Features & opinion


Applying big data analytics to improve patient-centric care
The changing economic, regulatory, technological and healthcare environment has given rise to a strategic shift from product and physician-centric strategies to a ‘patient centric’ approach. Sumit Prasad of Mu Sigma discusses the opportunities of this shift for the pharmaceutical sector. 7 Jan 2015

The barriers to tapping into Big Content and how to overcome them
The healthcare sector, like every other industry, is creating not just more data, but ever increasing amounts of information on diagnoses, treatment options, new medications, trials and research, as well as general health factors. Jeremy Bentley, Chief Executive of Smartlogic takes a look at the problems of making use of the unstructured side of Big Data. 5 Dec 2014

How big data is being used in healthcare today
We are being bombarded from all directions with information about "Big Data" and how it will change our lives, especially as it pertains to our health. But what is Big Data, and how is it actually being used in the healthcare system today? Uri Laserson, Data Scientist, Cloudera. 21 Nov 2014

Protecting critical healthcare data in the era of 'big data'
The Internet of Things, Big Data and cloud storage have transformed the way in which data is accessed, processed and stored. As a result, the pressure is on for all organisations to develop a data-centric security approach. By Martin Sugden, Managing Director, Boldon James. 21 Nov 2014

Going native with healthcare apps: stepping back from the functionality cliff
Chris Watson, Product Manager at Exco InTouch.
The use of health apps to monitor patients' progress and to help them self-regulate their condition has been growing dramatically across the globe. With this in mind, there has been much debate of late about how to deliver public-facing healthcare apps across different operating platforms (iOS - Apple, Android or Windows8) to provide the best user experience. Oct 2014

Opinion: Supplementary Protection Certificates urgently needed to compensate medical device developers for lost patent time
Dr Nicholas Jones, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers. Medical device manufacturers should be compensated for the lengthy delays involved in obtaining the necessary marketing authorisation to bring new products to market. 3 Sept 2014

Opinion: In cardiology, Big Data covers the ‘whole’ patient
Jeroen Tas, CEO Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services, Philips Healthcare.
This week’s ESC Congress in Barcelona has a lot of people buzzing about the latest innovation and research in the field of cardiology. From my vantage point, I’m most excited to see how Big Data is being put to work to change the face of cardiac care. 29 Aug 2014

Going beyond the pill — mhealth programme improves outcomes for COPD patients
mHealth offers pharmaceutical companies the opportunity to go ‘beyond the pill’ and deliver personalised health support to patients outside of a healthcare setting. Digital health platforms can keep patients involved in managing their care and adherent to their therapy and medication regimes. Mark Brincat, Director of Product Strategy, Exco InTouch.

Supercomputers: powering medical innovation to enable the industry to achieve more
Karen Padmore, Operations Director at High Performance Computing (HPC) Wales, explains how supercomputing can be used to help speed-up breakthroughs in medical research.

Personalising healthcare with technology
The products and services that support patients in managing their health and diseases must be able to adapt in the real world to individual patient needs. As technology develops we should be seeing a continual evolution in dynamic and adaptive solutions that can support patients on their individual ‘patient journeys’. By Mark Brincat. 2 May 2014

Nanofibres coming of age
Nanofibres have potential applications in a broad range of products and with the maturing of the electrospinning manufacturing process some are already commercially viable. The greatest potential for electrospun nanofibres is in composite materials or multi-component constructions. By Dr Barry Park, Professor Bob Stevens, Dr Gabriela Juárez Martínez. 21 April 2014

Who put the 'm' in mHealth?
mHealth is currently the topic of much discussion. The problem is nobody really knows what it is, and nobody’s defined what it is — everybody’s interpretation is different. So when you talk about mHealth services people immediately put it into a box according to their interpretation. by Keith Nurcombe. 28 Mar 2014

Child health dependent on feeding babies the right amount of fat and protein
The EU-funded research project Early Nutrition aims to obtain hard evidence that the diet of babies in the first months of life and of the mother during pregnancy determines the health of the child later in life. 14 Jan 2014

How mobile and digital technologies engage patients and help achieve better outcomes
Increasing pressure on pharmaceutical companies and health providers to achieve better health outcomes, combined with fierce competition, price pressures and rapidly increasing R&D costs, have pushed the subject of effective patient engagement to the top of the agenda. By Tim Davis CEO and Co-founder, Exco InTouch.

Case study: Automated rostering helps Mount Carmel Hospital maximise staff resources
Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin has replaced its traditional paper-based system for producing staff rosters by implementing a computerised workforce management system. 3 Dec 2013

Driving operational improvement with joined-up healthcare data
Following the introduction of the new NHS structures in England in 2013, the NHS still needs to find additional cost savings, despite central health budgets being ring-fenced. An integrated approach to data that engages both commissioner and provider could deliver efficiencies without impacting on staff, writes LOC Consulting’s Peter Osborne. 18 Nov 2013

Going paperless — what pressure will this put on NHS IT?
Marc Stein of Dell Software Group reviews the changes that are taking place around paperless and mobile working, how the Caldicott report supports this and the measures NHS organisations need to take to keep up in the changing environment. 11 July 2013

Mind the security gap while adopting electronic health records
The target set by UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, for digital information to be available across NHS and social care services by 2018, stirred a debate about whether the NHS is prepared to seamlessly transition to new digital records system without exposing patient data to security risks. By Marc Lee, Director EMEA, Courion. 10 April 2013

Reaching the end of the page: time to replace the outdated bleep
The pager-based communications system in hospitals is outdated, say Paul Volkaerts and Debbie Guy, who explain why getting rid of the ‘bleep’ can help hospitals transform the way they deliver services and improve patient care. 9 April 2013

The future of surgical robots and robot surgeons 
Robots have established a foothold in surgery but what role will they play 20 years from now? Most current surgical robots are teleoperated by surgeons from a console. But new research points to very different robotic surgical devices in the future — micro and nano devices. How will surgeons interact with them? Can we expect to see surgical robots-on-a-chip and surgery taking place outside operating rooms and clinical environments without surgeon’s interaction? Dr Paula Gomes of Cambridge Consultants answers the questions. 4 April 2013

Give nursing managers the teeth to do their job
Evidence-based systems that highlight staff shortages in real time will help directors of nursing and ward managers to safeguard the quality of patient care and avoid risk, says Tristan Spencer of Kronos. 20 March 2013

Can secure device management become the heartbeat of the healthcare sector?
The IT industry is experiencing a fundamental change in the way that technology is consumed. This is largely due to the proliferation of tablet PCs and smartphones across the private and now, public sectors, says Jonathan Dale, Director of Marketing, MaaS360 by Fiberlink. 6 March 2013

The data challenge within the NHS
In January this year, the UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt published an ambitious timetable for a paperless NHS by 2018. Hunt described it as ‘crazy’ that paramedics, for example, could not access the medical records of a patient when an ambulance is called to an emergency. Mikko Soirola, VP, Liaison Technologies looks at the feasibility of achieving a paperless NHS within the timeframe. 1 March 2013

New model needed for managing long-term conditions
Clare Wexler, CEO, Totally Health, examines why commissioners and patients must behave differently if care pathways for the treatment of chronic disease are to improve, and why integrated, innovative technologies must form part of the solution. 26 Feb 2013

Medical device software comes under the microscope
More than 50% of existing medical devices depend on software in some form or another — the software is either embedded in the devices or plays an important role in the production of the device. The benefits of software, however, come with the cost of risk of failure due to the presence of defects, says the Institute of Medicine. There is typically a strong correlation between code complexity and the number of defects in the software. 16 Nov 2012

Cloud computing is a key component on the path to personalised medicine
When scientists embarked on the 13-year journey to map the human genome in 1990, they envisioned a future where the knowledge of DNA would aid in the diagnosis, treatment and even prevention of thousands of diseases and disorders. James Coffin of Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences explains how cloud computing can help achieve this vision. 18 October 2012 

Balancing act: prevention and treatment in the doctor’s office 2050
As medical treatments become more proactive and less reactive, visits to the doctor’s office will continue to change. We’ve already seen a multitude of technological improvements that make a healthcare visit less stressful, but what could these visits look like in 2050? Gillian Davies, Innovation & Technology Management Specialist at Sagentia, explores. 15 October 2012

Case study: Finesse Medical streamlines processes with business management solution
Finesse Medical needed a software solution that was geared towards full integration, order processing, offered materials requirement planning capabilities and that was flexible enough to support the company going forward. 17 Sept 2012

New PET-MR scanner halves radiation and improves resolution
Physicists at the University of Oslo have created new medical imaging technology that combines PET and MR in a more efficient way and reduces the radiation compared to current technology. The technology was developed from particle physics research at CERN. 31 August 2012

Igniting European biomaterials collaboration
Medilink East Midlands was privileged to host a recent meeting of the European Biomat-IN network which proved an excellent opportunity for sowing the seeds for future collaboration between SMEs in the field of biomaterials research and commercialisation. 1 August 2012

Graphic showing GPCRs as complex machinesMedically important cell membrane proteins reveal their secrets
A series of scientific papers published this year by collaborations headed by the Scripps Research Institute illuminate a large and medically important family of proteins called G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). 26 July 2012

An open market will drive good value for money in updating PACS in the NHS
Harry Wood talks to Peter Harrison and Ronan Kirby of Siemens about the future of PACS in the NHS in England following the end of NPfIT contracts. "PACS was a low hanging fruit and was a relatively easy component for the NHS National Program for IT (NPfIT) to deploy. For Siemens it was an interesting time as originally we had actually put the first PACS into the UK." more ... 3 April 2012

TLT makes early research breakthrough in foetal heart monitoring
Tarilian Laser Technologies, which has developed a unique sensor platform for use in several healthcare applications and more specifically blood pressure measurement, has now also innovated further with the development of a ground-breaking early research prototype for a new single optical foetal heart monitoring sensor. 23 Feb 2012

Medtech industry will start to change the delivery of its communications in 2012
Tristan Jervis, Director at De Facto Communications, explains how the medtech industry, not unlike the pharma industry of 10 years ago, is in the midst of a gradual reform of its modus operandi to accommodate a changing economic model and cultural shift bringing innovation closer to the patient. 22 Feb 2012

New technology can bring breast cancer screening into the twenty-first century
In October last year the UK announced the first independent review of the breast cancer screening programme. Jack Kaye, CEO of Westhouse Medical Services, provides an insight into breast cancer screening and analyses the options available for the progression of the screening programme. 20 Feb 2012.

The Philips Inner Cool RTx system Inner cooling reduces heart and brain damage after MI, cardiac arrest and stroke
The Philips Inner Cool RTx system provides a rapid method of cooling the body from the inside. The RTx system cools or warms patients with a unique integrated temperature sensor catheter that circulates temperature-controlled fluid within the catheter and adjusts the temperature of the blood near the heart. By Harry Wood, Editor, MTB Europe. 17 Dec 2011

Tarilian Laser Technologies achieves greatest technological advance in blood pressure measurement for 130 years
Tarilian Laser Technologies (TLT) has invented a completely novel method of measuring blood pressure based on an optoelectronic sensor. The sensor outperforms the current “gold standard” for measuring blood pressure — the mercury sphygmomanometer — and effectively makes the older technology obsolete. The sensor can measure blood pressure on any part of the body, including the eye without pressure on the eye or energy entering the body. By Harry Wood, Editor, MTB Europe. 7 Dec 2011. See video & read more..

Regulatory challenges in getting medical devices ready for the market
By Rachael Histed, Associate, DLA Piper. The current challenges faced by the healthcare sector are creating a wealth of opportunity for innovation in the medical devices industry. With tightening budgets, an aging population and an impending shortage of healthcare professionals, the healthcare industry is crying out for improvements in the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of illness and disease. 29 November 2011

New UK electrical wiring regulations for medical and dental centres
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET, formerly the IEE) has launched the IET Wiring Regulations, 17th Edition, BS 7671:2008 incorporating Amendment No 1: 2011. Jointly published with BSI, the amended IET Wiring Regulations sets the standard for all new electrical installations in the UK. Geoff Cronshaw, Chief Electrical Engineer at the IET, highlights the key changes — which come into effect on 1st January 2012 — and which are highly relevant to electricians working within medical locations, particularly those involved in the design, erection and verification of electrical installations.

Our genes say the best diet is one third each of protein, fat and carbohydrate
What should we eat? The developed world is suffering from an obesity crisis even though supermarkets have an abundance of products that are supposed to reduce weight and the media is awash with advice on dieting. But what if you could answer this question at a molecular level? What if you could find out how our genes respond to the foods we eat, and what this does to the cellular processes that make us healthy, or unhealthy? Read more ... 27 September 2011

Taking an ECGTelemedical ECGs put into practice
Can you improve patient cardiac care and working practice for GP clinicians whilst reducing the cost of cardiac care to the NHS? GP, Dr Jonathan Lieberman, describes how a telemedical ECG service has done just this at his GP practice in Manchester, UK and outlines the benefits it has brought to patient, doctor and the NHS. 22 Sep 2011 read more ...

Colour Doppler images showing hyperermia of the bowelUltrasound of inflammatory bowel disease
The 13th Congress of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) will take place in Vienna in August 2011. One of the leading experts in the field of CEUS, Dr Stephanie Wilson from the University of Calgary/ Canada gives a short preview on her presentation about inflammatory bowel disease. Images below are colour doppler images showing hyperermia of the bowel. 19 July 2011 read more ...

nanocantileversThe nanomechanics revolution in medicine
From antibiotic development to inflammation markers, nanomechanics are bending and shaping the future of the bio-industry. Nanotechnology is still uppermost in the imagination of much of the industry, often seen as something of a Sci-Fi concept. But it is a reality, and it is being used in labs across the world today! It is already producing some remarkable results and innovations, as described in this article. 10 June 2011

Biomagnetic separation attracts diagnostics, DNA transfer and cancer therapy research
The principle behind magnetophoresis is the action of a magnetic force on particles. This is used to separate particles in a liquid, or guide particles or molecules in a wide range of applications. In vitro uses include immuno and molecular diagnostics, protein purification, cell capture, nucleic acid capture, while promising future applications in vivo include nucleic acid transfer, targetted therapeutic agents and magnetically mediated hyperthermia. 27 May 2011

Medical device usability as a factor in reducing error and improving outcomes
Human factors are key inputs in the design of medical devices, especially with the increasing number aimed at patient use in the home. Kay Sinclair & Natalie Scott of Sagentia outline the issues involved and the implications of new standards aimed at usability. 4 April 2011

Mo99 and Tc99m in personalized medicine: easing the supply crisis
Personalized medicine is the use of new methods of molecular analysis to better manage a patient’s disease or predisposition to disease. Currently impacting the efficiency of nuclear medicine is an ongoing shortage of the radioisotope Molybdenum 99 (Mo99). The production of this sensitive raw material is central in the production of Technetium 99m (Tc99m), which is used in nearly 60% of all patient scans in personalized medicine. 8 September 2010

Medical equipment deals briefing for Q2 2010
Mergers and acquisitions activity decreased. There was a decrease in value over Q1 mainly due to a large acquisition by Novartis in Q1. The number of deals also decreased from 110 in Q1 to 78 deals in Q2 2010. The most active buyers were Essilor International with 14 deals, followed by Covidien plc with eight. more ...

Insulin pump world market briefing
Due to the advantages of flexibility and tighter control over glucose offered by insulin pumps to niche patient groups like pregnant women and children, the insulin pump market has grown rapidly in the past few years. The global insulin pump market was valued at $586.4m in 2009, and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% from 2009 to 2016. A briefing by GlobalData. more ... 11 August 2010

Case study: Ashley Comms secures pharmaceutical company document transfer with Maytech FTP services
Ashley Communications needed a secure depository for its pharmaceutical company clients to be able to safely access PowerPoint presentations and medical documents without the fear of information being leaked. It turned to Maytech to provide a safe and secure storage and data transfer system to improve management of important medical documents. 22 July 2010

Education of patients and healthcare providers is essential for effective management of COPD
Benefit from and adherence to inhalation therapy in asthma and COPD patients depend to an equal extent on the choice and the correct handling of the inhaler devices. This requires appropriate education of patients and healthcare providers, says Professor Walter G Vinken. 30 June 2010

Portable ultrasound systemsBuilding flexibility into electronic design of ultrasound systems
This article reviews the up-front considerations that must be addressed to offer portable, performance-based products that provide system designers with the flexibility required to bring new products to this global market. It discusses the application of these methods to the design of portable ultrasound systems. May 2010

PET-MRI scanner opens new frontier in medical imaging
The PET-MRI scanner, which has been developed by Philips, combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) into one unit, allowing accurate combination of the two imaging modalities and giving new possibilities for medical imaging. Harry Wood reports from the launch in Geneva. 31 May 2010

Bacterial survival strategies could teach bankers how to avoid financial crises
If we want to drive maximum growth, encourage innovation and protect the economy from disasters, we will have to learn from lowly bacteria and put in place robust regulatory systems, says Dr Harvey Rubin, a professor of medicine, biochemistry and computer science, at the University of Pennsylvania, and Founder and Director of the Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response. 10 May 2010

Digital Pathology under the microscope
Radiology and pathology are cornerstones of cancer diagnosis, the former allowing tumors to be accurately located and biopsied and the latter providing confirmation of their malignancy. Radiology has already ‘gone digital’,  but for pathology, going digital is not so straightforward. March 2010

Barcodes and handheld computers ensure quality assurance for MED-EL ear implant production
Tyrol-based manufacturer MED-EL produces high-technology ear implant hearing devices. Strict US and European regulations require seamless product documentation and traceability of every individual part throughout the life cycle of the product. This process has been streamlined by a system using wireless mobile computers with data capture by 2-D barcodes. The system reduces manual errors, eliminates paper documentation, and increases the security of all logistics processes. 4 August 2009

The potential of ambient energy harvesting to power electronic devices
Energy harvesting (EH) or scavenging is the use of ambient energy to provide electrical power for small electronic and electrical devices. The technologies employed variously convert human power, body fluids, heat differences, vibration or other movement, dirt, vegetation, ultraviolet, visible light or infrared to electricity. Read more ... 13 March 2009

New assessment tool heralds breakthrough for healthcare service redesign
Health economics is often seen as a blunt instrument that tends to work against patient needs. As the desire to control healthcare budgets becomes ever more pressing, can a new kind of assessment technology help service commissioners find the Holy Grail of health provision — delivering cost savings and the best patient outcomes?  30 January 2009

The Vivacta piezofilm blood testing cartridgeLab-quality point-of-care test for hypothyroidism promises measurable health benefits
Undiagnosed thyroid disorders are a worldwide problem. Testing for hypothyroidism has required central laboratory facilities and follow-up procedures to get patients into and stay in treatment. Vivacta has now developed an immunoassay test that can be delivered at the point-of-care. The test kit consists of a portable bench-top reader and a credit-card-sized disposable cartridge to take and analyse a pin-prick of blood. Based on piezofilm technology it can analyse whole blood for TSH in just five minutes, allowing, for the first time, testing, reporting and treatment to be done in the same doctor's appointment.
1 December 2008

Nanotechnology in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
Bionanotechnology is moving forward rapidly. It will enhance our understanding of biology and how biological systems work and is already helping resolve some of the pharma and biotech industries' significant problems. Dr Mike Fisher of the UK's Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) gives an overview of its potential. October 2008

Treatment of hypertension a key factor in the prevention of dementia
Treatment of hypertension has been proved to reduce cardiovascular risk substantially, but a large proportion of people with hypertension in the general population are not even diagnosed or treated, writes Professor Ingmar Skoog, of the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Göteborg University, Sweden. 8 September 2008

Training is key in NHS technology challenge
Paul Vousden
outlines the role of the UK Training Hub for Operative Technologies in Healthcare, the key tasks for improving training in the use of medical devices across the NHS and the focus areas for THOTH's activities. 18 July 2008  

How can technology adoption be speeded up in the NHS?
Iestyn Williams,
of the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham, discusses the reasons for the slow uptake of medical technology in the NHS in England and how to overcome the barriers to adoption. 20 June 2008

Home is where the best heart care is
The telemedical weight scalesJoshua Rowe, chairman for telemedicine specialist Broomwell Healthwatch, explains how a cardiac telemedicine service can improve patient care whilst cutting the cost of congestive heart failure (CHF).
30 April 2008 

Dr Carmen Martinez viewing radiology imagesMultimedia PACS networks healthcare services on the Balearic Islands
All public hospitals and about 80 primary health centres in the Spanish region Islas Baleares are building the foundation of a health service network which is unique in Europe for its scope and depth of integration. 8 April 2008

A prototype sensor for measuring electrolyte concentration in sweatSmart clothing with fluid biosensors to monitor health
The European BIOTEX project has produced textiles with woven-in miniaturised biosensors that can analyse body fluids such as sweat to assess the wearer's state of health. 31 March 2008

Controlling glucose levels for critically ill
A European project has developed a computerised decision support system that monitors glucose levels of critically ill patients in hospital and delivers the correct dose of insulin when correction is needed. 19 March 2008

Adoption of electronic work processes pushing convergence of electronic health records and clinical trials
The move towards the use of IT and computer-based patient record systems across hospitals in Europe and North America, and efforts to streamline the functioning of clinical trials are promoting the expanded use of electronic data capture. This is encouraging merging of work processes in clinical care and clinical research areas. 2 Feb 2007

Top US health industry trends of 2007
Pressure on pricing amid demand for transparency will force pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and health plans to rethink their strategies. This is one of the top issues identified by PricewaterhouseCoopers' Health Research Institute in a new report. 8 Dec 2006

RFID tags tested in tracking medicines in supply chain
Cardinal Health, Inc., has completed a real-world pilot test of RFID tags for automatic tracking of medicines in the packaging and distribution chain. The technology has the potential to improve the safety and efficiency of pharmaceutical supply chains. 28 Nov 2006

Videoconferencing enables neurology service to cover Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Teleneurological Service has found that videoconferencing eliminates time wasted in travelling to patients while still allowing patients in remote areas to receive high levels of diagnosis, monitoring and care. 21 Nov 2006

Home telehealth: the future of home care
The combination of increased healthcare spending, provider shortages and an aging population has put homecare at a crossroads, where change has become a rapid necessity. That change is evident with the creation of a virtual model of care known as home telehealth, which delivers state of the art hospital care in the home without interrupting the routine of everyday life, widely known today as connected health. It uses available consumer technologies to enable such services as remote monitoring, activity monitoring, and the delivery of disease management and wellness programs. 13 November 2006

Archiving and protecting data to comply with electronic data laws
Governments worldwide are placing companies under increasing scrutiny. Businesses are challenged more than ever before by electronic data laws and they need to ensure that they are complying with all of the different legal requirements. 8 November 2006

The economic benefits of information technology in healthcare
An EU project has demonstrated that information technology can provide enormous benefits if the technology is properly implemented. The eHealth Impact project developed a methodology for assessing the economic impact of ehealth solutions and then evaluated the economic benefits of introducing new technology in healthcare in ten flagship projects. The project demonstrated that the benefits were twice the cost of implementing the technology. 7 November 2006

Controlling blood sugar of ICU patients by automatic insulin delivery
The control of blood glucose levels is one of the most important factors for patients in intensive care units (ICU). Thousands die or suffer prolonged illness every year, simply because intensive care units are unable to monitor their patients' glucose levels during recovery. One EU project CLINICIP is developing an intelligent, automated glucose monitoring and control system to solve the problem. 30 October 2006

Digitisation of hospitals driving demand for medical imaging displays and cheaper alternatives
The market for medical imaging displays is experiencing a dynamic shift. Digitisation initiatives are creating opportunities and challenges across Europe, as data and image sharing across hospital departments and regions becomes an established driver of efficiency. Some hospitals, however, are seeking to save costs by using non-medical grade displays, which poses a significant threat to the business of suppliers. 27 Sept 2006

Data storage solution saves terabytes for West Yorkshire NHS IT services
Wakefield Health Informatics Service data storage solution is expected to save 40% over three years, reduce unnecessary data storage by 4TB and significantly cut backup and restore times. 26 Sept 2006

World in danger of missing targets for sanitation and clean drinking water
The world is in danger of missing targets for providing clean water and sanitation unless there is a dramatic increase in the pace of work and investment between now and 2015, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. More than 1.1 billion people in both urban and rural areas currently lack access to drinking water from an improved source and 2.6 billion people do not have access to even basic sanitation. 20 Sept 2006

European point-of-care testing market boosted by clinical and cost advantages
Point-of-care testing (POCT) offers multiple benefits, particularly in improving turnabout time (TAT) and in supporting the prescription of earlier and more appropriate treatment. However, some physicians are still sceptical about the new technologies and continue to use ineffective traditional methods of diagnoses. The challenge is to persuade these users of the benefits of POCT. 19 Sept 2006

Telemedicine project improving health in rural Cambodia
To leverage a growing Internet infrastructure for health purposes within rural Cambodia, an email-based medical consultation program called Operation Village Health was established by Partners Telemedicine. Harvard-affiliated physicians have been providing clinical recommendations to Cambodian health workers caring for patients at rural  health centres. Approximately 700 telemedicine-supported patient encounters have been completed. Operation Village Health is the 2006 winner of the international Stockholm Challenge in the category of Health. 11 Sept 2006

Opportunities in pharmaceutical RFID and smart packaging
RFID in healthcare is growing rapidly and is forecast to become a $2.1 billion global business by 2016. Smart packaging for healthcare has multiple applications, including recording patient use in drug trials, stock tracking, tamper recording, anti-counterfeiting, preventing medical errors, and child-resistant packaging. 5 Sept 2006

European coordination in smart-systems research
Smart systems based on microtechnology and nanotechnology hold great promise for future systems integration, with a variety of potential applications especially in medicine, automotive safety and aeronautics. However, lack of coordination among European research institutions, industry and government means that research and product innovation are not advancing as fast as they could. 5 Sept 2006

Targeting the private sector in the European healthcare market.
Many medical device and diagnostic manufacturers may be focusing largely on the public healthcare providers in Europe and missing out on the fast-growing opportunities in private sector markets, according to a study by HBS Consulting. 29 August 2006

Item-level RFID tagging set for 100-fold growth in decade
A new study forecasts the market for item-level RFID tags to rise from US$0.16 billion in 2006 to US$13 billion in 2016 involving up to 550 billion items ranging from OTC drugs to blood bags, cigarette packets and books. 28 August 2006

Digitisation and high costs driving consolidation in European medical imaging market
Novel picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and moves towards digitisation are spurring growth in the European medical imaging market, but this is set against pressures from cost reduction, reduced hospital beds, lack of radiologists and a trend towards multi-modality deals. 17 August 2006

Growth potential for cardiology PACS  in Europe
End-user willingness to purchase digital cardiology picture archiving and communications systems is forecast to increase the market from US$73.6 million in 2005 to US$200.5 million in 2012. 21 June 2006

VISTA opens new frontiers in ultra high field MRI research
The Virtual Institute for Seven Tesla Applications (VISTA) is a Dutch initiative of researchers from medical in centres Leiden, Utrecht and Nijmegen. VISTA groups the expertise on ultra high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in The Netherlands into one powerful virtual institute. Ultra high field MRI provides unique advantages that can be used not only to obtain better results for many current diagnostic applications, such as for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, but opens up new fields of activity, by enabling previously unattainable applications. 16 June 2006

Email communications can benefit orthopaedic surgeons and their patients
Due to the rise in patients using the Internet for communication and information, orthopaedic surgeons should consider incorporating this resource into their practices; but they should do so in a thought-out and systematic way, according to a paper published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 9 March 2006. More ...

Wireless technologies to play increasingly central role in healthcare
The nascent European wearable wireless patient monitoring markets are likely to see rapid growth over the next four to five years. Heightened awareness about the benefits of remote monitoring combined with the growing popularity of homecare is likely to boost the uptake of wearable wireless patient monitoring systems. 9 March 2006. More... 

Eliminating the threat of malware on the desktop
Spyware, malware, crimeware, whichever name you pin on it, the threat is very real and it has been infiltrating networks on a global scale at an increasing rate over the last six months. This new breed of viruses arrives through email, over the web and can even be inadvertently introduced by poorly educated users. 14 February 2006

Increasing cardiac disorders in Europe driving demand for diagnostic imaging systems
An increase in the incidence of cardiac disorders has led to a rise in the number of diagnostic procedures, thereby resulting in a spurt in interventional cardiac catheterisation procedures. There is also a greater demand for non-invasive diagnostic techniques using CT and MR imaging systems. 5 February 2006

German government initiatives to boost use of IT in healthcare
Expenditure on healthcare IT in Germany represents a paltry 0.5% of total healthcare outlays — an extremely low proportion compared to other developed countries. However, the pursuit of a more integrated healthcare IT policy, government initiatives and new reimbursement structures are set to boost demand for healthcare IT in Germany. 5 February 2006

IT professionals neglect security on mobile devices
A third of IT professionals using mobile devices such as PDAs and smartphones don't use passwords or any other security protection, according to a survey by Pointsec Mobile Technologies and SC Magazine. This is despite the fact that three out of ten of these users store their PIN numbers, passwords and other corporate information on the devices. 15 January 2006

Trial of mobile technology at George Eliot Hospital shows significant benefits
George Eliot Hospital (GEH), a 440-bed acute care hospital in England and Intel Solution Services tested the usefulness of mobile technologies. Twenty wireless tablet or notebook PCs were deployed to a cross-section of care providers. They used the devices with a mobile application portal to access pathology and radiology results, a dashboard application for tracking patient status, and other information sources. The pilot demonstrated significant time savings for mobile clinicians and reduced administrative burden on nurses.
More ... 8 January 2006

The FinnWell programme — making healthcare healthier and wealthier
For many years Finland has built up a healthcare system to be proud of. Nonetheless, no society can rest on its laurels. The older, better informed and more demanding population is forcing big changes in Finnish healthcare as in the rest of the world. And one of the ways Finland will be able to deal with these changes is through activities such as FinnWell, one of Finnish funding agency Tekes´ biggest ever technology programmes. More ... 21 December 2005

GE revs up the engine
GE Healthcare has made two announcements that give shape to its vision of the future of medical technology. Both announcements further blur the already fluid boundary between medical equipment and health informatics. Together with Swiss pharma giant Roche, GE will conduct trials to detect the amyloid plaques believed responsible for Alzheimer's. The two companies will use GE's PET scanning technology coupled with a specially developed imaging agent. More ... 12 July 2005

Philips looks to medical computing
Philips is planning a big push in medical equipment, including more growth in healthcare informatics, over the next year. Chief executive Gerard Kleisterlee has set ambitious sales targets for the medical division, and has set aside over €3 billion for healthcare acquisitions. Philips hopes that expanding further into healthcare technology can off set losses and setbacks suffered by the company's semiconductor and telecoms divisions. More ... 8 July 2005

Healthcare reform helped French No vote
So, France has voted no in its referendum. Europe's constitution lies in ruins. Or not, depending on what Europe's foreign ministers can cobble together in a Brussels backroom. Which points out a key reason why France's voters sent a resounding non! to its government and Europe's elite. But another major reason why France voted no to Europe was France's own programme of health and social welfare reforms. More ... June 2005

French public spending policy in crisis
France faces a crisis in every area of public spending: pensions; welfare; education; health. Governments have been trying to address these problems since Édouard Balladur's conservative administration in 1993. More ... June 2005

France's national disease coding
The first component of France's national health IT programme to go into service is the health and cost coding system known as 'la Codage'. The Codage will result not only in shifts in hospital funding, with many departments receiving less money as a result, it is also intended to lead to hospital cut-backs and closures. More... June 2005

DMP: the French EPR
The DMP, or personal medical file, is the centre-piece of France's health IT programme. This will be a single unified computer health record. It will hold all relevant medical information, which will be centralised into a national data centre. More ... June 2005

The lesson for Europe
The relevance of the attempted French reforms for European governments is that healthcare and social reform can be risky stuff. Right across Europe, governments are engaged in re-engineering their health sectors. More ... June 2005

Siemens retreats from the consumer
The giant is shifting onto its backfoot. But it will need to hone its consumer marketing skills to retain its position in med-tech over the next decade. More ... March 2005

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