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Experiencing Failure Doesn’t Mean Being a Failure!






I believe we all know how horrible the feeling that accompanies “Oh no, what have I done?” really is, as it takes root deep inside ourselves. Just trying to reach the point of mustering enough courage to admit making a mistake of some kind can cause most of us to become physically sick. “How could I have possibly made that mistake?” or “How could I have overlooked something so obvious?” Then we fall head-first into a series of self-defeating thoughts“I am so stupid! I will never get over this.” The spiral down can be deadly.No matter who you are or where you have been, we all know these feelings. I have been there and I am now here to share with you that it’s not the feelings nor the mistake that should get the forever focus. The most important thing is how we deal with them.

Sadly, every area of our society seems to focus on targeting those who make mistakes, complete with reasons why we should feel guilty for making them. Efforts are even made to try and sell us on the belief that we should avoid making mistakes at any cost lest we suffer humiliation. That pressure, real or perceived, leads us to believe that if we make an error it is the same as admitting failure. Making the mistake gives rise to feelings and beliefs that we are a mistake. It’s a cycle that leads to being mentally and emotionally paralyzed. The stress and fear that we assume would direct us to steering clear of making a mistake again merely pushes us the other way and we make the same mistake over and over again.

That can’t be the way life is supposed to be. If we look at making mistakes differently, we can begin to realize that to be very much alive and part of our world is to make and learn from mistakes. They help us to explore and learn that everything and everyone around us changes, including us. Very few things in life are constant and even fewer are predictable. How can anyone expect to get everything right, each and every time, everywhere…during the “forever” span of time one is here in this life?

No one is denying the reality that some mistakes can have very serious consequences. But my focus here is more on how important it is to recognize that making some mistakes can be a crucial step in learning, growing, and improving ourselves. They can also help us understand the importance of knowing that there are times throughout our lives when trying to do it all alone is that first mistake that leads to others. Mistakes can help us realize the importance of teamwork, listening to other viewpoints, and learning from the experiences of others.

Learning from our mistakes requires that we garner the confidence to admit to ourselves and others (if/when needed) that a mistake has been made. From that point, we must seek the courage to move forward and determine if it is possible to minimize or even change the outcome or impact of the mistake.Realistically, we know that it might not be possible to do that in every situation.However, it is the process and the effort in that process that allows us to move forward.

The opposite would be to avoid taking ownership for your mistakes and that can ruin your personal and professional reputation as well as your credibility among family, friends, and co-workers. Small, simple mistakes—those we all make at some point in our lifetime—can be easily fixed once identified and they are generally accepted by others. However, repeated mistakes can have much weightier consequences. Making the same mistake over and over serves to show that we are not learning sufficiently from the past mistakes in ways that lead us to make needed changes.


Once you make a mistake…what do you do?

  • Once you make a mistake, don’t let your first response be the infamous “freaking out.” Instead, stop and remind yourself that you will be okay in and will get through this. Be thankful that you found the error and then take whatever action is needed to alert others who need to be aware of it. I know it is difficult, but there is more respect in owning up to a mistake and taking the lead to correct it than in denying it or hiding it.
  • Be positive for positive thinking creates positive results.
  • Making a mistake can be painful when it happens. However, you are gaining valuable experience that can lead you to being more cautious in future situations. There is also a greater motivation for creating your own success.
  • When facing the reality of a mistake, perhaps it is time to reevaluate what happened more closely so that new opportunities can present themselves and the situation can be resolved more effectively.
  • Remember that it takes failure to create success.
  • Mistakes can either be stepping stones to growth and progress in your life or stumbling stones that trip you and beat you into feeling like a failure. Even when life takes unexpected turns or you feel like a situation is beyond your control, you have a voice and a choice in your destiny. Accepting mistakes as stepping stones will lead you toward greater success. Remember, though, that failures or successes—never stop believing in yourself. 

    Changing how you perceive mistakes and what they mean in your life can provide you a totally new outlook. Sometimes making mistakes may humble our ego. However, that allows us to realize that we are not perfect, there is room for growth, and the lessons learned are invaluable.

    We are fallible. We need to be forgiven by others and we must be able to forgive others, who are as we are, fallible. Together, we can help each other let go of our fears, reach out to really experience the life journey, and truly live without regrets. History does not have to repeat itself. Mistakes ignored or taken for granted lead down the path of them being made again. Mistakes acknowledged and dealt with constructively can pave the way for a legacy that can help others steer clear of the jagged rocks on the shorelines of life.

    You see my friends…mistakes allow us to show our true resiliency as we move through the hard times and experience what it means to be wounded. More importantly, it shows that you care deeply and that you are courageous enough to look beyond where you are to all the possibilities—those that come your way, those that come from others, and those you will create!

    When you failed, you were strong enough to remain standing with your dignity intact to show others that even though life is unpredictable and mistakes are inevitable, experiencing a failure does not mean that you are failure. You are my hero and I am so proud to know so many of you who have been and are willing to step out and try something new. I truly commend your desire to have a better life, one that is full of exploration, adventure, and opportunities to think outside the box. Such a life can most certainly motivate others and leave a strong legacy for future generations. I know first-hand the pain and self-imprisonment that has come from not wanting to let go of my own past mistakes.

Welsh Government invests in new high-tech cameras to detect diabetes-related eye damage


More than £500,000 in funding for high-tech cameras which will help identify eye damage related to diabetes has today been granted to Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service Wales.

The new funding from Welsh Government, worth £561,000, will allow the service to replace all its digital retinal cameras and replace them with the best screening facilities for patients. The new cameras will feature the latest technology and be the third generation from the current model in use, meaning improved detection for patients.

All people over the age of 12 who have been diagnosed with diabetes and registered with a GP in Wales should be referred to the service and screened every year. The latest figures show that of the 115,528 people who were screened in 2013-14, 29.2% were found to have diabetic retinopathy.

Professor Drakeford said: “There are currently around 175,000 adults and children in Wales who are being treated for diabetes. We want to make sure those living with the condition have access to the best treatment and support available to help them manage their lives.

“This investment will mean people have access to the latest cameras available which are capable of detecting eye damage related to diabetes and, in many cases, will allow the Welsh NHS to take action to save a person’s sight.”

Andrew Crowder, head of programme at the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service for Wales, said: “As one of the 15 healthcare essentials for people with diabetes, there is ever-growing evidence that regular attendance for diabetic retinopathy screening reduces the risk of sight loss.

“This investment is a statement of confidence in that clinical effectiveness and of the screening services’ ability to take advantage of the latest technology to improve our already internationally-recognised service quality.”

David Cameron faces ‘day of reckoning for trashing NHS’, says Labour

Andy Burnham addressing the Labour party conferenceDavid Cameron will face a day of reckoning with the electorate for “trashing” the NHS without the public’s permission, Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, has said.

Burnham, a former health secretary under Gordon Brown, got several standing ovations at the Labour conference on Wednesday as he promised that the party would give people the right to be treated in their own home and make the NHS responsible for social care as well as medical problems.

Invoking the spirit of Nye Bevan, the architect of the NHS, Burnham said he would write to everyone in the country explaining what they could expect to get from the health service under Labour.

He was able to promise more cash for vital services after the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said he would raise money from mansion owners, tobacco companies and tax avoiders to protect NHS funding.

Burnham also followed an emotionally charged address from 91-year-old activist Harry Leslie Smith, who spoke of growing up in a “barbarous, bleak and uncivilised” time before public healthcare. His sister was tortured by tuberculosis while his parents could not afford the doctor’s bill and she had to be buried in a pauper’s grave, he said.

“I am not a politician, a member of the elite or a financial guru, but my life is your history – and we should keep it that way,” he said. “So say it loud and say it clear in this hall and across this country: Mr Cameron, keep your mitts off my NHS.”

Labour believes health will be a key electoral issue as voters start to worry less about the economy and more about the NHS as it begins to suffer from the coalition’s structural shakeup, declining staff morale after years of frozen pay and a budget not increasing fast enough to cope with the ageing population.

Burnham said this had already begun to show, with the winter A&E crisis turning into a spring crisis, summer crisis and autumn crisis.

“The party that created the NHS in the last century today sets out a plan to secure it in this. A rescue plan for a shattered service,” he said.

He reminded the audience of David Cameron’s “barefaced lie” that there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS, with the coalition embarking on a structural shakeup and opening the door to more privatisation in its first year of government.

“The plan that dared not speak its name before the last election is now plain for all to see: run it down, break it up, sell it off,” he said.

“So today we serve notice on Cameron and Clegg: Thursday 7 May 2015 – your day of reckoning on the NHS.

“A reckoning for trashing the public’s most prized asset without their permission. And a reckoning for a ruinous reorganisation that has dragged it down and left it on the brink.”

He said the NHS could not take five more years of Cameron, but that Labour would go further than rescuing a struggling service by expanding what it offered.

Burnham’s big idea is “whole-person care” so patients and carers have a single point of contact in the NHS rather than ringing the council for some things and the GP for others.

He also stressed that the NHS would be the preferred provider of treatment over private companies, saying it was “not for sale, not now, not ever”.

In sign of how the Tories will deal with attacks on their record with the NHS before the election, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, laid into Burnham for failing to mention that he was in charge of the Department of Health at the time of the Mid Staffordshire care scandal.

“Once again at Labour conference the most important part of a speech was forgotten – Andy Burnham failed to apologise for, or even mention, the tragic events at Mid Staffs. We will only improve the NHS if we are honest about terrible problems which happened because of a target culture Labour have never taken responsibility for.”

Hunt also attacked Burnham over the wider economic picture, saying: “You can’t fund the NHS if you bankrupt the economy – which is exactly what Labour did.”

The speech went down very well with Labour activists but the NHS Confederation, which represents health authorities, urged some caution over the plan to merge health and social care services.

Rob Webster, chief executive of the group, said “integrating services and ‘bringing in social care’ is easy to say and much more difficult to deliver.”

“There are significant financial and structural consequences that need to be managed,” he added. “What is clear is that a messy structural reorganisation of the administration of healthcare will get in the way of changes to healthcare delivery, and must be avoided at all costs.”

Obesity could bankrupt NHS if left unchecked

Overweight womanChief executive of NHS England warns of catastrophic impact obesity could have on health and rising healthcare costs

The chief executive of NHS England has warned that obesity will bankrupt the health service unless Britain gets serious about tackling the problem.

“Obesity is the new smoking, and it represents a slow-motion car crash in terms of avoidable illness and rising health care costs,” Simon Stevens told public health officials at a conference in Coventry.

“If as a nation we keep piling on the pounds around the waistline, we’ll be piling on the pounds in terms of future taxes needed just to keep the NHS afloat.”

Stevens, who took up the post this year, said the health of millions of children, the sustainability of the NHS and the economic prosperity of Britain all now depend on a radical upgrade in prevention and public health.

Local authorities have been given responsibility for tackling obesity, as part of their new public health remit. Money for public health has been ringfenced by the government, but individual authorities are free to spend it according to the needs and priorities in their own area. Some experts fear that obesity, which is hard to tackle and needs the involvement of town planners and education departments as well as health, may not get the funding it needs.

Speaking at the annual conference of Public Health England, which is responsible for advising and monitoring the work of the local authorities, Stevens made it clear that obesity could have a catastrophic impact not only on the nation’s health but on the nation’s health service. Nearly one in five secondary school age children and a quarter of adults are obese – up from 15% just twenty years ago, Simons pointed out. If obesity is not checked, there will be a huge rise in avoidable illness and disability. Type 2 diabetes, largely caused by overweight and obesity, already costs the NHS around £9bn, according to Diabetes UK.

Stevens’ proposals for the way forward for the NHS will be published in a report next month. The Five Year Forward View will suggest a number of actions that could make a difference.

• Many of the diseases that shorten lives and put people in hospital are preventable. The report will call for a shift in NHS investment towards targeted and proven prevention programmes. The NHS is now spending more on bariatric (stomach shrinking) surgery for obesity than on the national rollout of the intensive lifestyle intervention programmes that were first shown to cut obesity and prevent diabetes over a decade ago.

• New incentives to ensure the NHS as an employer sets an example. Stevens wants its 1.3 million staff to stay healthy and become health ambassadors in their own communities. Although 75% of NHS Trusts offer their staff help to stop smoking, only a third offer help to keep to a healthy weight. Three-quarters do not provide healthy food for staff working night shifts.

• Financial incentives shoud be offered to employers in England who provide effective workplace health programmes for employees.

• Local councils and mayors should have “devo-max” powers to make decisions over fast food, alcohol, tobacco and other public health matters in their own areas. Stevens cites the public health leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who banned smoking in public places and has taken tough action against junk food marketing, including his attempt to ban super-size cartons of colas in New York.

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS England’s national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, believes obesity is a significant public health issue.

“We are seeing huge increases in type 2 diabetes because of the rising rates of obesity, and we clearly need a concerted effort on the prevention, early diagnosis and management of diabetes to slow its significant impact not only on individual lives but also on the NHS,” he said.

Digitising health and social care services – your views

A Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network seminar provoked debate around health data, and clinical and patient involvement

At a seminar run by the Guardian Healthcare Professionals Network, an expert panel discussed how the digitisation of services and patient data will transform the health and social care sectors.

The panel examined some of the advances in healthcare technology and raised implications for leaders in the sector, frontline staff and patients.

Speaking at the event were Orlando Agrippa, deputy chief information officer, Barts health NHS trust; Mark Davies, medical director, Medeanalytics; Adam Steventon, head of data, the Health Foundation; and Di Millen, informatics leadership and development lead, NHS England.

Ed Miliband’s £2.5bn pledge puts NHS at heart of election battle

Labour leader promises 20,000 more nurses, while Tories seize on forgotten section of speech made without notes

Ed Miliband has played what he hopes will be his trump card in the general election by promising 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs in a £2.5bn-a-year move to make the state of the National Health Service the central issue for voters.

In a keynote speech to the Labour conference in Manchester that won few plaudits for its delivery, Miliband delighted party activists by saying an annual “Time to Care” fund would tackle delays in GP appointments, and rescue overstretched hospital A&E departments.

Speaking without notes and saying he was at the start of a eight-month job interview ahead of May’s election, the Labour leader focused remorselessly on health and the crisis in living standards, including a six-point plan to improve Britain over the next 10 years.

Two of the three standing ovations in the speech came when he promised to save the NHS, and put it at the heart of the election. He told delegates: “The NHS is sliding backwards under this government.

“They are privatising and fragmenting it. Just think what it would be like after five more years of this government. It is not safe in their hands. We built the NHS, we saved the NHS, we will repeal the Health and Social Care Act, and we will transform the NHS for the future.”

However, Miliband avoided saying anything on schools, crime, multiculturalism or welfare. It later emerged he had also forgotten a passage in which he would have said the Labour government would get the deficit down, an omission that was seized on by the Tories as a sign that Miliband was not serious about constraining public spending.

Speaking less than a week after Scotland’s hard-fought independence campaign, Miliband made only a limited reference to constitutional questions. He referred to Labour’s need to address the question of whether non-English MPs should be allowed to vote on English matters, but said this had to be part of a wider engagement and not a Westminster stitch-up.

There was also some mockery on social media as tweeters focused on Miliband’s repeated use of anecdotes involving personal conversations he had with ordinary voters, and in particular his double reference to Gareth, a software developer, who turned out to work for a London based IT firm and is a former Lib Dem supporter considering switching to Labour.

In the centrepiece of his speech Miliband said he would fund the extra NHS spending by raising £1.2bn from a new mansion tax on properties valued at more than £2m, £1.1bn from tax avoidance measures – including stopping hedge funds avoiding hundreds of millions in tax on shares – and £150m by annually charging “fees” on tobacco firms so that they make a larger contribution towards tackling tobacco-related illnesses.

The fees, similar to those introduced by Barack Obama in 2009, are to be based on the firm’s market share. The news drove down the share price of some UK-based tobacco firms, whose trade body the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association argued the industry already contributes £12.3bn a year to the exchequer, while the costs of smoking to the NHS are estimated at between £2.7bn and £5.2bn.

Miliband said: “We will raise £1bn from tax avoidance, including by closing the loopholes for the hedge funds. We will use the proceeds from a tax on houses worth over £2m and we will raise revenue from the tobacco companies who make soaring profits on the back of ill health.”

He added: “The NHS is currently creaking. One in four people wait a week or more for a GP appointment. We have seen the scandal of care visits restricted to just 15 minutes for the elderly. It is time to care about the NHS so that doctors, nurses, care workers, midwives are able to spend proper time with us – and not to be rushed off their feet.”

However, the Tories said the plan to raise £2.5bn contained an £850m black hole since two of Labour’s loophole measures would raise no revenue. Labour claims that ending the so-called “Quoted Eurobond Exemption” – which is designed to make UK companies more attractive to foreign lenders – will raise £500m. The Tories say this is contradicted by an official Treasury analysis that found such restrictions would “be difficult to frame, generate market uncertainty on London’s Eurobond market, and could be structured around, so providing negligible Exchequer yield”. The Tories added that the government was already acting on a second loophole identified by Labour.

But the Tories were most delighted by the mistake in which Miliband missed out a key section of his speech on the deficit and immigration, one that was briefed to some reporters the night before. His aides said he had simply forgotten the passages as he struggled to memorise a speech that lasted 65 minutes. They denied he had left it out for fear of offending party activists or disagreed with its contents.

The passage was striking since he had been expected to say: “There won’t be money to spend after the next election. Britain will be spending £75bn on the interest on our debt alone. That’s more than the entire budget for our schools.”

He was also due to say: “Labour’s plan is based on a tough new approach. Eliminating the deficit as soon as possible in the next parliament. Getting the national debt falling. And no proposals for additional borrowing. We will get the deficit down.”

He also missed a relatively mild passage on migrants that read: “Immigration benefits our country but those who come here have a responsibility to learn English and earn their way.”

Miliband used the speech to announce that a Labour government would give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote. “It’s time to give the voice to young people,” he declared, before appealing to youngsters struggling to get on the housing ladder by pledging to double the number of first time buyers.

He said the last few months had shown the “compassionate” David Cameron had been found out, and the prime minister had simply left working people to fend on their own. He said people have lost their faith in the future arguing “the deck is stacked, the game is rigged in favour of those that already have power”.

He managed just a few paragraphs on the Middle East crisis and the threat posed to Britain by Islamic State (Isis) saying he supported the overnight action taken by the US in Syria against the Islamist extremist group, adding that he favoured a UN Security Council resolution to win the international support to counter the threat of Isis.

‘Doctor on Demand’ gives medical attention without the wait


We all know how frustrating it can be to try and get a doctor’s appointment, especially at the last minute

In fact, the average wait time across the country to get in to see a doctor is 22 days, and once you get in, you still have to wait to see the doctor.

There may be a solution to those long wait times, thanks to Doctor on Demand.

“I didn’t have a physician yet, and I needed a refill for my beta blockers that I take every day,” said Michelle Harrison, who just moved to Central Florida.

So Harrison decided to use Doctor on Demand and downloaded the app to her iPhone. (Link foriPhone app, Link for Android app)

First, you fill out what’s wrong or your symptoms and current medication you are taking, before speaking to a board certified doctor. Harrison said the process was easy.

“He had me check my heart rate, asked for my blood pressure, medical history, I felt like he did a very thorough job,” she said.

The doctor prescribed Michelle a three-month supply of beta blockers but did make a request.

“He definitely recommended I get a local physician, which I plan to do, just did not at that time,” she said.

Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Thielhelm has reservations about medical apps like this.

“I think you have to be careful with the doctor apps, because they aren’t really regulated,” she said.

She prefers her patients to use medical apps for tracking information, like baby tracker, which tracks time you feed, sleep, etc. Thielhelm says a face-to-face examination is the best method when seeing a doctor.

“How do they even know how to treat you when they don’t see you? It’s worrisome to prescribe something to people you don’t see,” she said.

“We are far more regulated than going into a physical location medicine,” said Dr. Pat Basu, chief medical officer for Doctor on Demand.

The app is regulated by a few agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, prescribing guidelines by the Drug Enforcement Administration and HIPAA.

Basu said doctors use two main skills to diagnose conditions — looking and listening to you. Using a video visit allows their doctors to do both without having to “touch.”

“The odds are very slim I am clinching the diagnosis where my hands are physically on you anymore,” Basu said.

But Theilhelm said often you can’t tell from a symptom; you really have to examine a patient.

“I think if you’re a pretty healthy adult, you can get away with it, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for children,” Theilhelm said.

According to Basu, the best use for Doctor on Demand is for an urgent care diagnosis, like sinusitis, bronchitis, a child with a rash, pink eye, cold sores and urinary tract infections. It is not for very serious or very chronic type illnesses.

As for prescriptions, they do not prescribe any narcotics, mainly antibiotics and refills.

“We are not going to try and replace your doctor,” Basu said. “In fact if you come back to our service too frequently or try come back for a second diabetes refill or second high blood pressure refill, we will politely give you instructions on what to do but say you need to go in person to see your doctor for this before you can use our service.”

Harrison said what she liked the best was the convenience and the cost. There is a $40 fee to speak to a doctor. The service is available in 47 states, including Florida.

Not only is Doctor on Demand popular with patients, but doctors as well. They have had more than 12,000 doctors apply to work for Doctor on Demand.

Graduate unemployment in steep drop, new data suggests

BBC Education Graduate

There has been a big fall in graduate unemployment in the UK, the latest figures suggest.

The Higher Education Careers Service Unit (Hecsu) analysed the destinations of 256,350 new graduates six months after they left university.

Some 7.3% were unemployed in January 2014, down from 8.5% in January 2013 and the lowest level since 2008.

The figures are a “fascinating example” of how quickly the graduate jobs market can change, says Hecsu’s Charlie Ball.

The deputy director of research said students should “bear this in mind when deciding which subject to study”.

‘Better prospects’

The report says that although new graduates are likely to “bounce around or can’t find what they are after immediately”, the size of the survey makes it a “reliable snapshot” of how they are faring as a group.

The figures, published jointly with the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, suggest 70% of new graduates were in employment by January 2014.

The researchers suggest better employment prospects have resulted in fewer graduates in further study – some 12.4% of the total, down from 13% the year before.

Some 5.6% were combining work and study, leaving 7.3% unemployed and 4.7% listed as “other”.

The figures also suggest more graduates were in professional and managerial work – 66.3% of new graduates, compared with 64.9% the previous year.

Fewer were working as retail, catering, waiting and bar staff – down to 13% of the total from 13.7% the previous year.

Further shocks?

Graduate employment in recession-hit sectors such as science has picked up slightly but many with science and technology degrees still find themselves in other jobs, say the researchers.

The numbers of new graduates employed as science professionals in January 2014 were still quite small, just over 2,000, but the researchers say this represents an increase of almost a quarter (22.4%) on the figures for 2013.

“There are significant increases in employment across all sectors and the turn in fortune is spreading beyond the South East with graduates in cities such as Birmingham and Manchester doing particularly well,” said Mr Ball.

“If you are located away from the major cities and are yet to feel the upturn, there’s a good chance it will reach you in the months to come, assuming there are no further shocks to the economy – although there are no absolute guarantees.”

He said it was encouraging that more graduates were finding work in the science, technology and engineering and construction sectors but cautioned that the story was a complex one “of demand and supply”.

“It is vital that students seek careers advice early and take work experience to better inform their decisions and prepare for employment.

South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Chooses InterSystems HealthShare for Joined up Health and Care


This NHS Trust will be speaking atJoined-Up Health & Care, 7 October, about their plans to connect health and social care to improve patient experience with integrated digital care records.

Read the full press release below:

ETON, UK – 18 Sep 14 –InterSystems, a global leader in software for connected healthcare, has announced that South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has chosen the InterSystems HealthShare® health informatics platform for its health information exchange (HIE) and clinical portal for use throughout the South Devon and Torbay region. HealthShare will support the Trust’s vision to design and deliver more joined up health and care services for the local community, and to make a person’s journey through the health system as simple and seamless as possible.

The Trust provides a comprehensive range of acute healthcare services to a resident population of 280,000 and an additional 100,000 holidaymakers who visit the region each year. The HIE is funded through the “Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards” Technology Fund.

HealthShare will aggregate and integrate patient healthcare information across health and social care services to deliver an integrated digital care record for patients regardless of the care location or service. The system will provide a clinical portal for clinicians working across the entire care network, including acute, community, mental health, social care, and general practitioner services.

It will also provide advanced analytics to translate the data into meaningful insights, both to improve care to patients and to allow local Trusts to better understand cost and resourcing needs across all clinical services.

In line with the Trust’s IT strategy, the goal of the HIE is not simply to share information, but also enable the Trust to develop solutions to problems in the local health economy. HealthShare enables the Trust to be scalable and adaptable to address future NHS growth or reorganisation and to be flexible in response to any future change in the size or geography of the Trust’s responsibility.

Dr. Mike Green, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and Chief Clinical Information Officer of South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, explained the key role filled by HealthShare, “Our vision is to be the best provider of healthcare services, delivering excellence in all that we do. To achieve this, we recognise that the most significant gains are made when NHS organisations work together in partnership to ensure that care does not break down at the boundaries of organisations.”

Dr. Green added, “We need a system that is truly seamless, so that people receive the right care and support at the right time, in the right place – wherever that may be. We will now be able to manage patients’ care in a more joined up way, across the community, in primary and acute areas.”

Known for being at the forefront of joined up care, the region’s Trusts are part of the Integrated Care Pioneers programme endorsed by Norman Lamb MP (Minister of State for Care and Support). The programme invites local Trusts to demonstrate the use of ambitious and innovative approaches to deliver person-centred, coordinated care and support.

Gary Hotine, Director of the Health Informatics Service, South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, provides insight into being a pioneer: “We are firmly committed to delivering integrated care across our health system. To this end, we were looking for a dynamic and flexible system. We already use two InterSystems products, the Ensemble integration platform and the Caché high-performance database, and HealthShare builds on these technologies. Our in-house IT team will implement the system, with training and mentoring from InterSystems, which puts us in control and ensures we need not rely on a third party to deliver the integrated digital care records.”

Dr. Jo Roberts, the South Devon and Torbay CCG Clinical Lead for Innovation, Engagement and Communication, said, “As a general practitioner, I am very aware of the pressures within primary care caused by patient information failing to pass between care settings. The HealthShare platform will facilitate joined up care for the benefit of patients wherever care is delivered in the region.”

Steve Garrington, Vice President, International, InterSystems, “InterSystems is delighted that the Trust chose HealthShare as the strategic interoperability platform to support its pioneering approach, which was recognised by a Technology Fund award. We look forward to working with South Devon to deliver integrated care records across local and regional health communities.”

— END —


About South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

South Devon Healthcare was one of the first NHS Trusts (established in 1991) and was authorised as one of the early NHS Foundation Trusts in 2007, and has a large public membership. It runs Torbay Hospital and has a reputation for innovation.

The South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust catchment area covers 300 square miles – from South Dartmoor to the length of coastline which stretches from the mouth of the River Exe (Dawlish), past the Teign and Dart estuaries (beyond Dartmouth).

South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust, which provides community health and social care, are planning to join together in 2015 to create a single Integrated Care Organisation.

The Trust is a member of the Government’s Integrated Care Pioneers Scheme, a programme, inviting local areas to demonstrate the use of ambitious and innovative approaches to deliver person-centred, co-ordinated care and support.


About InterSystems

InterSystems develops advanced software technologies that enable breakthroughs. With a passion for excellence and a focus on client success, InterSystems provides data management, strategic interoperability, and analytics platforms used in healthcare, financial services, government, and other industries. In selected countries, InterSystems also offers unified healthcare applications, based on its core technologies, that deliver on the promise of connected healthcare. Founded in 1978, InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide, and its products are used daily by millions of people in more than 100 countries. For more information,

Dye offers hope for removal of all traces of tumors


A third of patients who undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors end up with microscopic pieces left behind. These overlooked remnants can lead to the recurrence of cancer after what was thought to be a successful surgery.

Two surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania have joined forces to try to solve this problem. Their solution: making tumors glow. Using a combination of injectable dyes and high-resolution cameras, the surgeons found a way to image tumors during surgery and more easily identify their margins. They published their findings in July in the journal PLoS One.

“Once you get into surgery, you’ve only got your eyes and your hands to tell you where the margin of the cancer is,” said David Holt, lead author of the study and professor of surgery at the Penn School of Veterinary Medicine. Tumors can be studied before surgery with MRIs or CT scans, but these images are helpful only to a certain extent, he said.

After an initial study in mice, Holt used the new imaging technology on eight dogs with naturally occurring lung tumors. Holt and his team injected the dogs with indocyanine green, a dye that accumulates in tumors, more so than other tissues, due to their leaky blood vessels. The dye can’t be seen directly because it emits light in wavelengths that aren’t perceivable by human eyes.

But when the doctors shined a near-infrared light on the tumors during surgery, they glowed an “Incredible Hulk green” on computer screens hooked up to their cameras, Holt said. With the help of this real-time image, Holt could make decisions about where to make incisions during surgery on the dogs.

Even in the precision-driven field of surgery, “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” Holt said.

The successful dog study led to approval for a human clinical trial run by another surgeon, Sunil Singhal, a coauthor on the study and assistant professor of surgery at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. Using the same technology, which he compared to night-vision goggles, Singhal examined lung and chest tumors in five human patients. Just as in the dog study, the tumors strongly fluoresced under the near-infrared cameras.

Singhal also used this imaging approach in another study published last month in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. In two out of 18 patients with lung cancer, the imaging system helped surgeons identify cancer in areas that had previously gone undetected.

“For those two people, it was life-altering,” Singhal said. In cases like these, other imaging techniques or visual inspection of tissue might have given patients a Stage I diagnosis when they actually have Stage IV cancer. Singhal’s goal is to use this technology to more accurately gauge the severity of cancers as well as reduce the recurrence rate after surgery.

Singhal’s expertise led him to start exploring this technology in lung cancer, which kills more people in the United States than any other type of cancer. But he is already exploring its applications in other cancers, including breast cancer. He has seven open clinical trials using dyes to image tumors during surgery.

This type of imaging doesn’t involve radiation, making it safe to use for most patients, even pregnant women. But this limits how deeply into tissues surgeons can see. The dye Holt and Singhal used can be detected only at depths of 10 to 15 millimeters in tissues, leaving deeper areas unexplored.

Also, the dye does not specifically bind to tumor cells; thus, adjacent tissues can also collect dye, especially if they are inflamed. As tumors get larger, they tend to inflame surrounding tissues, Singhal said, leading to blurred margins on the images.

“That’s a major issue” with indocyanine green, said Zhen Cheng, associate professor of radiology and director of the Cancer Molecular Imaging Chemistry Laboratory at Stanford University. Imaging with dyes that selectively target tumor cells is more important, he said.

Singhal and Holt plan to use targeted dyes in future studies that are molecularly selective for tumor cells as well as continuing to improve their camera technology. Their work is not ready for mass use. But Singhal hopes it will ultimately lead to more sophisticated approaches, including three-dimensional holograms of tumors generated in real time during surgery.

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