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Disposable diagnostics: fighting antimicrobial resistance in the field

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the defining healthcare challenges of our times. As more bacteria become resistant to the drugs designed to treat them, we face the possibility of a return to a pre-antibiotic age of infectious disease. Now undergoing preclinical trials, disposable diagnostics could quickly detect bacterial infections and help address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Dr Maria Daniela Angione, research fellow at Trinity College Dublin, speaks to Practical Patient Care about the opportunities this technology offers diagnostics.

Genomics in healthcare

Hot on the heels of the success of the NHS’s 100,000 Genomes Project, which is currently 70% complete and expected to be finished by the end of 2018, NHS England will launch the NHS Genomic Medicine Service in October this year. The NHS Genomic Medicine Service aims to bring equitable access to genetic and genomic testing to patients in England. It will integrate the scientific technique of genome sequencing into the country’s unified healthcare system to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and rare, genetic diseases. Professor Clare Turnbull, researcher and consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital explains how this technology can enhance current diagnostic strategies.

Rapid paper strip test for infectious diseases

Researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands and Japan’s Keio University have developed a glow-in-the-dark paper strip for quick detection of infectious diseases. The new testing approach requires only a paper strip, blood sample and a digital camera, making it cost-effective and fast compared to laboratory measurements in the hospital. It is designed to identify the presence of certain antibodies made by the body in response to infections. This makes the test useful for monitoring the dose of antibody-based drugs. Maarten Merkx, researcher from Eindhoven University of Technology talks about the potential of this technology in providing cost-effective and efficient infectious disease diagnosis.

Molecular Diagnosis of Tuberculosis

As an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), TB remains a major public health issue especially in developing nations which suffer from a lack of adequate diagnostic testing facilities. New advances in the molecular detection of TB, including the faster and simpler nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and whole-genome sequencing (WGS), have resulted in a shorter time for diagnosis and, therefore, faster TB treatments. We speak to Fariz Nurwidya, researcher at the Department of Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine at Universitas Indonesia, about current developments.

Infection controlTop

Beliefs and practices around hand hygiene

Understanding the beliefs of healthcare professionals regarding glove use and associated hand hygiene is imperative to improving practices. But research in this area is limited. Jure Baloh, health services researcher at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, comments about both perceptions and behaviours of healthcare professionals surrounding the use of nonsterile gloves and hand hygiene before and after gloving.


A huge number of medical devices used by hospitals are labelled ‘single-use’. To save money, many hospitals rely upon ‘reprocessed’ single-use devices as a cheap and safe alternative to buying expensive new equipment, but recent manufacturer efforts to halt reprocessing could lead to hiked hospital costs. Nancy Chobin, sterile processing educator and consultant Sciences, talks to Practical Patient Care about best practices when using this technique.

Wound careTop

Smart bandages and the future of wound care

Wound healing technologies constitute a major commercial enterprise: the market for products involved in wound closure exceeds $15 billion and the market for skin scar prevention accounts for another $12 billion. However, there are major differences among the wound care products used in clinical practice. Smart systems, devices with sensing, responding or reporting functions, or a combination of these, can address many of the challenges associated with wound healing, particularly for chronic wounds. Hossein Derakhshandeh, researcher at the Laboratory for Innovative Microtechnologies and Biomechanics, explains the potential of smart bandages within wound care.

Challenges for wound care

Acute and chronic wounds are a growing healthcare concern, driven by ageing populations and the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity. Over the last few years wound management has observed significant progress. This has been the result of improved knowledge, technological advancement and substantial research. Despite these advancements, wound care faces a number of challenges. The EWMA discusses the key issues facing the industry and how these can be addressed.

Nanofiber-based wound dressings induce production of antimicrobial peptide

Nanofiber-based wound dressings loaded with vitamin D spur the production of an antimicrobial peptide, a key step forward in the battle against surgical site infections (SSIs). The findings by Oregon State University researchers and other collaborators, published in Nanomedicine, are important because SSIs are the most common healthcare-associated infection and result in widespread human suffering and economic loss. Adrian Gombart, author and professor of biochemistry and biophysics in OSU's College of Science, elaborates on the opportunities these new dressings open up for wound care.


Clarifying the risk reduction of breast cancer screening

Breast cancer screening and breast cancer mortality data have long been marooned on a misleading methodology that ambiguously conflates the time of diagnosis with the time of death. To address this disparity, researchers from Queen Mary University of London, have developed a new methodology that can better determine the risk reduction associated with breast cancer screening. Robert Smith, vice-president of cancer screening at the American Cancer Society, who was involved in the study, talks to Practical Patient Care about the findings and implications of the study.


Patient Toolkit

Both the clinician and the patient hold an important piece to the care puzzle. The physician has expertise in treating illness, whereas the patient is the authority on living with the condition. However, transferring the patient’s experience into a useable dataset can pose challenges. The Patient Toolkit, developed by the non-profit MITRE Corporation, which allows patients to digitally record symptoms, treatments and medications as well as communicate with providers. The toolkit also addresses the needs of providers, by generating longitudinal severity and compliance data. Kristina Sheridan, head of the enterprise strategy and transformation department at?the non-profit?MITRE Corporation discusses how this technology can be used to optimise the care provided to patients.

Operating room technologyTop

The intelligent operating room

Operating rooms are an integral part of hospitals but human factors often compromise their effectiveness and efficiencies. A number of exciting technologies offer the potential to transform surgical education, intraoperative documentation and direct patient care. We speak to Lauren Kolodzey, an academic from the Surgical Education & Innovation Research Group, about present and future operating room developments, with a particular emphasis of the potential of wearable technologies.

Critical careTop

Recent developments in critical care

We tend to think of critical care as a modern concept but organ support dates back thousands of years. However, in the last few years, we have witnesses a particularly rapid period of technological advancement. Andrew Drummond, a doctor?from The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, discusses the recent developments and implications for critical care of the future.


AI and the future of medical imaging

Medical imaging has revolutionised healthcare delivery. The next generation of imaging technology promises to be more powerful, further enhancing the ability of physicians to diagnose and treat an increasingly wide range of diseases at lower radiation doses. Developments in AI are particularly exciting, helping clinicians to improve both efficiency and effectiveness of diagnosis and care. Practical Patient Care speaks to Professor Daniel Rueckert, head of computing at Imperial, about the recent technological advances within AI and the potential for medical imaging.

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