can  travel internationally, again, safely!



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Algorithm could flag patients at risk of opioid relapse

Algorithm could flag patients at risk of opioid relapse | healthcare technology |

A new diagnostic technique that has the potential to identify opioid-addicted patients at risk for relapse could lead to better treatment and outcomes.


Using an algorithm that looks for patterns in brain structure and functional connectivity, researchers were able to distinguish prescription opioid users from healthy participants. If treatment is successful, their brains will resemble the brain of someone not addicted to opioids.


“People can say one thing, but brain patterns do not lie,” says lead researcher Suchismita Ray, an associate professor in the health informatics department at Rutgers School of Health Professions.


“The brain patterns that the algorithm identified from brain volume and functional connectivity biomarkers from prescription opioid users hold great promise to improve over current diagnosis.”


In the study in NeuroImage: Clinical, Ray and her colleagues used MRIs to look at the brain structure and function in people diagnosed with prescription opioid use disorder who were seeking treatment compared to individuals with no history of using opioids.


The scans looked at the brain network believed to be responsible for drug cravings and compulsive drug use. At the completion of treatment, if this brain network remains unchanged, the patient needs more treatment.


read the study at


read the article at



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Google and Harvard map brain connections in unprecedented detail

Google and Harvard map brain connections in unprecedented detail | healthcare technology |

The human brain is the most ridiculously complex computer that’s ever existed, and mapping this dense tangle of neurons, synapses and other cells is nigh on impossible. But engineers at Google and Harvard have given it the best shot yet, producing a browsable, searchable 3D map of a small section of human cerebral cortex.


A browsable 3D map of just one millionth of the cerebral cortex has been created using 225 million images and a whopping 1.4 petabytes of data, illustrating the immense complexity of the human brain.


With about 86 billion neurons connecting via 100 trillion synapses, it’s a Herculean task to figure out exactly what each of them does and how those connections form the basis of thought, emotion, memory, behavior and consciousness. Daunting as it may be, though, teams of scientists around the world are rolling up their sleeves and trying to build a wiring diagram for the human brain – a so-called “connectome.”


he researchers started with a sample taken from the temporal lobe of a human cerebral cortex, measuring just 1 mm3. This was stained for visual clarity, coated in resin to preserve it, and then cut into about 5,300 slices each about 30 nanometers (nm) thick. These were then imaged using a scanning electron microscope, with a resolution down to 4 nm. That created 225 million two-dimensional images, which were then stitched back together into one 3D volume.


Machine learning algorithms scanned the sample to identify the different cells and structures within. After a few passes by different automated systems, human eyes “proofread” some of the cells to ensure the algorithms were correctly identifying them.


The end result, which Google calls the H01 dataset, is one of the most comprehensive maps of the human brain ever compiled. It contains 50,000 cells and 130 million synapses, as well as smaller segments of the cells such axons, dendrites, myelin and cilia. But perhaps the most stunning statistic is that the whole thing takes up 1.4 petabytes of data – that’s more than a million gigabytes.




Mehrban Chawla's curator insight, June 22, 3:04 AM
God made us in His image. If we are awesomely made, how much more awesome is the Creator!
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Neural implant lets paralyzed person type by imagining writing

Neural implant lets paralyzed person type by imagining writing | healthcare technology |

This week, the academic community provided a rather impressive example of the promise of neural implants. Using an implant, a paralyzed individual managed to type out roughly 90 characters per minute simply by imagining that he was writing those characters out by hand


Dreaming is doing

Previous attempts at providing typing capabilities to paralyzed people via implants have involved giving subjects a virtual keyboard and letting them maneuver a cursor with their mind. The process is effective but slow, and it requires the user's full attention, as the subject has to track the progress of the cursor and determine when to perform the equivalent of a key press. It also requires the user to spend the time to learn how to control the system.


But there are other possible routes to getting characters out of the brain and onto the page. Somewhere in our writing thought process, we form the intention of using a specific character, and using an implant to track this intention could potentially work. Unfortunately, the process is not especially well understood.


Downstream of that intention, a decision is transmitted to the motor cortex, where it's translated into actions. Again, there's an intent stage, where the motor cortex determines it will form the letter (by typing or writing, for example), which is then translated into the specific muscle motions required to perform the action. These processes are much better understood, and they're what the research team targeted for their new work.


Disclaimer: Not even a prototype

As the researchers themselves put it, this "is not yet a complete, clinically viable system." To begin with, it has only been used in a single individual, so we have no idea how well it might work for others. The simplified alphabet used here doesn't contain any digits, capital letters, or most forms of punctuation. And the behavior of the implants changes over time, perhaps because of minor shifts relative to the neurons they read or the build-up of scar tissue, so the system had to be recalibrated regularly—at least once per week to maintain a tolerable error rate


read the research at


related code :



read the article in its complete and unedited form at




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An artificial intelligence system for predicting the deterioration of COVID-19 patients in the emergency department

An artificial intelligence system for predicting the deterioration of COVID-19 patients in the emergency department | healthcare technology |

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, rapid and accurate triage of patients at the emergency department is critical to inform decision-making.


We propose a data-driven approach for automatic prediction of deterioration risk using a deep neural network that learns from chest X-ray images and a gradient boosting model that learns from routine clinical variables.


Our AI prognosis system, trained using data from 3661 patients, achieves an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.786 (95% CI: 0.745–0.830) when predicting deterioration within 96 hours.


The deep neural network extracts informative areas of chest X-ray images to assist clinicians in interpreting the predictions and performs comparably to two radiologists in a reader study. In order to verify performance in a real clinical setting, we silently deployed a preliminary version of the deep neural network at New York University Langone Health during the first wave of the pandemic, which produced accurate predictions in real-time.



In summary, our findings demonstrate the potential of the proposed system for assisting front-line physicians in the triage of COVID-19 patients.


read the open article at


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An Urban Population Health Observatory System to Support COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Management

An Urban Population Health Observatory System to Support COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness, Response, and Management | healthcare technology |

COVID-19 is impacting people worldwide and is currently a leading cause of death in many countries. Underlying factors, including Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), could contribute to these statistics. Our prior work has explored associations between SDoH and several adverse health outcomes (eg, asthma and obesity). Our findings reinforce the emerging consensus that SDoH factors should be considered when implementing intelligent public health surveillance solutions to inform public health policies and interventions.

Objective: This study sought to redefine the Healthy People 2030’s SDoH taxonomy to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we aim to provide a blueprint and implement a prototype for the Urban Population Health Observatory (UPHO), a web-based platform that integrates classified group-level SDoH indicators to individual- and aggregate-level population health data.

Methods: The process of building the UPHO involves collecting and integrating data from several sources, classifying the collected data into drivers and outcomes, incorporating data science techniques for calculating measurable indicators from the raw variables, and studying the extent to which interventions are identified or developed to mitigate drivers that lead to the undesired outcomes.

Results: We generated and classified the indicators of social determinants of health, which are linked to COVID-19. To display the functionalities of the UPHO platform, we presented a prototype design to demonstrate its features. We provided a use case scenario for 4 different users.

Conclusions: UPHO serves as an apparatus for implementing effective interventions and can be adopted as a global platform for chronic and infectious diseases. The UPHO surveillance platform provides a novel approach and novel insights into immediate and long-term health policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and other future public health crises. The UPHO assists public health organizations and policymakers in their efforts in reducing health disparities, achieving health equity, and improving urban population health.


access the study at


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Anatomy of digital contact tracing: Role of age, transmission setting, adoption, and case detection

Anatomy of digital contact tracing: Role of age, transmission setting, adoption, and case detection | healthcare technology |

Contact tracing aims to avoid transmission by isolating, at an early stage, only those individuals who are infectious or potentially infectious, to minimize the societal costs associated with isolation. Considerable resources are therefore directed at improving surveillance capacities to allow efficient and rapid investigation and isolation of cases and their contacts. To enhance tracing capacities, the use of digital technologies has been proposed, leveraging the widespread use of smartphones. Therefore, proximity-sensing applications have been designed and made available to automatically trace contacts, notify users about potential exposure to COVID-19, and invite them to isolate.


The efficacy of digital contact tracing against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is debated: Smartphone penetration is limited in many countries, with low coverage among the elderly, the most vulnerable to COVID-19.


Quantifying the impact of digital contact tracing is essential to envision this strategy within a wider response plan against the COVID-19 epidemic.


We modeled this intervention together with household isolation assuming a 50% detection of clinical cases. In a scenario of high transmissibility (R = 2.6), we found that household isolation by itself would produce a reduction in peak incidence of 27%, while the inclusion of digital contact tracing could increase this effect by 30% for a reasonably achievable app adoption (~20% of the population) and by 144% for a large-scale app adoption (~60%). At a moderate transmissibility level (R = 1.7), the app would substantially damp transmission (36 to 89% peak incidence reduction for increasing app adoption), bringing the epidemic to manageable levels if adopted by 32% of the population or more.


The app-based tracing and household isolation have different effects across settings, the first intervention efficiently preventing transmissions at work that are not well targeted by the second.


Moreover, app-based contact tracing also yields a protection for the elderly despite the lower penetration of smartphones in this age category.


These results may inform the inclusion of digital contact tracing within a COVID-19 response plan.


read the study at


nrip's insight:

Contact tracing works, if done right. In the early stages of the pandemic, a number of issues with contact tracing were seen. A majority of them were to do with the lack of knowledge/training about how to carry it out And the magnitude of the task it entailed for a set of untrained workers. 


A contact tracing strategy must be built into public health surveillance systems and evolved to be with the times whenever needed, with the hope that it is not needed.

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Future washable smart clothes powered by Wi-Fi will monitor your health

Future washable smart clothes powered by Wi-Fi will monitor your health | healthcare technology |

Purdue University engineers have developed a method to transform existing cloth items into battery-free wearables resistant to laundry. These smart clothes are powered wirelessly through a flexible, silk-based coil sewn on the textile.


In the near future, all your clothes will become smart. These smart clothes will outperform conventional passive garments, thanks to their miniaturized electronic circuits and sensors, which will allow you to seamlessly communicate with your phone, computer, car and other machines.


This smart clothing will not only make you more productive but also check on your health status and even call for help if you suffer an accident. The reason why this smart clothing is not all over your closet yet is that the fabrication of this smart clothing is quite challenging, as clothes need to be periodically washed and electronics despise water.


Purdue engineers have developed a new spray/sewing method to transform any conventional cloth items into battery-free wearables that can be cleaned in the washing machine.


"By spray-coating smart clothes with highly hydrophobic molecules, we are able to render them repellent to water, oil and mud," said Ramses Martinez, an assistant professor in Purdue's School of Industrial Engineering and in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering in Purdue's College of Engineering. "These smart clothes are almost impossible to stain and can be used underwater and washed in conventional washing machines without damaging the electronic components sewn on their surface."


read the study at


read the original and unedited version of the article at



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The way forward after COVID-19 vaccination: vaccine passports with blockchain to protect personal privacy

The way forward after COVID-19 vaccination: vaccine passports with blockchain to protect personal privacy | healthcare technology |

As vaccination programmes are gradually launched by various jurisdictions, post-trial surveillance with real-world evidence is of utter importance for close monitoring of their safety and effectiveness. This paper introduces a vaccine passport concept implemented with blockchain technology. In the following, the methods of contact tracing and vaccine efficacy monitoring with intact personal privacy protection will be discussed.


Vaccine passports with health records

Data are an indispensable and valuable commodity in dealing with global health crises. The COVID-19 pandemic, a global public health emergency as declared by the WHO on 30 January 2020, has highlighted the importance of health data sharing. Data sharing at the early phase of an outbreak enabled healthcare professionals, researchers and policy makers in mastering information required for formulating strategies. Trusted dissemination channels are primarily government official records, peer-reviewed journals and authorised open online databases. Capitalising on these dissemination channels, governments and global scholars share important information for public health measures, from release of full viral genome sequences, pathological features and clinical phases of COVID-19 presentations, to development of diagnostic tests and potential medications, and potential therapeutic and prophylactic agents,to name but a few. Contact tracing is a vital strategy in finding out potential and hidden cases. A convincing showcase was made by Taiwan, where the authorities have used PCR alongside contact tracing in assessing the COVID-19’s transmission dynamics from the initial 100 confirmed cases This approach has much contributed to Taiwan’s success in keeping its health system intact with less than 900 cases even after a year into the pandemic.


Aside from contact tracing for infected patients, daily monitoring among community dwellers could be useful in infection control and resumption of normal social activities. Vaccine passports and digital contact tracing applications (apps) could be widely adopted in recording personal health profiles, contacts, and more importantly vaccination status in later stages. Inevitably, the concept of a vaccine passport led to a heated debate among people from all walks of life over its scientific evidence and ethical concerns.


Application of blockchain

Data sharing as an infection control measure only works on wide acceptance and adoption among citizens. Invariably, data security and integrity would come to the spotlight regarding data access and sharing issues; apart from data storage infrastructure, non-functional requirements such as availability, confidentiality and integrity are also fundamental to data storage, communication and mobilisation. Availability refers to the organised input of required data. Confidentiality is tantamount to authentic data access and usage authorisation, while data integrity ensures data safety against breaches.


Electronic health records and personal health records account for an immense portion of data in this digital era, with a 46% growth in 5 years. Nevertheless, solutions for data protection remain limited, primarily stored via content management system with encryption, in designated host servers. According to the Department of Health and Human Services of the USA, at least 3054 healthcare data infringements were observed from 2009 to 2019, involving leakage of 230 954 151 electronic medical records.A solution for data sharing with robust privacy protection is of paramount importance as well as urgently needed, and blockchain technology seems to be a qualified candidate.


Vaccine passport, as a form of portable health data, with adoption of blockchain technology, can be a promising tool for health monitoring and alerts while protecting personal privacy.


more at


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Acceptability of a Mobile Phone Support Tool for Promoting Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Among Young Adults

Acceptability of a Mobile Phone Support Tool for Promoting Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy Among Young Adults | healthcare technology |

Adherence to treatment is critical for successful treatment outcomes.


Although factors influencing antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence vary, young adults are less likely to adhere owing to psychosocial issues such as stigma, ART-related side effects, and a lack of access to treatment.


The Call for Life Uganda (CFLU) mobile health (mHealth) tool is a mobile phone–based technology that provides text messages or interactive voice response functionalities through a web interface and offers 4 modules of support.

Objective: This study aims to describe the acceptability and feasibility of a mobile phone support tool to promote adherence to ART among young adults in a randomized controlled trial.

Methods: An exploratory qualitative design with a phenomenological approach at 2 study sites was used. A total of 17 purposively selected young adults with HIV infection who had used the mHealth tool CFLU from 2 clinics were included. In total, 11 in-depth interviews and 1 focus group discussion were conducted to examine the following topics: experience with the CFLU tool (benefits and challenges), components of the tool, the efficiency of the system (level of comfort, ease, or difficulty in using the system), how CFLU resolved adherence challenges, and suggestions to improve CFLU. Participants belonged to 4 categories of interest: young adults on ART for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, young adults switching to or on the second-line ART, positive partners in an HIV-discordant relationship, and young adults initiating the first-line ART. All young adults had 12 months of daily experience using the tool. Data were analyzed using NVivo version 11 software (QSR International Limited) based on a thematic approach.

Results: The CFLU mHealth tool was perceived as an acceptable intervention;


young adults reported improvement in medication adherence, strengthened clinician-patient relationships, and increased health knowledge from health tips.


Appointment reminders and symptom reporting were singled out as beneficial and helped to address the problems of forgetfulness and stigma-related issues.


HIV-related stigma was reported by a few young people. Participants requested extra support for scaling up CFLU to make it more youth friendly.


Improving the tool to reduce technical issues, including network outages and a period of software failure, was suggested. They suggested that in addition to digital solutions, other support, including the promotion of peer support meetings and the establishment of a designated space and staff members for youth, was also important.

Conclusions: This mHealth tool was an acceptable and feasible strategy for improving ART adherence and retention among young adults in resource-limited settings.

read the entire study at


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Acceptability of App-Based Contact Tracing for COVID-19

Acceptability of App-Based Contact Tracing for COVID-19 | healthcare technology |

The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest public health crisis of the last 100 years. Countries have responded with various levels of lockdown to save lives and stop health systems from being overwhelmed. At the same time, lockdowns entail large socioeconomic costs.


One exit strategy under consideration is a mobile phone app that traces the close contacts of those infected with COVID-19.


Recent research has demonstrated the theoretical effectiveness of this solution in different disease settings. However, concerns have been raised about such apps because of the potential privacy implications. This could limit the acceptability of app-based contact tracing in the general population. As the effectiveness of this approach increases strongly with app uptake, it is crucial to understand public support for this intervention.


Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate the user

acceptability of a contact-tracing app in five countries hit by the pandemic.

Methods: We conducted a largescale, multicountry study (N=5995) to measure public support for the digital contact tracing of COVID-19 infections.


We ran anonymous online surveys in France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States and measured intentions to use a contact-tracing app across different installation regimes (voluntary installation vs automatic installation by mobile phone providers) and studied how these intentions vary across individuals and countries.

Results: We found strong support for the app under both regimes, in all countries, across all subgroups of the population, and irrespective of regional-level COVID-19 mortality rates.

We investigated the main factors that may hinder or facilitate uptake and found that concerns about cybersecurity and privacy, together with a lack of trust in the government, are the main barriers to adoption.



Epidemiological evidence shows that app-based contact tracing can suppress the spread of COVID-19 if a high enough proportion of the population uses the app and that it can still reduce the number of infections if uptake is moderate. Our findings show that the willingness to install the app is very high. The available evidence suggests that app-based contact tracing may be a viable approach to control the diffusion of COVID-19.


read the study at


nrip's insight:

A lot of research and anecdotal evidence shows that mHealth/Mobile App based contact tracing can suppress the spread of COVID-19 if a high enough proportion of the population uses the app. 

that it can still reduce the number of infections if uptake is moderate is interesting to note.



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Nanomaterial fights back against resistant bacteria

Nanomaterial fights back against resistant bacteria | healthcare technology |

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest global health challenges of our time. Wastewater treatment plants are a true breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant germs, as this is where pathogens and antibiotic residues come together. The resistant bacterial strains then re-enter the environment via the treated water and can spread further.


Scientists at the University of Naples Federico II have now developed a nanomaterial to combat this problem. Supported by instrument scientist Dr. Judith Houston from Forschungszentrum Jülich (and meanwhile at the European Spallation Neutron Source ESS in Sweden), they have analyzed it at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum. The material is a hybrid of humic acid and titanium dioxide (TiO2). Humic acids (HAs), which occur naturally in humus soils, have useful properties that can counteract water pollution: on the one hand, they have an antibacterial effect, and on the other hand, they can bind small molecules such as antibiotics.



• In situ hydrothermal route is a versatile approach to realize multifunctional hybrid nanomaterials for biowaste valorization.
• The combination at molecular scale of HAs and TiO2 improves the.•OH generation even under visible light;
• Hybrid HA-NDL/TiO2 nanomaterials exert a ROS-mediated antibacterial activity.
• Surface and colloidal properties make the hybrid nanomaterials as valid sequestering agents against antibiotics.
• A high and selective activity is shown in sequestering amoxicillin and tetracycline contaminants.


image © Wenzel Schuermann / TU Muenchen


read the study at


read the entire article/press release at the MLZ website at



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Using AI to help find answers to common skin conditions

Using AI to help find answers to common skin conditions | healthcare technology |

Google's AI-powered tool that will be available later this year helps anyone identify skin conditions using their phone’s camera.


Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to help clinicians care for patients and treat disease — from improving the screening process for breast cancer to helping detect tuberculosis more efficiently.


When we combine these advances in AI with other technologies, like smartphone cameras, we can unlock new ways for people to stay better informed about their health, too.  


Google's AI-powered dermatology assist tool is a web-based application that they hope to launch as a pilot later this year, to make it easier to figure out what might be going on with their skin.


Once the user launchs the tool, simply use their phone’s camera to take three images of the skin, hair or nail concern from different angles. They are  then  asked questions about their skin type, how long they’ve had the issue and other symptoms that help the tool narrow down the possibilities. The AI model analyzes this information and draws from its knowledge of 288 conditions to give the user a list of possible matching conditions that they can then research further.


For each matching condition, the tool will show dermatologist-reviewed information and answers to commonly asked questions, along with similar matching images from the web.


The tool is not intended to provide a diagnosis nor be a substitute for medical advice as many conditions require clinician review, in-person examination, or additional testing like a biopsy. Rather Google hopes it gives users access to authoritative information so they can make a more informed decision about their next step.


Developing an AI model that assesses issues for all skin types 

Google's tool is the culmination of over three years of machine learning research and product development. To date, Google has published several peer-reviewed papers that validate their AI model and they claim more are in the works. 


Recently, the AI model that powers the tool successfully passed clinical validation, and the tool has been CE marked as a Class I medical device in the EU.



more at


nrip's insight:

About time we see Google making another healthcare bet ! I have been around a long time to see Google make bets in healthcare and not reach anywhere with them. This may be a different case as its a B2C use case rather than the B2B or B2B2C cases they tried earlier. Google knows users quite well.

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Data Crunchers to the Rescue

Data Crunchers to the Rescue | healthcare technology |

Until recently, clinicians didn’t have good tools for personalized genetic analysis.


But that’s changing, thanks to quantitative biology. The discipline merges mathematical, statistical, and computational methods to study living organisms.


Quantitative biologists develop algorithms that chew through big datasets and try to make sense of them. In case of rare genetic disorders, that means analyzing loads of data from multiple patients to understand how their genes work in tandem with each other.


Researchers hope to give clinicians a peek at what their patients’ genes are doing, helping devise personalized therapies.


In recent years, DNA-sequencing technologies have matured to the point where a smart algorithm can parse genetic data from multiple patients and their families—and find tale-telling trends much faster than experiments on rodents can


read the entire post at


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Regenstrief study shows EHRs underperforming for primary care

Regenstrief study shows EHRs underperforming for primary care | healthcare technology |

Electronic health records are overloading outpatient docs with info in "disparate files and folders rather than presenting comprehensive, actionable data in a context that gives meaning," say researchers in a VA-funded study


A primary care physician may care for 2,500 or more patients in a given year, and many of their patient encounters may last only 20 minutes – much of which is often spent at a computer with a back turned to the patient.


It's become a truism by now that electronic health records are often viewed askance by primary care docs, many of whom see them as detrimental to the patient encounter.


A new report from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University details just how outpatient EHRs are often failing the physicians who use them.


Why it matters

EHRs "are not rising to the challenges faced by primary care physicians because EHRs have not been designed or tailored to their specific needs,"


The report draws on eight years of close study of EHR use patterns to argue for wider acceptance of "human factor approach for the design or redesign of EHR user interfaces."


many EHRs as currently configured make it too difficult for primary care docs to do their job in a streamlined and efficacious manner


– requiring navigation through multiple screens and tabs to find basic information, increasing redundancy and decreasing efficiency.


Something as simple as auto-save – a default capability for most online shopping, for instance – is missing from many EHR systems.


Roots of the problem

The study traces the roots of the challenge to the fact that many EHRs were initially designed for specialists and hospitals – without much attention to the specific needs of primary care physicians.

For Primary care physicians, effective decision-making is grounded in perception and comprehension of a patient's dynamic situation."


For example, they note, an outpatient doc's choice to stop a patient's use of a particular medication will usually be informed by trends in that patient's blood pressure or cholesterol numbers, or other medications taken over the course of a month – all holistic information with implications for the patient's future health trajectory, but data that isn't always readily seen on a single EHR screen.


Technology needs to adapt to humans' needs, abilities, and limitations in healthcare delivery as it has in other domains.


EHRs should be redesigned to improve situational awareness for busy primary care physicians and support their tasks including reviewing patient information, care coordination, and shared decision-making."





nrip's insight:

An 8 year old study in a space where there is change every few months does make me wonder. I know clients make EMR vendors update a features every other quarter. So how did the study track that? Did it instead use the data from older period of time


That said, the crux of the study results -- EHRs "are not rising to the challenges faced by primary care physicians because EHRs have not been designed or tailored to their specific needs,"


Everyone agrees with this, and yet most vendors do little to change it. Most of the EMR's in the name of an upgrade get a makeover and look like the next generation of web solutions, with the same functionalities, same workflows, same mannerism in how they work. No good ...


For good software systems, the workflow must adapt and then enhance and move the users ahead.

Instead, in the last 16 years most EHRs are still happy figuring out how to adapt to workflows, and the newbies on the dock look like dashboard template from the coolest web design agency from Bucharest or Bangalore



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Can Machines Control Our Brains?

Can Machines Control Our Brains? | healthcare technology |

Once, the prospect of manipulating the human mind with brain implants and radio beams ignited public fears that curtailed this line of research for decades. But now there is a resurgence using even more advanced technology. Laser beams, ultrasound, electromagnetic pulses, mild alternating and direct current stimulation and other methods now allow access to, and manipulation of, electrical activity in the brain with far more sophistication than the needlelike electrodes Manuel Rodriguez Delgado stabbed into brains.


Billionaires Elon Musk of Tesla and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook are leading the charge, pouring millions of dollars into developing brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Musk says he wants to provide a “superintelligence layer” in the human brain to help protect us from artificial intelligence, and Zuckerberg reportedly wants users to upload their thoughts and emotions over the internet without the bother of typing.


But fact and fiction are easily blurred in these deliberations.


How does this technology actually work, and what is it capable of?


Today’s BCI devices work by analyzing data, in much the same way that Amazon tries to predict what book you might want next. Computers monitoring streams of electrical activity, picked up by a brain implant or a removable electrode cap, learn to recognize how the traffic pattern changes when a person makes an intended limb movement.


Advances in brain-computer interface technology are impressive, but we’re not close to anything resembling mind control.


read this excellent essay at


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AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately

AI app could help diagnose HIV more accurately | healthcare technology |

More than 100 million HIV tests are performed around the world annually, meaning even a small improvement in quality assurance could impact the lives of millions of people by reducing the risk of false positives and negatives.


Academics from the London Center for Nanotechnology at UCL and AHRI used deep learning (artificial intelligence/AI) algorithms to improve health workers' ability to diagnose HIV using lateral flow tests in rural South Africa.


Their findings, published today in Nature Medicine, involve the first and largest study of field-acquired HIV test results, which have applied machine learning (AI) to help classify them as positive or negative.


By harnessing the potential of mobile phone sensors, cameras, processing power and data sharing capabilities, the team developed an app that can read test results from an image taken by end users on a mobile device. It may also be able to report results to public health systems for better data collection and ongoing care.


read the study at





nrip's insight:

The use of mobile tools for data capture and AI/ML algorithms for diagnostics and detections has been the inside story of digital health over the past 4 years. This is an excellent study and shows the promise of this combination of technologies in building the future of healthcare. HIV is a pandemic which must be eradicated.

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mHealth Collaborative Unveils New Definition, Resources for ‘Virtual First Care’

mHealth Collaborative Unveils New Definition, Resources for ‘Virtual First Care’ | healthcare technology |

The IMPACT (vIrtual-first Medical PrActice CollaboraTion) initiative, developed by the American Telemedicine Association and the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe), has unveiled a formal definition for virtual first care (V1C), along with some vignettes from providers who are only using virtual platforms to deliver emergency, respiratory, cardiac and sleep care.


As set forth on the IMPACT website, virtual first care is defined as “medical care for individuals or a community accessed through digital interactions where possible, guided by a clinician, and integrated into a person’s everyday life.”


The Boston-based initiative was borne out of the massive shift to telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic, and a resulting transition to hybrid care as COVID-19 eases off. In that landscape, some providers are thinking of either launching virtual-only care or transitioning their in-person services to virtual platforms.


“Virtual first care is digital health in practice,” IMPACT Co-Founder Don Jones, a former Qualcomm Life executive and former chief digital officer at the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said in the press release. “IMPACT uniquely convenes organizations from across the ecosystem that view virtual first care as their primary mission. Members of IMPACT are already demonstrating patient and provider satisfaction, as well as pathways to cost savings and improved outcomes.”


“With a clear definition for the field, we have paved the way for more fit-for-purpose reimbursement models and opportunities to demonstrate the value of virtual first in practice,” he added.




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Smartphone images identify acne and mouth bacteria

Smartphone images identify acne and mouth bacteria | healthcare technology |

Researchers have figured out a way to use images from a smartphone to identify potentially harmful bacteria on the skin and in the mouth.


A new method that uses smartphone-derived images can identify potentially harmful bacteria on the skin and in the mouth, research shows.


The approach can visually identify microbes on skin contributing to acne and slow wound healing, as well as bacteria in the oral cavity that can cause gingivitis and dental plaques.


Researchers combined a smartphone-case modification with image-processing methods to illuminate bacteria on images taken by a conventional smartphone camera. This approach yielded a relatively low-cost and quick method that could be used at home.


The team augmented a smartphone camera’s capabilities by attaching a small 3D-printed ring containing 10 LED black lights around a smartphone case’s camera opening. The researchers used the LED-augmented smartphone to take images of the oral cavity and skin on the face of two research subjects.


The LED lights ‘excite’ a class of bacteria-derived molecules called porphyrins, causing them to emit a red fluorescent signal that the smartphone camera can then pick up


Other components in the image—such as proteins or oily molecules our bodies produce, as well as skin, teeth, and gums—won’t glow red under LED. They’ll fluoresce in other colors.


The LED illumination gave the team enough visual information to computationally “convert” the RGB colors from the smartphone-derived images into other wavelengths in the visual spectrum. This generates a “pseudo-multispectral” image consisting of 15 different sections of the visual spectrum—rather than the three in the original RGB image.


Obtaining this visual information up front would have required expensive and cumbersome lights, rather than using the relatively inexpensive LED black lights


With their greater degree of visual discrimination, the pseudo-multispectral images clearly resolved porphyrin clusters on the skin and within the oral cavity. In addition, though they tailored this method to show porphyrin, researchers could modify the image-analysis pipeline to detect other bacterial signatures that also fluoresce under LED.



read the study at


read the original unedited article at



Richard Platt's curator insight, June 18, 12:54 PM

Researchers have figured out a way to use images from a smartphone to identify potentially harmful bacteria on the skin and in the mouth.  A new method using smartphone-derived images can identify potentially harmful bacteria on the skin and in the mouth, research shows.  The approach visually identifies microbes on the skin contributing to acne and slow wound healing, as well as bacteria in the oral cavity that can cause gingivitis and dental plaques. Researchers combined a smartphone-case modification with image-processing methods to illuminate bacteria on images taken by a conventional smartphone camera. This approach yielded a relatively low-cost and quick method that could be used at home.  Augmenting a smartphone camera’s capabilities by attaching a small 3D-printed ring containing 10 LED black lights around a smartphone case’s camera opening. The researchers used the LED-augmented smartphone to take images of the oral cavity and skin on the face of two research subjects. The LED lights ‘excite’ a class of bacteria-derived molecules called porphyrins, causing them to emit a red fluorescent signal that the smartphone camera can then pick up.   

Other components in the image—such as proteins or oily molecules our bodies produce, as well as skin, teeth, and gums—won’t glow red under LED. They’ll fluoresce in other colors.

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Automated Travel History Extraction From Clinical Notes for Informing the Detection of Emergent Infectious Disease Events

Automated Travel History Extraction From Clinical Notes for Informing the Detection of Emergent Infectious Disease Events | healthcare technology |

Patient travel history can be crucial in evaluating evolving infectious disease events. Such information can be challenging to acquire in electronic health records, as it is often available only in unstructured text.

Objective: This study aims to assess the feasibility of annotating and automatically extracting travel history mentions from unstructured clinical documents in the Department of Veterans Affairs across disparate health care facilities and among millions of patients. Information about travel exposure augments existing surveillance applications for increased preparedness in responding quickly to public health threats.

Methods: Clinical documents related to arboviral disease were annotated following selection using a semiautomated bootstrapping process. Using annotated instances as training data, models were developed to extract from unstructured clinical text any mention of affirmed travel locations outside of the continental United States. Automated text processing models were evaluated, involving machine learning and neural language models for extraction accuracy.

Results: Among 4584 annotated instances, 2659 (58%) contained an affirmed mention of travel history, while 347 (7.6%) were negated. Interannotator agreement resulted in a document-level Cohen kappa of 0.776. Automated text processing accuracy (F1 85.6, 95% CI 82.5-87.9) and computational burden were acceptable such that the system can provide a rapid screen for public health events.

Conclusions: Automated extraction of patient travel history from clinical documents is feasible for enhanced passive surveillance public health systems.


Without such a system, it would usually be necessary to manually review charts to identify recent travel or lack of travel, use an electronic health record that enforces travel history documentation, or ignore this potential source of information altogether.


The development of this tool was initially motivated by emergent arboviral diseases. More recently, this system was used in the early phases of response to COVID-19 in the United States, although its utility was limited to a relatively brief window due to the rapid domestic spread of the virus.


Such systems may aid future efforts to prevent and contain the spread of infectious diseases.


read the study at


nrip's insight:

Information about travel exposure augments existing surveillance applications for increased preparedness in responding quickly to public health threats. Using algorithms and/or learning models to extract travel related information from EHR's is not a novel concept but it has come into the spotlight(like most of digital health) in the past 18 months.


We should be adding short travel related questionnaires in patient intake forms going forward. The symptoms which trigger this sort of an intake form for a particular patient can change with time, month to month preferably, and be governed by a multi regional , multi national approach. What do you think?




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Corona SEIR Workbench

Corona SEIR Workbench | healthcare technology |

Pandemic SEIR and SEIRV modelling software and infrastructure for the Corona SARS-COV-2 COVID-19 disease with data from Johns-Hopkins-University CSSE, Robert Koch-Institute and vaccination data from Our World In Data.


The SARS-COV-2 pandemic has been affecting our lives for months. The effectiveness of measures against the pandemic can be tested and predicted by using epidemiological models. The Corona SEIR Workbench uses a SEIR model and combines a graphical output of the results with a simple parameter input for the model. Modelled data can be compared country by country with the SARS-COV-2 infection data of the Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, the R₀ values of the Robert Koch Institute can be displayed for Germany. Vaccination data is used from Our World In Data.
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Using the human body as a medium for energy transmission

Using the human body as a medium for energy transmission | healthcare technology |

Wearables that have weaved their way into everyday life include smart watches and wireless earphones, while in the healthcare setting, common devices include wearable injectors, electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring patches, listening aids, and more.


A major pain point facing the use of these wearables is the issue of keeping these devices properly and conveniently powered. As the number of wearables one uses increases, the need to charge multiple batteries rises in tandem, consuming huge amounts of electricity.


A research team, led by Associate Professor Jerald Yoo from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the N.1 Institute for Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS), has developed a technology that enables a single device, such as a mobile phone placed in the pocket, to wirelessly power other wearable devices on a user's body, using the human body as a medium for power transmission.


The team's novel system has an added advantage—it can harvest unused energy from electronics in a typical home or office environment to power the wearables.


The NUS team designed a receiver and transmitter system that uses the human body as a medium for power transmission and energy harvesting. Each receiver and transmitter contains a chip that is used as a springboard to extend coverage over the entire body.

A user just needs to place the transmitter on a single power source, such as the smart watch on a user's wrist, while multiple receivers can be placed anywhere on the person's body. The system then harnesses energy from the source to power multiple wearables on the user's body via a process termed as body-coupled power transmission. In this way, the user will only need to charge one device, and the rest of the gadgets that are worn can simultaneously be powered up from that single source. The team's experiments showed that their system allows a single power source that is fully charged to power up to 10 wearable devices on the body, for a duration of over 10 hours.


As a complementary source of power, the NUS team also looked into harvesting energy from the environment. Their research found that typical office and home environments have parasitic electromagnetic (EM) waves that people are exposed to all the time, for instance, from a running laptop. The team's novel receiver scavenges the EM waves from the ambient environment, and through a process referred to as body-coupled powering, the human body is able to harvest this energy to power the wearable devices, regardless of their locations around the body.


This paves the way for smaller, battery-free wearables


read the paper in Nature at


read the original unedited article


nrip's insight:

A part of me smiled and a part of me felt a little scared reading this. Are we looking at the future of us being turned into batteries as shown in the Matrix?


Jokes apart, this is path breaking and can lead to a very sustainable mechanism for the future of wearables, monitoring and diagnostics.


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Case-Initiated COVID-19 Contact Tracing Using Anonymous Notifications

Case-Initiated COVID-19 Contact Tracing Using Anonymous Notifications | healthcare technology |

We discuss the concept of a participatory digital contact notification approach to assist tracing of contacts who are exposed to confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19);


The core functionality of our concept is to provide a usable, labor-saving tool for contact tracing by confirmed cases themselves


the approach is simple and affordable for countries with limited access to health care resources and advanced technology.


The proposed tool serves as a supplemental contract tracing approach to counteract the shortage of health care staff while providing privacy protection for both cases and contacts.

  • This tool can be deployed on the internet or as a plugin for a smartphone app.
  • Confirmed cases with COVID-19 can use this tool to provide contact information (either email addresses or mobile phone numbers) of close contacts.
  • The system will then automatically send a message to the contacts informing them of their contact status, what this status means, the actions that should follow (eg, self-quarantine, respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette), and advice for receiving early care if they develop symptoms.
  • The name of the sender of the notification message by email or mobile phone can be anonymous or not.
  • The message received by the contact contains no disease information but contains a security code for the contact to log on the platform to retrieve the information.



The successful application of this tool relies heavily on public social responsibility and credibility, and it remains to be seen if the public would adopt such a tool and what mechanisms are required to prevent misuse.


This is a simple tool that does not require complicated computer techniques despite strict user privacy protection design with respect to countries and regions. Additionally, this tool can help avoid coercive surveillance, facilitate the allocation of health resources, and prioritize clinical service for patients with COVID-19. Information obtained from the platform can also increase our understanding of the epidemiology of COVID-19.


read this concept paper at



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3D printing technology boosts hospital efficiency and eases pressures

3D printing technology boosts hospital efficiency and eases pressures | healthcare technology |

Researchers investigating the benefits of 3D printing technology found it can deliver significant improvements to the running of hospitals.


The research, which compared the drawbacks and advantages of using 3D printing technology in hospitals, has been published in the International Journal of Operations and Production Management.



The study revealed that introducing such technology into hospitals could help alleviate many of the strains the UK healthcare system and healthcare systems worldwide face.

Boosting surgery success rates

- 3D printing makes it possible for surgical teams to print 3D models based on an individual patient’s surgical needs, providing more detailed and exact information for the surgeon to plan and practice the surgery, minimising the risk of error or unexpected complications.

- the use of 3D printed anatomical models was useful when communicating the details of the surgery with the patient, helping to increase their confidence in the procedure.

Speeding up patient recovery time

- significant reduction in post-surgery complications, patient recovery times and the need for subsequent hospital appointments or treatments.

Speeding up procedures

- provide surgeons with custom-built tools for each procedure, with the findings revealing that surgeries with durations of four to eight hours were reduced by 1.5 to 2.5 hours when patient-specific instruments were used.

- could also make surgeries less invasive (for example, removing less bone or tissue)

- result in less associated risks for the patient (for example, by requiring less anaesthesia).

Real-life training opportunities

- enables trainee surgeons to familiarise themselves with the steps to take in complex surgeries by practicing their skills on examples that accurately replicate real patient problems, and with greater variety.

Careful consideration required

Despite the research showing strong and clear benefits of using 3D printing, Dr Chaudhuri and his fellow researchers urge careful consideration for the financial costs.


3D printing is a significant financial investment for hospitals to make. In order to determine whether such an investment is worthwhile, the researchers have also developed a framework to aid hospital decision-makers in determining the return on investment for their particular institution.


read the study at




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Mathematical model predicts effect of bacterial mutations on antibiotic success

Mathematical model predicts effect of bacterial mutations on antibiotic success | healthcare technology |

Antibiotic resistance is a significant public health challenge, caused by changes in bacterial cells that allow them to survive drugs that are designed to kill them. Resistance often occurs through new mutations in bacteria that arise during the treatment of an infection. Understanding how this resistance emerges and spreads through bacterial populations is important to preventing treatment failure.


Scientists have developed a mathematical model that predicts how the number and effects of bacterial mutations leading to drug resistance will influence the success of antibiotic treatments.


Their model, described in the journal eLife, provides new insights on the emergence of drug resistance in clinical settings and hints at how to design novel treatment strategies that help avoid this resistance occurring.

"Mathematical models are a crucial tool for exploring the outcome of drug treatment and assessing the risk of the evolution of antibiotic resistance," explains first author Claudia Igler, Postdoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, Switzerland. "These models usually consider a single mutation, which leads to full drug resistance, but multiple mutations that increase antibiotic resistance in bacteria can occur. So there are some mutations that lead to a high level of resistance individually, and some that provide a small level of resistance individually but can accumulate to provide high-level resistance."


"Our work provides a crucial step in understanding the emergence of antibiotic resistance in clinically relevant treatment settings," says senior author Roland Regoes, Group Leader at ETH Zurich. "Together, our findings highlight the importance of measuring the level of antibiotic resistance granted by single mutations to help inform effective antimicrobial treatment strategies."

read the study paper at

read the original unedited article at

nrip's insight:

Mathematical models are a crucial tool for exploring outcomes.

That they can be outcomes of drug treatment , and the further and deeper study into assessing the risk of the evolution of antibiotic resistance is fascinating. This is an excellent paper.

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DNA Could Store Every Movie and More in Jewelry Box-Sized Device

DNA Could Store Every Movie and More in Jewelry Box-Sized Device | healthcare technology |
Data encoded on DNA could last 500 years! Check out a new DNA decoder that can read data at 330 gigabits per square centimeter


Years ago, the world marveled as it recognized that more human information was created on the internet than had been written in thousands of years of human history. But with the information age growing more complex by the day, we may have to look at new ways of storing information, and it turns out the DNA we're made of might hold the key to the ultimate organic hard drive.


A team of scientists has developed a new way of storing data, using pegs and pegboards composed of DNA, which can be retrieved via microscope, in a molecular variant of the traditional Lite-Brite, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications.


The prototype can store information in DNA strands with a 10-nanometer space between them. This distance is less than one-thousandth of the diameter of a human hair, and roughly one-hundredth the size of a living bacterium.


The team tested a digital nucleic acid memory (dNAM) with the storage of a simple statement: "Data is in our DNA/n." Earlier attempts to retrieve data stored in DNA called for DNA sequencing, which involves reading the genetic code of DNA strands — which is a critical tool in biology and medicine, but not very efficient for DNA memory.

Data stored on DNA strands can last for 500 years

Using a microscope, the team imaged hundreds of thousands of DNA pegs in one recording, allowing for an error-correction algorithm to retrieve all data. Once all of the bits were organized via algorithms, the prototype DNA decoder could read data at 330 gigabits per square centimeter. While this technology likely won't show up in smartphones or laptops in the near future, DNA storage has incredible potential for archival use. In case you missed it, DNA evolved to store unconscionable amounts of data. If we knew how, our genes could store all of the emails, tweets, songs, photos, films, and books that ever existed in a DNA volume the size of a jewelry box.


read the original version of this interesting article at



nrip's insight:

DNA storage has a clear advantage over technological alternatives, like quantum computing. Not only because we know it works (we wouldn't be here if it didn't), but because it can already store everything our culture cares about, and last for centuries. While still in its nascent stages, the capacity to store mountains of information in DNA is too promising to ignore in the coming decade.

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