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MOST RECENT ARTICLES

Peer reviewed ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Open Access

Phase I: Mapping Phase
Health Technology in South Africa: Optimising In vitro Diagnostic Device Management

S Moodliar
Published online: January 2018

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Objectives: In South Africa, the introduction of the Medical and Related Substances Act R. 586 has focused more attention on the role of medical devices in health care. The objectives of this study were: a) to explore how the introduction of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of in vitro diagnostic devices (IVD) can optimise the National Health Laboratory Service’s (NHLS’s) diagnostic test budget and b) increase test coverage to the public sector.
Methods: A literature search was conducted using multiple databases to understand how the assessment and management of Health Technology (HT) is conducted in established HTA organisations. In particular key searches were in vitro diagnostic medical devices. The study was limited to HTA organisations involved with Health Technology including all those who have adopted a Health Technology Management (HTM) system for medical devices. In particular, key searches included the annotation: in vitro diagnostic medical devices.
Results: The NHLS is the largest pathology service in the world. The decisions made in the diagnostic environment of NHLS can be compared to hospital based HTA. The literature review provided an overview of factors enabling the NHLS to determine whether new health technologies should be adopted. Those included, whether decision processes were appropriate, how to evaluate the methodology for IVD evaluations and how to assess factors likely to influence decisions and suggestions for current process improvement.
Conclusion: Improved decision making on the acquisition of new health technologies in pathology services through the use of the HTA framework can help reduce IVD acquisition expenditure. This will help in alleviating the ongoing cost of healthcare and allow present and future substantiality to be maintained.

Peer reviewed ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Open Access

Various dimensions associated with the pass rates for Intern Medical Technologists that have an impact on the National Board Examinations in South Africa
W Kruger | S Eagleton
Published online: January 2018

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Background: A study was conducted in South Africa on the performances of Intern Medical Technologists related to the National Board examinations. For the past decade, concerns have been raised regarding the high failure rates of Interns in these Board examinations.
Objective: This study aimed at identifying possible reasons for the high failure rates in the four main disciplines in the National Board examination for Biomedical Technology these being: Clinical Pathology, Haematology, Chemical Pathology and Microbiology.
Method: Quantitative and qualitative data were triangulated to investigate the pass rates of Interns writing these examinations. The National Board examination results were analysed for statistical significant differences using the ANOVA and the Pearson Chi-square test. The key role players involved in the Internship training of Interns at training laboratories and examinations of Interns were asked to complete an electronic survey regarding the quality and adequacy of training offered by training facilities.
Results: Statistical data from the analysis confirmed that the pass rates were extremely poor. Possible reasons for this were identified from the data obtained from the surveys.
Conclusion: This study added invaluable information to various problematic elements related to the education and training of Medical technologists. Recommendations and suggestions on how to improve the poor pass rates are discussed.

Peer reviewed ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Open Access

Evidence of immune stimulation following short-term exposure to specific extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields
MK Wiese | L de Jager | CE Brand
Published online: January 2018

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There is increasing evidence that extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMFs) interact with immune cells. Even more evident is that immune cells are activated when exposed to these fields for a short period. Signal specificity and dosimetry appear to play a role. In this study, four groups of laboratory mice received daily exposure to a specific electromagnetic field with an intensity of 5µT for one hour, four hours and twenty-four hours (continuously) respectively for a period of seven days. The control group received no exposure and was used as standard for comparison. Following exposure, whole blood was analysed for leukocyte count, CD3, CD4, CD8 and CD19 analysis. The results for the twenty-four hour exposure group indicated increased total leukocyte, lymphocyte, CD3 and CD4 values and a decreased neutrophil values. These findings provide evidence that the immune system is indeed stimulated by exposure to EMFs.

Peer reviewed ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Open Access

Practitioner ethics, medical schemes and fraud in the South African private healthcare sector
A Nicolaides | F de Beer
Published online: January 2018

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The biggest healthcare funders in South Africa are the South African Government and medical aid schemes and they operate in a highly-regulated environment. Unfortunately, the pervasiveness of healthcare fraud concerning collusion between medical aid members and healthcare providers such as physicians is swelling. Health care fraud is invariably a method of white collar crime that could be carried out by a number of stakeholders, inter alia, health care providers, customers, firms providing medical goods or services, and also health care organizations such as medical aid schemes. This article introduces the South African healthcare sector, the numerous ethical challenges for the healthcare providers and the notion of ethics education. The objective of this article is thus even in small measure, to seek to instil a positive ethical mind-set in all medical practitioners and health sector employees. It seeks to support industry initiatives to reduce fraud and ethical misconduct, and offers ethical guidance to practitioners and medical aid schemes and proposes a Medical Practitioner Ethical Guidelines Framework.


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