The Health News – 21 March 2017

Overview:
• NSW hospital patients have had a serious privacy breach on multiple occasions, including medical records being found in a public car park and some along the walkway. Patients were not even informed on this matter.

• Swimming365 swimmers are determined to take the challenge of swimming to Rottnest Island, covering 20 kilometres of open water. These swimmers are at risk of type 2 diabetes, some are already suffering the condition.

• Research evidences show that repeated concussions to rugby league players have a long-term effect, says neuroscientist Dr Alan Pearce.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the  21st of March 2017. Read by Rebecca Foster. Health News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/nsw-hospital-patients-have-medical-records-compromised/8370584

NSW hospital patients have had their confidential details compromised on multiple occasions, including medical records being found in a public carpark.

Many of the most serious privacy breaches have been reported in the Central Coast Local Health District, which runs Gosford and Wyong hospitals.

In 2015, a patient’s emergency assessment paperwork was discovered on the ground near Gosford Hospital.

However, the patient concerned was never informed because the Health District said there was not a “serious risk of harm”.

The same year, a confidential list of patients containing sensitive information including the reasons for attending hospital was discovered on a walkway near Gosford Hospital.

Once again, the patients were never informed because the information was not deemed to put them at “serious risk of harm”.

The Opposition’s health spokesman Walt Secord described it as an “absolute breach of trust”.

“Medical records are incredibly sensitive. In many cases, you don’t even share them with your closest family members,” Mr Secord said.

The Opposition has called for an external investigation of the hospital’s privacy management.

In another privacy breach, a patient was given medical test results that belonged to another patient who had the same surname.

In this case, the patient whose privacy was breached was informed of the incident.

The Central Coast Local Health District recorded more than 30 privacy breaches in 2014/15, and in 2015/16 there were 16.

Extra face-to face privacy training has been made available to all staff, along with updated information on privacy standards, Dr Montague said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/diabetes-sufferers-swimming-their-way-to-a-healthier-lifestyle/8370402

They may not be at peak physical fitness and concede they are a little daunted by the task ahead.

But a group of Perth swimmers are determined to take on the mighty challenge of swimming to Rottnest Island, covering 20 kilometres of open water.

They are all either at risk of or suffering from type 2 diabetes and began long distance swimming as part of a program designed to get their condition under control, with some seeing startling results.

Swimming365 member Erica Bradley joined the program two years ago.

It had a such a significant impact on her health she is no longer considered at risk of diabetes at all.

This year she will be cheering on Peter Michael when he takes to the water on Saturday.

He started the program a year ago after being diagnosed with diabetes and has seen a dramatic improvement in his condition.

“I’ve lost weight, I’ve got my blood sugars under control, I’ve got a lot fitter, a lot stronger and I’ve improved my swimming,” Mr Michael said.

The group is run by former Swimming Australia director Tom Picton-Warlow.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-20/nrl-players-brains-more-damaged-than-non-players:-study/8369226

There is growing evidence that repeated concussions to rugby league players have a long-term effect, says neuroscientist Dr Alan Pearce.

Dr Pearce, from La Trobe University, recently completed a study comparing 25 former NRL players now aged in their fifties to 25 men of a similar age.

The men carried out cognitive tests to measure their memory and attention spans, as well as motor tests for things like reaction time and fine dexterity.

“That also correlated to the tests of cognition and motor reaction times, that were significantly worse.”

Dr Pearce hopes the results could be used to start a rehabilitation program, using neuroplasticity to try and help players recover damaged brain functions.

Basically they would help participants’ brains to become “rewired”, and improve their memory and motor functions.

“We have seen that in other areas, such as stroke and Parkinson’s, where you do exercise therapy, we do get some improvement,” Dr Pearce said.

Dr Pearce will be presenting his new study … in the US at the 12th World Congress of Brain Injury.

The study is timely, given a lawsuit lodged last month by ex-NRL player James McManus suing his former club Newcastle over its handling of his concussions.

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