Stories about: policy

What we’ve been reading: Week of March 9, 2015

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Protection Without a Vaccine (The New York Times)
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have successfully used a type of gene therapy to make monkeys resistant to HIV. Could this be applied to other diseases for diseases for which there is no vaccine?

More about that doctor shortage, er, poor distribution of physicians (The Washington Post)
On Tuesday, the American Association of Medical Colleges released a report predicting a national physician shortage of 90,000 doctors by 2025. But it may be that we have more of a distribution problem than a volume problem; we need more incentives for doctors to practice in medically underserved areas.

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State regulations are slowing health care innovation

(Diane Campbell Payne, used with permission)
(Diane Campbell Payne, used with permission)

Naomi Fried, PhD, is chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. This post is adapted from her remarks at the Connected Health Symposium on October 24, 2013. She tweets @NaomiFried.

In the health care industry, we rely heavily on regulations to ensure the safety of our patients, procedures and drugs. New national health care regulations can even spur innovation in care delivery, but in the case of telehealth, they can be an impediment.

Telehealth, the remote delivery of care via computers, mobile devices, videoconferencing and other technologies, has great potential to improve the patient experience and reduce health care costs by removing the barriers of brick and mortar. At Boston Children’s Hospital, the Innovation Acceleration Program’s pilot telehealth programs have focused on both direct patient care and virtual clinician-to-clinician consultations.

Unfortunately, most states’ regulations are limiting providers’ ability to broadly offer telehealth services.

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On again, off again, on again…Part 2

This two-part series, a response to the recent appeals court decision lifting an injunction on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, was co-authored by M. William Lensch, George Q. Daley, and Leonard Zon of the Stem Cell Research Program at Children’s Hospital Boston. (Read Part 1.)

While there is reason for optimism, the April 29 appeals court ruling lifting the injunction on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research will not be the last chapter in the story of such research in the United States. And there are moments in this story that hold cause for greater alarm.

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On again, off again, on again…Part 1

This two-part series, a response to the recent appeals court decision lifting an injunction on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, was co-authored by M. William Lensch, George Q. Daley, and Leonard Zon of the Stem Cell Research Program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

It came as a welcome relief when on April 29 the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated a lower court’s injunction against federal funding of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. For those of us working on research projects involving hESCs, whether funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or other federal agencies, it meant that we are once again free to continue our work … for now.

The “for now” part relates to the fact that the recent ruling is but one chapter in the ongoing story of hESC research funding. The desultory nature of federal funding for hESC research has been a constant source of uncertainty for scientists and the general public alike, and to understand the full story, we need to look back to the mid 1990s, before the derivation of the first hESC lines.

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