Electronic health records fail because they are merely digital remakes of paper charts

Once hailed as essential to advance health care into the 21st Century, electronic health record (EHR) systems have increased rather than decreased physician work load, contributed to physician burn out, and returned little back to patients in improved health care quality. Writing in a new Perspective published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation argue that the same record systems can be reconfigured to achieve their original promise. The authors suggest restructuring EHRs from mere digital remakes of their old pen and paper ancestors into platforms that allow doctors to “subscribe” to their patients’ clinical information to receive real-time updates when an action is required, similar to social media feeds and notifications.

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Dengue: Investigating antibodies to identify at-risk individuals

Using an original mathematical and statistical analysis method, a team of scientists from the Institut Pasteur partnered with researchers from the United States and Thailand to analyze a Thai cohort that has long been a focus of study for dengue specialists, and obtained new information that should help identify individuals at risk of infection. By modeling changes in antibody levels after successive infections with the different dengue serotypes (strains of the dengue virus), the scientists were able to establish the profile of these individuals. The findings will be published online in Nature on May 23, 2018 (AOP), and on May 31st, in the paper version.

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Young toddlers may learn more from interactive than noninteractive media

Preschoolers can learn a lot from educational television, but younger toddlers may learn more from interactive digital media (such as video chats and touchscreen mobile apps) than from TV and videos alone, which don’t require them to interact. That’s the conclusion of a new article that also notes that because specific conditions that lead to learning from media are unclear, not all types of interactive media increase learning and not all children learn to the same degree from these media.

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Emergency contact info helps researchers branch out family tree

When you go to the doctor or hospital, one piece of information that you’re always asked to provide — in addition to your name, address, and insurance information — is an emergency contact. Often, that person is a blood relative. Now, a collaborative team of researchers from three major academic medical centers in New York City is showing that emergency contact information, which is included in individuals’ electronic health records (EHRs), can be used to generate family trees. Those family trees in turn can be used to study heritability in hundreds of medical conditions. The study appears May 17 in the journal Cell.

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