Is there a link between social media and cosmetic surgery?

Social media has changed the way we communicate, and made it easier than ever before to share with people close to us, or on the other side of the world. As visual-based social networks have taken over, we’re spending more and more time staring at pictures of perfect homes, perfect meals, perfect holidays and perfect faces. The popularity of image editing apps such as Face Tune and that one Snapchat filter everyone loves reveals that many people who use the platforms are more than a little bit concerned about how they appear online.

What is worrying is that our online insecurities are spilling over into surgical intervention. According to the BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons), a growing number of patients are going under the knife in order to appear a certain way on their friend’s timelines. It isn’t difficult to see why young people feel the pressure to enhance their looks with cosmetic procedures when the likes of the Kardashians and other starlets make complex procedures look as minimal as an eyebrow shape.

When young people see the transformation Kylie Jenner underwent between her younger teenage years and today, you can see why young people feel under pressure to look a certain way. A young impressionable girl with thin lips might assume that lip fillers are essential to achieve the perfect pout – after all, there are pictures of Kylie Jenner purporting the same thing all over Instagram.

A recent study in TIME magazine revealed that scrolling through our social media feeds leads to feelings of inadequacy, envy and loneliness. Whereas perfect people may have once only been visible on TV and in magazines, we are now inundated with images of perfect people on every screen.

It isn’t only young people who feel the pressure to look a certain way thanks to advances in technology. When video calling took off in 2012, cosmetic surgeons reported an increase in demand for chin surgery as a result of the unflattering angle cast by many video calling programmes. One surgeon even adjust his approach to the traditional facelift – dubbing it the Facetime Facelift – to ensure the scars weren’t visible when video calling.

While improving your looks to appear a certain way on social media isn’t the crime of the century, what is worrying is that cowboy cosmetic surgeons have now been given access to a market of patients willing to hand over insubordinate amounts of cash in order to achieve the perfect look.

Research has shown that breast surgery claims are on the rise, and not only because of factors such as the PIP scandal. Social media is not only inspiring us to go under the knife, but it is also leading us to have unrealistic expectations of the results, which in turn leads to cosmetic surgery claims. Social media may bring us together, but there is a darker side to this phenomenon that can make us feel isolated and seriously damage our self-esteem.


Food ‘traffic light’ labelling should be mandatory, councils say

Food manufacturers should be forced to put “traffic light” nutrition labels on the front of packs, councils have said.

The voluntary scheme, introduced by the Department of Health in 2013, sees foods highlighted as red, amber or green according to how much salt, sugar and fat they contain.

But the labels do not appear on about a third of the food sold in the UK.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said current rules were confusing and a universal labelling system was needed.

It said with obesity levels rising, clearer packaging would help people take more responsibility for their health.

Izzi Seccombe, chairwoman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said many retailers and manufacturers had different methods of displaying nutritional content.
‘Easy to understand’

“Consumers need a single, standard and consistent system which should be universally adopted. It needs to be something that they can read and understand quickly and easily,” she said.

“The UK is leading the way with its traffic light scheme, which is already widely used, and provides clear, at-a-glance information. It is something many shoppers are familiar with and find helpful.

“But we want the government to go one step further and make it mandatory for all retailers and manufacturers to adopt.”

Under its recently announced childhood obesity plan, the government said it would look again at how nutritional information was displayed.

The plan was attacked as “weak” by health experts, campaigners and MPs who said the government had “rowed back” on earlier promises.

Full article here on BBC.

Computer system health or auditing - Stethoscope over a computer keyboard toned in blue

Frederik Mennes, who heads up VASCO’s Security Competence Center, considers the impact of data breaches within the Healthcare Industry

The integration of technology within the healthcare sector continues to create seismic changes in how individuals receive medical care. Yet in their rush to adopt technology designed to improve the consumer’s experience, organisations within the healthcare industry face the very real threat of sensitive patient data ending up in the hands of cybercriminals.

When it comes to the value of stolen data within the criminal underground, the more personal the better – and it does not come any more personal than protected health information (PHI) included in medical records. In the hands of criminals, PHI facilitates all types of crimes including prescription fraud, identity theft and the provision of medical care to a third party in the victim’s name.

Despite its compromised state, there is more value attached to healthcare-related data than other types of personally identifiable information. A stolen credit card, for example, has a finite life because once the customer discovers fraud they cancel the card. PHI, on the other hand, contains government-issued identity numbers such as national insurance numbers, as well as medical and prescription-related data that are permanent.

How much does the public know about breaches?

While the tracking and reporting of healthcare breaches varies by country, the United States Office of Civil Rights (OCR), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, publishes a wall of shame.” Pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, the wall details breaches of unsecured health information affecting 500 or more individuals. According to the OCR report, in 2015 alone, 268 breaches accounted for the loss of over 113 million records. While some of the breaches reported involved unauthorised access or exposure, the OCR reported the breach of 111 million of those records as a hacking or IT incident.

The long-term impact of medical-related data breaches

In a 2015 survey, the Ponemon Institute reported several important findings related to this issue, including:

  • Medical identity theft generates significant costs. 65% of medical identity theft victims included in the study paid an average of $13,500 to resolve the crime (Payments made to healthcare providers, identity service providers or legal counsel).

  • Healthcare providers rarely notify the victim. On average, victims learn about the theft of their data more than three months following the crime. 30% do not know when they became a victim.

  • Consumers expect healthcare providers to adopt a proactive approach to preventing and detecting medical identity theft. 79% of survey participants state that is important for healthcare providers to ensure the privacy of their records. If their medical records were lost or stolen, 48% say they would consider changing healthcare providers.

Estimates regarding the cost to remediate a healthcare breach, which includes the investigation of the breach; the implementation of measures to prevent future breaches; notification of victims; and provision of identity-theft protection and repair services vary widely. The associated regulatory fines and penalties are, on average, between $200 and $400 per record.

Security cannot remain an afterthought. Breaches negatively impact the patient and the broader healthcare ecosystem. While large-scale breaches occur mostly in United States, where increased regulatory oversight drives transparency, the EU, as evidenced by the progression of the General Data Protection Act, continues to take steps to increase the level of transparency regarding breaches.

Criminals count on gaps within an organisation’s authentication security framework. Further regulators with responsibilities related to data privacy and security, driven in large part by elected officials and patients affected by breaches, will continue to set standards that create the need for enhanced security. To find out more about how to secure data access within the Healthcare industry, download the free VASCO whitepaper.

THD procedure: an effective and non-invasive treatment for hemorrhoids

Medico Paziente

Medico Paziente

According to the eminent Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, the problem of hemorrhoids is more widespread in industrial countries than one might expect: it is estimated that around 50% of the population above the age of fifty suffers or suffered in the past from them. This means that one out of two people, at some point in his life, may experience this type of health problems.

The first step consists in getting at the root causes which affect the appearance of hemorrhoids and in particular the constipation through a correct and balanced diet. Sometimes these measures are not enough to treat hemorrhoids in advanced stage. Especially when the patient is suffering from prolapse of hemorrhoid tissue (hemorrhoids grade III-IV) the best way to resolve this problem is surgery and, in this regard, one of the most promising procedure is the THD Doppler based on the dearterialization of hemorrhoids .

Using advanced technology, surgeons can identify the blood vessels that supply blood to the hemorrhoids, and tie them in a sparsely innervated area (which generates minimal pain) reducing any prolapsed tissue by means of a sort of “lifting” which repositions the cushions in their original anatomical position.
The advantages are numerous: the Doppler THD procedure is in fact able to guarantee a high quality of life, avoiding subsequent relapses. Another crucial element is the minimal invasiveness of this kind of procedure, which can also be operated in day surgery; the resignation occurs within 24-36 hours and convalescence is rather short since the operation does not involve the removal of any tissue. This means that the patient is advised a few days rest before resuming his normal daily activities.

Another strong point of this method is its wide range of applicability: in fact there are no particular contraindications, it can also be performed in patients at an advanced age or suffering from debilitating diseases.
The THD surgical approach, thanks to its many benefits in both the short and the long term, therefore, is today one of the most effective solutions and decisive for the definitive treatment of hemorrhoid problems.

Have you ever tried talking to your EPR?

dicgital healthcare

digital healthcare

The Nuffield Trust has published a new report called Delivering the benefits of digital health care. It is a well-written, timely piece of research which sets out how we can transform healthcare systems using digital technology. It succinctly identifies the conundrum we currently face: that although healthcare delivery is being transformed by new technology, strategic decisions about clinical transformation and the investment needed in information and digital technology are often relegated to the end of NHS board discussions.

Culture change is critical for deploying digital technology in healthcare.

The report includes seven lessons for success. The one that jumped out at me is that culture change is critical. This is something we are very familiar with at Nuance because we work hard with clinical staff at the frontline to ensure speech recognition software becomes embedded in their everyday tasks.

The role of speech recognition in healthcare

Speech recognition is mentioned briefly in the report in the description of Nuffield’s own vision of how healthcare is likely to change in the next 10 years. It suggests that ‘…though there is interest in new models of care, the most significant improvements in productivity over the next few years are likely to come from the combined impact of large numbers of small changes and extracting the full benefit from the technologies currently available…A lot less time will be spent by staff on administrative tasks and routine communication, as automation, voice recognition and natural language processing become more commonplace.’  

Speech recognition is a mature technology that has now taken the consumer market by storm. If you don’t use speech recognition software to command your phone, your car, even your TV, you probably know someone who does. Within healthcare, speech recognition will help drive significant improvements in productivity from the huge investments already made, but not yet fully realised, in the EPRs as well as improving the day to day lives of the staff by freeing them from the keyboard.

Speech recognition changes how healthcare professionals work.
In healthcare speech recognition software understands clinical language. This is quite different from the software you might get on an iPad, or iPhone. Radiologists have been our Trojan Horse with hospitals throughout the land
using speech recognition as their standard method of reporting and managing patient and medical records. Take it away and they would more than likely bite your arm off.

Over the years, healthcare speech recognition software has improved in leaps and bounds, whether it be around the medical vocabulary, an individual’s phonetics or the mathematical probabilities of the language model. So too has the hardware upon which it runs.

How effective are speech recognition solutions?

Sadly there has been a lack of published research in this area. However, that does seem to be changing with recent studies providing good evidence. A German university hospital undertook a study that showed how a web-based medical speech recognition system for clinical documentation increased documentation speed by 26 per cent, increased the amount of content by 82 per cent, and also resulted in enhancing user satisfaction. In the UK, mental health has also taken to the stage:

  • South West London and St. George’s Mental Health National Health Service (NHS) Trust showed that time spent entering patient notes was reduced by almost 50 per cent when using speech recognition.

  • Surrey Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust observed the average turnaround for letters or reports dropped from 6-7 days to just 1-2 days.

The EPR (Electronic Patient Records) also adds a new dimension to the challenge for healthcare professionals. The Nuffield Trust report highlights that the EPR ‘straddles the system as a whole, reflecting the pivotal role it plays in any digital strategy’. It acts as a ‘foundation on which many of the other tools are built’.

However, clinical studies have shown that EPRs can add as much as 90 minutes to a medical professional’s day.

Clinical speech recognition – here to stay

Without good quality information in an EPR, the seven opportunities to drive improvements outlined in the Nuffield Trust’s report will not be realised. So this conundrum must be solved with smart technology.

Huge strides have been made in the quality, accuracy, performance, affordability and time-to-value of speech recognition solutions and their use in healthcare is on the rise. The benefits of improved clinical documentation using speech recognition are broad and varied – in essence better quality of care, improved patient safety and health professional satisfaction. The result is the ultimate goal – health professionals have more time to spend with their patients like we see it for example with the nursing team at at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital PICU. They are saving 40 minutes per patient per day using speech recognition versus typing, with an improved hand over and faster referral and discharge process to other units, and most importantly freeing up more time to care – as also published in the Nursing Times last year.

We are keen to demonstrate how speech recognition can help clinicians save time and record a greater amount of detail more accurately, so if you have any personal experiences you would like to share, please let me know. I look forward to getting your feedback.

Dr Simon Wallace, Medical Consultant, Nuance Communications UK

Health News – Chancellor Announces Tax on Sugary Soft Drinks

The Chancellor, George Osborne, recently announced that a long awaited (by some) Sugar Tax on sweetened sugary soft drinks will come into play by 2018.

On the sugar levy, Mr Osborne told MPs: “Doing the right thing for the next generation is what this government and this Budget is about.

“No matter how difficult and how controversial it is.”

“You cannot have a long-term plan for the country unless you have a long-term plan for our children’s health care.”

He added: “I am not prepared to look back at my time here in this Parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation, ‘I’m sorry, we knew there was a problem with sugary drinks and we knew it caused disease but we dumped the difficult decisions and did nothing’.

Osborne revealed that there will be two tax bands for drinks – one for moderately sweetened drinks, and a second, higher band for the sweetest drinks.

Drinks manufacturers will be taxed according to the volume of drinks they produce. (Independent, 2016)

The tax will come into force in two years’ time in order to give companies time to change the ingredients of their products.

Osborne also announced today that the estimated £520m raised from the sugar tax will go toward school sports.

This news will please many parents who are concerned about their children’s health and future, given the calorific content of these drinks and the way the marketing of them seems to be aimed at children.

One leading champion of the campaign to introduce a levy on fizzy pop was Jamie Oliver. He tweeted this afternoon:

“We did it guys!! We did it!!! A sugar levy on sugary sweetened drinks……A profound move…”

His media campaign has been one of the key drivers in bringing in this change.

However, there are those that were not so pleased to hear the sugar tax announcement today.

Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said: “We are extremely disappointed by the Government’s decision to hit the only category in the food and drink sector which has consistently reduced sugar intake in recent years – down 13.6% since 2012.” (Sky News, 2016)

Our view? If this tax means that our nation’s children are healthier in the years to come, then it can only be a good thing. But this levy can only be part of a wider shift in national consciousness towards healthier ways of living; this incudes diet, exercise and lifestyle in general.

We shall wait and see if David Cameron’s anticipated Obesity Strategy (due soon) covers many of the issues that need to be tackled, if we are to make a healthier nation for generations to come.

Terraillon presents its new and improved NutriTab – the world’s first connected kitchen scale scanner, adapted to British food tastes

Healthy Eating key to a long life

Healthy Eating key to a long life

Check out Terraillon’s new and exclusive health and wellbeing innovations at Ideal Home Show this month, from 18 March to 3 April at the Olympia, Booth T1119 / Ideal Technology Hall, featuring NutriTab, the all new and updated kitchen scale that’s taking the British market by storm.

In response to growing consumer demands, Terraillon has recently developed its Wellness Coach Application and its products to adapt to each country’s unique food habits. Having expanded their British food database on the application from a wide range of UK supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, etc., Britons can now scan and weigh the food they love with Terraillon’s NutriTab, and achieve a complete monitoring of their health and wellbeing

The NutriTab is ideal for health-conscious food lovers who want to count calories conveniently, without having to refer to small print food labels. It allows users to scan, weigh, and measure the calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, and sodium, as well as record a food diary, thanks to an automatic meal documentation feature, activated at a click of a button.

Head down to the iconic Ideal Home Show, (on now until 3rd April) to see the NutriTab for yourself, with live demonstrations of all of Terraillon’s latest range of health & fitness products, including Web Coach Easy View, a connected body composition analyser; Activi-T Band, a connected wellness activity tracker and Tensio Screen, a combined heart rate and blood pressure monitor. Embodying innovative designs, intelligent functions and unparalleled capabilities, these solutions connect seamlessly via Bluetooth to Terraillon’s Wellness Coach smart phone application – offering users a unique and comprehensive view of their fitness and lifestyle (nutrition, weight, heart, activity and sleep).

Founded in 1908, Terraillon, a leading innovative houseware brand, designs and manufactures appliances which exceed consumer expectations in health and well-being. Taking advantage of the latest technologies, Terraillon creates cutting-edge smart and connected health-focused devices; ranging from bathroom, medical and kitchen scales to activity trackers and blood pressure monitors. Besides offering precision and comfort, these devices provide real benefits to users through Terraillon’s “Wellness Coach” mobile app for smartphones. Winner of multiple international awards (“Grand Prix de l’Innovation”, “Red Dot Design Award” etc.), Terraillon’s innovative designs have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Today, Terraillon is a European leader in the kitchen and bathroom scale markets and exports to over 80 countries in 5 continents. The company sells over 3 million devices worldwide annually. Headquartered in Croissy sur Seine in France, Terraillon has an international team collaborating across different research and development units across the globe. The company also has offices in London, England, Hong Kong and China. For more information, please visit:

SEHTA is proud to announce that its ‘Technology and Innovation in Care Homes

SEHTA is proud to announce that its ‘Technology and Innovation in Care Homes: The SEHTA Review’ has been published and will be released at the Care Showcase, taking place on 9th March 2016 at Brighton Racecourse. The Care Showcase is in association with Surrey Care Association, East Sussex County Council, West Sussex Council and Brighton & Hove City Council.

For more information about the Care Showcase, please visit
The greater use of ICT has for many years been proposed as a way of helping care homes provide highquality services and improve their sustainability. Over this same period, SEHTA has been bringing care providers and technology suppliers together to help create sustainable ventures from its vantage point of independence from both.

Coming from this background, this Review analyses the changing care environment and its impact on care homes and, from the large number of pilot projects and trials, identifies what will make a difference to a care home. The Review describes the process that SEHTA has developed for eliciting requirements and selecting solutions through a rigorous analysis of care home needs and thorough analysis of the costs and benefits for implementing technologies to meet those needs.
Dr David Parry, CEO, SEHTA said;

This Review combines the wealth of knowledge and expertise that SEHTA has about the pressures and problems faced by care homes with its thorough awareness of the technological solutions available on the market.

Our unique understanding will help care and nursing homes understand how technology can bring longer term sustainability and growth to their businesses.

For more information about TICH please visit – or contact us at

Celebrate the our health heroes

Skills for Health and the National Skills Academy for Health launch a national campaign to highlight the vital role support workers play within the UK’s health sector and to say ‘thank you’ to unsung healthcare heroes.

#OurHealthHeroes celebrates the 798,600 people across the UK health sector who work as healthcare assistants, assistant practitioners, porters, cleaners, caterers, maintenance staff and administrative staff, by encouraging people who have benefitted from their support to share their stories and thanks.  

It’s key to ensure that they know how important they are – and don’t go unnoticed in their efforts. Why should it be that they feel undervalued – and how can it be remedied? To understand what they are facing in their positions, taking a long view of support worker roles – and their emphasis – and thinking about what functions they serve can be helpful in ensuring they are the best fit, and they are getting back what they give to their positions.

To mark the start of the campaign, Skills for Health have created a short film featuring healthcare support workers from Southmead Hospital in Bristol, which has been released to illustrate the impact and value the support workforce has on the delivery of individual patient care. 

The support workforce in numbers

  • The UK health sector employs over 2.1 million people
  • 40% (798,600) of the UK healthcare workforce are support staff
  • 25,731 people work in catering occupations representing 1% of the workforce
  • Maintenance workers number 15,000 and are the fifth largest group of support workers in the sector
  • Porters follow closely, with almost 13,000 performing an essential role in maintaining the smooth running of a hospital

Support the campaign by sharing their film with your networks and tagging #OurHealthHeroes, and sharing your personal stories of support workers on Twitter using #OurHealthHeroes.

Forward Thinking Birmingham appoints new Voluntary and Community Sector Chairman

Judith Shorrock

Judith Shorrock

The innovative new mental health service for 0-25-year-olds, Forward Thinking Birmingham (FTB), has appointed Judith Shorrock as its Partnership Board/Voluntary and Community Sector Chairman.

Mrs Shorrock has a wide range of experience and is currently Assistant Director of Service Development and Innovation for children’s charity, Spurgeons.

FTB is a ground breaking mental health partnership established to revolutionise mental health care and give children, young people and young adults the modern service that they need and deserve.

Led by Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the innovative service brings together the expertise Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the Priory Group, Beacon UK and The Children’s Society to provide a single point of access for children, young people, young adults and families, GPs, schools and local authorities, to access the right support at the right time.

Judith Shorrock has joined the project team in the voluntary role and will be responsible for further enhancing and embedding relationships between FTB and groups within Birmingham community.

Mrs Shorrock  has also held a variety of senior roles, including Joint Head of Commissioning for Dudley Primary Care Trust, Children’s Centre Strategy Manager for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Strategy and Policy Manager at Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust.

Denise McLellan, Forward Thinking Birmingham Managing Director, said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Judith to the Forward Thinking Birmingham team. Enhancing our relations and working with our partners from the voluntary and community sector is an important part of our new service and I’m sure we will benefit greatly from Judith’s skill and experience.”