HEALTH

SoloHealth awarded Intel Innovation Award for healthcare kiosk

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — SoloHealth on Friday announced the company was awarded with Intel’s information technology healthcare award, the “Intel Innovation Award,” during the 2011 Health IT Leadership Summit that took place earlier this week in Atlanta.

SoloHealth was recognized for its next-generation health-and-wellness kiosk, the SoloHealth Station. “It was a very tough decision for the judges, as all four finalists were extremely qualified and deserving,” stated Jared Quoyeser, director of healthcare marketing for Intel Americas. “But ultimately our panel of judges selected SoloHealth because of its unique and impactful SoloHealth Station platform, which offers a solution that most efficiently and effectively helps combat the issues and problems facing our health delivery process, as well as access and engagement for consumers, medical professionals, businesses and our entire healthcare system.”

Currently in select U.S. test markets and retail locations, SoloHealth’s next-generation, comprehensive SoloHealth Station provides screenings for vision, blood pressure, weight and body mass index, and an overall health assessment free of charge. SoloHealth also partners with local health systems and physicians in each market and connects consumers to a database of local professionals, helping to facilitate people into action. The company plans to provide highly personalized and interactive healthcare opportunities for consumers, advertisers and retailers by placing kiosks in high-traffic retail locations.

A cloud-based platform, the SoloHealth Station will provide users with a multiplatform ecosystem to access and interact with data through the kiosks at retail locations, online/digital, mobile and emerging platforms.

 


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CDC: 7-in-10 smokers want to quit; half have tried in past year

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — Most American adults who smoke wish they could quit, and more than half have tried within the past year, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday.

As many as 68.8% of current American adult smokers reported they want to quit and 52.4% of adult smokers tried to quit within the past year. Less than half (48.3%) of smokers who saw a health professional in the past year recalled getting advice to quit and 31.7% used counseling and/or medications in the past year. The use of these effective treatments can almost double to triple rates of successfully quitting.

“Smokers who try to quit can double or triple their chances by getting counseling, medicine, or both," CDC director Thomas Frieden said. "Other measures of increasing the likelihood that smokers will quit as they want to include hard-hitting media campaigns, 100% smoke-free policies and higher tobacco prices.”

The analysis is in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report is being published in conjunction with the annual Great American Smokeout, observed this year on Nov. 17. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the smokeout encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day.

According to the report, making healthcare settings, as well as all workplaces and public places smoke-free, offers smokers additional encouragement to help them quit. The report also noted the healthcare industry can increase successful quit attempts by providing comprehensive insurance coverage with no deductibles or co-payments for cessation treatments and services.

Smokers can get free resources and help quitting by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or visiting SmokeFree.gov.


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Studies: Chewing gum ingredient xylitol could prevent pediatric ear infections

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — There is "fair evidence" to support the use of xylitol, a natural sweetener used in gums and mints, to prevent inner ear infections in healthy children, according to a new evidence review.

Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is used in chewing gum to prevent cavities and has been shown to have antibacterial properties in lab tests. In the new review, researchers at the University of Toronto sought to figure out whether there is sufficient evidence to support the use of xylitol to prevent ear infections, the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, reported Thursday. The review appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research.

Among three studies, there was a 25% overall reduction in the occurrence of ear infections in the xylitol group compared to the control group. The review’s lead author, Amir Azarpazhooh, suggested xylitol appears to work in healthy children by inhibiting bacteria.

Mark Shikowitz, vice chairman of otolaryngology with the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y., hypothesized that gum itself appears to be beneficial as a way to prevent ear infections, possibly because chewing gum opens and closes the Eustachian tubes, the tubes that link the throat to the middle ear. However, Shikowitz said, too much gum chewing can be an issue: he often sees young patients who develop jaw problems as a result.

About 6-out-of-every-10 kids have an ear infection in their first year of life, and about 83% have one by 3 yearsold. Doctors typically treat ear infections with such antibiotics as penicillin and tetracycline.


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