Month: March 2024

New Federal Health IT Strategy Sets Sights on a Heathier, More Innovative, and More Equitable Health Care Experience

ONC seeks public comment by May 28, 2024

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), today released the draft 2024–2030 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan (the draft Plan) for public comment. The draft Plan:

  • Outlines federal health IT goals and objectives that are focused on improving access to health data, delivering a better, more equitable health care experience, and modernizing our nation’s public health data infrastructure.
  • Places an emphasis on the policy and technology components necessary to support the diverse data needs of all health IT users.
  • Supports the Department’s recent Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability: Certification Program Updates, Algorithm Transparency, and Information Sharing (HTI-1) final rule to advance the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information (EHI), and deliver more transparent and equitable care for individuals.
  • Aligns with the HHS Health Care Sector Cybersecurity concept paper and voluntary health care specific Cybersecurity Performance Goals (CPGs) to help health care organizations prioritize implementation of high-impact cybersecurity practices.

“As part of our statutory duty to align and coordinate health IT efforts with our federal partners, ONC collaborated on the draft Plan with more than 25 federal agencies. These agencies regulate, purchase, develop, and use health IT to deliver care and improve health outcomes, and they increasingly rely on the access, exchange, and use of EHI to effectively execute their missions,” said Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “We look forward to public comments to help inform the federal government’s health IT strategy for the coming years.”

Health IT is integral to how health care is delivered, how health is managed, and how the health of populations and communities is tracked. Thanks in part to the development of common standards, such as the United

Canada faces shortage of measles vaccines amid rise in cases, demand

Canada is facing a shortage of measles vaccines amid a rise in cases across the country and around the world, and an increase in demand.

Remaining doses of the the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccines are being reserved for public immunization programs, according to reports posted on Health Canada’s Drug Shortages website by Canada’s two suppliers.

Merck Canada and GSK “have advised Health Canada that they are able to fully meet demand for these [routine childhood immunization] programs, which are managed by each province and territory,” an email sent by a spokesperson for Health Canada read.

But people who aren’t eligible for a publicly funded vaccine and hoped to get one through a travel clinic or pharmacy are likely out of luck for at least the next month.

The private market for measles vaccines “makes up an extremely small portion of the overall demand,” the Health Canada email to CBC News read.

Merck is reporting an estimated end date of April 19, for its private market shortage of MMR II vaccine. Meanwhile GSK does not supply the private market with its PRIORIX vaccine, but posted a shortage report to “proactively indicate that they cannot fulfil private orders,” the spokesperson said.

Unable to follow N.B. Public Health’s advice

April 19 will be too late for Debra McKeil, of Burrts Corner, near Fredericton. She leaves that day for Morocco.

McKeil looked into getting a shot after New Brunswick Public Health recommended last week that people born before 1970 get a measles vaccine if they plan to travel outside the country.

Although most adults born before 1970 are presumed to have acquired immunity from past exposure to the measles virus, Public Health recommended they get at least one dose before any international travel, as a precaution.

Measles is a highly contagious

Sask. health care worker battling cancer says job conditions driving colleagues out

A Saskatchewan healthcare social worker battling breast cancer shared her experiences navigating the health system – while also voicing concern over the culture and working conditions in the sector.

Shannon Orell-Bast was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2022. Since then she’s received 16 rounds of chemotherapy, 25 radiation treatments, a double mastectomy with no reconstruction and 17 immunotherapy treatments.

She attended the legislature on Tuesday to shed light on what issues she faced while receiving care.

“As a healthcare social worker, that’s what I do for a living, I navigate the healthcare system … and I was met with a lot of barriers trying to navigate for myself,” she told reporters.

Orel-Bast also highlighted diagnostic and treatment delays – and how those facing cancer simply cannot afford the wait.

“There is research that says from the time that you find breast cancer – within nine months you should be through that treatment for your best prognosis. So if we have delays in even getting diagnostic testing done or getting the treatment done, we are reducing the lifespan of these people,” she said.

“I was actually concerned at one point, this system is gonna kill me, truly.”

Orell-Bast said she witnessed the effects of staffing shortages and a culture of overwork, leading to burnout.

“The mission statement of the [Saskatchewan Health Authority] is ‘We work together to improve the health and well-being every day for everyone’ and that everyone includes health care workers,” she explained.

“Because if they’re not well, we’re not well.”

Orell-Bast’s appearance at the legislature was not her first time sharing her experiences navigating the health care system.

“We had a conversation back in December about her personal circumstances and just her view of

Meta and Google accused of restricting reproductive health information | Global development

Meta and Google are accused in a new report of obstructing information on abortion and reproductive healthcare across Africa, Latin America and Asia.

MSI Reproductive Choices (formerly Marie Stopes International) and the Center for Countering Digital Hate claim the platforms are restricting local abortion providers from advertising, but failing to tackle misinformation that undermines public access to reproductive healthcare.

Meta said it will review the report’s findings.

MSI, which provides contraception and abortion services in 37 countries, said its adverts containing information on sexual health, including cancer advice, had been rejected or deleted by the platform.

Phrases such as “pregnancy options” have been flagged as falling foul of Google community guidelines, MSI Ghana claims. MSI Vietnam said Facebook adverts promoting information about IUDs (intrauterine devices) and other contraceptive methods were removed.

Whitney Chinogwenya, MSI’s global marketing manager, said: “In Africa, Facebook is the go-to place for reproductive health information for many women. We have been scaling our digital operation to meet the demand but we’re struggling to get reliable information in front of the women who need it.

“We deal with everything from menopause to menstruation but we find that all our content is censored.”

She said Meta viewed reproductive health content through “an American lens”, applying socially conservative US values to posts published in countries with progressive policies such as South Africa, where abortion on request is legal in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

MSI Mexico said its Facebook posts advertising legal abortion services have been deleted by the platform. Abortion was decriminalised in September and is available on request in Mexico City and 11 other states.

Chinogwenya said Meta is not doing enough to combat anti-abortion misinformation, accepting adverts from organisations that claim medical abortions lead to “fatal vaginal bleeding” or that upload gestational images of advanced

Steward Health Care strikes deal to sell its nationwide physician network to Optum

BOSTON (AP) — Financially embattled hospital operator Steward Health Care has struck a deal to sell its nationwide physician network to Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, as it works to stabilize its finances.

The move comes as Gov. Maura Healey has said state monitors are keeping eye on the nine health care facilities operated by Steward Health Care in Massachusetts, including hospitals in some of the state’s poorer communities.

The Dallas-based company operates more than 30 hospitals nationwide.

Before the sale can be completed, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission must review the proposal.

The commission doesn’t have the authority to block a transaction but can refer findings to the state Attorney General’s office, the Department of Public Health, or other Massachusetts agencies for possible further action.

The documents filed with the state did not include a cost for the transaction. Under the deal, Optum would aquire a Steward affiliate that includes the company’s primary care doctors and other clinicians in nine states.

Health Policy Commission Executive Director David Seltz said the panel is committed to a “rigorous, data-driven oversight of health care market changes to bring important information to the public.”

He said details of the proposal will be studied to examine potential effects on health care costs, quality, access and equity. The sale can’t be completed until after the commission’s review and any additional reviews by state or federal antitrust authorities.

“This is a significant proposed change involving two large medical providers, both in Massachusetts and nationally, with important implications for the delivery and cost of health care across Massachusetts,” Seltz said in a statement.

Emails to Steward Health Care and Optum seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The commission’s review of the transaction shouldn’t delay state and federal antitrust authorities from doing their own review to protect

Turning to Twitter for contraception advice? — Harvard Gazette

After reviewing tweets from 2014 to 2019, researchers found that only a fraction of advice about contraception came from health professionals, with more than 50 percent coming from consumers. The findings, said researchers, point to opportunities for healthcare professionals to use social media to disseminate accurate contraceptive information.

The new study, conducted by Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, reviewed thousands of tweets about reversible contraceptive methods — IUDs and implants — and found 50.6 percent were posted by consumers, with only 6 percent posted by an official news or healthcare source. Results are published in Contraception and Reproductive Medicine.

“Platforms like Twitter, now known as X, empower patients to access health information and make decisions about contraception that align with their values,” said Deborah Bartz, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an attending physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BWH. “We see that individuals are making decisions about contraception based on anecdotal experience and advice from friends, family, and social media users. So how can we, as physicians, use social media to lead to better health encounters and ultimately better health outcomes?”

Following up on a previous study in which the team analyzed tweets from 2006 (the year Twitter was founded) until 2019, researchers selected a random sample of 1 percent, or 4,434 out of the 457,369 publicly available English-language tweets related to reversible prescription contraception methods posted between January 2014 and December 2019. The team sorted tweets by contraception method and topics, including categories like efficacy, access, and safety. Two researchers coded tweets by theme, source (health professional, news source, consumer) and those seeing information versus providing advice, and a third individual resolved any discrepancies from the initial coding analysis.

They found that 26.7 percent of tweets discussed contraception method decision-making,

Sask. residents can now access surgical procedure information online – 620 CKRM

Saskatchewan residents now have expanded access to their personal health information, as the new Surgical Procedures feature has been introduced on MySaskHealthRecord accounts.

This feature, the first of its kind in Canada, allows individuals with an account to view details about upcoming surgeries, including the scheduled procedure date, specialist or surgeon’s name, procedure name(s), location, and status.

Minister Tim McLeod of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors, and Rural and Remote Health highlighted the significance of MySaskHealthRecord in conveniently providing patients with vital health information.

“MySaskHealthRecord puts important personal health information literally in the palm of a patient’s hand,” McLeod said. “Saskatchewan continues to lead in allowing patients to access their own personal health information in an easy-to-use format.”

Accessible both online and via the MySaskHealthRecord app, the Surgical Procedures feature allows patients awaiting surgery to stay informed about their upcoming procedures. Patients can also opt for push notifications to receive timely alerts regarding their surgical information.

Provincial Department Head of Surgery for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Dr. Michael Kelly, emphasized the advantages of well-informed patients.

“Well-informed patients are better prepared for appointments with their health care providers and can be more directly involved in decisions impacting their surgical procedures,” he said. “When patients can easily access information ahead of time, it allows us to make good use of the time we have together. We spend less time on scheduling details and can focus on discussing their individual journey toward timely surgical care.”

MySaskHealthRecord, launched in October 2019, initially provided access to online lab test results and other health records. The subsequent introduction of the MySaskHealthRecord app in May 2023 further streamlined access to personal health information, with the app averaging 10,000 downloads monthly since its release.

Residents aged 14 and above with a valid SGI driver’s license or photo ID,

101% releases collection of clothing printed with Seagram Building motif

Mexico City-based fashion brand 101% has released a collection of clothing including pants, a cargo vest and a jumpsuit all printed with a motif of the facade of the Seagram Building by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Called the Seagram Collection, it encompasses unisex track pants, a hoodie, a jumpsuit, a t-shirt and a vest made from recycled polyester materials. The collection features a print of the German-American architect’s iconic 1955 New York building.

Person sitting on stool
Fashion brand 101% has released a collection of clothing printed with a motif of the Seagram Building

“The Seagram building has been a reference of a new architectural style since its creation,” said the 101% team.

“A Miesian building is recognisable for its principle of a ‘less is more approach’, where the functionality of a building’s structural elements is visible externally – a direction which relates closely to the design principles of 101%.”

Person with blue shoes
The collection includes track-pants, a hoodie, vest, t-shirt and jumpsuit

Each piece in the collection is made from 77 per cent recycled polyester, 17 per cent nylon and 6 per cent elastane, which is created from waste according to the team, including plastic bottles and ‘textile-to-textile’ materials.

Excluding a t-shirt, which is printed with a graphic collage of the building, each piece is covered in a motif of the Seagram’s Building facade, appearing as a print of slim yellow and black horizontal bands.

The collection features straight silhouettes and a looser fit, designed to be unisex.

The hoodie is has a high neckline and extra-long, loose sleeves elasticated at the wrist, while the collection’s trousers are straight-legged with “racer side-cuts”.

Person standing under circular opening
According to the team, each piece is made of 77 per cent recycled polyester

The jumpsuit and vest also contain

Visit With University Libraries and Pat Walker Health Center’s Medical Services at Carnival Today

The Division of Finance and Administration invites university employees to attend the Making Your Day Work Carnival. This unique event serves not only to showcase the various departments across campus who work to enhance the overall employee experience, but also to raise awareness among employees regarding the diverse and exceptional services offered by the university that may be overlooked in the hustle of daily routines. 

This event offers an opportunity for staff and faculty to connect face-to-face with units they may have previously interacted with only virtually or over the phone. It will feature a “Family Feud” style game show with Chancellor Robinson — winners will receive lunch for their department. Attendees can visit the registration table upon arriving to collect a wristband and tickets to receive items at each booth. Snacks and small bites will be provided.


  • Date:  Today

  • Time:  11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Location:  Arkansas Union Ballroom and Connections Lounge

  • Save the Date: Add to your calendar


The University Libraries support the research, teaching and learning needs of the campus community. They offer ebooks and physical books for studies or leisure reading, databases for research and streaming music and videos. The Office of Scholarly Communications offers free writing and publishing services, and the Special Collections Division provides access to rare and unique materials. Their Research and Instruction services include subject librarian consultations, librarian-authored research guides, free workshops, assistance with citations and more.

Group study rooms and flex-space rooms can be reserved online. There is a dedicated Faculty and Graduate Student Reading Room in MULN 333, as well as a Family Study Space in MULN 464 specifically for caregivers, where any member

Minor injury and illness clinic set to open in Brandon this fall, premier says

The province is banking on a $1-million investment to reduce ER wait times with the opening of a minor injury and illness clinic in Brandon.

The clinic, expected to open in September, is part of $17 million earmarked in the provincial budget, rolling out April 2, to open five primary care clinics and three minor injury and illness clinics in Manitoba, Premier Wab Kinew announced at the Brandon Regional Health Centre  on Wednesday.

“This minor injury and illness clinic, it effectively functions somewhat like an urgent care centre,” Kinew said. “It’s for those less acute conditions.

“It’s not quite at the level of ER, but you do need to get addressed right away.”

Mayor Jeff Fawcett said emergency rooms in Brandon and across Canada are facing challenges.

He said it’s also been concerning to see walk-in clinics closing in the city.

A person stands at a podium as people fill a staircase listening.
Uzoma Asagwara. minister of health, seniors and long-term care, says the clinic will help reduce wait times at the Brandon Regional Health Centre emergency room. (Chelsea Kemp/CBC)

“Our ER in Brandon has been stretched,” Fawcett said. “This is a well-needed service in Brandon.”

The Brandon clinic will be staffed by doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses who will provide primary health-care services and support for minor health-care concerns. Patients will be able to book same-day appointments and connect with health-care providers via the Virutal Care Resource Centre.

It will operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week as a starting point, Kinew said. An interim site will open in Brandon this September while Prairie Mountain Health identifies a permanent location.

Brandon is a growing city and health-care needs are growing in tandem, said Uzoma Asagwara, health, seniors and long-term care minister.

The province estimates the new clinic could see more than 700 people every week..

“Wait times are

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