Stories about: Quick Note

Massachusetts has launched a new digital health partnership. What does it mean for patients and the digital health market?

Massachusetts digital health
(Per Bengtsson/Shutterstock)

During the last decade or so, health care has been rapidly transforming from a reactive, paper-based system to a responsive digital model. But to really impact the care patients receive — and which clinicians provide — the transition to digital health needs to happen more quickly and agilely. How can this happen? By encouraging stakeholders from the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors to work together seamlessly and investing in people, technologies and infrastructure that will allow digital health companies to blossom.

Earlier today, Massachusetts launched a comprehensive public-private partnership to accelerate the state’s digital health care sector. The partnership has identified multiple ways to drive investment and growth in the state.

On our sister blog Vector, Boston Children’s Hospital Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, PhD, discusses what this partnership means for the health care industry and the commonwealth’s patients, as well as his view of the digital health landscape today.

Read Brownstein’s thoughts on Vector.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Increased autoimmunity risk among childhood cancer survivors?

 

girl doctor exam childhood cancer survivor
(Syda Productions/Shutterstock)

Survivors of pediatric cancer can face many increased risks — second cancers, heart disease, fertility loss, etc. — depending on the kind of cancer they were treated for and the treatments that were used.

A study out of Lund University in Sweden suggests one more for the list: autoimmunity. In a paper in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, researchers report that cancer registry data from three Scandinavian countries reveal an average 40 percent increase in the risk of autoimmune diseases among childhood cancer survivors. For some cancers, the risk increase was upwards of 60 percent.

“I think this paper raises this issue as one for awareness in the clinical setting and for future study,” said Lynda Vrooman, MD, a pediatric oncologist and cancer survivorship specialist with the Hematologic Malignancy Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. “There are not, that I am familiar with, currently guidelines that inform recommendations for screening for autoimmune disorder in survivors or current clear strategies for reducing risk. This paper raises this as an issue for awareness moving forward and for further investigation.”

Read more about the study on Medscape.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Readers’ choice: The Notes Top 5 for 2015

tablet stethoscope top 5 reader's choice
(Romas_Photo/Shutterstock)

It’s hard to believe that Notes didn’t really exist a year ago. As 2015 comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back and see what you, the readers, decided were the best stories that we published this year. And you picked an interesting range of stories:

  • an op-ed on hemophilia drug pricing
  • a reflection on difficult conversations in health care
  • a report on using simulation to test a hospital’s new emergency department
  • a call for better mentorship in medical training
  • an update on neurosurgical treatment of cerebral palsy

So here they are — the Notes Top 5 for 2015, as chosen by you.

…Read More

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment

Technology, teens and face-to-face communication

communication-2_Thriving_640x360

Are youth losing the ability to communicate face-to-face? A worried mother and student of media recently put that question to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health.

In his reply on our sister blog Thriving, Rich does not paint a comforting picture:

[Young people] have more connectivity than ever — and far less connectedness to others and to the world.

Not only are they disconnected in the moment, but this focus on devices can hinder their development of the social skills needed to communicate with others in-person.

But the issue is more nuanced than just too much time with screens:

Mobile phones are just tools and, used in healthy and safe ways, can help us communicate and stay connected (or reconnect) to people we love and can help us form new relationships with others all over the world. Technology only distances us when we misuse these tools by allowing them to come between us rather than connecting us.

See the rest of Rich’s response on Thriving.

Read Full Story | Leave a Comment