D.C. launches Direct Secure Messaging; Touchscreen tech helps children boost communication skills;

> Washington, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray announced the go-live for Direct Secure Messaging in the nation's capital this week, according to the Washington Business Journal. The system was built by Orion Health and funded by a $5.1 million federal grant. Article

> Touchscreen technology is being used in the U.K. to help children with autism enhance their communication skills, according to an announcement by the Economic and Social Research Council. At a school that teaches children at various stages of the autism spectrum, a program allows the children to interact with a "semi autonomous agent" named Andy, and also allows them to manipulate on-screen objects. Announcement

> Electronic health records can be a "valuable resource" to improve medication safety by validating previously reported adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and detecting new ones, according to a recently published study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Early detection of ADRs can lead to alerts that prevent patient harm, according to the study's authors, from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. However, not all ADRs are detected during a drug's clinical trials, since those studies are smaller and of shorter duration. FierceEMR

And Finally… Finally, a Christmas tree my cat can't knock over. Article

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