The increasing role of the social media in healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 6With the social media having moved beyond being a platform for sharing personal information; its role in healthcare has nearly exploded of late. This is mainly because the growth of the social media has more or less coincided with that of the electronic records in healthcare.

Whatever the identifiable or unidentifiable reasons for the convergence of social media in healthcare; the fact is that social media in healthcare is a major phenomenon that is here to stay.

Social media in healthcare is being analyzed for potentially huge business opportunity, and it is being taken up for serious discussion in legal circles, with the American Congress and many other legislative bodies around the world thinking of taking serious steps for regulating it.

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 4

The most fundamental aspect of social media in healthcare is that its growth has been helped by the core feature it brings: its ease of adaption in this sector. Healthcare information, as we all know, is very vital, and speed is of great importance. This is why social media in healthcare has come to be one of the most talked about scenarios in the healthcare today, propped in no less measure by the gigantic size of the American healthcare economy.

The advantages social media brings into healthcare

 

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 1As just seen, the social media in healthcare facilitate great use because they help transmit information at a pace that was difficult to imagine till recently. With the development of the electronic health records (EHR) in the US, technology has made possible the customization of health records. A platform like the social media can help accelerate this pace enormously. It can also help practitioners and other stakeholders of healthcare information, such as Business Associates and Covered Entities and a host of related ones gather information and transmit it and process it at lightning speed.

Concerns

The increasing role of the social media in healthcare 3

The enormous benefits that the social media bring into healthcare notwithstanding; there is room for serious concern.

Like all other technology-driven tools, the social media in healthcare comes with an inherent risk: the laxity of records. Loose or nil security or healthcare records are a serious cause for concern. The recent breaches in health data have cost many healthcare organizations in the US millions of dollars.

The social media in healthcare give an opportunity for marketers to pitch their products or services, but they also open up lots of opportunity for the unscrupulous among these to exploit and manipulate this information. This is akin to the potential drawbacks credit cards and other such facilities bring. The social media in healthcare is a tool that is open to a high degree of vulnerability to breach. This is all the more true of new technologies, such as the cloud, which the social media in healthcare have embraced with open arms.

So, while the social media in healthcare is a force to reckon with, it is not something that is totally free of drawbacks. Till regulatory action frees the sector of these, the social media in healthcare will continue to grow, albeit with its concerns.

 

click to continue reading

Health Education England launches online workshop on improving digital readiness

peoplemic_header555

Health Education England is launching an online workshop to gather views on digital readiness.

The organisation is working in collaboration with Digital Health and innovation and crowdsourcing agency Clever Together on the online workshop, which forms part of the Building a Digital Ready Workforce programme.

It will be launched on 22 November in partnership with BCS Health and Care, the Federation of Informatics Professionals in Health and Social Care, and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics.

James Freed, chief information officer at Health Education England, told Digital Health the exercise was a chance to gather the views of those who already have a strong voice as well as those who are less commonly heard.

“In almost all technological programmes I have seen, our efforts are mostly about technology and very little about process, and the process redesign, and almost none on people,” he explained. He hopes the new online workshop will address that.

Andy Kinnear, chair of BCS Health and Care, added the aim was to hear from “digital experts; the wider group of people involved in the digital space such as nurses, doctors and care professionals; and the entire health and social care workforce”.

The online workshop will run for about three weeks and its results will form the basis for how the BRDW programme will prioritise and invest £6m over the next four years. Its findings will be extensively covered by Digital Health.

You can register now for the online workshop. Our feature article gives more detail – including interviews with James Freed and Andy Kinnear. Keep an eye on Digital Health over the next few weeks for ongoing coverage.

Women’s Forum panel addresses women’s health, education challenges

nsWGLFNotecard-CourtesyWGLF

 

Health and education challenges that women face were the center of a panel discussion which took place Monday morning as part of the Women’s Global Leadership Forum.

Courtesy Women’s Global Leadership Forum

 

A panel addressing health and education challenges facing women took place Monday morning as part of the Women’s Global Leadership Forum. The discussion was facilitated by Rebecca Dillingham, director of the University’s Center for Global Health, and was comprised of of women who gave their global perspectives on the issues.

Newcomb Ballroom was packed with an audience that included high schoolers, University students, alumni and faculty members.

Vivian Pinn, the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health, spoke briefly about being the first African-American female graduate from the University Medical School.

“I went into that first morning class in the fall of 1963 thinking that when I looked around the room and saw only white men — that the other women and people of color must just be late getting there,” Pinn said. “Then I realized that I was it. It was me and my classmates.”

Pinn said one of her main priorities she has pursued throughout her life is trying to ensure the medical world listens to women and discusses women’s health.

“I have focused on things that have been important to me my whole life,” Pinn said. “That is — What about the health of girls and women? What about girls getting careers in medicine? I couldn’t think of a better time to focus my energy on women’s health.”

The panel centralized their conversation on the importance of enabling education at a young level to facilitate greater gender equality amongst leadership roles.

Maya Ajmera, president and CEO of the Society for Science and the Public, spoke about her trip to India in which she saw train platform schools. The trip inspired her Global Fund for Children which works on behalf of vulnerable children. Ajmera said in the future she wants to focus on empowering local, grassroots organizations to enact change.

“Grassroot entrepreneurs …  They are the ones that resources really need to get put into because I think they’ve been starved,” Ajmera said. “I think they’ve been starved in this country, but I also see that starvation globally. So if we’re going to reach people, it’s through the grassroots.”

Ajmera also said one of her main priorities is to ensure that girls continue their education beyond primary school.

“We have to get the education of girls at the secondary level globally up,” Ajmera said. “The development goals of the U.N. have achieved great success in getting primary school admissions very high. But secondary school really has to be an emphasis.”

Abinet Sitotaw, a gender and nutrition advisor for nonprofit organization CARE-Ethiopia also said education was important in promoting women and girl’s empowerment. Speaking of her own personal mission and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Sitotaw said her priorities involved getting girls into safe educational institutions.

“It’s going to be a leadership academy whereby I manage to bring a group of young girls who cannot attend secondary schools to the city,” Sitotaw said. “I want to give them a boarding school whereby they can get a state of the art education and also leadership skills.”

 

click to continue reading

It is important for non-statisticians to become familiar with biostatistics

biostatistics

Statistics is extremely useful as a decision-making tool in the clinical research arena. In areas such as working in a field where a p-value can determine the next steps on development of a drug or procedure, it is very handy, because of which it is imperative for decision makers to understand the theory and application of statistics.

Many statistical software applications have now been developed and made available to professionals. It needs to be borne in mind that these software applications were developed for statisticians, because of which its use can baffle non-statisticians. Their confusions could be as basic as pressing the right key, let alone performing the best test.

A full learning session on biostatistics for the non-statistician

biostatistics5

A seminar from GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for all the areas of regulatory compliance, will throw light on the importance of biostatistics for the non-statistician.

Elaine Eisenbeisz, a private practice statistician and owner of Omega Statistics, a statistical consulting firm based in Southern California, who has over 30 years of experience in creating data and information solutions for industries ranging from governmental agencies and corporations to start-up companies and individual researchers; will be the Director of this seminar.

Want to understand the importance of biostatistics for the non-statistician? Then, please enrol for this seminar by visiting It is important for non-statisticians to become familiar with biostatistics. This seminar has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.

Statistical concepts in clinical research

biostatistics2

Designed essentially for non-statisticians; this seminar provides a non-mathematical introduction to biostatistics. It will be of high value to professionals who must understand and work with study design and interpretation of findings in a clinical or biotechnology setting.

Elaine will equip participants of this seminar with the information and skills necessary to understand statistical concepts and findings as they relate to clinical research. With this information, they will be able to confidently communicate with people with whom they need to.

Elaine will place emphasis on the actual statistical concepts, application, and interpretation. She will not go into the areas of mathematical formulas or actual data analysis. A basic understanding of statistics is desired from the participants, but is not necessary.

This course on biostatistics for the non-statistician will help professionals involved in this area, such as Physicians, Clinical Research Associates, and Clinical Project Managers/Leaders, Sponsors, Regulatory Professionals who use statistical concepts/terminology in reporting, and Medical Writers who need to interpret statistical reports.

Elaine’s agenda for this two-day seminar will consist of the following:

Why Statistics?

biostatistics56

  • Do we really need statistical tests?
  • Sample vs. Population
  • I’m a statistician not a magician! What statistics can and can’t do
  • Descriptive statistics and measures of variability

The many ways of interpretation

  • Confidence intervals
  • p-values
  • effect sizes
  • Clinical vs. meaningful significance

Common Statistical Tests

  • Comparative tests
  • Regression analysis
  • Non-parametric techniques

Bayesian Logic

  • A different way of thinking
  • Bayesian methods and statistical significance
  • Bayesian applications to diagnostics testing
  • Bayesian applications to genetics

Interpreting Statistics – Team Exercise

biostatistics3

  • Team Exercise: Review a scientific paper and learn how to
    • Interpret statistical jargon
    • Look for reproducibility, transparency, bias, and limitations
    • Convey information coherently to non-statisticians

Study power and sample size

  • Review of p-value, significance level, effect size
  • Formulas, software, and other resources for computing a sample size

Developing a Statistical Analysis Plan

Specialized topics/Closing Comments/Q&A

  • Comparing Survival Curves
  • Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics (PK/PD)
  • Taking a holistic view to study design and interpretation
  • Question and Answer session.

 

click to continue reading

Microbiome, Diet, Health, and Disease: Policy Needs to Move Forward

Microbiome, Diet, Health, and Disease.jpg

This article covers policy needs concerning the rapidly evolving field of microbiome and diets with respect to health and disease. It captures some key outcomes of a multi-stakeholder dialogue (Brussels, May 2016), spearheaded by a joint effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government (Belgium), to help design and/or interpret regulatory frameworks for food and drugs to support innovation to benefit society, while guaranteeing safety and efficacy of products and ensuring the science base.

Introduction

The combined genomes of the microbial ecosystems that live in symbiosis or as commensals with the human body can be defined as the human microbiome. These microbial ecosystems not only include bacteria and archaea, but also fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Different microbial ecosystems colonise the mouth, the skin, the vaginal and intestinal tract, of which the latter has the highest biodiversity, composed of more than 1000 phylospecies.

An Interface Between Human Genetics and Diet: the Gut Microbiome

The human gut microbiota has been described as a key biological interface between human genetics and environmental conditions, such as diet, that can modify the composition and the functioning of the intestinal microbiome. In that sense, it may be considered a virtual organ which is an integral and essential part of the body.1 Through nutritional intervention, the gut microbiome may be altered to generate better wellbeing and protection against many diseases or even to cure certain conditions.2-4

The gut microbiome can be linked to many Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome related to increasing incidence of obesity. More recently, also neurological diseases have been related to gut microbiota and diet and are considered as NCDs.5, 6 The burden of ageing related dementia and other NCDs is exponentially increasing in relation to changing life styles and ageing of the population, conditions that are associated with gut microbiome alterations. Changing demographics worldwide, combined with the broader adoption of the western diet and lifestyle increases the burden of NCDs, creating serious challenges for the public healthcare systems. Prevention and more efficient treatment of NCDs not only offer important economic advantages for healthcare systems, it also contributes to the reduction of poverty as only healthy people can actively participate to society and economies.7-9 Recent scientific studies are linking dietary habits to an array of health conditions in new ways and indicate that nutrition has a determining influence that start even before birth and can influence the development of complex pathologies.10, 11

Opportunities and Hype

New insights about the importance of the intestinal microbiome and the modulating effect of diet are opening new possible ways of treatment and prevention that may contribute to the sustainability of healthcare systems by keeping the increasing healthcare costs under control. Innovations based on better understanding of how the intestinal microbiome functions and regulates our health and how it is impacted by what we eat are expected also to lead to preventative medicine and contributions to longer wellbeing in general.

However, the field is subject to some hype. Although insights are growing fast, at this moment it is still unclear how health or disease is determined by the human microbiomes. In most cases, a certain microbiome composition can at best be associated with certain condition. The causal relation of nutrition, gut microbiome composition and health is not clearly understood yet, such as whether a healthy microbiome can be defined at population level, what determines its resilience when disturbed, or how its composition can be beneficially manipulated. Such primary knowledge is required before therapies targeting the microbiome can be developed.

Nevertheless, there is a clear interest of food and pharmaceutical developers and industries to develop new products that target the gut microbiome, for better well-being or to manage chronic disease conditions. Moreover, microbiomes are also a source of novel bioactive compounds that may be used for innovative applications.

Identifying Policy Needs

To follow the pace of new scientific insights and translate these to innovative applications, there is a need to accelerate policy actions at the national and international level, to address scientific and regulatory challenges as well as to ensure safety and efficacy and efficient take up by consumers and healthcare professionals.12-14

To stimulate innovation based on the new insights of how the human microbiome and the gut microbiome in particular is functioning, in May 2016, the department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government in Belgium organized a workshop on ‘The Microbiome, Diet and Health: Assessing Gaps in Science and Innovation’ in Brussels in collaboration with OECD and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), the industry association linked to OECD.15

This workshop brought together scientists from academia and industry, experts in regulatory issues and policy makers to identify and discuss on policy needs for this field to progress and deliver upon the promises. The regulatory frameworks in place need to follow fast the new developments and combine a right balance between measures to ensure safety and consumer/patient protection and flexibility to adapt to these new developments.16-18

This article summarizes some of the policy needs that were identified as well as messages from workshop participants, how to address these and help move from hype to solid intervention or prevention. A complete workshop report is published by OECD.

continue

Process Development and Validation rest on the right Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control

Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control1.jpg

The application of DOE and SPC to the development, design and monitoring of manufacturing and testing requires the use of procedures. Why? It is because in a recent guidance document on Process Validation, the FDA has named the Quality Unit as being responsible in the review and interpretation of DOE and SPC studies.

The Quality Unit needs to take a practical orientation when it sets out doing this work. An approach in which case studies and examples are sprinkled goes a long way in helping Process Validation professionals in their work. This is exactly what a seminar from GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the regulatory compliance areas, will offer and help regulatory professionals in the Quality Control and Quality Assurance areas achieve their aims.

The Director of this two-day seminar is Dr. Steven Kuwahara, who Founder and Principal, GXP BioTechnology LLC. Want to understand ways by which to adapt the right approach to applying DoE and SPC to the development, design and monitoring of manufacturing and testing? Then, please register for this very useful session by logging on to Process Development and Validation rest on the right Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control . This seminar has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.

Completely interactive

Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control2

Dr. Kuwahara will do full justice to the role and importance of practical experiments in aiding an understanding of Design of Experiments. Theoretical information will be given only when it is needed to help gain an understanding of an experiment. At this highly interactive and practical session, Dr. Kuwahara will offer examples from real processes and testing procedures. He will intersperse these with examples that will be directly applicable to the areas of work that relate to the participants of this seminar.

An understanding of the way the process parameters relate to and work with each other is necessary for any pharmaceutical worker who is involved in performing, supervising or reviewing manufacturing or testing processes. The ability to monitor the performance of processes and test methods is also needed for such a worker. While this is true for a professional in any department of pharmaceuticals; it applies more to the worker who works in Quality Control and Quality Assurance, a requirement that has become necessary following the passage of recent FDA guidance document on Process Validation.

However, it is the development, manufacturing, or quality systems worker who carries out this work. In view of this fact, a high degree of coordination is needed between these two levels of employees. At this seminar, Dr. Kuwahara will arm these two levels of employees with the knowledge of the ways of designing the systems and studies, and then interpreting the results generated.

Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control4

Dr. Kuwahara has charted out the following agenda for this seminar:

Dietary Design of Experiments

  • Introduction
  • One Level, One Factor Designs. Simple Comparisons
  • Two-Level Multi-Factorial Design
  • Extracting Information from the Experiment

Statistical Process Control

Design of Experiments and Statistical Process Control

This seminar is designed for the benefit of professionals involved in the procedures and applications of DOE and SPC, such as Directors, Managers, Supervisors, Lead workers in Process Development, Manufacturing, Regulatory Affairs, Quality Assurance and Quality Control, and workers who participate in operations or the are involved in the supervision of the development, manufacturing, or testing of medicinal products.

To join us for more information, get in touch

Video of father comforting newborn son receiving his first vaccines goes viral

Video of father comforting.jpg

On October 26, first-time father Antwon Lee took his two-month-old son Debias King to get his first vaccinations. Lee, 29, said he was very nervous for the appointment, telling People Magazine that he “felt kind of scared a little bit,” as he knew the child was “going to go through some pain.” Before the visit, he also continually reassured his son that he could cry if he needed to.

TEARS AS CONJOINED TWINS DIE DAY AFTER BIRTH

When it came time for the vaccinations, Lee held his son in his arms and told the little boy to “stay strong,” while Shamekia Harris, Lee’s girlfriend, recorded the visit on her phone. Little Debias did cry as the nurse gave him his shots, but stopped soon afterward when Lee consoled him.

The video has since gone viral, with about 13 million views, 51 thousand likes, and 186 thousand shares as of Wednesday.

Sadly, Lee’s father, Anthony Lee, 57, died that same day due to complications from drinking. Lee explained to People that he was emotional and very close to his father, and that he later spoke to his son Debias about his hopes for the future.

“I talked to him like a grown up … I told him, before I leave, want to see him succeed,” Lee said.

Lee wishes that the video will remind others of the importance of fatherhood, “I want them to take care of their kids, because when you sign up for something, you have to stick with it,” he told People.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Lee, however, isn’t the only person to go viral for his vaccination video: In 2014, pediatrician Michael Darden gained attention for his unique approach to giving shots, and the video still doesn’t disappoint:

Read More: http://snip.ly/9obne#http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/11/01/video-father-comforting-newborn-son-receiving-his-first-vaccines-goes-viral.html