Healthcare & Lifescience Talking Points | 4/07/2017

In today’s talking points: How useful are mobile health apps?; Catholic Education Western Australia to apply data science to school life; Introduction of a pointless system to regulate doctors’ behavior; China’s efforts in tracking HIVrecognized by UNAIDS.

How Useful are Mobile Health Apps?

Recent studies have found that apps which use your smartphone to journal or monitor progress over time are the least worrisome. These apps can be useful because they can help you record photos and other documentation that can be passed on to your local doctor. Apps that claim to use your phone as a medical device should be used with caution, says Associate Professor Carol Meher, a researcher in mobile health apps from the University of South Australia. Several years ago, thousands of apps that claimed to zap pimples using the light of a phone were sold, before they were pulled from stores. “It’s one thing if it’s a device that plugs into the phone – like there now are some approved glucose monitors. Those devices, so long as they’re reputable, are fine” she said. David Bakker, a researcher and app developer from Monash University believes that apps that are based on proven treatment methods are the most beneficial.

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Catholic Education Western Australia to Apply Data Science to School Life

An ambitious project by Catholic Education Western Australia is bringing analytics to the organization’s 80,000 students and 12,000 staff, bringing everyone to a single Microsoft could platform, enabling them to access in-the-moment data and learning progress. With technology advancing over the past 18 months, this has allowed CEWA to implement the technology necessary to get the project underway. Soon, data scientists from Microsoft learning and partner universities will also work on the amassed information in an effort to improve school outcomes and learning experiences. Dr Cathy Cavanaugh, head of digital transformation for learning, leadership and research, said “we want to go from big pictures and thinking about predictions around student graduation or school completion, to more moment in time, individual person sorts of recommendations”. The end goal of the analytics projects is for students are prepared properly for the next stage of their lives through being master-learners.


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Introduction of a points system to regulate doctors’ behavior

Similar to the system for Chinese drivers, doctors at a top hospital in Central China are now subject to a system of demerits to punish doctors who prescribe drugs for improper purposes such as bumping up revenue from patients. The starting point is 12 points, and points are removed for each violation. Prescribing the wrong drugs resulting in serious consequences for patients will automatically result in losing 12 points. It is observed that with the help of the new system, incorrect prescriptions and faulty advice from doctors have been reduced. However, doctors were also of the opinion that hospitals should take measures to reward doctors, instead of just punishing them, to encourage better performance.


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China’s efforts in tackling HIV recognized by UNAIDS

The executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe, applauds China’s high level commitment to stopping the major public health threat by acting fast and decisively. The First Lady, Professor Peng Liyuan, was presented with the UNAIDS Award for Outstanding Achievements early this year, for championing for HIV prevention, particularly for children and young people. China has taken a leading role in helping with establishment of an African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which creates a solid basis for good health cooperation within Africa and other partners around the world.


Read more at ChinaDaily