Healthcare

EditorNovember 18, 2017
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3min170

Spearheading a revolution in the health sector in Sri Lanka, Hemas Hospital Thalawathugoda has introduced a new, affordable day surgery service for a wide range of procedures. Day surgery is a relatively new concept to Sri Lanka and Hemas Hospital Thalawathugoda takes pride in being one of the first hospitals out of Colombo to avail these new solutions to patients with a backing of a fulltime panel of specialist doctors.

Outpatient or day surgery is a convenient arrangement which is typically easier on the pocket because patients are not required to pay room charges or anything in addition to  consultant fees and standard hospital charges for procedures and tests at the end of the stay, which makes day surgeries affordable to many patients.

Day surgery option is recommended for procedures like herniotomy, hydrocelectomy, excision of lumps and abscess, ureteroscopy, renoscopy, laser lithotripsy, and bladder tumour resection etc including keyhole surgeries which do not require cut-opening or blood transfusions. Hemas Hospital Thalawathugoda has the latest state-of-the art equipment and expertise to ensure optimum clinical outcomes and faster recovery.

Commenting on the benefits of day surgery, Resident Consultant Surgeon attached to Hemas Hospital Thalawathugoda Dr. Indika Ramanayaka said: “There are many benefits of day surgery. Day surgery is affordable because prolonged hospital stay isn’t required as the hospital has a panel of in-house surgeons, available 24/7, which eliminates the need for staying in ‘waiting lists’.

“Once the patient decides to go for the surgery, everything thereafter – from making appointments to handling records and liaising with nursing staff and doctors – will be managed by a dedicated surgical coordinator making the hospital stay a convenient and pleasant experience.”
For more information about day surgery, call 0766 270431.

Hemas Hospitals (Pvt) Ltd is a subsidiary of Hemas Group, a leading Sri Lankan conglomerate that has business interests in four key sectors – FMCG, Health care, Transportation, Leisure and Strategic Investments.

The multi-specialty hospital chain comprises of 3 full-service hospitals at Wattala, Galle and Thalawathugoda along with 34 fully equipped laboratories and provides community-based expert health care services by positioning its chain of hospitals in strategic locations outside the commercial hub of Colombo. It guarantees patients the highest safety standards backed by full international accreditation and was the first hospital in Sri Lanka to be recognized by the prestigious accreditation body, Australian Council for Healthcare Standards.


EditorNovember 16, 2017
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3min220

According to the latest statistics, the prevalence diabetes in Sri Lanka had dramatically increased, especially among the urban population. Overweight and lack of exercise were the main causes of diabetes among children, while family history, food habits and obesity were the main causes among adults. The Durdans Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic is dedicated to preventing complications that could increase risk of morbidity and mortality through correct diagnosis of diabetes in all its forms and by offering comprehensive treatment programmes that can enhance the quality of life for patients with diabetes.

Uncontrolled levels of blood sugar, high blood pressure and cholesterol can cause complications to skin, eyes, kidneys, feet and nerves which increase risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is paramount for patients with diabetes to have a support system of doctors, healthcare professionals and informed family members. These include a primary physician, endocrinologist, dietician, eye specialist, psychiatrist and podiatrist.  Dr. Uditha Bulugahapitiya, Consultant Endocrinologist, says, “Specialist care is important for patients with diabetes as the focus would not only be on controlling the disease but on making assessments to prevent complications.”

Diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy, a common complication that causes loss of sensation in the feet. This is caused by high blood sugar levels that lead to nerve damage. Patients have to be extra careful about their feet as they can develop sores and cuts that go unnoticed due to loss of sensation. Dr. Bulugahapitya states, “Patients should do regular diabetes screenings to prevent complications such as neuropathy and non-healing foot ulcers that could end in high likelihood of lower-limb amputation which increases risk of morbidity and mortality”.

Durdans Hospital, a leader in regional healthcare, promotes preventative and holistic management of Diabetes. Therein, the Durdans Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic is devoted to comprehensive Diabetes care that includes an array of podiatry services such as regular foot assessment (neuropathy screening), special foot tests and custom fittings for shoes.  A qualified pool of specialist consultants, nurses, support staff and an interdisciplinary team supports patients in overall diabetes care. The clinic offers one the convenience of every possible diabetes screening to be obtained from one location. The Durdans Diabetic and Endocrinology Clinic is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. To know more about the Diabetes and Endocrinology clinic or to make an appointment call 011 2 140 210 or the Durdans 1344 helpline.


EditorNovember 10, 2017
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2min370

The typical procedure of collecting lab reports has always been taxing and time consuming.  Durdans Hospital recently announced the launch of its online service, which would enable patients to access their lab reports, mostly within 24 hrs, through an easy-to-use web-based portal.

Sanjeewa Kodikara Head of ICT at Durdans Hospital says, “The online lab reports portal is designed with the patients’ safety and convenience in mind. This ensures that high privacy and confidentiality is maintained. Also, the risk of losing the lab reports is averted as they will always have access to the report copy.”

The online reports portal is currently available in the Durdans website via http://labreports.durdans.com/ and customers who wish to access their online test results are required to enter the specimen number and UHID found on the lab investigation invoice. After login, they are able to download a PDF file of the report. In the case of multiple lab reports, the reports will be conveniently available in the same location and can be downloaded within 3 months from invoice date. Patients can also register to have their lab reports emailed to them. They will be notified via an SMS that the reports have been sent to their email.

As a leader in healthcare, Durdans Hospital is committed to embrace the latest digital healthcare services that keep pace with advancements in technology. Durdans laboratory and diagnostics is reputed for comprehensive and accurate test results, staffed by an experienced pool of pathologists and laboratory technicians. For more information on Durdans Hospital online lab report services call 011 2 140 000 or the Durdans 1344 Helpline.


EditorNovember 7, 2017
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4min430

Special workshop with the objective of achieving a common goal of improving standards of Pharmaceutical Regulatory framework in Sri Lanka

November 07, 2017: In an endeavor to better collaboration with the regulatory framework, shaping high-level public private partnerships (PPP) and arriving at consensual decisions, the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) together with the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), held a forum to discuss and agree on several key areas that will improve effectiveness and efficiency in the pharmaceutical industry towards a healthcare roadmap for Sri Lanka.

Key issues were deliberated on at the recently held forum, organized with the objective of encouraging open communication between SLCPI and NMRA to understand each other’s challenges and come up with workable solutions. The workshop, which was a joint effort of SLCPI and NMRA, also highlighted the importance of developing a robust platform where both institutions could share new ideas and suggestions for the betterment of the industry.

Prior to the workshop, the Chamber requested all member organizations to submit recommendations, which formed the basis for the discussion and had positive outcome.

A six-member regulatory sub-committee formed by the Chamber, which presented various regulatory challenges faced by the industry and the Regulator, correspondingly shared their points of view – some important decisions were made and key actionable points were taken to take it forward.

Shyam Sathasivam, President, SLCPl said it was the first of many determined efforts that the Chamber would conduct with the Regulator; “It’s imperative that we work together to define and develop the healthcare regulatory framework of the Country. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to NMRA for actively participating in this workshop; responses from both parties have been very positive and we look forward to a long and fruitful business relationship”.

Both parties engaged actively in the discussions which included the importance of nurturing Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s) to improve and maintain industry standards. Both SLCPI and NMRA welcomed the initiative and agreed to develop a clear road map for the healthcare sector.

Speaking on the outcome of the workshop, Sathasivam went on to explain, “It was heartening to witness the openness and objective-driven dialogue that took place from which we were able to make several important decisions to ease off existing bottlenecks in the industry”.

In a landmark decision, both groups said they would meet regularly to assess work in progress, for real time solutions and decisions. Overall, the forum helped cement rapport and build a conducive environment between Regulator and SLCPI.

Prof. Asitha de Silva, Chairman, National Medicine Regulatory Authority said, “We thank the SLCPI for this effort which helped both parties to openly communicate and discuss several strategic measures that will help mitigate misconceptions and better educate and create awareness on healthcare needs.”


EditorNovember 7, 2017
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2min390

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with Healthy Life Clinic will conduct an Awareness Program on Diabetes and Healthy Lifestyles in conjunction with the World Diabetes Day keeping to the theme “Women and Diabetes”

The programme serves to educate entrepreneurs, professionals and women in leadership positions who can influence and take initiative in the fight against diabetes which is currently the 8th leading cause of global deaths and is expected to be the 5th by 2030 according to the World Health Organization. Recent statistics by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) indicate that one in 12 adults in Sri Lanka suffers from diabetes which totals to an alarming 1.16 million.

Commenting on the initiative, Founder of Healthy Life Clinic, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Dr. Kayathri Periasamy said: “We believe raising awareness among women is crucial because the fight against diabetes should start from home – if mothers can be inspired to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and their families, half of the problem is solved.

“The seminar will feature an expert panel of endocrinologist, nutritionist and physicians who will share insights on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite being busy. Typically, diabetes can be prevented by implementing lifestyle modifications like maintaining a height appropriate weight, consuming a high fibre nutritious diet and engaging in physical activity; these are little changes that can make a big difference.”

Also addressed in this seminar is the fact that women have different challenges in seeking health care which may create disparity in how they are treated. Diabetes during pregnancy is another increasing problem which is unique to women. If diabetes is not controlled during pregnancy, the baby is exposed to high blood sugar levels and this can result in both the baby and the mother developing Type 2 Diabetes in the near future.

The programme will be held on November 11, Saturday, from 2.00 – 5.30pm at Hotel Ramada.


EditorNovember 6, 2017
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3min450

Credence Genomics Pvt Ltd., Sri Lanka’s premier specialized DNA diagnostics services provider has achieved yet another first  by being published in the acclaimed BioMed Central (BMC) Infectious Diseases publication.

With their innovative range of specialized DNA diagnostic tests, Credence Genomics has reached out to benefit the medical community in Sri Lanka and in the region, with the uncompromised guarantee of accuracy and speed of test reports by achieving unparalleled benchmarks.

Conceived by Dr. Vaz Gnanam in 2011 Credence Genomics was one of the earliest biotechnology startups not only in Sri Lanka but the region to invest in cutting edge NGS and application development. Steering the clinical genomics initiative, he led a team of scientists and ICT engineers to develop leading edge innovative diagnostics tests which  have been the result of  6 years of stringent research on industry defining genetic science, application of information technology and testing across a broad spectrum of diseases.  The tests rely on Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology, which enables  the four basic building blocks  found in all life forms to be interpreted as  digital data, to be captured, stored in a silicon chip and  compared by complex software backend.

Complying to relevant international accreditations and quality standards in clinical genomics, the tests have been well received by many leading hospitals and medical institutions across the country. Three specific tests that have been developed are Rapid Infection Detection(RID), BactFast and FungiFast.  The above 90% accuracy and ultrafast reporting times have proven their benefits across many different specializations of medicine within a very short span of time.

All three tests are designed to identify suspect organisms based on their DNA makeup, and as an outcome of the tests the presence of all known pathogenic bacteria and fungi in any clinical sample.

On reaching this landmark achievement,  Associate Lab Manager of Credence Genomics Pvt Ltd., and first author of the paper Ms Manahari Abayasekera stated “the Rapid Infection Detection product (RID) along with BactFast and FungiFast represent the future of accurate diagnostic delivery in infectious diseases”.

Professor Jennifer Perera, Clinical Director of the company, further elaborated saying  “It’s not very often you find a product that not only has precision and coverage under a single umbrella. Anaerobic infections, mixed infections, unculturable organisms and novel/ rare organisms along with the common infection causing candidates can be addressed with these tests.”

Dr. N.V. Chandrasekharan, Director Laboratory of Credence Genomics, added “the stringent parameters under which the company has developed and deployed these products can be considered class-leading. With built in quality control and validation these tests represent the future of medicine available now and developed by Sri Lankan scientists and information technology specialists”.


EditorNovember 3, 2017
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2min1290

Busy lifestyles can take its toll on the health and wellbeing of individuals from young adults to professionals and families. The Executive Wellness Centre at Durdans Hospital is a dedicated one-stop facility providing comprehensive multiphase health screening services, preventive care and lifestyle management essential for the early detection and management of diseases.

The newly refurbished Executive Wellness Centre, located on the 3rd floor, is designed with convenience and superior service in mind.  On consulting the Family Physician, patrons can select a health checkup that is tailored to their needs and lifestyles.  The preventive screening services at the Executive Wellness Centre will include a comprehensive medical history, clinical examination, evaluation of investigations and appropriate referrals if necessary.

Dr. Wimal Karandagoda, Director Medical Services and Chief Operating Officer at Durdans Hospital says, “The centre, which operates seven days a week, is supported by a full-time team of specialists, nurses and health professionals to help our patrons manage potential health risks by providing specific screening profiles and personalized consultations. Additionally, our customer service staff is always available at the Centre to assist with any queries and support.”

Prior to the health checkup, a free consultation will be provided by a resident Family Physician. Additionally, discounts are on offer for senior citizens, Durdans patrons who have had health checkups previously and for immediate family members when billed together. For appointments call 0778 919 024/ 0773 406 918 or the Durdans 1344 Helpline.


EditorOctober 31, 2017
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2min900

The Trustees of the Kirulapone Jumma Masjid will be organizing a free medical camp in collaboration with the Kirulapone Police from 9am on Sunday 5 November 2017 at the Kirulapone Jumma Masjid at High Level Road Colombo 6.

Open to members of all communities, the free medical camp will offer a wide range of facilities and medical services covering Pediatrics, Gynecology, Mammogram screening for early detection of breast cancer, Ophthalmology, Blood tests and any other general medical needs.

In addition to the free check-up, the clinic will also offer free gift vouchers to pregnant mothers in order to help them on their journey towards motherhood.

The initiative is also viewed as an opportunity to strengthen ties between Sri Lankans of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, by bringing them together towards the celebration of a common cause. In that regard, learned prelates and religious leaders of all faiths will be in attendance at the event.

“We wish to thank the generous efforts of all of those who are volunteering their time and effort to make this free medical camp a reality, including all of the esteemed medical professionals who have offered their experience, expertise and knowledge in various medical fields towards this vital cause, and we warmly invite all those who are in need of any medical assistance whatsoever to attend the camp,” Roomy Rahim, Trustee, Kirulapone Jumma Masjid said.


EditorOctober 30, 2017
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5min730

Consultations now a breeze for patients and doctors

oDoc, a Sri Lankan startup linking patients with doctors on-demand, emerged winners in the Telemedicine category at the recently concluded Commonwealth Digital Health Awards. Developed over 12 months, the award-winning platform provides a “360 degree solution” for both patients and doctors – providing pre-consultation notes on an electronic health record, video consultations, and a valid prescription sent to your smartphone. This saves users from the hassle of waiting rooms and traffic jams with the advantages of better diagnoses and treatment augmented by modern technology.

The Commonwealth Digital Health Conference and Awards ceremony, held at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo, marked the launch of the Commonwealth Digital Health Initiative followed by the adoption of the Commonwealth policy brief on ‘Digital Systems for One Health’. The highlight of the conference was the digital health mall, which showcased 35 shortlisted digital health innovations from India, Singapore, Malaysia, Malta, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Norway and South Africa.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Heshan Fernando, founder and CEO of oDoc said “We put medical consultation and e-prescriptions into the palm of your hands and we are doing this by combining mobile technology and artificial intelligence with the best clinical expertise.” Fernando highlighted pediatric and dermatological consultations as popular use cases. He also pointed to the option for anonymous consultations through oDoc being particularly useful for those seeking sexual and mental health consultations.

Explaining oDoc further, Fernando stated “You can basically book appointments in seconds and see a doctor fully registered with the Sri Lanka Medical Council whenever you want, wherever you are, through just three taps of your Smartphone. Once you request your consultation, the doctor will then video call you, assess your condition and provide you with a valid prescription with the doctor’s seal, right to your phone. All within a matter of 10 minutes. The showing of lab reports and follow-up visits could take place the same way. Studies have shown  nearly 75 per cent of all regular doctor visits could be handled effectively through video just like this.”

Similar services have seen wide-scale adoption internationally. HealthTap based out of Palo Alto, California has over 100,000 doctors offering their services on its platform. Babylon Health, claims 1 in 100 citizens of the UK as users and recently partnered with the NHS. The founders of oDoc are convinced that with the current level of smartphone and internet penetration in Asia, the time is ripe for the convenience of telemedicine to improve the lives of millions in Sri Lanka and the region.

Doctors also stand to see added convenience. All of Sri Lanka now becomes accessible to medical practitioners through oDoc beyond the usual 10 to 25km radius from where they could see patients in the past. The platform also gives doctors a better work-life balance where working from home more often becomes a viable option. For those opting to go fully digital, a “virtual practice” would help avoid the hassle and overheads involved in running a private clinic.

Dr. Janaka Wickramasinghe, who is a practicing doctor and a founder of oDoc explains, “The benefits of this system don’t end with just convenience. We built an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) platform from the ground up just to assist these video consultations. This allows a doctor to document a consultation digitally rather than through written notes. Doctors hadn’t already moved on to doing this because it invariably takes longer than writing something on paper. So, what we did was approach this as a design problem, not a medical or IT problem and designed something which is super-fast and easy, where anyone can use it, without needing much IT knowledge. Through features like this, oDoc helps doctors provide better-informed more holistic healthcare to their patients.”

oDoc have to-date signed on 10 companies including MAS Active, Union Assurance, Expolanka, Hela, Akbar Brothers, and Brandix, and will have a total of 20,000 users on their cards. The platform together with its fast adoption rate has also drawn the attention of investors, with the startup raising US$ 1 million in funding – Sri Lanka’s largest seed round investment – from Ajit Gunawardena, Brandix and LOLC.

The nascent Sri Lankan startup ecosystem is on the path to gain a boost if startups like oDoc gain traction and can scale operations.



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