Karen Finn

Karen spent the past 20+ years providing editorial services for leading B2B publications, large corporations, small businesses, individuals and students around the world. Her portfolio includes articles and business communications on pharmaceuticals, medical technology, healthcare policy, regulatory and legal systems, international trade and intellectual property. Her articles have been published in Scrip Regulatory AffairsClinica Medtech IntelligenceMedNousSecuringPharma and International Trade Today, among others.

International efforts to tackle the hepatitis pandemic have reached new heights, especially in the past year since the 69 th World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed the Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on viral hepatitis 2016–2021 . It is estimated that some 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection alone, and a large portion of these people lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions are at risk of chronic liver disease, cancer and death. To this end, the GHSS calls for the elimination of all types of viral hepatitis (A, B, C, D & E) as a public health threat by 2030 ‒ reducing new infections by 90% and mortality by 65%. Indeed, mortality caused by viral hepatitis is on the rise, with 1.4 million deaths believed to be caused by the disease in 2015. The focus is on HBV and HCV, both blood-borne infections that are responsible for 96% of all hepatitis mortality. Medtech’s contribution On a positive note, a Global Hepatitis Report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April 2017 says that eliminating viral hepatitis is “technically feasible”. Medical technology will play a critical role. The report points out, for example, that key innovations include rapid serological tests to detect antibodies to HCV as well as point-of-care tests to diagnose HCV infection. Newer and cheaper point-of-care rapid tests, such as those for HBV and affordable ones for HCV, could accelerate the elimination of hepatitis. The WHO’s first-ever viral hepatitis testing guidelines recommend the use of rapid diagnostic tests for hard-to-reach populations and targeted testing in groups most affected by HBV and HCV, such as people who inject drugs, those with HIV and children of mothers with HBV or HCV infection. Simple and...
The easiest type of pressure injury to deal with is the one that never happens. This is why health economists like William Padula, PhD are advocating the use of multi-layer prophylactic sacrum dressings for pressure injury prevention from the moment a patient enters the health system. In an interview with MedTech Views , Dr Padula pointed out that pressure injuries can develop in as little as a few hours. “The primary cause is the combination of older age, malnourishment and a highly acute condition,” he explained. Having carried out a five-year study of a million patients, the Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health observed that there was a major gap in care where patients are likely to develop a pressure injury. According to Dr Padula, hospital-acquired pressure injuries are common, costly and deadly, particularly Stage 3, 4 and Unstageable pressure injuries, which cause over 60,000 deaths per year in the US alone. Moreover, the cost of treating pressure ulcers is about $11 billion in the US, £2.1 billion in the UK and $1.6 billion in Australia. “Let’s look at the example of an older person being checked into the Emergency Room,” he said. “The paramedic is focused on keeping the patient alive, the triage nurse is focused on assessing the gravity of the person’s condition, the surgeon is focused on dealing with the health issue at hand, and so on. It gets to the point where the patient is in critical care before nurses discover pressure injuries. It happens because people aren’t looking for them.” Dr Padula and his team also found that using a specific type of five-layer self-adherent soft silicone bordered foam dressing to protect the sacrum led to reduced rates of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by...
Healthcare professionals see patients with hospital acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs) and staff with debilitating back injuries all too often. Chenel Trevellini, MSN, RN, CWOCN, a Registered Nurse from New York who is passionate about sharing best practices, found that implementing a proper system for turning and positioning patients could lower both of these rates significantly. The knock-on effect was substantial savings for the care facility. She was working at St Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York when some new upcoming healthcare laws prompted the hospital to look at innovative ways for pressure ulcer care. “Although we had a very low HAPU rate, we noticed that staff had been getting injured when using draw sheets for turning and positioning patients,” she explained in an interview with MedTech Views . The hospital had heard about a type of system for turning and positioning patients that sounded like it could address this. “We decided to implement this new system throughout the entire 315-bed hospital with hopes that we could reduce injuries to nursing staff,” said Chenel. The system’s two components work in tandem to benefit both patients and nursing staff. There’s a low-friction positioning mat with reinforced handles aimed at reducing caregiver back injuries. It also has a low-pressure air chamber designed to adapt to the patient by positive air displacement and redistribute pressure around the sacrum and buttocks, where pressure ulcers often occur. The second component is a fluidised positioner that allows the patient’s body to be supported in a comfortable therapeutic position until it’s time to be repositioned again. “The design forces the caregiver to use the correct ergonomic position, using their body weight to move the patient,” said Chenel. “It’s also very intuitive, with labels as well as a clear head and tail end,” she added. “Unlike regular cushions, the...
The world’s highest health policy-setting body, World Health Assembly (WHA), is set to hold its 70 th annual meeting in Geneva from 22-31 May 2017. It is here that health ministers from the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 194 member states will review the WHO's work, set new goals and assign new tasks. Delegates at #WHA70 are due to hold discussions and reach decisions on a number of challenging health issues, according to the provisional agenda . Among other things, they will: Consider an updated report on global efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and consider adoption of a resolution on improving the prevention, diagnosis and clinical management of sepsis Deliberate on a draft resolution for prevention of deafness and hearing loss Look at cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach Review activities relating to global health emergencies, such as member states’ implementation of the new WHO Health Emergencies Programme adopted last year Discuss a report on the evaluation and review of the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property The European Commission has previously identified AMR as a major health challenge and is working to raise public awareness in this area. Later this year it is expected to release a second Action Plan to support EU member states in the fight against AMR. Its first Action Plan was released in 2011. Check out MedTech Europe’s position paper on AMR as well as our CEO’s pledge to fight against antimicrobial resistance . Last year’s WHA (#WHA69 ) also addressed a long and complex list of health matters . Some key outcomes were: Establishment of a new Health Emergencies Programme, which aims to add operational capacities for outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies Agreement on a comprehensive set of steps for pursuing health-related sustainable...
We drink it, cook with it, wash with it, farm and manufacture with it, bring babies into the world with it and save lives with it. We can’t survive without it. So what can we do about the 663 million people around the world who are without access to safe, clean water? In honour of World Water Day , we’ve tasked ourselves with exploring the current situation, along with some possible answers. We all know that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are critical to health and wellbeing for the prevention of infectious diseases like cholera. Indeed, inadequate WASH conditions and services cause 1.7 million deaths annually, according to UK charity WaterAid . Of these, nearly 900 children a day die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Much of this has to do with the lack of proper toilets and sewage treatment, which allows human faeces to contaminate the water supply. As for medical care, a World Health Organization/UNICEF report found that in low resource settings, 38% of health care facilities don’t have an improved water source, 19% don’t have improved sanitation and 35% lack water and soap for hand washing. We’ve reached a breaking point, leaving policy makers, researchers, engineers and human rights advocates (among others) racing against the clock to find a sustainable solution. Along with partners, the WHO and UNICEF have committed to addressing the situation with the aim of achieving universal access in all health facilities, in all settings, by 2030. There are also efforts to improve the overall WASH situation in less developed countries. It seems that the odds are stacked against these proponents of change, but one should never underestimate human determination. People are getting creative and some of the ideas and technologies out there are mind bogglingly clever. For instance,...