Thursday, April 22, 2010

CPAC Program Helps Newcomers Re-enter Healthcare Field

Celebrates Graduates from RBC Sponsored Program

TORONTO – April 22nd, 2010. Immigrants with a background in healthcare were awarded Certificates of Graduation for completing a mentorship program that helped them become licensed to work as healthcare professionals in Ontario.

With funding support from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) launched a unique Mentoring for Healthcare Professionals program.  This is the first bridging program in the community that is focused specifically on helping immigrants obtain registration/licensure and work in the healthcare profession.

“As a frontline service provider, we know too well the frustrations and the barriers immigrants can face,” said Howard Shen, President of CPAC. “With encouragement from RBC, we took on the task of adding a healthcare program to our portfolio and we are very glad that we did,” continued Mr. Shen. “Not only is this an important occasion for these proud graduates, but it is also an important day for their families, their employers and of course for CPAC and our partner, RBC,” said Mr. Shen.

The occupations of the graduates at today’s ceremony include pharmacist, registered nurse, and registered practical nurse.

“I am very thankful for the help of my mentor who guided me every step of the way,” said Yanni He, a registered nurse. “I had been a nurse for several years in China before I immigrated to Canada in 2007. However, the language barrier and complicated accreditation process made my dream of working as a nurse again look impossible.”  Ms. He then learned about the CPAC program. Under the guidance of her mentor, Ping Xiao, a Registered Nurse working at Toronto Public Health, Ms. He passed the required exams in four months and is now a registered nurse in Canada.

Ms. Jennifer Tory, RBC Regional Vice President, Greater Toronto Region, also spoke at the event in support of CPAC and the program.

CPAC began the Healthcare Mentoring Program in 2007 and has served 20 immigrants including the seven graduates at today’s graduation. Intensive one-on-one mentoring not only helps participants improve professional and language skills, but also guides them through the registration/licensure process and eventually leads them to healthcare jobs. Over the years, CPAC has built a strong mentor team, representing physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, registered nurses, registered practical nurse, dental hygienists, and medical laboratory technologists.

Despite the services available to help immigrants become licensed to practice in Canada, barriers still exist for internationally trained professionals. For example, Mr. Qiupeng Zhan, a foreign trained MD with a PhD in cardiovascular research and a graduate of the CPAC program, continues to wait for a medical resident opportunity long after passing the required exams. Mr. Zhan’s story is common among immigrant professionals and CPAC encourages all healthcare stakeholders to work together to provide open access to training and jobs in the healthcare field.
About CPAC 
The Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC) is a federally registered not-for-profit organization with over 25,000 members across the country.  It is one of the most active organizations providing career development and training services for immigrant professionals.  CPAC has been serving immigrant professionals since its inception in 1992.  With growing needs from the increasing immigrant healthcare professionals looking for re-entry in their original field in Canada, CPAC is committed to expanding its healthcare mentoring service to help Canada’s newcomers. 

For more information, please contact
Mr. Jason Yi
Tel: 416-298-7885 ext. 106

Performance Measurement and Pay-At-Risk || Alberta Health || 15 Apr 2010

EDMONTON – The executive contracts tabled by the Liberal Party of Alberta in the legislature this week are more than a year out of date and reflect past practices long since overhauled by the Alberta Health Services Board of Directors and the AHS Executive Team. They do not represent AHS practice today.
The contracts included both agreements signed under the authority of the former Health Regions and the interim AHS Board. The provisions for senior executives in the former regions varied by region and, where provisions existed, often varied by individual contract. These “legacy” agreements were contractual obligations that AHS inherited. AHS was legally bound to comply with these agreements until new rules were put in place.

The AHS Board recognized the need to overhaul the process of executive contract negotiation and took decisive steps last year to address concerns held by the Board and the public. The Board implemented a standardized contract for all executives, effective January 2010, which ensures clarity, consistency and best-practice governance on human resources management. In January 2010, the AHS Board established a standardized contract for all executives. Highlights of the contract template include the following:

o Severance terms standardized at up to 12 months base pay (excluding "pay at risk") and a fixed 15% of base pay (excluding "pay at risk") in lieu of benefits;
o A duty to mitigate damages by diligently seeking alternate employment – whereby severance payments cease and an amount equal to 50% of the outstanding severance is paid out;
o "Pay at risk" standardized as part of base salary but withheld until completion of annual individual performance review and receipt of an unqualified opinion of the Auditor General confirming organizational performance;
o Benefits standardized including any professional / personal allowances;
o Relocation allowances standardized including need to repay if voluntary termination occurs within first 12 months of employment;
o Standardized confidentiality and contract enforceability.

Pay-at-risk is just that: Performance measures are established at the beginning of the budget year. Pay is withheld throughout the year subject to completion of the agreed-upon objectives and measures. Payment is not made if performance measures are not met.

This follows a series of measures implemented to ensure best practice:
o In April 2009, AHS established benchmark executive salary ranges and has been using these consistently for job offers made to Vice Presidents and above;
o In September 2009, job evaluation protocols were completed for all positions of Vice President and above;
o In October 2009, based on performance measures consistent with AHS' strategic direction, the CEO established "pay at risk" for its Senior Management team (Vice President and above) at percentages consistent with the April 2009 market data;
o In November 2009, AHS responded to the Auditor General report by ensuring the SVP Human Resources reviewed all job offers at Vice President and above until a standardized contract was approved by the Board.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Globe & Mail’s André Picard Files for 2010 (to date)

(. . . to April 13)

Warning issued about mixing blood thinners and some antibiotics ...

André Picard. Public Health Reporter — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Apr. 13, 2010 10:49AM EDT. Certain antibiotics used to treat ...

André Picard

Apr 1, 2010 ... André Picard is the public health reporter at The Globe and Mail, and the author ... Mr. Picard has received much acclaim for his writing, ...

We're not short of MDs, we need NPs

Nurse practitioners can take on much of the routine health care load.

Toronto smoking ban leads to decline in hospitalizations - The ...

André Picard Public Health Reporter. From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Published on Monday, Apr. 12, 2010 8:58PM EDT Last updated on Tuesday, Apr. 13, ...

Medical user fees? They're so 1980

André Picard's Second Opinion. Medical user fees? ... André Picard. Published on Thursday, Apr. 08, 2010 10:37AM EDT Last updated on Thursday, Apr. 08, ...

André Picard

The latest health news stories , including articles on nutrition and public policy.

Is Obama's law a health-care revolution? Meh

André Picard. Published on Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010 8:50AM EDT Last updated on Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010 9:44AM EDT .... More recent pieces from André Picard ...

Time to end pelvic exams done without consent

Jan 28, 2010 ... André Picard's Second Opinion. Time to end pelvic exams done without consent .... More recent pieces from André Picard ...

Williams's heart surgery choice was based on ignorance

Feb 25, 2010 ... André Picard's Second Opinion. Williams's heart surgery choice was based on ignorance .... More recent pieces from André Picard ...

The fright before Christmas, by André Picard

Dec 23, 2009 ... A holiday classic is reimagined in the time of the swine flu panic.

André Picard: Why H1N1 panic is not the answer

The fear is real but the flu's risk is small, public health reporter André Picard writes. So what should anxious parents do? Get their kids vaccinated and ...

FW: Medical user fees? They're so 1980

Home; › Life; › Health & Fitness; › André Picard; › FW: Medical user fees? They' re so 1980. Back to top. News; Quote; Web; Local; People. News Search ...

HIFU prostate cancer treatment stirs debate

Apr 5, 2010 ... André Picard's Second Opinion: Working with cancer: For many Canadians, it's not always a choice Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010 07:46PM EST ...

Working with cancer: For many Canadians, it's not always a choice ...

Feb 10, 2010 ... André Picard's Second Opinion. Working with cancer: For many Canadians, it's not always a choice .... More recent pieces from André Picard ...

How will the global response to the pandemic H1N1 be reviewed?

printable version

12 April 2010
The assessment of the global response to the pandemic H1N1 will be conducted by the International Health Regulations Review Committee, a committee of experts with a broad mix of scientific expertise and practical experience in public health. The members are some of the leading experts in the world in their respective fields.

The International Health Regulations (IHR) is an international legal agreement that is binding on 194 States Parties across the globe, including all of the Member States of WHO. The basic purpose of the IHR is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide.

In January 2010, the WHO Executive Board requested a proposal from the Director-General on how to assess the international response to the pandemic influenza, and then approved her suggestion to convene the IHR Review Committee to review both the pandemic response and the functioning of the IHR.

The pandemic H1N1 is the first public health emergency of international concern to occur since the revised IHR came into force. The IHR played a central role in the global response to the pandemic and so review of the IHR and review of the global handling of the pandemic influenza are closely related.

The IHR facilitate coordinated international action by requiring countries to report certain disease outbreaks and public health events to WHO so that global reporting of important public health events is timely and open.
The IHR were first implemented (i.e., "entered into force") worldwide in 2007 and the Health Assembly determined that a first review of its functioning is to take place by the 63rd World Health Assembly in May 2010.


The review has three key objectives:
  • Assess the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005);
  • Assess the ongoing global response to the pandemic H1N1 (including the role of WHO); and
  • Identify lessons learned important for strengthening preparedness and response for future pandemics and public health emergencies.

The committee

The IHR Review Committee is made up of approximately 29 members who have been selected from the roster of experts under the IHR structure or other WHO expert committees. The committee members represent a broad mix of expertise, practical experience and backgrounds, and includes experts from developed and developing countries.

The members are some of the leading experts in the world in their respective fields. They are not WHO staff, nor do they receive funding from WHO for their contributions to the review process. Names of the committee members were made public prior to the first meeting: List of members of the review committee
At the first meeting, Professor Harvey V. Fineberg was elected as chair; Professor Babatunde Osotimehin was elected as vice chair.

The IHR Review Committee is considered a WHO expert committee and so its operations and structure follows regulations for WHO expert advisory panels and committees, and provisions of the IHR.


The committee will determine its methods and schedule of work.

The first meeting is scheduled for 12-14 April 2010 at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
Observers invited to the first meeting include representatives of all States Parties to the IHR (194 countries), United Nations organizations and relevant intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental organizations in official relations with WHO.

The committee will advise the Director-General of its views and findings. Based on the committee's advice, the Director-General will provide an interim report to the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2010, and an expected second, final report to the WHA in May 2011.

Participation by countries (IHR States Parties)

Countries will have the opportunity to make brief statements to the committee at first meeting, and may also submit comments to the Review Committee on key issues, concerns and lessons learned related to the pandemic response and functioning of the IHR.

More about the IHR

In the globalized world, diseases can rapidly spread far and wide via international travel and trade. A health crisis in one country can impact livelihoods and economies in many parts of the world. Emerging infections such as an influenza pandemic are an important cause of such events. However, other public health emergencies such as chemical spills, leaks and dumping, or nuclear melt-downs may similarly have global effects.

The IHR are not specific for any one disease or group of diseases but generally aim to limit interference with international traffic and trade while ensuring public health through the prevention of disease spread. The IHR define the rights and obligations of countries to report public health events, and establish a number of procedures that WHO must follow in its work to uphold global public health security. The IHR also require countries to strengthen their existing capacities for public health surveillance and response.
(updated from 1 April 2010 version)


International Health Regulations (IHR)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Preparing Professionals for a Nationwide Health Care Transformation

Dr. David BlumenthalA Message from Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology 

April 7, 2010
I know that health care providers are concerned about implementing new health information technology and finding professionals who can operate and maintain such systems. I know many clinicians are unsure how they will develop or strengthen their skill set to incorporate using health IT efficiently and effectively without jeopardizing their communication with patients during a clinical visit. It seems like a daunting transformation to clinicians themselves and, indeed, for our health care system overall.  The HITECH Act recognized that the success of this health IT journey depends on people:   people who are passionate about improving patient care, and who are supported in making those improvements.

To this end, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $84 million to 16  institutions of higher education to fund the Health IT Workforce Development Program, which focuses on several key resources required to rapidly expand the availability of health IT professionals who will support broad adoption and use of health IT in the provider community. Those resources include:
  • A community college training program to create a workforce that can facilitate the implementation and support of an electronic health care system
  • Quality educational materials that institutions of higher education can use to construct core instructional programs
  • A competency examination program to evaluate trainee knowledge and skills acquired through non-degree training programs
  • Additional university programs to support certificate and advanced degree training

The Workforce Development Program is one of the best examples of the depth of thought behind the HITECH Act. We could spend many billions of dollars developing, incentivizing, and implementing health IT solutions, but without an effectively trained workforce, our efforts would fall short of their ultimate goal of improving patient care. These efforts, designed in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, and the Department of Labor, are estimated to reduce the shortfall of qualified health IT professionals by 85 percent.

I congratulate the Workforce Development Program awardees and look forward to working with them on this important initiative.  Those who take advantage of professional training in health IT provided through award recipients will find opportunities for interesting, challenging, and important work. Not only do these opportunities represent new jobs, they represent promising careers in a growing sector of our economy. 


David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P.
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Monday, April 5, 2010

$45 Million to Support Better Patient Care in British Columbia

April 1, 2010
Ministry of Health Services | BC Medical Association

VICTORIA – Starting today, specialist physicians in B.C. are eligible for new fees and support that will improve access and service for patients while increasing efficiency and capacity for physicians. 

The new supports are initiatives of the Specialist Services Committee (SSC), a joint committee of the Province and the BC Medical Association (BCMA) that works closely with health authorities on the delivery of specialist physician services to British Columbians. With the mandate of supporting and improving the specialist care system, the committee will receive a total of $45 million in funding by 2011-12 to support its policies and programs.

“The SSC initiatives are one more example of the work we are doing in partnership with the BCMA to improve patient care across the province,” said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. “Since 2004, we have invested around $100 million annually through the General Practice Services Committee to support health services provided by family physicians, and evaluations have shown that our investment has paid off with increased satisfaction for patients and doctors. We look forward to similar positive results for B.C.’s specialist care system, including more collaboration between specialist physicians and general practitioners.”

Created to increase specialist capacity and improve patient access to specialist physicians, the Specialist Services Committee introduces a number of new billing options that were not available under the previous billing system. It is anticipated that the changes will result in overall cost avoidance for the health system and provide benefits for both patients and physicians through a reduction in ER visits, and unnecessary or inappropriate referrals. Other expected benefits are increased job satisfaction for specialists and reduced stress for their medical office assistants (MOAs).

“The doctors of B.C. look forward to the long-term success of the SSC initiatives,” said Dr. Brian Brodie, president of the BC Medical Association. “These new initiatives will help support the much-needed communication between specialists and GPs as they co-ordinate the care of their patients. This is about finding ways to improve access to specialty care, as well as improving the overall quality of the services being delivered.”

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From Open Medicine

  1. Calgary researchers show that ~64 percent of Canadians have access to PCI, a life-saving heart attack procedure.
    about 2 months ago from web
  2. What should Canadian policymakers take away from a new study on access to a life-saving heart attack treatment?
    about 2 months ago from web
  3. Congrats to the 3 members of Open Med's editorial family who are finalists for the BMJ Group Award for Lifetime Achievement! Vote at
    about 2 months ago from web
  4. Open Med's editors weigh in on ghost writing in med journals with a new ghost and guest authorship policy:
    about 2 months ago from web
  5. Congrats to the 3 members of Open Medicine's Ed Team and Ed Board who are finalists for the BMJ Lifetime Achievement Award! Vote at
    about 3 months ago from web
  6. New research: How effective are evidence-based medicine short courses, and what teaching strategies work best?
    about 3 months ago from web

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Court Decides that Human Genes Cannot Be Patented

Center for Genetics and Society Calls Ruling a Victory for Patients, Consumers and Responsible Research

Jesse Reynolds, 1-510-625-0819 x308, jreynolds [AT]geneticsandsociety[DOT]org
Marcy Darnovsky, 1-510-625-0819 x305, mdarnovsky [AT]geneticsandsociety[DOT]org

The Center for Genetics and Society, a policy research and advocacy group, welcomed yesterday’s District Court decision invalidating patents on genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, which ruled that human genes cannot be patented because they are products of nature. This and related arguments were central to the lawsuit filed in May 2009 by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation. In support of the suit, the Center for Genetics and Society filed a “friend of the court” brief, together with the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research, Generations Ahead, the National Women’s Health Network, and Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice.

“Overturning these patents will help patients get better health care at lower costs. It removes an unnecessary and illegitimate obstacle to both medical treatment and medical research,” said Center for Genetics and Society policy analyst Jesse Reynolds.

In the lawsuit, Breast Cancer Action, Our Bodies Ourselves, individual women and breast cancer patients, genetic counselors, four scientific organizations representing more than 150,000 researchers and laboratory professionals, and individual researchers challenge patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation that give the biotech company exclusive control of two genes associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, all variations of these genes, and a monopoly over tests to detect them. It represents the first time US courts have ruled on a case on human gene patents.
Myriad Genetics is expected to appeal yesterday’s decision, and many observers believe it will end up in the Supreme Court. If upheld, its implications could be far-reaching. About twenty percent of human genes have already been patented.

“Genetic research is becoming more important to the practice of medicine, and we urgently need public policies to ensure that it is responsibly conducted and that its benefits are widely accessible,” said Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society Associate Executive Director.

For more information:
• The amicus brief of the Center for Genetics and Society et al [PDF]
• “The Battle to Patent Your Genes: The Meaning of the Myriad Case” by Marcy Darnovsky & Jesse Reynolds, The American Interest, Sept-Oct 2009
The Center for Genetics and Society is a non-profit public affairs and policy advocacy organization working to encourage responsible uses and effective societal governance of human genetic and reproductive biotechnologies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Agfa HealthCare contributes to innovation in diagnosis of Alzheimer Disease

Agfa HealthCare Institute partners with the Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard to develop new technology for diagnosis of Alzheimer’s – a Canadian first

Quebec, QC – March 16, 2010 - Agfa HealthCare, a leading provider of diagnostic imaging and healthcare IT solutions, announces today that it has launched a new initiative to help improve the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, in partnership with the Canadian Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, the Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard and the Société de valorisation des applications de la recherche (SOVAR).  Agfa HealthCare will contribute to the development of a prototype IT solution under the Agfa HealthCare Institute – a new initiative leveraging collaborative partnerships to help facilitate innovation in the healthcare technology space.

The Alzheimer’s project* will focus on the development of a prototype that will combine a patient’s clinical information with the image features from the patient’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results will provide physicians with all of the information they need to make a faster and more accurate diagnosis of the disease. Not only will the prototype help support the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but it will also help physicians predict its progression and ultimately improve treatment outcomes for patients. This project, which will be underway over the next two years, is the first of its kind in Canada and the ultimate goal is to commercialize the technology developed through the research in healthcare institutions across the country.  

“Agfa HealthCare’s support is extremely important to achieving our goal of developing a functional prototype to help with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Simon Duchesne, Principle Investigator of this project at the Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard (CRULRG). “Through this joint project, we are developing innovative technology that will help improve the delivery of chronic care in Canada.”

“Research in the healthcare field represents an important niche at Université Laval,” said Edwin Bourget, Vice-President for Research and Innovation, Université Laval. “Most of the research centres are implemented in hospitals affiliated with Université Laval, among which, the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec plays a major and determining role for mental health treatment, including Alzheimer’s disease, which is affecting so many Canadians today.”

For Agfa HealthCare, this Alzheimer’s project is about connecting the right people with the right information – and in order to do this, strategic partnerships are the key. The project falls under the Agfa HealthCare Institute, which was created to be a catalyst of innovations in Canada’s Health Informatics industry by facilitating close collaboration between government, the healthcare industry and universities across Canada to provide a fully integrated healthcare IT network across the continuum of care.

“Agfa HealthCare is excited to be a part of the Alzheimer’s initiative in partnership with the Université de Laval and the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade. With Alzheimer’s disease affecting so many Canadians, it is so important for us to contribute to the development of new techniques to help in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease,” said Dave Wilson, Vice President, Agfa HealthCare in Canada. “Through our expertise in the healthcare IT space and our strategic partnerships with institutions such as the University of Laval, we are opening up doors to new ways of improving the delivery of patient care in Canada.”

Monday, March 15, 2010

CHIME Issues Comments on Interim Final Rule on Standards, Certification

ANN ARBOR, MI, March 15, 2010 – The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has released the comments it will file today with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology regarding the initial set of standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria for electronic health record technology.

The proposed regulations, issued as an interim final rule by ONC, were unveiled on December 30, 2009, and responses are due back to the government by March 15.

Previously, on February 26, CHIME filed its comments with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding the EHR Incentive Program. CHIME’s ONC letter closely parallels its comments to CMS. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based organization has 1,400 members representing chief information officers and other top information technology executives at many of the nation’s largest hospitals.

In its comments today on the interim final rule, CHIME emphasized the importance of certification for supporting providers’ efforts to achieve meaningful use, saying it gives “healthcare providers a degree of assurance that the products they purchase will perform as promised…certification is meant to support providers, not pose an additional burden.”

CHIME’s comments place the lion’s share of responsibility on vendors that develop IT products, which it says builds on past experience in the healthcare IT space. The organization also urges ONC to provide more lead time as it creates future certification criteria, so as to provide more time for providers to implement new and upgraded systems in the future.

Previously, in its comments to CMS on meaningful use regulations, CHIME had requested that a “grandfathering provision” be implemented to grant certification to products that have already been certified by the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology.

CHIME noted that further clarification is needed in ONC’s interim final rule, particularly in describing how certification will apply to organizations that use multiple clinical systems as components to an overall electronic health record system. CHIME supports wording in the rule that requires only certification of individual EHR modules.
College of Healthcare Information Management Executives
3300 Washtenaw Ave, Suite 225 ·
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Phone: (734) 665-0000
Fax: (734) 665-4922 ·
CHIME’s comments ask ONC to support a single standard for patient summary records; the current interim rule allows use of either the Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Release 2 (R2) Level 2 Continuity of Care Document (CCD) or the ASTM Continuity of Care Record (CCR) to electronically exchange a patient summary record.

“CHIME disagrees with this approach and believes that the sharing of health information across providers is best facilitated with adoption of a single standard for patient summary records,” the comment letter states. “CHIME believes that the healthcare field is ready to transition to a single standard for patient summary records, and such a move will facilitate interoperability in a more timely fashion.” The organization believes the HL7 CDA CCD is more robust and easier to read.

Medication reconciliation requirements in the interim rule need to be adjusted so that providers can meet the requirement if clinical systems can “display simultaneously two or more medication lists and provide tools for the clinician to perform medication reconciliation and create a single medication list.”

For reporting quality data, CHIME advises against using the CMS Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) 2008 Registry XML Specification, and the related implementation specifications, the PQRI Measure Specifications Manual for Claims and Registry. Instead, it suggests the continued development of quality data reporting standards, which are in process by HL7.

CHIME also seeks a standards-based approach for submitting data to public health agencies.  Current proposals for submitting data provide wide latitude to agencies for determining the format in which they want to receive data.

In addition, CHIME comments on privacy and security standards included in the interim rule, particularly in areas of encryption and decryption of data, verification of data to ensure it hasn’t been altered in transit, and cross-enterprise authentication.

CHIME advises against placing too many requirements on data transmission within an organization. “Encryption of data in EHR databases and transactional systems would slow operation of the software, thus hindering adoption of EHRs by staff and physicians,” its comments state. “We ask that ONC and CMS carefully consider the risk vs. cost and performance issues during deliberations on this requirement.”

The letter to ONC from CHIME also included its previous comments on the proposed meaningful use regulations as an attachment.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Australia Substantially Increases Research Collaboration with China, According to Thomson Reuters Study

New Zealand researchers double collaboration with Spain and Norway

PHILADELPHIA and LONDON, March 9 /CNW/ -- A study from Thomson Reuters released today shows broadening international collaboration in the research of Australia and, to a lesser degree, New Zealand, over the past 10 years. The United States continues to be the biggest contributor to Australian and New Zealand publications, but of special interest is a sizable increase of Australia's collaboration with China.
The study, Global Research Report: Australia and New Zealand, found that collaboration within the Asia Pacific region is notably changing. Though collaboration with Australia among some Asia Pacific nations (such as New Zealand, India, and Singapore) increased, and collaboration with China doubled (rising from 2.3 percent to 4.4 percent of all Australian outputs), collaboration with Japan remained unchanged. Likewise, Japan's rank as a contributor of co-authored papers with New Zealand fell from sixth to eighth. 

"Researchers in Australia and New Zealand have been increasing their share of publications co-authored with international colleagues," said Jonathan Adams, director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters. "We've seen a shift in geographic focus of these collaborations. While such countries as Russia and South Africa decrease in importance, there are increases in collaboration with Spain and Switzerland, and more importantly, with China and India."

    Other key findings include:
    --  Australia's share of world research publication output has grown
        steadily from 2.85 percent in 1999 to 3.18 percent in 2008.
    --  In the same period, the volume of Australian publications has risen
        annually by an average of 5 percent -- a growth rate higher than that
        of world publication averages.
    --  Computer science, materials science, environment/ecology, and clinical
        medicine are subject areas where Australia has increased its outputs,
        consistent with its national research priorities.
    --  Subject areas that have grown in the volume of outputs in New Zealand
        are computer sciences, biology and biochemistry, immunology, and
        neurosciences and behavior, consistent with the country's government
        research, science and technology agenda.

The study is part of the Global Research Report series from Thomson Reuters that illustrates the changing landscape and dynamics of scientific research around the world and draws on data found in Web of Science(SM), available on the Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge(SM), platform -- the world's largest citation environment of the highest quality scholarly literature.

For more information, please visit

Monday, March 8, 2010

New studies showPCA3 prostate cancer marker can help guide repeat prostate biopsy decisions and predict risk of aggressive cancer

More than 2,400 men tested in largest worldwide studies to date.

QUEBEC CITY, March 8 /CNW Telbec/ - DiagnoCure, Inc. (TSX: CUR), a life sciences company commercializing high-value cancer diagnostic tests and delivering laboratory services, announced that the clinical utility of the PROGENSA(R) PCA3 test, developed and commercialized by its partner Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO), was confirmed in two large worldwide studies, conducted in a subset of patients in GlaxoSmithKline's REDUCE trial of dutasteride. The results demonstrate that PCA3 can help determine whether men suspected of having prostate cancer should undergo a repeat biopsy and can predict the risk of having an aggressive cancer. The studies were presented last week at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (ASCO GU) in San Francisco

"This four-year multicenter worldwide study is the largest to date performed on DiagnoCure's PCA3 marker. It shows that the test can be useful in managing patients suspected of having prostate cancer. For doctors and patients struggling with the dilemma of the traditional PSA test that has a well-known low specificity, the PCA3 test, with a specificity of up to 80% (depending on the cut-off), can offer a more reliable answer. These results indicate that the PCA3 test can help reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies and help identify patients that have a more aggressive cancer, representing a step forward in personalized patient care," said Dr Yves Fradet, co-founder and President of DiagnoCure. 

In the studies presented at the ASCO GU meeting, PCA3 was used to test urine samples from men enrolled in the REDUCE trial of GlaxoSmithKline's drug dutasteride. PCA3 testing was done on urine samples from 1,140 men in the placebo arm of the REDUCE trial, and from 1,308 men treated with dutasteride. All men underwent prostate biopsies two and four years after enrollment in the study. 

The first PCA3 study presented at the meeting originated from the placebo arm of the REDUCE trial. This study, which was highlighted in ASCO's official press program, showed that PCA3 scores were significantly correlated with a positive prostate biopsy result, and that men who had higher PCA3 scores were more likely to have prostate cancer. Specifically, cancer was diagnosed in only 6% of men with very low PCA3 scores, but in 57% of men with very high PCA3 scores. 

PCA3 scores also correlated with cancer aggressiveness (as defined by the Gleason Score): median PCA3 scores were higher in men with high-grade cancers than in those with low-grade cancers. Finally, the PCA3 test also predicted the likelihood of a positive prostate biopsy performed two years after the test. 

The second PCA3 study originated from the patients treated with dutasteride in the REDUCE trial. This study demonstrated that PCA3 also can be used to predict prostate biopsy outcomes in men taking dutasteride. It confirmed earlier research that showed PCA3 outperforms serum PSA testing for prostate cancer detection, and improves diagnostic accuracy when combined with serum PSA testing and other clinical information.
About DiagnoCure 

DiagnoCure (TSX: CUR) is a life sciences company commercializing high-value cancer diagnostic tests and delivering laboratory services that increase clinician and patient confidence in making critical treatment decisions. DiagnoCure Oncology Laboratories, a subsidiary of DiagnoCure Inc., launched in 2008 the Previstage(TM) GCC Colorectal Cancer Staging Test, the first GCC-based molecular test for the management of colorectal cancer. A major study published in the February 18, 2009, edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrated that GCC, to which DiagnoCure owns exclusive worldwide diagnostic rights, is the strongest independent predictor of colorectal cancer recurrence. More clinical studies are underway to confirm the clinical utility of the Previstage(TM) GCC test. The Company has a strategic alliance with Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO) for the development and commercialization of a second-generation prostate cancer test using PCA3, DiagnoCure's proprietary molecular marker. This test is available through laboratories in the U.S. using PCA3 analyte specific reagents (ASR) from Gen-Probe, in Europe as the CE-marked PROGENSA(R) PCA3 in vitro assay, and in Canada. A clinical study aimed at securing FDA approval for the commercialization of PROGENSA(R) PCA3 test in the U.S. is underway. For more information, visit