Apple Launches New Medical Research Feature and More

Apple Launches New Medical Research Feature
Apple has launched a new medical research feature available to iOS users to sign up for one or more of the company’s three ongoing studies. Following the Apple Heart Study completed with Stanford University in 2018, the company’s new app will allow users to sign up and take part in three studies focused on heart health and movement, hearing loss, and women’s health. The study’s will be lengthy and comprehensive, with the women’s health study running for a decade or more. All the studies have been submitted to and approved by institutional review boards and include consent forms to comply with privacy laws. The tech company has partnered with various prestigious health organizations including the World Health Organization, the American Heart Association, and Harvard University among others.
 
New X-Ray Technology Poses Groundbreaking Clinical Potential
Researchers from the University of Maryland are testing a new method of X-Ray imaging which utilizes color to identify microfractures in bones. The lab developed nanoparticles, or “GPS particles” which navigate and attach to microfractures during the imaging process. The development of spectral CT imaging technology has many potential applications, for the fields of radiology and cardiology especially, as the researchers explained: “Regular CT does not have a soft-tissue contrast. It cannot tell you where your blood vessels are. Spectral CT can help solve that problem.” The technology will be prepared to begin further human testing as early as 2020.
 
Google Unveils New Clinical Documentation Tool
Following recent reports of patient-data controversy, Google has provided a look at a new clinical documentation tool similar to an EHR system. The tool includes an integrated charting system and aims to make it easier for practitioners to search for a variety of metrics and such as vitals, labs, medications, both handwritten and typed notes and more.  Dr. Alvin Rajkomar, a product manager at Google and practicing physician explained: “Clicking on any value will start a deeper exploration showing recent and historical trends both graphically and with tables. Doctors can query the entire chart with their own words and typos.” Currently in its pilot phase, the technology is available to Ascension, a healthy system currently caught in the patient-privacy controversy over the two companies joint partnership, Project Nightingale.
 
Mayo Clinic Research Analyzes Link Between Burnout and EHR Use
A new study published in the Mayo Clinical Proceedings takes a look at the relationship between physician burnout and EHR use. The researchers polled 5,000 practitioners across all specialties in 2017 and 2018 and found that “the usability of current EHR systems received a grade of F by physician users when evaluated using a standardized metric of technology usability,” and further that “a strong dose-response relationship between EHR usability and the odds of burnout was observed.” Alongside issues with usability, physicians cited administrative burdens such as prior authorization, regulatory concerns, documentation requirements, malpractice concerns and the rise of consumerism as links to EHR caused burnout. The findings, not unlike those before, pose the potential for EHR developers and regulators to invest in making the necessary steps to address this technology-related burnout in practitioners.
 
 
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