Health & Lifesciences Talking Points 24-06-2016


In today’s talking points, Chinese authorities pull back on healthcare spending in light of slowing GDP growth. The Shanghai Institute of Medical Quality and Shanghai General Hospital partner with Telstra Health to introduce data analytic tools and share worldwide research on hospital best practice. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issues recommendations that couples wait at least 2 months after travelling to Zika-affected areas to try conceiving. New research emerges that coffee cannot be conclusively proved to cause cancer – though drinking hot drinks above 65 degrees Celsius can. 

Chinese authorities strive to curb healthcare spending

On Monday, the National Health and Family Planning Commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine issued a directive to limit annual growth of national health spending to under 10% by 2017. Hospitals will be judged and ranked accordingly by how they limit spending. Health care spending per capita has increased by average 17.49% a year between 1991 and 2013, whilst the economy has grown by 7%. Director of the Research Centre of Employment and Social Security at Tsinghua University, Yang Yansui, notes an economically feasible ratio of health expenditure to GDP growth is 1.16: China’s predicted GDP growth is limited to 7% which necessitates health spending under 10% growth per year.

Read more at The Guardian


Chinese collaboration with Telstra Health to improve patient care

Telstra Health and the Shanghai Institute of Medical Quality have signed a five-year agreement to provide Telstra Health’s hospital data tools to clinicians and hospital managers across China. The data analysis and business intelligence tools will enable hospitals to measure and analyse mortality, readmission rates and length of stay to improve clinical quality and patient safety. Shanghai General Hospital has become the first Asian participant in the Telstra Health Global Comparators program, which carries out research collaborations to tackle global healthcare problems and disseminate best practice in patient care.

Read more at The Tech Revolutionist


Zika virus affecting couples fertility choices

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that couples wait at least 2 months after travelling to Zika-affected areas before having unprotected sex and trying to conceive. This period is extended to six months if the male partner contracts Zika, as the virus is able to linger in blood and other fluids, especially semen. The U.S Food and Drug Administration have outlined guidelines for donated tissues including sperm and eggs. Those at risk of contracting the virus through travel or sexual conduct, along with others diagnosed with Zika are considered ineligible for anonymous donation of tissues for 6 months.

Read more at ABC News


Coffee cannot be proven to cause cancer

Since 1991, the World Health Organization (WHO) had classified coffee as “possibly” carcinogenic due to a link to bladder cancer. However the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the WHO has now acknowledged that there is insufficient evidence to determine whether or not coffee causes cancer. The group has determined that drinking very hot drinks (above 65 degrees Celsius) does cause cancer. This was because of a link to oesophageal cancer.

Read more at BBC News