glomc00 - The Global Millennium Class
Topic: agriculture & rural development | authors | business & finance | design | economy | education | entrepreneurship & innovation | environment | general | healthcare | human resources | nonprofit | people | policy & governance | publishing | reviews | science & technology | university research
Date: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | jan'17 | feb'17 | mar'17 | apr'17 | may'17 | jun'17 | jul'17 | aug'17 | sep'17 | oct'17 | nov'17 | dec'17 | jan'18 | feb'18 | mar'18 | apr'18 | may'18 | jun'18 | jul'18 | aug'18 | sep'18 | oct'18 | nov'18 | dec'18 | jan'19 | feb'19 | mar'19 | apr'19 | may'19 | jun'19
How computer science can improve learning in biology | Education Technology, 03 jul 2019
7 healthcare essentials you should always pack in your holiday suitcase | Irish Examiner, 03 jul 2019
Digital Health Literacy - a prerequisite competency for future healthcare professionals | European Public Health Alliance, 03 jul 2019
Nouriel Roubini sees trade war tipping global economy into a recession | Hellenic Shipping News, 03 jul 2019
Selective education and social mobility | The Guardian, 02 jul 2019
In healthcare, ethical AI is a life-or-death issue: Q&A with AI Ethics Lab's founder and director | Becker's Hospital Review, 02 jul 2019
Investors are excited about Southeast Asia. Here's their advice for start-ups | CNBC, 02 jul 2019
The Global Economy's Just About Due for a Rebound | Bloomberg, 02 jul 2019
The Education Deserts of Rural America | The Atlantic, 01 jul 2019
Techdriven agriculture holds promise for African youth | Africa Times, 27 june 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 jul 2019
Experts views are divided on how non-profit hospitals benefit communities. In US, non-profit hospitals received tax-benefits valued at over US$ 24 billion annually in 2011. In exchange for tax exemptions these hospitals provide 'community benefits' like free and subsidized care, investments in public health, community-based health initiatives intended to address the social determinants of health, such as food or housing insecurity. But, many observers argue that hospitals avoid making sustained community investments in favor of counting millions of dollars of 'discounts' to low-income patients as community benefits while aggressively pursuing unpaid bills. Krisda Chaiyachati and Rachel Werner, Senior Fellows at LDI University of Pennsylvania, have recently written two research to add information to this debate. They provide detailed estimates of how much hospitals spend on different types of community benefits, whether community benefits are matched to local need, and what effects community benefits have on health outcomes. Mr. Chaiyachati and Ms. Werner analyzed IRS tax data from over 1600 non-profit hospitals. By law, hospitals report total spending on community benefits, broken out by health care-related spending (e.g. free care), community-directed spending (e.g. anti-smoking initiatives or funds for local community organizations), and research and educational activities. To standardize comparisons, the authors measured all spending as shares of total hospital expenditures. Researchers find out that hospitals still rely on discounted charity care to meet community benefits requirements. In 2014, non-profit hospitals reported that they spent an average of 8.1% (US$ 17 million) of their total expenditures on community benefits, more than 80% of which was health care-related. On average, 6.7% (US$ 11 million) of expenditures were on health care services, compared to 0.7% (US$ 1.2 million) for community-directed contributions. The remainder of community benefits were on educational and research initiatives. The results are disappointing in light of a second study from Ms. Werner and Mr. Chaiyachati, which suggests that community-directed spending could improve health outcomes, specifically, 30-day readmission rates. Readmissions rates are a useful measure of health care quality-capturing in-hospital care, discharge planning, and follow-up. Since the Affordable Care Act, hospitals have been financially penalized for high readmission rates. The evidence from research suggests that increased investment in the social determinants of health, rather than simply writing off free care, has a significant impact on measurable health outcomes. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jun 2019
Wikipedia explains 'Spin' as, 'A form of propaganda in public relations and politics that is achieved through knowingly providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, "spin" often implies the use of disingenuous, deceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.' Researchers (Paris Descartes University: Isabelle Boutron, Romana Haneef, Philippe Ravaud; Hôpital Hôtel Dieu, Paris: Amélie Yavchitz, Gabriel Baron; Inspire: John Novack; New York University: Ivan Oransky; University of Minnesota: Gary Schwitzer) in their study, 'Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the impact of "spin" in health news stories reporting studies of pharmacologic treatments on patients'/caregivers' interpretation of treatment benefit', published in journal BMC Medicine, found that participants were more likely to believe the treatment was beneficial when news stories were reported with spin. Prof. Gary Schwitzer of University of Minnesota and founder/publisher of HealthNewsReview.org, says, 'This is important research because misinterpretation of the content of news stories due to spin could have important public health consequences as news articles can affect patient and public behavior.' Prof. Schwitzer says that spin can originate in all stages of the flow of information from researchers to the public. Researchers suggest that spin can be managed by taking the following steps - Train researchers to understand how the public uses the media and, in response, frame their communication to the public in a way which is truthful, relevant, understandable and devoid of distortion or hype; Train PR professionals, journalists and other communicators to detect spin and accurately convey research results; Educate news consumers on the resources available to help them critically evaluate health claims; Support research for developing ideal approaches for communicating scientific and health information. Read on...
University of Minnesota News:
Research Brief: Evaluating the effect of spin in health care news
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019
According to the research study, 'Comparison of Costs of Care for Medicare Patients Hospitalized in Teaching and Nonteaching Hospitals', published in JAMA Network Open by researchers from Harvard University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University and Weill Cornell Medical College (Laura G. Burke, Dhruv Khullar, Jie Zheng, Austin B. Frakt, E. John Orav, Ashish K. Jha), 'Total costs of care are similar or somewhat lower among teaching hospitals compared to non-teaching hospitals among Medicare beneficiaries treated for common medical and surgical conditions.' Researchers analyzed data from more than 1.2 million hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older at more than 3000 major, minor, and non-teaching hospitals from 2014 to 2015 for some of the most common medical and surgical conditions, including pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and hip replacement. Prof. Ashish K. Jha, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, says, 'These findings are surprising. We always assumed that we had to trade off the better outcomes at teaching hospitals with higher costs. It appears that, at least as far as Medicare is concerned, their payments for care are actually a bit less when patients go to a teaching hospital.' Lead author of the study, Prof. Laura G. Burke of Harvard Medical School, says, 'These findings support the idea that to truly understand variation in health care costs, it's important to look not at just what happens in the hospital but on total spending for an acute episode.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2019
'Medical reversal' is a term that defines instances in which new and improved clinical trials show that current medical practices are ineffective or misguided. Medical reversals often concern medications but they can also affect surgical procedures. A new meta-analysis of 3000 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in three leading medical journals over the last 15 years identifies 396 medical reversals (154 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 113 in the Lancet, and 129 in the New England Journal of Medicine). Researchers (Oregon Health & Science University-OHSU: Diana Herrera-Perez, Alyson Haslam, Tyler Crain, Jennifer Gill, Catherine Livingston, Victoria Kaestner, Michael Hayes, Vinay Prasad; University of Maryland School of Medicine: Dan Morgan; University of Chicago: Adam S. Cifu) carried out most of these studies (92%) in high-income countries, while 8% were performed in low- or middle-income countries, including China, India, Malaysia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Most of the medical reversals occurred in the fields of cardiovascular disease (20%), public health and preventive medicine (12%), and critical care (11%). Specifically, the most common interventions involved medications (33%), procedures (20%), vitamins and supplements (13%), devices (9%), and system interventions (8%). Lead author of the study, Diana Herrera-Perez of OHSU, referring to well-known endeavors to assess the validity of clinical practices says, 'We wanted to build on these and other efforts to provide a larger and more comprehensive list for clinicians and researchers to guide practice as they care for patients more effectively and economically.' Prof. Vinay Prasad of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, says, 'Once an ineffective practice is established, it may be difficult to convince practitioners to abandon its use. By aiming to test novel treatments rigorously before they become widespread, we can reduce the number of reversals in practice and prevent unnecessary harm to patients. We hope our broad results may serve as a starting point for researchers, policymakers, and payers who wish to have a list of practices that likely offer no net benefit to use in future work.' Co-lead study author Alyson Haslam of OHSU, says, 'Taken together, we hope our findings will help push medical professionals to evaluate their own practices critically and demand high-quality research before adopting a new practice in [the] future, especially for those that are more expensive and/or aggressive than the current standard of care.'Read on...
Medical News Today:
Hundreds of current medical practices may be ineffective
Authors: Ana Sandoiu, Gianna D'Emilio
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2018
According to the 2011 research study published in The American Journal of Medicine, 'Success in Grateful Patient Philanthropy: Insights from Experienced Physicians' (Authors: Rosalyn Stewart, Leah Wolfe, John Flynn, Joseph Carrese, Scott M. Wright - Johns Hopkins University), 'Facing challenging economic conditions, medical schools and teaching hospitals have turned increasingly to philanthropy as a way to supplement declining clinical revenues and reduced research budgets. One approach to offset these diminished returns is to commit efforts to 'grateful patient' programs that concentrate on satisfying patients and their families, especially families with significant assets. Support from grateful patients is the single most important source for substantive philanthropic gifts in medicine.' According to the latest 2018 research published in the Journal of American Medicine, 'Navigating the Ethical Boundaries of Grateful Patient Fundraising' (Authors: Megan E. Collins, Steven A. Rum, Jeremy Sugarman - Johns Hopkins University), 'Health care institutions in the United States receive more than US$ 10 billion annually in charitable gifts. These gifts, often from grateful patients, benefit physicians, institutions, and other patients through the expansion of clinical and research activities, community-based programs, and educational initiatives.' The topic of 'grateful patient philanthropy' raises some ethical issues in patient-physician relationship. There is general agreement that donation related interaction with patients shouldn't happen during the course of their treatment and should be discussed once patients have fully recovered from their medical condition. The study finds that although physicians consider fundraising as their duty but find it difficult to have a conversation with their patients regarding donations. Read on...
Grateful Patient Philanthropy? Some Fundraising Ethics Shouldn't Need to Be Taught
Author: Ruth McCambridge
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 aug 2018
Apparel production is generally linked to environmental issues like water and air pollution, alongwith the land, water and pesticide use related to growing natural fibers. But now research points at the source of another problem created by apparels made wholly or partially from synthetic textiles. Microfibers, a type of microplastic, are shed during normal use and laundering, and remain in the environment similar to plastic packaging that coats so many of the world's beaches, and they bond to chemical pollutants in the environment, such as DDT and PCB. Moreover, the textiles from which they are shed are often treated with waterproofing agents, stain- or fire-resistant chemicals or synthetic dyes that could be harmful to organisms that ingest them. Also, microfibers are being consumed alongwith food and drink. Research review (Microplastics in air: Are we breathing it in? - Johnny Gasperi, Stephanie L. Wright, Rachid Dris, France Collard, Corinne Mandin, Mohamed Guerrouache, Valérie Langlois, Frank J.Kelly, Bruno Tassin) published last year shows that microfibers suspended in air are possibly settling in human lungs. Research led by Richard C. Thompson from the University of Plymouth (UK) in 2004 (Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic? - Richard C. Thompson, Ylva Olsen, Richard P. Mitchell, Anthony Davis, Steven J. Rowland, Anthony W. G. John, Daniel McGonigle, Andrea E. Russell) documented and quantified the occurrence of microplastics in the marine environment. Research by Mark Anthony Browne, one of Prof. Thompson's graduate student, published in 2011 (Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Woldwide: Sources and Sinks - Mark Anthony Browne, Phillip Crump, Stewart J. Niven, Emma Teuten, Andrew Tonkin, Tamara Galloway, Richard Thompson) found - (1) Samples taken near wastewater disposal sites had 250% more microplastic than those from reference sites and the types of microplastic fibers found in those samples were mainly polymers often used in synthetic apparel, suggesting the fibers were eluding filters in wastewater treatment plants and being released with treated effluent (which is released into rivers, lakes or ocean water). (2) A single polyester fleece jacket could shed as many as 1900 of these tiny fibers each time it was washed. Another 2016 study by researchers from UC Santa Barbara in US (Microfiber Masses Recovered from Conventional Machine Washing of New or Aged Garments - Niko L. Hartline, Nicholas J. Bruce, Stephanie N. Karba, Elizabeth O. Ruff, Shreya U. Sonar, Patricia A. Holden) has shown far higher numbers - 250000 fibers. Rosalia Project, a nonprofit focused on ocean protection, led a study of microfiber pollution across an entire watershed (from the mouth of Hudson River all the way to where the river meets the Atlantic in Manhattan). Rachael Z. Miller, group's director, was surprised to find that, outside of samples taken near treatment plants, there was no statistically significant difference in the concentration fibers from the alpine region to the agricultural center of New York state to the high population areas of Manhattan and New Jersey. This suggested to her that fibers might be entering surface waters from the air and from septic system drainfields in rural areas without municipal sewage systems. According to Textile World, demand for polyester has grown faster than demand for wool, cotton and other fibers for at least 20 years. And by 2030 synthetics are expected to account for 75% of global apparel fiber production, or 107 million tons. All textiles, including carpeting and upholstery, produce microfibers. So do commercial fishing nets. But due to the frequency with which apparel is laundered and the increasing quantities of clothing being purchased throughout the world (thanks at least in part to the so-called fast fashion trend), apparel is the microfiber source on which researchers and policy-makers are focusing attention. Krystle Moody, a textile industry consultant, says, 'Outdoor gear is heavily reliant on synthetic textiles due to their performance profile (moisture wicking) and durability.' Jeffrey Silberman, professor and chairperson of textile development and marketing with the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York, says, 'Price is the big driver behind the use of synthetics in textiles. A poly-cotton blend is generally far cheaper than a cotton one, but doesn’t look or feel appreciably different to most consumers. The motivation is to get natural-like fibers and still be able to get a price point that people are willing to pay.' Katy Stevens, sustainability project manager for the outdoor gear industry consortium European Outdoor Group (EOG), says, 'Initial research suggested that recycled polyester might shed more microfibers. Are we doing the right thing by using recycled polyester that might shed more? It has added a whole other big question mark.' Other studies have found microfibers in effluent from wastewater plants (Wastewater Treatment Works (WwTW) as a Source of Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment - Fionn Murphy, Ciaran Ewins, Frederic Carbonnier, Brian Quinn), in the digestive tracts of market fish (Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress - Chelsea M. Rochman, Eunha Hoh, Tomofumi Kurobe, Swee J. Teh), throughout riversheds (Mountains to the sea: River study of plastic and non-plastic microfiber pollution in the northeast USA - Rachael Z. Miller, Andrew J. R. Watts, Brooke O. Winslow, Tamara S.Galloway, Abigail P. W. Barrows) and in air samples. Two separate studies released in March 2018 revealed that microfibers are found in bottled water sold all over the world. And a study published weeks later revealed that microplastic - chiefly microfibers - were present in 159 samples of tap water from around the word, a dozen brands of beer (made with Great Lakes water) as well as sea salt, also derived globally. Although most research has focused on synthetics textiles, but Abigail P. W. Barrows, an independent microplastics researcher who has conducted numerous studies on microfibers, says, 'Natural fibers such as cotton and wool, and semi-synthetics such as rayon should not be totally ignored. While they will degrade more quickly than, say, polyester, they may still be treated with chemicals of concern that can move up the food chain if the fibers are consumed before they degrade.' The study she led in 2018 (Marine environment microfiber contamination: Global patterns and the diversity of microparticle origins - Abigail P. W. Barrows, Sara E. Kathey, C. W. Petersen) found that in the surface water samples collected globally while 91% of the particles collected were microfibers, 12% of those were semi-synthetic and 31% were natural. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jun 2018
Team of researchers (Prof. José Antonio Rosa of Iowa State University; Prof. Richard J. Vann of Iowa State University; Prof. Sean M. McCrea of University of Wyoming) conducted five experiments to understand how crisis influences motivation and commitment to the goal. Their research titled 'When consumers struggle: Action crisis and its effects on problematic goal pursuit' was recently published in the journal Psychology & Marketing. Prof. Rosa, the lead researcher, says, 'Setbacks are to be expected when pursuing a goal, whether you are trying to lose weight or save money. The challenge is getting back on track and not giving up after a difficulty or crisis.' The research team is working on practical ways to help people stick to health-related goals - specifically, prescribed regimens for medical ailments that require significant lifestyle changes. According to Prof. Rosa, staying committed to a long-term health goal is challenging, because it may feel as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. He explains, 'These are some of the most difficult goals we face, because the effort has to become a way of life. If you're a diabetic, you have to be thinking about your diet every time you eat. In many ways, it is sacrificial. You must endure this cost and the reward is health.' Prof. Rosa says that action crisis, whether related or unrelated to the goal, is a point during goal pursuit when circumstances change, causing us to question whether the goal really matters. This sets in a process of goal evaluation instead of implementation and can result in the decision to quit, termed by researchers as 'taking the off ramp', and may cause another crisis. Researchers are now working to develop and test interventions for patients on prescribed health regimens. Prof. Rosa says the goal is to provide specific instructions for patients to follow and help shift their mindset from renegotiation or evaluation back to implementation. He adds, 'From a marketing perspective, it is an issue of consumption and making health care more effective for patients. The right intervention will help patients stay on track, lessening the risk for additional health issues and lowering health care costs.' Read on...
Iowa State University News:
Crisis can force re-evaluation and derail efforts to reach goals
Author: Angie Hunt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2018
Consistent communication through various channels both internally and externally is the key for successful public relations. Eileen Sheil, ED of Corporate Communications at Cleveland Clinic, shares her PR experience and suggests key elements that PR teams should be focused on. Regarding her PR strategy at Cleveland Clinic, she says, 'We are trying new communication approaches that better reach our target audiences through the media and to our key stakeholders. Sharing our stories internally and externally about patient care, innovative procedures, medical research, opinions on important healthcare issues, and breaking news will help people know more about the work we do to help patients locally, nationally, and around the globe.' Following is her advice for PR teams - (1) Be Strategic About PR: Know the organization and industry; Know the company's narrative and be consistent in your communication; Conduct reputation research and develop a PR strategy; Know your audience; Research and alter strateg as needed. (2) Go Digital: Traditional media is essential but amplify the communication through latest digital technologies. (3) Measure The Value Of PR: The Barcelona Principles (initially developed in 2010 and updated in 2015) are used to measure the real value of PR; Focus on qaulity of coverage to build better reputation; Learn to use metrics, data and analytics to drive strategy. (4) Be One Communications Team And Build One Strategy: Internal and external communications are merging; Be consistent to all shareholders. (5) Know This Is A Journey: Teams should continue to evolve, learn and make their work better together. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 apr 2018
To apply the basic idea of 'Small Is Beautiful' as propagated by E. F. Schumacher to the social enterprises and create their collaborative network, have the potential to successfully tackle social causes at a large scale and maximize impact. Anne-Marie Slaughter, President & CEO of New America, explains the working dynamics of social enterprises, the challenges of scale, issues of efficiencies when contrasted with private enterprises and how in a democratic setup a network of independent social enterprises can develop a collaborative system for larger impact. She says, 'In the private sector, companies reap economies of scale...In the social and political marketplace, however - at least in democracies - too much efficiency is dangerous. Tyrants are efficient, which is precisely why America's founding fathers built a system of checks and balances designed to favour resilience over efficiency...Outside government, a rich civil society is the bedrock of a well-functioning democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville made this point about the strength of American democracy in the 1830s.' Ms. Slaughter opines, 'Civic engagement requires the energy and innovation of multiple entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurship is just one subset of a much larger civil society. But a thriving ecosystem of social enterprise cannot borrow wholesale from the capitalist playbook.' Rebecca Onie, co-founder & CEO of Health Leads, developed a model of healthcare that saves money and improves outcomes by attending to social as well as medical needs and achieved scale by convincing the US government to start experimenting with her approach. Ms. Slaughter suggests, 'Another path to scale in the social sector - one that preserves diversity and reduces competition for scarce resources - is through carefully designed networks of small or medium-sized enterprises that are focused on solving the same basic problem and are demonstrably having an impact in a particular community or region. This approach has worked well in global health through consortiums...The network form allows for small size and large scale simultaneously, preserving individuality and innovation while applying common metrics in the pursuit of a single large goal. Individual actors can form groups, connected to a central co-ordinator and cross-fertiliser.' Read on...
The Financial Times:
Thinking big for social enterprise can mean staying small
Author: Anne-Marie Slaughter
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 dec 2017
According to a recent survey by Create, a new marketplace for health systems, local health networks best serve the needs of today's healthcare consumer. The survey took a detailed look at the preferences of individuals when selecting and receiving healthcare. It finds that 1/3rd have received care from more than one health system, or network of affiliated providers. Simeon Schindelman, CEO of Brighton Health Plan Solutions, says, 'This data uncovers that individuals are already taking their own steps to make their care more localized and personalized, but they aren't reaping the cost and quality benefits of such a network model. The survey also finds that there is a strong discrepancy between how loyal healthcare consumers feel they are to their primary care doctors, and how loyal they actually are. Mr. Schindelman and his team observed that 'our current healthcare system simply does not meet the needs and expectations of today's consumer...To enhance healthcare for everyone, we must move away from the current one-size-fits-all health plan, and instead listen to the needs of individuals across the country.' He explains, 'Managed care executives are responsible for managing cost, utilization and quality of care provided, while pursuing strategies for value-driven solutions. As such, hearing the preferences and expectations of today's healthcare consumer is at the center of performing those duties...this survey also uncovers a value-driven solution that has not been explored in the industry: plans that prioritize local, integrated healthcare systems.' Mr. Schindelman suggests - (1) Offer personalized plans. (2) Stop giving people benefits they don't need or use. (3) Explore new ways of lowering costs that don't compromise quality. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 oct 2017
Over the years the dynamics of relationship between patients and healthcare providers have evolved into customers and healthcare businesses type. Rising cost of healthcare, multiple providers, privatization and technology are some important reasons for this transformation. Brad Dodge, President of Dodge Communications, and Andrew Pelosi, President of Partners & Simons, provide in detail what the patients as consumers of healthcare services expect from providers and how healthcare businesses can develop robust customer oriented strategies and fulfil the role of trusted partner in providing care services. They explain, 'Healthcare consumers have come to the realization that they have options. They don't have to settle for poor service, long wait times, limited hours, or confusing bills. Customer loyalty has to be earned - as in any other business. And consumers make it perfectly clear that if a provider can't deliver a better and more personalized experience, then they will switch to one that can. Moreover, the shift in mentality demands that providers be transparent and personal as much as possible. And from generation to generation, consumers are demanding clear communication and a trusted connection with their providers.' According to the Solutionreach Patient-Provider Relationship Study, 'The Ripple Effect Starts with Boomers', 43% of millennials are likely to switch practices in the next few years, 44% of Generation X are likely to switch primary care physicians in the three years and 20% of Baby Boomers are likely to switch in the next three years. Also, 70% of patients desire the ability to text the doctor's office, and 70% would like to receive text messages from their doctor, especially about appointments. Healthcare providers have to keep in mind expectations of these consumers and provide them personalized experience if they want long-term continuous relationships. Authors suggest - (1) Communication Drives Experience: 'The essence of creating a positive experience is making customers feel that they are heard and important — before, during, and after a transaction. Consistent, relevant communication between your company and customers is the answer to optimize that experience and engender trust. Honest communication with an emphasis on personalization builds the trust that all companies need to grow in this new information-driven, engagement economy.' (2) Entering the Engagement Economy: 'Consumers are demanding a more personalized relationship that requires a depth of knowledge of their wants, needs, and buying behaviors - and, ultimately, the best ways to engage them. Brands that succeed are the ones that manage engagement across the entire customer lifecycle. In most instances, the lifecycle and trust-building process starts very early in the customer's buying decision, even before they are considering a purchase.' (3) Who Are You Talking To: 'Creating a positive customer experience requires knowing your audience, engaging interpersonally, and meeting their needs. Answering those questions helps you develop an understanding that will be reflected in how you communicate with them across all channels, as well as what content you deliver. Also, organizations must be clear and concise; they must also offer up a valuable story; and they must be prepared to tweak that story as the marketplace changes.' (4) Focus on Delighting Customers: 'Focusing on ways to delight customers will go a long way in nurturing engagement and trust in your brand. Again, communicating and delivering valuable information to potential and existing customers can please them, especially when that information demonstrates an understanding of their pain points and goals.' (5) Harnessing Engagement: In an environment where trust is in short supply and customer engagement is spread across a broad digital ecosystem, companies must focus on their customers and on nurturing relationships through effective, relevant communication. Focusing on customer experience, needs, and preferences will not only enable brands to differentiate their products and services in a competitive market but also build the trust that results in loyalty.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 aug 2017
Executive pay is always a topic of debate and more so when it is a case of nonprofits. Moreover, when nonprofit healthcare executives are in focus, the dynamics of the issue become even more complex. As healthcare is an essential aspect of everybody's life, rich or poor, and has a humanitarian dimension, the issue is an everyone's concern. In healthcare, just like in education, for-profit and nonprofit delivery models co-exist, but general population treats these sectors as noble and a large number despises the business-like profit-making approach. A debate is brewing up at the University of Vermont Medical Center (USA), a nonprofit healthcare provider, where CEO's salary is more than US$ 2 million. To justify the compensation, hospital board members say that their executive pay is in line with competitors and makes up a small portion of their budget. But there are other differing views. Sen. Chris Pearson (P/D-Chittenden) says, 'To see that the CEO of our hospital is getting US$ 2 million...it's just way out of whack with the Vermont economy.' State of Vermont has 14 hospitals, all of them nonprofits. Kevin Mullin, the state's chief health care regulator, decided to highlight the salaries of top officials in these hospitals. He says, 'I think it might be illuminating to the public.' Scottie Emery-Ginn, UVM's board chair, justifying executive compensation, says, 'Our health care professionals come from a national market...In order for us to get the best people and keep the best people, we need to pay competitively.' There are no clear rules on salaries of nonprofit employees. The IRS requires only that compensation be 'reasonable', which has been interpreted to mean comparable to similar organizations. A Wall Street Journal analysis of Form 990s found that, in 2014, 2700 nonprofits provided seven-figure compensation packages, and 3/4th of those organizations worked in the health care sector. Executive pay is a concern during the debates on cost of medical care. The US spends US$ 3 trillion annually on health care - more than any other country - and administrative costs are 20-30% of that sum. Sen. Pearson says, 'It obviously inflates our health care costs...When you have public-relations people at the state's largest nonprofit hospital making half a million a year, it undermines confidence in the entire system.' Views of other employees are important in this regard. Maggie Belensz, a nurse at UVM's neurological unit, says, 'It's difficult to hear those numbers as a nurse.' Laurie Aunchman, a UVM nurse and president of Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, acknowledged the need to pay competitively but said the hospital should balance 'offering someone a million dollars or 2 million dollars' with investing money in 'taking care of the patient.' Mari Cordes, a UVM nurse and health care activist, says, 'We think it's an ethical issue. That excess money could be used to improve access to health care for everyone in Vermont...It could be used to provide support for people actually providing the frontline high-quality care.' Dr. Deb Richter, a universal health care proponent, described executive pay at Vermont hospitals as 'obscene.' Read on...
Seven Days VT:
Million-Dollar Question - How Much Should Nonprofit Hospital CEOs Earn?
Author: Alicia Freese
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 apr 2017
Sometimes a simple idea or a message can provide a direction and approach that leads to great long-lasting results. Same happened with Alan McCormick, a partner with a Dubai-based investment firm Legatum, when he was seeking investment ideas for philanthropic funding. He came across a simple message from Alan Fenwick, professor of tropical parasitology at Imperial College London - 'For a fraction of the amount being donated to treat HIV and other potentially fatal infectious diseases, the annual distribution of basic existing drugs to schoolchildren could help prevent widespread infection by a parasite that causes stunting of growth and malnourishment, and limits access to education - with life-long consequences.' The quote inspired Mr. McCormick and his firm to fund pilot programs in Africa to tackle neglected tropical diseases and finally create their own health-focused funding vehicle, The End Fund, with a small staff to co-ordinate and support programs. The programs have provided impressive return on investment and inspired others searching for ways to donate for maximum impact. According to Mr. McCormick, 'It's relatively tough giving away money and doing it well...Ideas need champions, so you need to create an organization...The End Fund model is about the ability to have people come together and collaborate, and bring their expertise.' Read on...
The Financial Times:
Philanthropy - The search for the best way to give
Author: Andrew Jack
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 mar 2017
According to CMS.gov website, 'Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it will share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.' ACOs promise to get patients more involved in their own treatments. These healthcare delivery systems are held accountable to meet cost and quality criteria. The study, 'A Multilevel Analysis of Patient Engagement and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Primary Care Practices of Accountable Care Organizations' (Authors - Stephen M. Shortell, Bing Ying Poon, Patricia P. Ramsay, Hector P. Rodriguez, Susan L. Ivey, and Thomas Huber of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health (USA); Jeremy Rich of HealthCare Partners Institute for Applied Research and Education, Los Angeles, CA; and Tom Summerfelt, Advocate Health, Chicago, IL), published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that adult patients who were treated in a primary care practice site that promoted a patient-centered culture reported fewer depression symptoms and displayed better physical functioning. According to Prof. Stephen M. Shortell, principal investigator of the study, 'These findings add to a growing literature on the importance of engaging patients in their care to achieve better outcomes that matter to patients like how they function physically and socially. In addition, it breaks new ground by identifying specific features of primary care practices that appear to be associated with achieving such outcomes through increased patient engagement.' He adds, '...more highly activated, engaged patients ask more questions to have their concerns addressed, and, as a result, are more satisfied with their care experience and more motived to achieve desired outcomes.' Prof. Hector P. Rodriguez, study co-investigator, says, 'Healthcare organizations will increasingly need to find ways to efficiently collect patient-reported data and strategies to use this information for monitoring treatment plans, engaging patients in their own care, and improving their health behaviors.' Read on...
UC Berkeley Research:
How patients, ACOs, and researchers partner to achieve better health
Author: Jaron Zanerhaft
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 12 mar 2017
Researchers from Hokkaido University (Japan) have created 'fiber-reinforced soft composites' or tough hydrogels combined with woven fiber fabric. The study, 'Energy-Dissipative Matrices Enable Synergistic Toughening in Fabric Reinforced Soft Composites' (Authors - Yiwan Huang, Daniel R. King, Taolin Sun, Takayuki Nonoyama, Takayuki Kurokawa, Tasuku Nakajima, Jian Ping Gong), was recently published in Advanced Functional Materials. Researchers combined hydrogels containing high levels of water with glass fiber fabric to create bendable, yet tough materials, employing the same method used to produce reinforced plastics. They found that a combination of polyampholyte (PA) gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10µm in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. The procedure to make the material is simply to immerse the fabric in PA precursor solutions for polymerization. The developed fiber-reinforced hydrogels are 25 times tougher than glass fiber fabric, and 100 times tougher than hydrogels. Moreover, the newly developed hydrogels are 5 times tougher compared to carbon steel. According to lead researcher, Prof. Jian Ping Gong, 'The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly. The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions.' Read on...
Hokkaido University News:
New "tougher-than-metal" fiber-reinforced hydrogels
Authors: Jian Ping Gong, Naoki Namba
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2017
'healthymagination Mother and Child Program', a collaborative effort of GE and Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, provides mentorship and training aimed at improving and accelerating maternal and/or child health outcomes in Africa. The program was designed to help the social entrepreneurs acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability. According to Robert Wells, Executive Director of healthymagination, 'GE believes there is much for social enterprises and large businesses to learn from each other. As the center of the ecosystem, social entrepreneurs are key to building Africa's sustainable future.' First cohort of 14 social entrepreneurs that have completed the program are ready to present their social enterprises to a group of potential investors and supporters. Jay Ireland, President & CEO of GE Africa, says, 'This group of people are helping solve some of Africa's biggest health challenges through their initiatives aimed at improving mother and child care. This is another great example of the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Africa.' According to Thane Kreiner, ED of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, 'Addressing the global health challenges of women and children living in sub-standard conditions or facing high-risk pregnancies demands all the determination, diligence and creative solutions we can muster.' Following are the social entrepreneurs and their respective social enterprises - Daphne Ngunjiri, Kenya (AccessAfya.com); Habib Anwar and Zubaida Bai, Kenya (ayzh.com); Tyler Nelson, Rwanda (HealthBuilders.org); Pratap Kumar, Kenya (Health-E-Net.org); Steve Alred Adudans, Kenya (HewaTele.org); Stefanie Weiland, Uganda, Burundi and DRC (LNInternational.org); Julius Mbeya and Ash Lauren Rogers, Kenya (LwalaCommunityAlliance.org); Brian Iredale, Uganda (NurtureAfrica.ie); Segun Ebitanmi, Nigeria (Outreach Medical Services); Cobby Amoah, Ghana (Peach Health); Olufemi Sunmonu, Nigeria (ThePurpleSource.com); Yohans Emiru, Ethiopia (HelloDoctorEthiopia.com); Natalie Angell-Besseling, Uganda (ShantiUganda.org); Anne Gildea, Kenya (VillageHopeCore.org). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 15 nov 2016
One of the ways in which health systems, particularly in the resource-starved developing countries, can improve is by applying concepts that make social enterprises successful. Health systems serving the most vulnerable, bottom of the pyramid market, can learn from social enterprises that make challenging markets work better. Yasmin Madan, global marketing director at Population Services International (PSI), explains in an interview with Lizzie Cohen, that adapting the model of a social enterprise can ensure a more sustainable health system that continues beyond donor funding. She says, 'Any successful business has the consumer right at the center as its main audience and it generates value for the consumer as well as the market.' According to Ms. Madan, 'Social enterprises by addressing failures, by putting consumers at the center, by generating value, are strengthening health systems, or put simply - making markets work better.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 sep 2016
Patient focused care delivery driven by technological advancements is bringing transformations in healthcare ecosystem. Experts in a panel discussion 'Future of Health Care: Technology Innovations' shared their views on high level technology that has been in use in Pittsburgh (USA) as biotechnology, informatics and medicine are used to create a more responsive system for both consumers and health providers. Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Chief Innovation Officer and EVP of UPMC Enterprises, said, '...we'll go with a 'best of breed' approach, solutions that work best toward specific ends and, while doing so, invest in interoperability, or making those systems talk to each other. This was 10 years ago. No one else was doing this; this was before 'interoperability' became the buzzword that it is today in the industry.' According to Prof. Don Taylor, Assistant Vice Chancellor of University of Pittsburgh, 'The future of health care coordination rests, in part, with analytics, the ability to make data useful in the same way companies like Amazon and Netflix are able to suggest what movies to watch or what products to buy.' Ellen Beckjord of UPMC Health Plan, while describing the current state of digital health information, used the analogy of the cookbook that contains unorganized list of all ingredients that are disaggregated from recipes. She said, 'Just because it's integrated and all in one place doesn't mean it's actionable.' Kim Jacobs, VP of consumer innovation for UPMC Health Plan, said, 'Close to 60% of UPMC's telemedicine encounters led to emergency room avoidance.' According to Prof. Steven Handler of University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine, 'Telemedicine increases access to qualified professionals and reduces variability of care. It hits the sweet spot of medical devices, informatics and clinical medicine.' Read on...
Pittsburgh Business Times:
Analytics key to future of health care coordination, panel says
Author: Lydia Nuzum
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jul 2016
Team of researchers from IIT-Madras (India) and University of Nebraska at Lincoln (USA), are developing an ingestible capsule, that can stay in human body for close to a week, with sensors that will take readings of an individual's calorie intake, that can eventually help in diagnosis of diseases like cancer and permit sustained delivery of drugs. According to Prof. Benjamin Terry of UNL, 'The capsule, made of biocompatible materials, works like a parasite by latching on to the intestinal wall.' The sensors communicate their readings to an external device through low-intensity radio waves. Prof. P. V. Manivannan of IIT-M, says, 'The device is kept a metre away from the body. We use only low intensity waves that don't harm the body.' According to experts, biosensors could help monitor factors that influence digestive health. Prof. Terry adds that the mechanism could also serve as a long-term vessel for capsule endoscopes, the ingestible pill-shaped cameras that permit physicians to record images of the gastrointestinal tract. Read on...
The Times of India:
From IIT-M - Capsule in body to count calories, diagnose cancer
Author: Ekatha Ann John
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 may 2016
As the need for intensive and intermediate care increases, the hospitals must have spaces that can fulfil the requirement. The multi-organizational collaborative EVICURES project at Seinäjoki Central Hospital in Finland was undertaken to develop a new design model for future intensive and intermediate care needs. The result of research conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on evidence-based design (EBD) and user orientation were applied to design work. Currently, there are no ICUs with single patient rooms in Finland. According to Kari Saarinen, Project Manager of the EVICURES project and Chief Physician at ICU of Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, 'The international trend is that the need for intermediate care in particular is increasing. More and more demanding methods are being used for treating patients, and the share of elderly patients is increasing.' Regarding the project, he adds, 'The operations will be more cost-efficient and of higher quality, when the equipment and nursing staff are concentrated into one place. We also expect the solution to have remarkable effects on patient healing.' The hospital staff, management, patients and their families, the hospital district, and other cooperation partners participated in the design work. Tiina Yli-Karhu, Design Coordinator at Hospital District of South Ostrobothnia, says, 'A user-oriented approach was an essential foundation for the whole project. This way we can all together make the major change about to happen easier, when the nursing staff is moving from facilities for multiple patients to working alone in single rooms.' Using the Human Thermal Model tool, VTT performed questionnaire studies and measurements to evaluate the individual thermal sensation and comfort of both the staff and patients, that were utilized in HVAC design. Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences used CAD methods to model a virtual space in accordance with the architectural drawing, which VTT utilised for improving user-friendliness. From this 3D model, VTT developed a Unity3D game for computer and tablet, allowing the staff to move around in the ICU facilities virtually and to experience realistic interactive care situations in the new working area in advance. Finland's first single-patient intensive and intermediate care and cardiac unit designed in accordance with this model will become operational in 2018. Read on...
VTT Research News:
A new treatment room design model for future hospitals
Author: Nykänen Esa
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 may 2016
A number of studies have strengthened the common belief that being around trees and close to nature improves one's mental and physical well-being. Research by Prof. Bin Jiang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (now at University of Hong Kong) and his team, further emboldens the belief regarding the soothing aspects of green environment on stress levels and blood pressure. The study was undertaken to determine the dose-response curve between tree cover density and stress recovery. It included 158 volunteers in mildly stressful situations. The experiment utilized virtual reality headset to view 360-degree videos of an urban space with varying amounts of tree canopy visible. Results obtained from the tests showed a positive linear association between the density of trees and the self reported recovery from stress. Prof. Jiang comments, 'These finding suggest that viewing a tree canopy in communities can aid stress recovery and that every tree matters.' Researchers found that regardless of age, gender, and baseline stress levels the greater the exposure to trees, the less stress the subject felt. Read on...
Total Landscape Care:
University study - Stress falls as exposure to trees increases
Author: Jill Odom
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2016
Technology continues to transform healthcare in a substantial way. Digital health expansion is visible and growing as technology infrastructure is getting better. Ryan Beckland, Founder and CEO of Validic, explains that optimizing the full potential of digital health will be the key to real progress, and building strong infrastructure to support patient engagement and data exchange capabilities will help make sustainable changes to care delivery and to achieving the full transition to value-based care. He predicts four major trends for 2016 - (1) Patients' expectations for care and care delivery are changing, and will force the industry to change: Patient expect accessability, affordability and better experience; Seek digital services. (2) We are going to see the evolution and increased sophistication of remote clinical technology: Advancements in wearables as sensors detect new data points; Digital therapies in the form of ingestibles and implantables; Platforms and applications are becoming smarter tools for consumers; Consumer empowerment through analytics and valuable health information. (3) Providers are going to begin seriously tackling long-standing interoperability and data access challenges: More investments in infrastructure for better connected systems. (4) There is going to be a shift in payment models to drive an outcome-based healthcare economy: Prevalent fee-for-service will transition to reimbursement for value instead of volume. Read on...
Healthcare Innovation and the Four Key Digital Health Trends Expected for 2016
Author: Ryan Beckland
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 may 2016
As more innovation shifts towards entrepreneurial startups in the pharmaceutical industry, a number of executives are changing their stable big pharma tracks and joining the riskier, but more dynamic and rewarding world of small biotechs. They are somewhat championing the title of the book, 'Small is Beautiful' by E. F. Schumacher, in the pharma context. The shift also seems like a typical case of siding with David and abandoning Goliath in the race for developing breakthrough innovative drugs. Victoria Richon, as vice president of oncology drug development at Sanofi, experienced constant reorganization - teams shuffled, priorities shifted and processes changed - a usual situation at big corporations. After joining as president of a startup, Ribon Therapeutics, she says, 'At a small company, it's so much more about the science, and that's so much more satisfying to me.' The number of such career jumps are on the rise. According to pharma experts, startups have cash and they generate more innovative drugs (64% of drugs approved in 2015 originated from startups - HBM Partners). Graham Galloway of Spencer Stuart says, 'The shift is further fueled by rapid consolidation among the giants, shake-ups inside R&D departments, and succession planning inside big companies.' Some of the other prominent executives who made this big to small move include - Doug Williams, from Biogen to Codiak BioSciences; Don Nicholson, from Merck to Nimbus Therapeutics; Jeremy Levin, from Teva Pharmaceuticals to Ovid Therapeutics. Jackie Bandish, a biotech recruiter, puts it correctly, 'For many of these guys, a small company can be a breath of fresh air.' To compete in such an environment, giants are also modifying their strategies. Some are trying to become more entrepreneurial, others are enhancing their R&D. Moreover, they are also deliberately leaving early scientific research for startups, so that they can make deals later, licencing the drug (Small firms received US$ 5.6 billion in upfront licensing payments in 2014 - BIO.org) or outrightly acquiring the startup. High-risk and high-reward is the mantra for startups. Tony Coles, formerly with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck, got a US$ 62 million payout as CEO of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, when it was acquired by Amgen. While former Amgen executive, Terry Rosen, sold his startup Flexus Biosciences within 17 months of its inception for US$ 1.3 billion. According to PwC MoneyTree report, venture capitalists invested a huge US$ 7.4 billion in biotechs last year. But Greg Vlahos, parter at PwC, says that the pace has slowed a bit and expects a funding to top US$ 5 billion this year. Prof. Erik Gordon of Ross School of Business at University of Michigan, being positive on executive moves says, 'If anything, the flow of people to biotech startups may accelerate. because that's where they can make big stuff happen.' Jeff Jonas's motivation to move from Shire to a startup Sage, echoes with the trend. According to him, 'It's the chance to work unfettered - where everyone is rolling in the same direction - and the chance to do something big and unexpected. Who wouldn't want that kind of privilege?' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 may 2016
Shifts in healthcare systems, driven by policy, regulations, rising costs, technologies etc, signal towards a complex and uncertain future to deliver better and affordable health solutions to people. Stephen K. Klasko, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health in Philadelphia and Jack Welch, Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute and former CEO of General Electric, explain the challenges that healthcare leaders face in coming years and how they can prepare themselves with knowledge and skills, and take actionable steps to successfully navigate the evolving healthcare landscape. According to them, 'Historically, physicians have pursued MBA programs to learn leadership, management and other critical business skills not gained in medical school. But shaping individuals who can make a difference in the changing health care field requires even more specialized training that will foster critical, game-changing thinking.' They believe that understanding and managing 'transformation' is the single most important concept that will guide healthcare leaders to ensure the survival and success of healthcare systems of tomorrow. They further suggest that physician leaders should assume the role of 'Chief Meaning Officers' as they guide their organizations through change and transformation. To achieve this they have to first develop clarity in their vision and then develop a comprehensive roadmap that they should communicate to their team. Mr. Klasko and Mr. Welch explain about creating a mind map through a three step process and bringing the right people in the team. They say, 'An environment of trust allows everyone around you to join in building the future of your rapidly changing business. Add speed and flexibility to this mind map, and you've imagined the kinds of skills needed to create a new generation of physicians prepared to lead in the new age of health care.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 apr 2016
This year's World Health Day, that falls today (07 April 2016), has the theme 'Beat Diabetes!'. The World Health Organization has singled out tackling diabetes as one of the most critical healthcare challenge but at the same time tried to give a strong message that it is not too hard to manage if people can put their thoughts and actions in the right direction. Alex Jones, health economist at the social enterprise Oxford Policy Management and researcher at University of the West Indies, provides historial perspective on how international health organizations and governments over time have developed and implemented different types of policies in tackling global health issues. Sometimes they have utilized a single disease approach and at others they have been more holistic and tried to improve health systems around the world. He further explores two approaches and provides opinion on their long-term benefits. According to him, 'A quick look back through history reveals a disturbingly cyclical pattern: As an international community we've been flip-flopping between the two approaches - vertical and horizontal - for at least the last century.' He explains, 'As far back as the 1920s, the sector saw the growth of what was known as the 'Social Medicine Movement' - based on the consideration that ill health could actually be a consequence of poor social conditions...Throughout the first half of the 20th century the Rockefeller Foundation became one of the most influential organisations in global health, implementing programmes in over 80 countries...it always kept the aim of combating specific diseases through targeted campaigns. Post-war politics saw the creation of a number of international agencies that pursued similar vertical programmes...The failure of the GMEP (WHO's Global Malaria Eradication Project) and the relative success of Mao Zedong's community-led 'Barefoot Doctors' programme in China both helped to swing the global health pendulum towards a more horizontal 'systems' approach. In 1975, the WHO launched its Primary Health Care strategy and in 1978 (after sustained advocacy from the Soviet Union) the famous Alma-Ata conference was held...this was a pledge to build up basic health systems around the world...and heralded the birth of the 'Health for All'...The beginning of the 80's, however, saw the pendulum swing firmly back towards vertical interventions...the last ten years have seen a swing back to the ideals of Alma-Ata and the mantra of putting people - rather than pathogens - front and centre of health initiatives...In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised and unanimously endorsed the idea of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).' While explaining the current state of health policy focus and interventions, he comments, 'Given the benefit of hindsight, there's a strong risk that today's current focus on UHC might not survive the constant push towards seemingly more feasible, targeted interventions. This apparently inevitable swing to the vertical, however, misses the point on two key fronts: First, history shows us that morbidities are integrated, both with each other and with our ways of life. Second, when something new comes along, a health sector built around a few target pathogens simply cannot deal with it.' Finally, he suggests, 'Let's continue to focus resources where significant advances in disease eradication are possible, partnering with those who can make this happen - but let's take care not to do this at the expense of overall systems strengthening.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2016
According to the latest study 'The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience from Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group', that incorporates responses from 3000 consumers and 300 senior leaders (Vice President or higher) at healthcare provider systems that employ at least 20 physicians, patient experience is one of the main concern as 81% of consumers surveyed indicate that they are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience. Moreover, the study also points towards a large gap between consumer expectations and what providers believe regarding their service offerings. Jeff Gourdji of Prophet says, 'There is a misperception among providers about how well they are truly meeting consumer expectations.' CEO's surveyed in the study also said that patient satisfaction is not currently among their top five priorities. According to Helen Stewart of GE Healthcare, 'The common misperception is that focusing on the patient experience means spending less time on other cost and revenue initiatives...Investments to improve the patient experience can drive both growth and cost reduction.' Paul Schrimpf of Prophet says, 'Providers are struggling to adapt to the rising culture of 'consumerism', which has heightened people's expectations. The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry, and now it's healthcare's turn.' Laura Jacobs, President of GE Healthcare Camden Group, explains, 'Creating better and more holistic experiences doesn't just mean happier patients. It translates to increased capacity, lower operating costs, improved financial performance, and higher employee satisfaction and retention. For healthcare providers, the key to profitability and longevity lies in their ability to deliver a superior consumer experience.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 feb 2016
According to World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution has become the world's biggest environmental risk, linked to over 7 million deaths a year. A global team of scientists (Farid Touati, Claudio Legena, Alessio Galli, Damiano Crescini, Paolo Crescini, Adel Ben Mnaouer) from Canadian University Dubai, Qatar University, and the University of Brescia (Italy), have developed a technology, known as SENNO (Sensor Node), that enables high-efficiency air quality monitoring, to help promote a cleaner environment and reduce the health risks associated with poor atmospheric quality. The technology promises to make air quality monitoring cost-effective. The research paper, 'Environmentally Powered Multiparametric Wireless Sensor Node for Air Quality Diagnostic', was published in Sensors and Materials journal. Prof. Adel Ben Mnaouer of Canadian University Dubai (CUD), says, 'Sensor networks dedicated to atmospheric monitoring can provide an early warning of environmental hazards. However, remote systems need robust and reliable sensor nodes, which require high levels of power efficiency for autonomous, continuous and long-term use...Our technology harvests environmental energy...it optimises energy use by the sensory equipment, so as to function only for the time needed to achieve the operations of sensor warm-up, sampling, data processing and wireless data transmission, thereby creating an air quality monitoring system that measures pollutants in a sustainable and efficient way.' Read on...
The Gulf Today:
Dubai professor develops innovation to combat increasing air pollution
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 feb 2016
There is an established relationship between built environment and human health. It is important to understand how architectural design, interior design, building technologies and materials etc, interact with external natural environment. Health-centric design approaches are now being utilized for built environments like hospitals, schools, office spaces, homes etc. Urbanization is another aspect that has public health related consequences. According to the study, 'Walls talk: Microbial biogeography of homes spanning urbanization' (by Jean F. Ruiz-Calderon, Humberto Cavallin, Se Jin Song, Atila Novoselac, Luis R. Pericchi, Jean N. Hernandez, Rafael Rios, Oralee H. Branch, Henrique Pereira, Luciana C. Paulino, Martin J. Blaser, Rob Knight, and Maria G. Dominguez-Bello) published in journal Science, certain aspects of a house's design could have an influence on the types of microbes found inside, with more urban homes separating humans from the outdoors and keeping out the environmental microbes we once evolved to coexist with. Researchers speculate that these changes may be having impact on public health. The study focused on four communities of Amazon Basin with similar climates and outside environment, but with different levels of urbanization. Prof. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello of NYU School of Medicine, 'We humans build the environments we live in and spend most of our time (in), and these may be very different to the natural environments. Very little is known about microbes of the built environment.' According to Prof. Graham Rook of University College London, who was not part of the study, 'There is increasing evidence that exposure to microbial biodiversity from the natural environment is important for health.' Prof. Humberto Cavallin of University of Puerto Rico's School of Architecture, comments, 'As we move from rural to urban...houses become more isolated from the outside environment and also become more internally compartmentalized according to the function of the spaces.' Prof. Jean Ruiz-Calderon, a biologist at University of Puerto Rico and lead author of the study, says, 'The results of the study reveal that microbes from house walls and floors differ across habitations. With increasing urbanization, houses contain a higher proportion of human-associated bacteria...and decreasing proportions of environmental bacteria...walls become reservoirs of bacteria that come from different sources depending on the use of the spaces.' Prof. Dominguez-Bello adds, 'We are in environments that are highly humanized, and therefore a lack of ventilation and high concentrations of human bacteria may...facilitate human-to-human transmission of microbes.' Prof. Ruiz-Calderon warns, 'As we alter our built environments in ways that diverge from the natural exposures we evolve with, we need to be aware of the possible consequences.' Read on...
The Washington Post:
The hidden health consequences of how we design our homes
Author: Chelsea Harvey
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 07 feb 2016
Team of researchers from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Prof. Dipanjan Pan (Bioengineering), postdoctoral researchers Manas Gartia and Santosh Misra, along with Dr. Leanne Labriola, an ophthalmologist at Carle Foundation Hospital, are collaborating to develop a portable sensor that can quickly and inexpensively detect whether the eye injury is mild or severe. The device measures the levels of vitamin C in the fluids that coat or leak from the eye. According to Prof. Pan, 'The sensor takes advantage of the fact that the ocular tear film - the viscous fluid that coats the eyeball - contains low levels of ascorbic acid, which is just vitamin C, while the interior of the eye contains much higher levels. So the concept is, if there is severe damage to the eye that penetrates deeply, the ascorbic acid will leak out in high concentration.' Dr. Labriola says, 'The new device will change the standard of care for evaluating eye traumas. This technology has the ability to impact a large number of patients, particularly in rural settings, where access to an ophthalmologist can be limited.' Researchers suggest accident sites and battlefields as other places where the device will be of great use as chances of eye injury are high there. Prof. Pan comments on the new engineering-based medical college coming up at UIUC, 'This is a perfect example of physicians and engineers working together to find solutions to current problems in healthcare.' The team is further collaborating with a U of I industrial design professor to build a housing for the sensor that will be portable and easy to use and have founded a startup to bring the device to market. Read on...
Illinois News Bureau:
Portable device can quickly determine the extent of an eye injury
Author: Diana Yates
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jan 2016
Good designers often seek a balance between comfort and fashion while designing their clothes. They design to improve human lives. For most people jeans provide comfort and also fulfil their fashion quotient. Professor Elazer Edelman, a cardiologist and director of Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center, is going a step further and utilizing scientific approach to create 'FYT Jeans', that are designed for health and comfort. These jeans, developed in collaboration with designers from Portugal, are particularly suited for people who sit for long hours, like office workers. Initially the project was targeted for wheelchair dependent people, to provide them safe clothes. According to Prof. Edelman, 'There are a variety of modifications to the design around the knee...The zipper on the back is a very important and innovative design.' FYT Jeans don't bunch up behind the knee. He further adds, 'It's extra material, extra pressure. It's uncomfortable and it can actually be unsafe. It's everything from a little irritation to when people have diabetes or poor circulation, developing sores that never heal.' While explaining the future of healthy clothings, he says, 'You could certainly embed all kinds of sensors in them, and you could even give something, or embed something that was itself therapeutic.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 jan 2016
According to a study, pharmaceutical promotional and marketing expenditures, that include direct-to-consumer advertising (like TV ads), promotions to physicians, journal advertising, distributing free samples etc, increased from US$ 11.4 billion in 1995 to US$ 28.9 billion in 2005. But a recent research study titled 'Does Increased Spending on Pharmaceutical Marketing Inhibit Pioneering Innovation?' by professors Denis Arnold and Jennifer Troyer from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, found that the more pharmaceutical firms spend on marketing drugs, the less likely it is that the firm will produce breakthrough drugs that offer major advances in treatment. Conversely, the more pharmaceutical companies spend on research and development, the more innovative are the results in terms of the development of pioneering drugs according to FDA classifications, i.e. drugs that will improve public health. Authors of the study comment that the research has important policy and ethics outcomes. Prof. Arnold says, 'This article is the first using empirical data to demonstrate that aggressive marketing of pharmaceutical drugs and truly innovative new drug development are at odds. The current patent regime, that provides equal patent protection for drugs regardless of their innovativeness, can be manipulated by firms to increase sales and drive up costs for society without improving public health.' According to Prof. Troyer, 'The effects of increased spending on R&D are large for pioneering drugs. For firms producing at least one pioneering drug over the period (1999-2009), increasing permanent R&D spending by 1% results in an almost one pioneering drug approval per firm.' Read on...
UNC Charlotte News:
For Pharmaceutical Companies, More Marketing Equals Less Innovation
Authors: Kirsten Khire, Buffie Stephens
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