The Health News Australia September 21 2017


  • Patients with eating disorders will receive better access to lifesaving treatment and support, in a $3 million funding boost announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt.
  • Adelaide’s health crisis has spread with industrial action at rural hospitals –  dozens of patients waiting hours for beds and major hospitals treating more patients in EDs than its official capacity.
  • A tablet-based video monitoring technology will be tested to detect atrial fibrillation (afib) using its built-in cameras.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 21st of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

Patients with eating disorders will receive better access to lifesaving treatment and support, in a three million dollar funding boost announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt. About one million Australians are suffering from an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating, but only a quarter of them are currently in treatment.

“People with eating disorders are a hidden part of the great mental health challenge and we need to bring them into the light,” Mister Hunt told the ABC. The Government will give one point seven million dollars to the Butterfly Foundation’s national helpline, ED HOPE, so it can offer an extra three hours of counselling services every day.

The Butterfly Foundation will also receive an additional one point two million dollars to fund a training program for healthcare workers like GPs and nurses to identify the signs that their patient may have an eating disorder. Mister Hunt said the Medicare review committee is also currently looking at comprehensive, specific coverage for eating disorder patients. Mister Hunt said he has watched a close friend struggle with an eating disorder.

Adelaide’s health crisis has spread with industrial action at rural hospitals as new Health Minister Peter Malinauskas confesses to being “alarmed” at what he witnessed on an unannounced visit to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Pressure spread to the regions with industrial  action by nurses over staffing levels affecting admissions at Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Mount Gambier hospitals. Bedblocks resulted in dozens of patients waiting hours for beds including forty one at the RAH – three waiting more than twenty four hours. Ambulances ramped at the RAH as major hospitals were treating more patients in emergency departments than official capacity despite a government plan to ease pressure. Emergency department doctors warned the plan which includes nurses attending some zero zero zero calls, will “amount to nothing” unless underlying problems are addressed. The Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation has started industrial action at major rural hospitals to stop some admissions until staff shortages are addressed by Country Health SA.

Federation SA branch secretary Elizabeth Dabars said nurses had refused to fill some beds.
Patients can still attend the hospitals for treatment but may be transferred if no bed is available.

New Health Minister Peter Malinauskas decided to drop into the RAH on Monday night and was alarmed by what he found talking to nurses.The gridlock at hospitals continued yesterday with most hospital EDs operating at above capacity, ambulances ramping and patients waiting hours for a bed.

Today, tablets are everywhere. While many of us reach for them to scan Facebook, watch the  newest series on Netflix, or make a quick purchase on Amazon, researchers want to test their potential for a more serious task: detecting atrial fibrillation (afib). With a two million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health, scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Institute of Technology will enroll up to three hundred people at risk for afib to test a new tablet-based video monitoring technology. Their goal is to create an inexpensive, easy-to-use detection system that can alert health care providers of the onset of afib, allowing for early treatment. Afib is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure. Because the likelihood of afib increases with age and people are living longer today, experts predict the number of cases will rise dramatically over the next several years. Current estimates suggest it affects more than three million Americans.

You can’t see it with the naked eye, but the color of our skin fluctuates with every heartbeat.

The research team developed a technology that uses the camera in tablets to capture changes in heartbeat by measuring subtle variations in skin tone. They’ll test the technology on individuals with afib who undergo electrical cardioversion or ablation – procedures that restore a normal heartbeat. Even after treatment, twenty to thirty percent of patients will have a recurrence of afib. Following their procedures, individuals will be sent home with a tablet that will automatically record facial videos when they read emails, browse the internet or watch videos. Participants will also wear an ECG patch – the gold standard for monitoring afib. Researchers will compare data from the patch and the tablet to determine how accurate the tablet technology.

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