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Innovative new technology improves patient care in Singapore

Work is underway to develop software with which patients can “chat” for preliminary screening and quick, proper triaging in Singapore. When patients type their symptoms and medical histories into the chatbot, they can be assessed and the most urgent cases can be prioritized. The new technology is anticipated to be ready to use by the end of 2018, and a list of the chatbots will be provided to health care professionals according to the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) agency.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong emphasized the need to revolutionize the way that technology is used in health care as opposed to incorporating existing technology into existing services after the fact. “While digitisation and automation of existing processes bring benefits, true transformation and quantum leaps can only happen when we go deeper to redesign processes and reinvent delivery models and concepts, with technology as an enabler,” said Gan. Read the full story.

Newly developed search tools aid in diagnostics

Researchers and health care professionals from around the world have teamed up to create KConnect, an innovative search interface designed to provide clearer evidence and lead to better treatment outcomes. Vast amounts of information contribute to patient care decisions, including published information like peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as patient-specific information like medical charts. KConnect combines both published and anonymized patient data to provide the most complete picture possible to decision makers so that they can better assess patterns of treatment effectiveness.

“There is a clear need for computer-supported tools capable of analyzing all this information, which can then lead to firm conclusions on the effectiveness of specific medical interventions,” stated project coordinator Allan Hanbury. The team has also developed a web plug-in that measures the trustworthiness of medical information searched in an Internet browser. Read the full story.

UK researchers tackle fake health news

The charitable organizations Wellcome and Shift have partnered to better understand the fake news phenomenon with regard to health information. Understanding the phenomenon has important implications for the design of information platforms to help consumers evaluate the health information that they read on social media.

The research will focus on the social media experience of parents who are deciding whether or not to vaccinate their children. Using the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms, researchers will investigate the health-related messages that users are viewing and sharing with their networks. A recent study published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that fake news stories are 70% more likely to be shared than valid news stories, which could affect decision making with regard to health concerns.

“We want to empower more people to feel able to access, challenge, and respond to health research,” said Farrah Nazir, acting creative and partnerships lead at Wellcome. “We’re excited about this collaboration with Shift because of its potential to provide evidence and real insight into a complex issue.” Read the full story.

IFLA reviews its International Standard Bibliographic Description

An internal review group of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) will begin its four-year plan of revising the International Standard of Bibliographic Description in 2018. Plans for the review have been in progress since 2011, when the consolidated edition was published.

The goals of the current review are to ensure consistency and interoperability of IFLA’s standards, accessibility, and openness of information, and to accommodate changes in existing resource types as well as development of new resource types. Read the full story.

Jamaica revolutionizes hospital information system

Jamaican Minister of Health Christopher Tufton has announced plans to implement a new health information system during the current fiscal year. The system will be connected and accessible at all twenty-three hospitals in the country. The new system will not only improve accessibility of patient records, but also the ability to track the spread of infections and deliver demographic-specific advice about treating patients more quickly.

“Our lack of ability to track infections and follow real-time guidelines from institutions such as [the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pan American Health Organization] CDC/PAHO has impacted negatively on the hospital’s development and teaching,” said Archibald MacDonald, professor at the University of the West Indies. The new system is expected to eradicate such issues. Read the full story.

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