Generic Drugs Vital to Global Public Health: WHO Appeal for Collaboration

One of the most difficult problems faced by public health agencies worldwide is maintaining protection for pharma companies, so they continue to develop new medicines while finding legal and practical ways to make drugs available to developing countries. At last week’s joint WHO/WIPO/WTO technical symposium on access to medicines, patent information and freedom to operate in Geneva, Dr Margaret Chan appealed to governments, patent attorneys, and pharmacutical companies to help populate global drugs databases to enable developing countries to get the medicines they need to combat the rise in costly diseases that plague their citizens.

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Cholera Epidemic Sweeps Haiti: Crisis Mappers Help Guide Aid

Since October, 1,400 Haitians have died from the cholera outbreak that is taxing the country’s already fragile infrastructure. The 2010 Haiti earthquake killed 250,000 and destroyed large portions of Haiti’s healthcare system, hospitals, government offices and other supporting organizations. Crisis Mappers are doing their part to help direct resources to the people and areas of most urgent need. The HealthMap-Haiti picture to the right shows the outbreak, which is most acute at Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital and largest city.

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Imperial College Medical and Nanyang Technological University to Offer Joint Degree

Imperial College London and Nanyang Technological University will begin offering joint medical degrees in 2017. In the September 1, 2010 partnership, Imperial will bring its renowned medical teaching and expertise to Singapore while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will play a vital role in boosting Singapore’s supply of world class doctors. The School will enroll its first students in 2013 and eventually have 750 undergraduate students enrolled.

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Johns Hopkins Expands Global Footprint in Malaysia

On November 2, 2010, Johns Hopkins Medicine signed an agreement with Academic Medical Centre Sdn Bhd to develop a medical school in Malaysia.  It will be the first private, four year medical school in Malaysia, and the first to use the western teaching model. Hopkins will be advising and partnering with Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine and the Perdana University Hospital in the joint venture.

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CHEF Chicago Hosts Singapore Medical Tourism Luncheon

CHEF Chicago hosted a luncheon on medical tourism in Singapore in Chicago, October 15, 2010.  Clara Yap, Manager, Healthcare Services at Singapore Tourism Board, led the presentation with an overview of Singapore as a medical tourism destination, followed by Samuel Tan, Group Assistant Vice President of ParkwayHealth, who outlined the capabilities of one of the most advanced medical groups in Southeast Asia.  Rudy Rupak, CEO of PlanetHospital, added his insights as well.  This was CHEF Chicago’s second event dedicated to medical tourism this year.

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How Hospitals Use Social Media to Engage Patients

Social Media enables people to interact and share, which makes it inherently useful for healthcare providers and patients and this post gives two great examples. The University of Maryland Medical Center and Mayo Clinic use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to share information with their communities. More important, however, each hospital allows members of its community to share with each other.

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Mapping the Crisis in Pakistan

Example of Pakistan Crisis Map, 25 Sept. 2010

According to numerous sources, the monsoons and flooding in Pakistan represent one of the largest humanitarian crises in recent times.  Roughly 18 million victims have fled their homes, and the government and international aid organizations struggle to deliver appropriate aid.  The victims represent one tenth of Pakistan’s population.

I have recently become a volunteer in, which maps the crisis in Pakistan as it is happening.  Pakreport is using the open source platform Ushahidi to categorize and map various types of emergencies, health hazards and security issues to help law enforcement and aid workers.  Here is how it works:

Minimally Invasive Surgery: Key Enabler of Medical Tourism

Physician and hospital innovation plays a critical role in reducing procedures’ impact on the body thereby reducing recovery time.  As physicians substitute minimally invasive surgery (MIS)  for “traditional” surgeries, they also increase the medical tourism option for patients.

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How Advanced Medical Procedures Enable U.S. Medical Tourism

Innovation with medical technologies and procedures plays a critical role in expanding treatment options, which can include medical tourism.  For example, The International Orthopedic Group in Doral, Florida, USA uses minimally invasive surgery and regional block anesthesia to reduce the post-operative recovery time.  In the former, minimal incisions are made, which reduces tissue damage.  This makes the procedure more applicable to medical tourism patients.  Similarly, regional block anesthesia makes the procedure easier on the patient and less of an ordeal.  For the clinic, this dramatically increases the market it can address.

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U.S. Domestic Medical Tourism Case Studies

If “medical tourism” is defined as traveling for healthcare, that does not necessarily mean overseas.  This article highlights U.S. “domestic” medical tourism case studies from Lowe’s, BridgeHealth Medical, The Health Services Coalition, and Alpha Coal West.  “Domestic” medical tourism is also increasing in Europe where patients travel to other European providers.

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