The Health News – 3 Nov 2014

Overview

  • Australian students will soon be learning how to use 3D printing to churn out living replacement body parts, as universities team with their European counterparts to offer a world-first degree course.
  • An investigation has been launched by the Federal Government into whether a leading healthcare company potentially broke laws that ban offering incentives for doctors to over-service.
  • A recent study found paracetamol to be the leading cause of liver failure in children in Australia and New Zealand. The researchers identified 54 cases of liver failure in two children’s hospitals between 2002 and 2012.


Stories Discussed
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 3rd November 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-31/preparations-continue-for-pioneering-medical-3d-printing-degree/5857376

Australian students will soon be learning how to use 3D printing to churn out living replacement body parts, as universities team with their European counterparts to offer a world-first degree course.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the University of Wollongong will partner with the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands and the University of Würzburg in Germany next year to offer the world’s first international masters degree in 3D body part printing.

The two years Masters course in biofabrication looks at how to use 3D printing to create living artificial tissues and biological tissue substitutes.

QUT’s Biomaterials and Tissue Morphology Group leader Mia Woodruff said 3D technology offered an alternative to traditionally used artificial biomaterials, such as silicone breast implants and metal pins.

St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne is involved in a research program with several universities, including the University of Wollongong and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) looking at the 3D printing of body parts.

Professor Peter Choong from St Vincent’s said medical procedures using the technology could be extremely patient-specific.

Associate Professor Woodruff said biofabrication was a niche market at the moment, but advances in technology, accessibility and cost-efficiency meant there was potential for huge growth.

Associate Professor Woodruff said the new degree had been popular with prospective students.

The Australian universities will take on 10 students each.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-31/claims-doctors-offered-incentives-to-over-service/5855504

An investigation has been launched by the Federal Government into whether a leading healthcare company potentially broke laws that ban offering incentives for doctors to over-service.

The ABC has obtained an email that shows Primary Health Care made an offer of company share options to two of its radiologists in 2010, which it indicated ended in April 2015.

A University of Sydney health law expert said the offer was a clear breach of two national health laws because it offered radiologists an incentive to make more money which could lead them to suggest more tests than needed.

The company said the offer was withdrawn the next day, is not in effect, and is not a breach of the law.

Following inquiries from the ABC this week the Department of Human Services said it would investigate.

Clinical radiology faculty dean Dr Greg Slater said the offer would only be a breach if there was a direct incentive to over-service.

Dr Slater said the offer could encourage practitioners to save money by working longer hours or opening after hours.

He said it was rare for radiologists to “self-refer”, which means individually requesting extra or alternate scans or investigations.

Extra scans or tests were mostly conducted in consultation with the referring doctor and patient.

In its statement Primary Health Care said it had not provided any options since January 2010, and none to any radiologists since October 2009.

The email with the offer is dated June 2010 and was sent to the radiologist owners of the businesses involved. Laws banning the offering of incentives were in effect at the time.

Primary Health Care said there can be no incentive for a radiologist to over-service because, in nearly all cases, radiologists can only respond to written requests from doctors and other healthcare practitioners.

http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2014/10/30/4118124.htm

If you have young children, then chances are you have paracetamol in your medicine cupboard and use it to treat some of the many ailments that are part of childhood.

In fact, few parents wouldn’t have used this common medication to bring down a child’s fever or ease the discomfort of teething pain, colds and flus, or ear aches.

Yet while paracetamol is a very safe medicine when it is given correctly, if children are given too much it can be dangerous and in very rare cases deadly.

A recent study found paracetamol to be the leading cause of liver failure in children in Australia and New Zealand. The researchers identified 54 cases of liver failure in two children’s hospitals between 2002 and 2012, 14 of these cases were related to paracetamol overdose, and 12 were in children under five years old. While the overall number of cases of children that experienced liver damage was low, the researchers are calling for a review of the safety practices around paracetamol use.

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