The Health News Australia December 6 2017

  • A group of researchers from the University of Newcastle say there is not enough discussion around the recommendation of nicotine replacement therapy for pregnant women. In a new paper published by the researchers, they argue nicotine replacement therapy is safer than smoking, and Australian doctors can be confident prescribing it for their pregnant patients. In 2004 , 11% of women who gave birth in Australia smoked at some point in their pregnancy. That number is higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women, at 45%.
  • According to new research published in Australian Health Review, ehealth technologies can improve patient care, lower costs, increase efficiency and prevent duplicated tests in Australian hospitals but they risk causing “alert fatigue” and prescription errors. The research found that the technologies could bring about greater guideline adherence, eliminate illegible handwriting, improve information transfer and lead to reduced hospitalisations, emergency visits and redundant test requests.
  • In a landmark decision, the Family Court has ruled transgender youth will no longer need the authorisation of the court to access hormone treatment. Until now, Australia was the only country in the world that required youth with gender dysphoria to seek approval from the Family Court before starting the second stage of hormone treatments which includes use of testosterone or oestrogen.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 6th of December 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-04/nicotine-replacement-therapy-safer-smoking-pregnant-research/9222798

It is common knowledge that smoking during pregnancy is harmful, and many women struggle to give up the habit due to the addictive chemicals in cigarettes. But a group of researchers from the University of Newcastle say there is not enough discussion around the recommendation of nicotine replacement therapy for pregnant women. In a new paper published by the researchers, they argue nicotine replacement therapy is safer than smoking, and Australian doctors can be confident prescribing it for their pregnant patients. In two thousand four, eleven percent of women who gave birth in Australia smoked at some point in their pregnancy. That number is higher for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, at forty five percent.

Smoking during pregnancy reduces the growth and health of babies, and increases the chance of complications for mother and child. Children born to a mother who smokes have a greater chance of premature birth, low birth rate, stillbirth and infant mortality. Cigarettes are addictive due to the nicotine, which is a found naturally in tobacco. But University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health associate professor Gillian Gould said nicotine could also be the solution to help smokers quit throughout their pregnancy. Doctor Gould is a co-author of the paper in the Medical Journal of Australia encouraging doctors to recommend nicotine replacement therapy to patients who are unable to quit unassisted when pregnant.

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Current Australian and New Zealand guidelines recommend the use of nicotine replacement therapy by pregnant women who are unable to quit without medication. But the paper states in a recent survey of Australian general practitioners and obstetricians, twenty five percent of participants never prescribed nicotine replacement therapies during pregnancy. Doctor Gould said clinicians were concerned about recommending the products due to safety concerns.

http://www.healthcareit.com.au/article/queensland-research-hospital-digital-systems-finds-benefits-outweigh-risks

According to new research published in Australian Health Review, ehealth technologies can improve patient care, lower costs, increase efficiency and prevent duplicated tests in Australian hospitals but they risk causing “alert fatigue” and prescription errors. Conducted by a team of authors involved in the digitisation of Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, Going digital: a narrative overview of the clinical and organisational impacts of eHealth technologies in hospital practice claims ehealth systems can improve healthcare processes and patient outcomes but much is still to be learned about best practice design and use.

The study by PAH and Queensland’s Metro South Hospital and Health Service evaluated recently published research reviews of electronic medical records, electronic prescribing, computerised decision support systems and computerised physician order entry technologies, and found the benefits outweighed the risks.

The research found that the technologies could eliminate illegible handwriting, improve information transfer and lead to reduced hospitalisations, emergency visits and redundant test requests. But they could also lead to increased technology interaction time for clinicians and alert fatigue, as well as prescribing errors causing adverse drug-related events.
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Considerable financial investment is being made globally in the implementation of “potentially transformative ehealth technologies,” according to the research, including twelve point eight billion pounds by the UK’s National Program for Information Technology (NPfIT) for the National Health Service. Queensland is following suit with its one point three billion dollars statewide campaign to digitise all its major public hospitals by two thousand twenty.

https://theconversation.com/transgender-youth-can-now-access-hormone-treatment-without-court-approval-88469

In a landmark decision, the Family Court has ruled transgender youth will no longer need the authorisation of the court to access hormone treatment. Until now, Australia was the only country in the world that required youth with gender dysphoria to seek approval from the Family Court before starting the second stage of hormone treatments which includes use of testosterone or oestrogen. The court ruling was in response to a four-year legal battle surrounding “Re Kelvin”, a case brought by the family of a sixteen-year-old transgender boy wanting to access hormone therapy. Penelope Strauss from Telethon Kids Institute said this was a historic day for transgender youth and their families given the financial and psychological stress of the court process.

In two thousand thirteen, the family court ruled parents could not consent to stage two treatments for their child, even with the approval from their doctor. Family law expert Doctor Fiona Kelly said this is because unlike stage one treatment which delays puberty, stage two hormone treatment is irreversible.
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Doctor Kelly said despite the controversy surrounding stage two therapy, the courts had never refused an application. She added:  “More than sixty applications have been approved since the court process began in two thousand four.” Under yesterday’s ruling, young people desiring gender-affirming hormone treatment will still need to be assessed by a multidisciplinary clinical team. The consent of medical professionals and the parents is also required before the young person can be administered stage two hormones.

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