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Research and Innovation

Supporting shared decision making 

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Making decisions about health and healthcare can be complicated for people facing a serious illness with a number of treatment options. Research shows that good patient outcomes are usually achieved through a combination of clinical excellence and responsiveness to a person’s preferences, needs and values.

Bupa Health Dialog’s Shared Decision Making™ decision aids support this process by providing unbiased, evidence-based information about the potential risks and benefits of treatment options to help people connect this evidence with their personal preferences. Developed by Health Dialog in collaboration with the world-renowned Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, each aid focuses on a specific condition or aspect of health and has been reviewed by international and Australian clinicians and academics.

“Shared decision making aids help patients improve the quality and ownership of the health decisions they need to make in conjunction with their health provider,” explains Brett Comer, General Manager of Bupa Health Dialog. “This also helps support providers to ensure people are more informed and engaged in their treatment.”

Visit Bupa Health Dialog for more information

Brain health enters the digital age 

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In a world-first, Alzheimer’s Australia in partnership with the Bupa Health Foundation has launched the BrainyApp for iPhone and iPad as the latest digital tool in the global fight against Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Based on the latest scientific research that links brain health and a reduced risk of dementia to a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, BrainyApp is the world’s first dementia risk reduction app designed to help Australians monitor and improve their brain-heart health.

“Most people are aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke,” says Ita Buttrose, National President of Alzheimer’s Australia.

“What isn’t well known is that the same lifestyle habits may also lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.”

There are 270,000 Australians currently living with dementia and this number is set to double over the next 20 years.

Getting to the heart of the matter 

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Australians with heart disease could benefit from a ground-breaking partnership between Bupa and Genesis Heart Care (GHC), Australia’s largest group of private cardiologists, underpinned by a joint commitment to public reporting on quality and outcomes.

One of the first demonstrations of this commitment is the release of the Genesis Heart Care Report PDF, 5.7Mb detailing clinical outcomes and quality indicators for angioplasty, a procedure used to unblock the blood vessels that feed the heart.

Speaking at the time of the report’s launch, Dr Stan Goldstein, Bupa’s Head of Clinical Advisory, said: “This is a ground breaking report that aims to improve health outcomes for the 3.7 million people living with long-term heart or circulatory disease, Australia’s leading causes of death and disability.”

Scanning for sight 

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Potential sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma, diabetes, hypertension and macular degeneration may now be simply and painlessly detected due to advances in digital retinal photography.

Blink Optical is rolling out Carl Ziess Visucam 200 digital retinal cameras across its stores nationally. The cameras record the current state of a person’s retina, optic nerve and blood vessels. The 3D image, if compared with previous images, will show any subtle changes in appearance which can allow for the early detection of diseases.

In the case of abnormalities being identified by Blink Optical’s optometrists, these people will be referred to their GP for follow-up.

Blink Optical is offering the eye test at no additional cost to Bupa members and it is also available to members of the public for a fee.