Articles & interviews -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: Illustration of graphene-based SNP detection chip wirelessly transmitting signal to a smartphone; Copyright: Lal et al.

Biosensor chip detects genetic mutation

19/07/2018

A team led by the University of California San Diego has developed a chip that can detect a type of genetic mutation known as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and send the results in real time to a smartphone, computer, or other electronic device. The chip is at least 1,000 times more sensitive at detecting an SNP than current technology.
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Image: Digital dynamic model of the heart; Copyright: SamaraPolytech

Digital dynamic model of cardiovascular system

18/07/2018

Dmitry Pashchenko, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Assistant Professor of the Industrial Heat-and-Power Engineering Department is the head of the project. From the computer engineering and computational fluid dynamics point of view, the heart is a membrane pump, the vessels are flexible conduits, and the blood is an incompressible non-Newtonian fluid.
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Image: Dr. Bo Cao standing next to a handrail with one hand on it; Copyright: Ross Neitz

Machine learning helps to treat schizophrenia

17/07/2018

Could the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders one day be aided through the help of machine learning? New research from the University of Alberta is bringing us closer to that future through a study published in Molecular Psychiatry.
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Image: elderly woman who fell in the bathroom; Copyright: panthermedia.net/toa55

Wearable device can predict older adults' risk of falling

17/07/2018

Every year, more than one in three individuals aged 65 and older will experience a fall. Falls are the most common cause of injury in older adults, and can create ongoing health problems. But treatment and awareness of falling usually happens after a fall has already occurred.
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Image: smiling man in a suit; Copyright: L. Brian Stauffer

New informatics tool makes the most of genomic data

16/07/2018

The rise of genomics, the shift from considering genes singly to collectively, is adding a new dimension to medical care; biomedical researchers hope to use the information contained in human genomes to make better predictions about individual health, including responses to therapeutic drugs.
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Image: abstract computer simulation of the signalling pathways of a human brain; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Andrew Ostrovsky

Launch of the neuroinformatics platform The Virtual Brain

16/07/2018

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) are pleased to announce that 'The Virtual Brain' neuroinformatics platform has joined the EU's Flagship 'Human Brain Project'. With financial support from the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, Charité's researchers are now integrating their open-source platform into the 'Human Brain Project'.
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Image: woman working at a computer; Copyright: LA Cicero

Artificial intelligence helps predict drug combinations' side effects

13/07/2018

Last month alone, 23 percent of Americans took two or more prescription drugs, according to one CDC estimate, and 39 percent over age 65 take five or more, a number that's increased three-fold in the last several decades. And if that isn't surprising enough, try this one: in many cases, doctors have no idea what side effects might arise from adding another drug to a patient's personal pharmacy.
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Image: Paramedics that transport a man towards an ambulance; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Artur Verkhovetskiy

Video streaming, apps, and smart glasses: telemedicine on standby

02/07/2018

Looking at the trends and innovations in emergency medicine, it is apparent that the idea of an ambulance as a kind of mobile emergency room that comes to patients, connects them with health professionals and makes a diagnosis en route to the hospital, is gaining momentum. The increased usage of telemedicine plays a big part in this development.
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Image: young woman kneels next to unconscious man and makes call with smartphone; Copyright: panthermedia.net/pixelaway

Resuscitation via videostream – how EmergencyEye can save lives

02/07/2018

When the heart stops beating, irreversible brain damage occurs within minutes without resuscitation. Meanwhile, action is only taken in very few instances of cardiac arrest. Even first responders frequently feel helpless in this situation. In Germany, approximately 65,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. This is where EmergencyEye comes in to offer valuable support.
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Image: An ambulance is driving on a long, wet motorway; Copyright: panthermedia.net/BrianAJackson

Emergency medicine: how telemedicine strengthens the chain of survival

02/07/2018

You have probably heard of the chain of survival. It refers to a series of collaborative actions taken by first responders, emergency response systems, and emergency departments to ensure emergency medical services. However, at times, this chain of survival is too long when emergency vehicles have to travel great distances for example.
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Image: Female hospital employee with green OR cap is wearing AR glasses, a screen is floating in front of her; Copyright: IT4process GmbH

Augmented Reality: supporting sterile processing services?

08/06/2018

Every day, hospital staff has to manage complex processes to guarantee quality and patient safety. Yet in some areas, the use of checklists and manuals tends to be more cumbersome and not useful – as is the case in sterile processing. A new project studies how augmented reality can take all the necessary information into the staff's field of view.
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Image: A woman is looking at her smartphone in bed. She looks tired and exhausted; Copyright: panthermedia.net/leungchopan

The STEADY project: Managing depression with wearables

01/06/2018

These days, smartphones and wearables of all kinds more or less "incidentally" collect lots of personal data about our lives. Many people have privacy and security concerns – and rightfully so – especially if mountains of data fall into the wrong hands. But what if patients collect their own data and get help to use it for their own purposes?
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Image: Man with mobile phone sitting on the floor in front of a sofa; Copyright: panthermedia.net/yacobchuk1

From data to diagnosis – digital help for depression

01/06/2018

Few diseases are as difficult to diagnose as depression. What's more, outsiders often don't perceive it as a disease. The reason for this are symptoms that are not directly visible. Sufferers of the disease tend to experience fear, worry, and despair in everyday life, when no doctor is present. This is the starting point for telemedicine tools such as online programs or smartphone apps.
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Image: hand holding a smartphone in front of a desk with computer; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ikurucan

Digital therapist – data protection for depression apps

01/06/2018

The number of people suffering from depression worldwide is steadily increasing – as is the digitization in all areas of life. There is a wide variety of applications designed to make it easier to cope with this disorder. However, patients have to provide very sensitive information when they use these digital therapists. And in doing so, they often divulge more than they realize.
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Image: a group of young people next to social media symbols and icons; Copyright: panthermedia.net/WavebreakmediaMicro

Social media usage linked to underage drinking

30/05/2018

Penn Medicine research explores adolescent and young adult social media use and drinking patterns.
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Image: Young female radiologist is looking at pictures of the head and takes some notes; Copyright: panthermedia.net/mark@rocketclips.com

Radiology: machine learning to support medical diagnostics

08/03/2018

Automation makes work life easier in many ways but is it also a solution for analyzing medical images? Is a computer actually reliable enough to assist in the medical decision making process? Researchers in Landshut examine how machine learning algorithms can work more reliably and support radiologists.
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Image: Stethoscope lying on a world map and transparent icons placed over the entire image; Copyright: panthermedia.net/everythingposs

Everything flows: transportation and material flows in hospital logistics

01/02/2018

During a visit to the hospital, patients naturally expect to receive comprehensive care. Not only does this include the proper treatment, but also a hospital bed and regular meals for example. Patients typically don't ask about the transport logistics this entails for the hospital.
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Image: OR nurse is standing in front of a screen and holds surgical pincers in her hand; Copyright: ASANUS Medizintechnik GmbH

Eye on material flow: network solutions for hospital logistics

01/02/2018

Hospitals need an accurate assessment of the location and quantity of their materials to eliminate sources of error. Automated processes can also help employees to make these materials available at the right time and at the right place. Digital network systems will substantially support the logistics in the hospital of the future.
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Image: OR with very modern equipment; Copyright; Swen Reichhold

OR of the future: Surgical navigation systems and integrated devices

04/01/2018

While it is commonplace for operating room staff to work together as a team, the collaboration of operating room systems does not always work so well – many devices are still separated from one another, causing the OR processes to be prone to mistakes. The same applies to surgical navigation technologies that represent the interface between imaging, the surgeon and therapeutic devices.
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Innovation Office: accreditation and certification consulting services for startups

01/12/2017

The road to a marketable medical device is long and winding. Devices must meet specific regulatory requirements for medical applications. It's especially challenging for startups to stay on top of these criteria. That's why the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has started to offer the Innovation Office since the beginning of this year – an information hub for startups.
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Image: A hand touches a smartphone camera that is measuring the heart rate with an app; Copyright: Preventicus GmbH

"Preventicus Heartbeats": An app that's a clinically validated medical device

01/12/2017

Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the world. Yet many incidences of stroke are preventable since they are frequently associated with an undetected abnormal heart rhythm. In this case, patients can benefit from using the clinically validated "Preventicus Heartbeats" app, which measures and documents the heart rhythm with a smartphone camera.
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Image: Three-dimensional image of a colored vessel structure; Copyright: René Hägerling

Pathology: detecting lymphedema with 3D microscopy

23/10/2017

According to the WHO, 300 million people throughout the world are affected by lymphedema. This condition occurs when fluid that flows between cells is no longer transported back into the blood circulation and accumulates in the skin. Triggers can be surgeries, injuries or genetic defects for example. A new microscopy technique could now also indicate the causes.
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Image: A man is standing outdoors while typing on his smart watch; Copyright: panthermedia.net/guniamc

mHealth: how mobile choices can successfully reach users

02/10/2017

mHealth has been slated to revolutionize the healthcare market for the past few years. Yet things are not quite as easy for apps and wearables as it may seem. A recently conducted study reveals that there are still many obstacles to overcome before manufacturers and health professionals can connect with patients and their mobile devices.
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Image: A large stone is blocking a path that leads through a green meadow; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Brigitte Götz

Medical devices: the road to the finished product is not easy

08/09/2017

These days, many groups make various demands of medical device developers: manufacturers, users, patients and government agencies. Given all of these interests and concerns, the developers face many challenges. In this interview, we put some of them under the microscope and examine how they can be sidestepped or entirely avoided.
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Image: A man is working at a laboratory bench, his screen is showing a program that recognizes his gestures; Copyright: Fraunhofer IPA/Heike Quosdorf

Laboratory automation: from note book to gesture recognition

08/08/2017

For centuries, scientific research has succeeded by chronicling experiments with pinpoint accuracy. Yet despite all the progress in the actual laboratory, recording is often still done manually, in notebooks, logs or computer systems for instance. In the future, a gesture recognition system could perform this task for scientists.
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Image: A physician is holding a globe in his hands; Copyright: panthermedia.net/everythingposs

Modular Emergency Hospitals – Quick disaster response

08/06/2017

After earthquakes or other types of disasters, infrastructures are often damaged and local hospitals destroyed. A modular hospital, developed under the direction of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department is designed to be ready for these types of disaster situations and support the emergency response.
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Image: Compass pointing towards the word creativity. In the compass’s center is a ball that shows the Indian flag; Copyright: panthermedia.net/eabff

Technology: India offers potential for research and development

02/05/2017

When it comes to the production and development of tech products, many people immediately think of Germany, Japan, the U.S. or Taiwan. What’s often unknown is that an emerging market like India also offers great potential. After all, the country has a large number of experts and just as much technical knowledge at its disposal.
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Image: A petri dish with yellow bacterial cultures on a black ground; Copyright: panthermedia.net/kwanchaichaiudom

Laboratory medicine: confronting infections with speed and foresight

03/04/2017

The laboratory is one of the most important and pivotal bastions in patient care. In the laboratory, acute, chronic and genetic diseases are diagnosed, the progression of diseases such as diabetes is regularly checked or specialists look for biomarkers to adapt cancer therapies.
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Image: Different medical pictograms; Copyright: panthermedia.net/aimage

Collect Data? Utilize Data! – The Blessings of Big Data

01/03/2017

Genome data, MRI images, and blood test results – data collected in the medical sector is not only very heterogeneous but also extremely extensive. However, it is important to not only collect this data but to also utilize it. After all, processed, linked and analyzed data provides many opportunities in research, hospital management and ultimately also for the individual patient.
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Image: A monitor and different displays in the OR, behind this the OR team; Copyright: panthermedia.net/chanawit

Smart versus big: how data can assist in the OR

01/03/2017

The OR is the centerpiece of every hospital and also the most expensive resource that should be used efficiently. Yet in reality, there are often delays when interventions are not intelligently scheduled and take place back-to-back. This is why the InnOPlan Research Consortium wants to make surgical device data usable and useful to improve the operating room planning process.
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Image: Graphic of the generic architectur of the clinical data intelligence;  FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg Medizinische Fakultät

Medical Databases: One for All, All for One

01/03/2017

In the "KDI – Clinical Data Intelligence Project", researchers are trying to consolidate various types of data to make them useable and useful to both medical professionals and scientists. This is a tremendous undertaking, considering the data volumes from different sources. In this conversation with MEDICA, Dr. Martin Sedlmayr explains the project setup.
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Image: In the middle of a computer window is written in big white letters Diabetes. A hand is tapping onto the word; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Pichet Wissawapipat

Telediabetology: Telemedicine to fight diabetes

02/11/2016

World Diabetes Day is on November 14 of this year. This is reason enough to get informed about the options available in medicine on the subject of "diabetes". One area is telediabetology, a combination of telemedicine and diabetology. It is still not widespread in Germany, but that is about to change because the benefits for patients, physicians and hospitals are obvious.
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Image: Doctor with Laptop, on which screen viruses are visible; Copyright: panthermedia.net/cuteimage

Infection prevention with networked devices

02/11/2016

It is possible to save resources in a hospital by using networked devices – processes work more properly and more quickly this way. But there is also a certain amount of risk: If a device is infected with malware, the infection will spread very fast. Therefore, it is important to protect the networked devices and especially the sensitive patient data.
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Image: A 3D stick figure creates a mind map about

A new broom sweeps clean? The new EU Medical Device Regulation

10/10/2016

The year 2016 brings about the new, eagerly anticipated Medical Device Regulation (MDR). The revision needs to now be implemented by all EU member states in the coming years after there have been ongoing deliberations and negotiations since October 2012.
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Image: Different medical symbols are seen like on a screen. A hand wearing a white glove taps on a symbol; Copyright: panthermedia.net/everythingposs

Networked healthcare – Apps and co.

04/10/2016

Digitization is on the rise and doesn't even stop with medicine. A video doctor consultation, a fitness app or a collection of data for a better cancer treatment: eHealth combines the possibilities of the internet with the demands of medicine and opens up entirely new possibilities for the medical industry.
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Image: Aerial shot of a large hospital in a city; Copyright: panthermedia.net/kruwt

Sustainability: Hospitals can achieve a trifecta

01/08/2016

Humans leave large ecological footprints on the planet. Nevertheless, sustainability - that being resource-conserving and environmentally oriented action - is still far from being a concern everywhere. The public sector, in particular, has a difficult time with this because sustainability requires initial funding to renew and adapt processes and technology. This applies especially to hospitals.
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Image: Plugs at the back of a computer; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Paylessimages

Interoperability: secure network connections

08/07/2016

Computers do not just need a common language to communicate with each other. Their conversations also need to be secure when they transfer medical data for example. Yet there are still many different systems by various providers in the health care system that are not able to properly communicate with each other. The solution is called interoperability.
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Photo: Carpenter works with a bench saw; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Marko Volkmar

Prevention: Digital tools for the digital workplace

01/07/2016

Added stress or relief? The digitization of the workplace is both since we can be better and more often reached and - at least in some areas - also be gradually replaced by a machine. But digital tools are also able to support us by measuring our body’s basic functions and warning us if we endanger our health.
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Photo: Screenshot of the web portal WISS

Wearables: web portal WISS to foster communication in professional sports

01/07/2016

Wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have fast become a part of our lives. These technologies are also being considered for use in professional sports. Data is meant to be analyzed and training optimized with the help of these devices, the web portal WISS (Wearables in Professional Sports, German: Wearables im Spitzensport) was created.
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Graphic: Hand holds a smartphone, four pictures in the background with rescue situations

Emergency: app alerts first responders

08/06/2016

Just a few minutes can make the difference between life and death when a person loses consciousness or goes into sudden cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, emergency medical services cannot always be on location as fast as needed. To ensure immediate life-sustaining measures, the "mobile rescue" app was developed, which alerts emergency medical responders in the immediate vicinity of an emergency.
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Photo: Devices and products patients need to treat their diabetes; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ MihaPstock

Artificial pancreas: an (almost) automated diabetes treatment?

22/05/2016

The treatment for diabetes is very time-consuming for patients: they need to regularly monitor blood sugar levels, take medication and inject insulin. Poor self-management may result in a dangerous lapse in blood glucose levels. Yet external factors can also contribute to diabetes being out of control. An artificial pancreas system could offer relief.
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Photo: Doctor at laptop

New E-Health Act: "Patients have control over their data"

08/05/2016

The "Act on secure digital communication and applications in the health care system" (the e-Health Act in short) took effect on December 29 last year. By the end of 2018, hospitals and medical practices will be gradually introduced to the new features of the electronic health card and telemedicine.
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Cardiac insufficiency: early diagnosis with ultrasound

02/05/2016

Heart failure or cardiac insufficiency presents an extra strain on patients because it severally limits everyday performance and deprives them of energy. Due to their intense need for movement, children are particularly strongly affected. However, the disease is frequently not detected until the physical performance is already declining. An early diagnosis could prevent this.
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Photo: Keyboard with heart symbol

Big data in cardiology: IT platform to manage "flood of data"

01/05/2016

In addition to patient counseling and clinical diagnostics, the lion’s share of a cardiologist’s work consists of collecting data to be able to better treat future cases based on the gathered information. Until now, this data was recorded in Excel spreadsheets or many other communication platforms. A software is designed to facilitate a cross-industry exchange.
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Photo: Physicians videochatting

eHealth: just for self-taught learners?

01/04/2016

Every technology we take for granted today was new and unfamiliar at first and needed to be learned: this applies to smartphones, new operating systems or VCRs alike. It is even more important to keep up with the latest technologies in your job since know-how also presents a financial advantage. Physicians fare no differently here than other occupational groups.
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Photo: Three-dimensional model of the right ventricle

Ultrasound: four dimensions for pediatric cardiac diagnostics

01/03/2016

Fortunately, only a handful of newborns are affected by them, though this determines if not the rest of their lives then, at least, the first few years of affected children: congenital heart defects. After the necessary surgeries, the small patients repeatedly need to return for checkups. Until now, these were conducted using MRI scans. 4D ultrasound can be an alternative.
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Wearables and apps: insecure connections, careless users

01/09/2015

They are exciting for enthusiasts of the "quantified self" movement and extremely useful for athletes: wearables that measure and store numerous body parameters and enable long-term data analysis. Yet, for their use in medicine and rehabilitation, manufacturer and user both need to ask themselves how safe the devices actually are.
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Small companions: How wearables change our lives

01/09/2015

They can be seen everywhere: at the wrists, in the ear, clipped to the belt. Wearables are small technical assistants who are built to collect and partially also to analyze data. Some of them collect measurable health data, others "only" count their user’s steps or measure the surrounding UV radiation. The fact is, however, that wearables are en vogue and are used for many different cases.
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A wearable to draw a complete picture of the heart

01/09/2015

Smartphone apps and wearable sensors have the potential to help people make healthier lifestyle choices. Self-monitoring therefore is one of the core strategies for changing cardiovascular health behaviors. On the other side, patients benefit from sharing their data with doctors and electronic health record (EHR) systems.
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Patient information on the internet: "The quality varies greatly"

01/04/2015

The internet is a popular source of information, even for health questions. Yet not all of the information that’s available there is accurate and reliable. To offer patients in Germany a reliable source of information, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Healthcare, IQWiG in short, has set up a portal that is based on scientific data.
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Communication: How does the neighbor actually do it?

02/03/2015

In Europe, or rather: at least between Germany and the Netherlands, the answer to this question often is not more than a subject for jokes. A current research project about strategic communication in hospitals now wants to show that and how neighbors actually are able to learn from each other when they look to the other side of the fence.
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Hospital crisis communication: A crisis knows no rules

02/03/2015

Crises come in many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s poor hygiene, thefts or treatment errors – once the crisis has arrived, things need to move quickly. For hospitals in particular, the right crisis communication is key. Yet many medical facilities still neglect the fact that crisis communication starts before the actual crisis takes place.
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Photo: Tissue sections on object slides

Digital pathology: From microscope slide to virtual microscopy

02/02/2015

The digitization of medicine moves on. Researchers, physicians and patients equally benefit from this development – thanks to improved diagnostics with highly sensitive devices, today findings can be comprehensively analyzed and treatment decisions made on a broadened basis. Digitization also offers the area of pathology interesting fields of application.
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Football: "We want to globally determine deaths for the first time"

02/06/2014

Sudden deaths of football players make headlines time after time: competitive athletes who are the idols of many people die just when they are on the playing field and in the limelight. Congenital heart defects often cause their death. Sports physicians and FIFA now plan to ascertain data that can help improve preventive examinations in competitive football.
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mHealth Alliance: "Mobile health has the potential to improve healthcare for millions"

02/05/2014

Whether in remote areas or in a large city – people everywhere need good healthcare. Thanks to mobile health, more and more people can get medical help, even in poor regions of the world.
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Medical apps: functionality and safety is key

02/05/2014

Successful communication is most important in medicine. The most modern channels have been utilized in this area for quite some time now. Medical apps need to meet several requirements at once. For their use to pay off, they need to be beneficial for prevention or therapy. And to ensure a safe application, they also need to be both technically and medically flawless.
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RESCUER: "Crowds should take an active part in ensuring their own safety during major events"

01/04/2014

Thousands of people push through a tight tunnel: 21 people died while several hundred people were injured this way during the Love Parade 2010 disaster in Duisburg, Germany. Today we know that such disasters could be prevented, if communication between event participants and rescue workers would be better.
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KOHALA: digital student for cancer treatment

03/02/2014

Shortening a time-consuming procedure from four hours to five minutes and automate it at the same time sounds like a dream come true for employees in all fields and industry sectors. This dream could soon become a reality for radiologists. Software could take away the tedious processing of CT images, which is required before cancer radiation therapy.
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