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conferences and talks

Evidence Live 2016: Whither evidence in the social media world?

9 Jun, 16 | by BMJ


In the run up to Evidence Live 2016, we are running a series of blogs by the conference speakers discussing what they will be talking about at the conference.

The tired old trope of “my evidence” vs “your evidence” is endlessly rehearsed on the social media discussions and comments sections. Powerful groups—both corporate and voluntary—deploy effective media strategies to undermine scientific claims that run counter to their interests. And now personalisation of social media means that we exist in a “filter bubble” in which we never see things we don’t already like. “Intellectual pudding,” when what we need is “vegetables” (Pariser 2011). In an era of clickbait, trolling, and sockpuppets, what chance does good quality evidence stand? more…

Desmond O’Neill: Ageing—simply complicated

7 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Des O Neill 2015Carinthia is a fascinating corner of Austria, formally included in the new Austrian Republic in a plebiscite in 1919 and imbued with the confluence of Austrian, Slovenian, and Italian cultures. Packed with history and culture, it provided rich material for underpinning a keynote lecture for the Austrian Geriatrics and Gerontology Society conference in Villach on how geriatricians approach their own personal future with ageing.

Ageing is a topic best approached through the Microsoft mantra of “think global, act local” at many levels, because there is an ever-present danger of considering that ageing, and its inherent vulnerabilities, is something that happens to other people. more…

Ashish K Jha and Liana Woskie: Funding, trust, and the 69th World Health Assembly

6 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

Ashish-Jha-Photo_2Liana-Woskie-Photo2By traditional measures, the recent World Health Assembly (WHA) was a success. The assembly, which governs the World Health Organization (WHO), passed resolutions on important topics such as reducing traffic accidents; improving nutrition; and promoting integrated, patient centered care. All good things. But the west African Ebola outbreak and WHO’s failure to respond effectively cast a long shadow.

Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, started the assembly with a warning on infectious disease readiness: “The world is not prepared to cope.” more…

David Payne: Do we still need hospitals (and hospital beds)?

3 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

IMG_0495During a conference coffee break last week two physiotherapists pushed a hospital bed through the networking area, along with a wheelie bin overflowing with “redundant” bed-related paraphernalia—monitors, clipboards, etc.

The hospital where Shanna Bloemen and Yvonne Geurts work plans to remove beds during the day to encourage patients to get active and get out of the wards. Implementation is due to begin in the department of cardiothoracic surgery and will be extended to others over time. more…

Recognising vulnerabilities and building resilience: A UK conference on migrant health

3 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

sarah_migrant_conference“My problem is your problem.” These were the words of a mother of four who has been waiting for a decision on her asylum claim for 17 years, and who was an attendee and speaker at the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) migrant health conference last Friday.

Her declaration was not a demand that the audience recognise or help with the challenges she has faced; she was explaining the attitude that had helped her to turn her life around after she arrived in the UK. Not being able to work, hardly being able to afford food for her children, and being away from the people she knew and loved was difficult. What gave her a sense of purpose and lifted her out of depression was finding an opportunity to offer something to a community. She took on roles supporting other migrants, participating in health research, and acting as a service user representative. more…

David Payne: Matisse, decoupage, and digital health

1 Jun, 16 | by BMJ

cutout_a_textAre there lessons in the life and work of French artist Henri Matisse that could help regulators navigate the brave new world of digital healthcare? How can the experience of Matisse—who radically and constantly reinvented himself throughout his career—support organisations with responsibility for regulating apps and other innovations, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency? more…

Tessa Richards: “Burnout shops” are bad for health

24 May, 16 | by BMJ

Tessa_richardsBurnout is a pervasive problem. Its high prevalence among health professionals is well recognised. But the extent of its impact on the quality, safety, and cost of patient care needs more scrutiny, agreed participants at the WELL-Med conference in Greece last week.

“Fixing toxic workplaces rather than fixing the people” who suffer from working in them should also be a priority, said the guru of burnout research, Christina Maslach, professor of psychology at the University of California. She went on to warn that “the number of organisations” whose policies seem designed to make them “burnout shops” is rising. more…

Rebecca Coombes: Beware the medicalisation of female genital cutting

23 May, 16 | by BMJ

rebecca_coombesI met two remarkable women this week. Actually, I met many such females at the vast Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen—obstetricians, lawyers, midwives, and former presidents (including a possible future one when Hillary Clinton made a live appearance on the big screen).

In a cast of thousands, activists Filzah Sumartono, from Singapore, and Mariya Taher, from India, made an impact with their plain speaking about female genital cutting (FGC). Sumartono confronted the growing problem of medicalisation of FGC. Indonesia and Malaysia have called for a standardisation of the procedure, essentially legitimising the practice. more…

The 7th Global Patients Congress: Patient engagement in innovation for health

14 Apr, 16 | by BMJ

Kawaldip SehmiSitting in the Edward Heath Room at the 7th Global Patients Congress at the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, discussing universal health coverage (UHC) for all by 2030 (a target in the sustainable development goal for health), one is quickly reminded that if health is a political goal, then UHC is one of the ultimate political choices.

Listening to the debates, one can appreciate that the NHS needed the powerful personalities of Beveridge and Bevan to help the UK found the oldest system of UHC after great political and social upheavals in 1948.

The room, however, has ghosts. more…

Jonathan Glass: If surgeons lived Lewis Hamilton’s life

11 Dec, 15 | by BMJ

jonathan glassMany of the medical conferences I have attended recently have included sessions suggesting that the NHS is failing in its processes and that there is lots we can learn from industry. Most recently, I have been educated by the aviation industry, the energy industry, and the oil industry—as well as being shown what Formula 1 sport has to teach us. The lecturers were good and the information was interesting, but is it of any benefit to me, as an NHS clinician?

We were shown how the Formula 1 team spend their life practising in order to execute the perfect pit stop: running and re-running the events and scenarios that may crop up in any race more…

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