Harvard Medical School

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GETy Awards Celebrate Unorthodox Open-Source Approaches to Accelerating Human Health Advances

Press Release | GET Conference | April 13, 2016

An “open-source” approach to accelerating human health advances is the common theme among a diverse group of medical science projects that have won six science awards honoring “excellence in participant-centered research” - a rapidly emerging field that aims to turn patients and healthy people into more active and more data-sharing participants in medical research. The awards will be given out at Harvard Medical School in Boston on April 25 at a scientific convening called GET Conference (“GET” stands for “Genomes, Environments, Traits”). “The winners of the GETy Awards are at the forefront of a research revolution that will radically accelerate the rate of human health advances,” says Jason Bobe, organizer of the GET Conference, and Executive Director of the nonprofit PersonalGenomes.org.

Google Builds a New Tablet for the Fight Against Ebola

Cade Metz | Wired | March 20, 2015

Jay Achar was treating Ebola patients at a makeshift hospital in Sierra Leone, and he needed more time. This was in September, near the height of the West African Ebola epidemic. Achar was part of a team that traveled to Sierra Leone under the aegis of a European organization called Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders. In a city called Magburaka, MSF had erected a treatment center that kept patients carefully quarantined, and inside the facility’s high-risk zone, doctors like Achar wore the usual polythene “moon suits,” gloves, face masks, and goggles to protect themselves from infection...

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Google Builds a New Tablet for the Fight Against Ebola

Cade Metz | Wired | March 20, 2015

Jay Achar was treating Ebola patients at a makeshift hospital in Sierra Leone, and he needed more time. This was in September, near the height of the West African Ebola epidemic. Achar was part of a team that traveled to Sierra Leone under the aegis of a European organization called Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders. In a city called Magburaka, MSF had erected a treatment center that kept patients carefully quarantined, and inside the facility's high-risk zone, doctors like Achar wore the usual polythene "moon suits," gloves, face masks, and goggles to protect themselves from infection...

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Google Fights Ebola

Staff Writer | Google | November 16, 2014

While governments around the world were unsuccessfully trying to make up their minds about the best approach, sitting around and debating and discussing about the most valid ways to combat Ebola …Google came up to the plate in November and its CEO announced it would pledge $2 for every dollar donated through its website. They set up a specific URL onetoday.google.com/fightebola to explain this original social action and invite people worldwide to contribute to this worthwhile, timely cause...

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Halamka's Dispatch from Israel

This week Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker led a trip of clinicians, industry leaders, government officials, academics, and entrepreneurs to visit Israel (not at taxpayer expense) on a mission to establish Massachusetts as an incubator for the US growth of Israeli companies. I represented the healthcare IT innovation work we’re doing at Beth Israel Deaconess and Harvard Medical School. Israel is a remarkable place. With 8 million people in a nation the size of New Jersey situated in an unstable part of the world, Israel has no choice but to be a start up nation, creating companies that generate economic impact world wide...

How Machine Learning May Revolutionize Medicine

Bob Tedeschi | STAT | October 3, 2016

Doctors will one day be able to more accurately predict how long patients with fatal diseases will live. Medical systems will learn how to save money by skipping expensive and unnecessary tests. Radiologists will be replaced by computer algorithms. These are just some of the realities patients and doctors should prepare for as “machine learning” enters the world of medicine, according to Dr. Ziad Obermeyer, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania, who recently coauthored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine on the topic...

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How to Get Patients to Take More Control of Their Medical Decisions

Laura Landro | Wall Street Journal | February 28, 2017

For years, people have been urged be more active in their own care. Now providers are giving them better tools to make that happen. They’re told they need to do more to monitor their chronic conditions. They are directed to be more active in deciding what treatments to have, or whether to treat a condition at all. That has proved easier said than done. For some people, it’s a matter of feeling intimidated: Better to let the doctors decide. Some are overwhelmed by the choices they have to make about their care, which seem to get more complex every year. At the same time, many doctors are reluctant to change old ways of working...

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In Healthcare, It's Placebos [Almost] All the Way Down

Two remarkable articles -- one on placebos, one on informed consent -- caught my attention.  To set them up, a famous, perhaps apocryphal, story: A scientist tried to explain the solar system to a lay audience.  When he finished, a skeptical woman told him he was wrong: the earth was flat, and rested on the back of a giant turtle. The scientist asked her what the turtle rested on.  "Another turtle," she replied confidently.  He then asked what that turtle was on.  The woman would have none of it.  "You can ask all you want, sir, but it's turtles all the way down." Faith is a funny thing.  Especially in health care. Let's start with placebos...

JAMA Study Examines Factors Behind Outrageous Prescription Drug Prices, Possible Solutions

Press Release | The JAMA Network Journals | August 23, 2016

High prescription drug prices are attributable to several causes, including the approach the U.S. has taken to granting government-protected monopolies to drug manufacturers, and the restriction of price negotiation at a level not observed in other industrialized nations, according to a study appearing in the August 23/30 issue of JAMA. The increasing cost of prescription drugs in the United States has become a source of growing concern for patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers...

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MIT's Answer to Global Health Issues: Democratizing Big Data Analytics

Michael Kassner | Tech Republic | June 24, 2016

If you think it's hard to keep up with all the new software and hardware innovations, imagine doctors trying to stay abreast of medical advances. "While wonderful new medical discoveries and innovations are in the news every day, doctors struggle with using information and techniques available right now," writes Leo Anthony Celi, assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, in the Conversation commentary Improving patient care by bridging the divide between doctors and data scientists...

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National Rosacea Society Awards New Grants for Open Medical Research

Press Release | National Rosacea Society | October 16, 2017

The National Rosacea Society (NRS) announced it has awarded funding for three new studies, in addition to continuing support for three ongoing studies, as part of its research grants program to increase knowledge and understanding of the causes and other key aspects of rosacea that may lead to improvements in its management, prevention or potential cure...Dr. Benjamin Kaffenberger, assistant professor of dermatology at the Ohio State University, and colleagues were awarded $25,000 to develop a computer program for a rosacea scoring system that will identify and count rosacea lesions and measure redness to provide reliably reproducible scores for physicians and patients...

openMDWS: Transforming VistA Into An Open Source Service-Oriented Platform For Healthcare

Rob Tweed | The EWD Files | November 20, 2012

...Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on this and wish to announce what I am calling openMDWS. openMDWS is designed to be a fully open source architecture that addresses all the issues I’ve described above.  It is completely compatible with and interoperable with the VA’s MDWS initiative, but will allow MDWS services to be developed and used on both Caché and GT.M systems, without requiring any additional technologies... Read More »

OpenNotes Introduces Advisory Board

Press Release | OpenNotes, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | September 12, 2016

OpenNotes is pleased to announce that ten extraordinary advocates for health care quality and improvement are the founding members of the OpenNotes Advisory Board. OpenNotes is a national movement that urges doctors, nurses and other health care providers to share the notes they write with the patients they care for...

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OpenNotes Now: How the Movement Will Change the Physician-Patient Relationship

Mark Hagland | Healthcare Informatics | July 18, 2016

Every movement needs an early, visionary leader, and the OpenNotes movement has been no exception—it’s got Tom Delbanco, M.D. Delbanco, who practiced as an internal medicine physician for 40 years, several years ago joined together with Jan Walker, R.N. to initiate a movement that is now sweeping the country and changing healthcare—and creating numerous implications for healthcare IT leaders in its wake...

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Popular Mobile Health Apps Fail to Serve Vulnerable Populations

Press Release | University of California San Francisco | July 14, 2016

A new UC San Francisco study of top-rated mobile health apps showed that they offer little help to vulnerable patients – those who might benefit the most from these tools. The new study, published in the July 14, 2016 online issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, was conducted with 26 patients at The Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), a UCSF partner hospital that treats many low-income patients. Although participant income was not directly queried, a majority of patients at ZSFG qualify for publically funded insurance, or do not have insurance.

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