Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links – 13th January, 2018.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.
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Pushing for better health care

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,
Timely and quality health information will improve healthcare service delivery and provide routine evidence performance of Samoa’s health services. 
That is according to the Minister of Health, Tuitama Dr. Leao Tuitama, on the Samoa’s Health Sector eHealth Policy and Strategy 2017-2022.  
The vision behind the launching of the Samoa eHealth Policy will guide the Samoa eHealth Strategy implementation.
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ONC releases its Trusted Exchange Framework establishing a single ‘on ramp’ for interoperability


After several months of public meetings and industry input, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released its Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement designed to improve data sharing between health information networks.
The framework (PDF), mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, provides the policies, procedures and technical standards necessary to exchange patient records and health information between providers, state and regional health information exchanges and federal agencies.
It also aims to eliminate the burdens of costly point-to-point interactions that healthcare organizations currently face by creating a common set of practices to allow providers, patients, payers and health IT vendors to securely communicate with one another.
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Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative launches new initiative to share patient records nationally

SHIEC's new initiative lays the foundation for interoperability between regional HIEs.
A national trade association for health information exchange organizations has launched a new initiative that allows regional HIEs to share patient medical records across the country.
The Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH), launched by the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) on Thursday, expands several smaller regional implementations designed to allow HIEs to synchronize patient records and notify physicians when their patient experiences a health event away from home.  
“The HIEs working together to create PCDH built a powerful foundation for interoperability between HIEs—and we managed to do it using our current technologies,” Dan Porreca, executive director for HEALTHeLINK, Western New York's HIE, and chair of the SHIEC board of directors, said in an announcement. “We also created and agreed to a national, legally-binding agreement, which laid the foundation for HIEs sharing data with each other across state lines and throughout communities.”
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Digital health startups raised record $11.5B in 2017, StartUp Health reports

January 03, 2018
Digital health startups raised an all-time high of $11.5 billion in 2017, topping 2016’s record of $8 billion, according to the StartUp Health Insights Year End Report.
“Looking beyond the numbers provides insight into a sector transitioning to a more mature phase,” the authors of the report wrote. “Deal activity at the early stage has fueled a startup wave and a maturing market with more later-stage opportunities is attracting new investment globally. 2018 is poised to be a dynamic year in terms of digital health funding activity, M&A and breakout successes, and experimentation paving the way for new advancements.”
A few very large deals notably made up a lot of the year's total. For instance, connected exercise bike company Peloton's $325 million raise was one of the largest, as was early cancer detection company Grail's staggering $914 million.
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Startup company eyes tech to help patients manage their data

Published January 05 2018, 7:39am EST
An emerging company has a simple but lofty mission—making patients the custodians of their own medical information, able to share it with any providers on an as-needed basis.
Ciitizen is part of a personal mission of its founder, Anil Sethi, who most recently led the health tech division at Apple. It’s part of a promise that Sethi made to his sister, Tania, who died this past September after a battle with breast cancer.
He and his family were closely involved in supporting her through her care, and he vowed that he would develop technology that would help very sick patients manage their illnesses. As a result, Ciitizen initially plans to focus on providing services for cancer patients.
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HIT Think How healthcare organizations should defend against chip vulnerabilities

Published January 05 2018, 3:20pm EST
Two major computer hardware bugs—Meltdown and Spectre—affecting billions of devices became public this week, and security experts are warning that they could be the nastiest bugs ever.
While this is still a developing situation, it’s known that the security weaknesses can enable attackers to access security keys, passwords and files stored in the memory of all types of computing devices, even mobile devices. These bugs have the potential to make secrets accessible to organized cybercriminals, who could steal them without a trace.
The healthcare industry should pay particularly close attention to these two issues, and not only because healthcare organizations are lucrative targets for cyber attackers. Organizations also can expect to experience reduced system performance and may need to invest considerable time and money in hardware upgrades to address these vulnerabilities.
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ONC releases draft Trusted Exchange Framework to aid interoperability

Published January 05 2018, 3:59pm EST
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Friday released a draft Trusted Exchange Framework to enable interoperability across disparate healthcare information networks nationally, as directed by the 21st Century Cures Act.
The draft framework is designed to support nationwide interoperability by outlining a common set of principles, as well as minimum terms and conditions for trusted data exchange. According to ONC, the document focuses on policies, procedures and technical standards that build from existing HIN capabilities and enables them to work together to provide a “single on-ramp” to patient information regardless of the HIT vendor they use or the health information exchange (HIE) with which they contract.
“Currently, there are more than 100 regional HIEs and multiple national level organizations that support exchange use cases,” states ONC’s draft Trusted Exchange Framework. “While these organizations have expanded interoperability within their particular spheres, the connectivity across all or even most of them has not been achieved. This has limited the patient health information that a provider or health system has access to, unless they join multiple networks.”
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5 health IT predictions for 2018: Telemedicine's final push, EHRs remain in the legal crosshairs

Jan 4, 2018 10:04am
New legislation solidifying pathways to telehealth reimbursement seems like a sure thing in 2018.
This past year featured pockets of significant progress for the health IT industry, and several of the healthcare technology trends that grabbed the spotlight are poised to maintain their momentum in 2018.
For example, the Food and Drug Administration has made several moves to ease the pathway for innovative medical devices and relaxed its oversight of certain mobile applications. Technology giants like Apple and Google are increasingly interested in carving out space in the healthcare sector, which is likely to trigger new partnerships in 2018.
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More hospitals offer women 3D mammograms despite concerns it may lead to overdiagnosis of breast cancer

Jan 4, 2018 3:45pm
Although some experts worry that 3D mammograms may lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer, more hospitals across the country now offer women the option of either a 2D or 3D scan when they schedule their mammograms.
The latest figures from the Food and Drug Administration indicate that more than 3,900 of the 8,726 certified mammography facilities now have 3D mammography or digital breast tomosynthesis. Last January slightly more than 3,000 facilities offered the upgraded imaging.
Among the latest hospital systems to provide 3D screenings: CHI Health in Nebraska, which offers it exclusively in all its imaging departments at eight of its hospitals, according to Live Well Nebraska. The upgraded imaging offers better views and more information than standard mammograms, Catherine E. Mendlick, M.D., a radiologist at CHI Health Lakeside Hospital, told the publication. She says it is also a better option for the 40% of women who have dense breasts and may need extra screening.
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AI early diagnosis could save heart and cancer patients

  • 2 January 2018
Image copyright BBC News Image caption Sir John Bell believes that artificial intelligence can save the NHS
Researchers at an Oxford hospital have developed artificial intelligence (AI) that can diagnose scans for heart disease and lung cancer.
The systems will save billions of pounds by enabling the diseases to be picked up much earlier.
The heart disease technology will start to be available to NHS hospitals for free this summer.
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AHRQ to launch IT competition on patient-reported outcomes data in EHRs

Written by Jessica Kim Cohen | January 03, 2018 | Print  | Email
The HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality plans to host a competition in fall 2018 to encourage the integration of patient-reported outcomes data into EHRs, according to a Dec. 26 notice in the federal register.
The competition will invite IT developers to create user-friendly technical tools that enable patients to share data with clinicians and researchers. The tools should leverage health IT standards such as application programming interfaces, so data can be integrated into and shared with health IT systems regardless of a facility's EHR vendor.
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Survey: Americans trust healthcare industry with personal data more than government

Written by Jessica Kim Cohen | January 03, 2018 | Print  | Email
Fifty-six percent of Americans feel as if the country as a whole is less secure today than past years, according to a survey Tempe, Ariz.-based University of Phoenix released Oct. 26.
The College of Information Systems & Technology at University of Phoenix tapped Harris Poll to conduct its third annual national cybersecurity survey. The survey asked 2,012 Americans about their experience with and attitudes toward data breaches. Forty-three percent of respondents indicated they had experienced a personal data breach during the past three years.
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CMS bans use of texting by doctors to place medical orders

Published January 04 2018, 4:00pm EST
In a recent memo, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has outlined a position that the texting of medical orders by physicians is not permissible.
The position was outlined in a late December memo to state survey agency directors from the head of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey and Certification Group.
The guidance from CMS states that the texting of patient orders “is prohibited regardless of the platform utilized,” and the computerized provider order entry (CPOE) “is the preferred method of order entry by a provider.”
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HIT Think Three rising technologies that will impact healthcare in 2018

Published January 04 2018, 5:17pm EST
2017 is in the rear-view mirror and 2018 is fast upon us. Two emerging technologies are likely to help drag healthcare into the modern age—blockchain and artificial intelligence. And my third area of focus continues to be interoperability, enabling seamless health data exchange.
We will see some significant progress in 2018 on adoption of blockchain and AI, and hopefully at least some baby steps on achieving nationwide interoperability.
Interoperability
Healthcare must make a shift to Interoperability 2.0—that’s because health data are essentially useless if systems aren't integrated. A platform for interoperability is essential to thrive in a transformed health system. 2018 is going to see interoperability come even more to the forefront as regulatory action, pressure from value-based payment and delivery models, and deeper partnerships between physicians and payers bring the needs for sharing health data into sharp focus.
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How UVA incorporates AI into radiology reviews

Published January 02 2018, 1:56pm EST
When radiologists at The University of Virginia Health System pull up abdominal CT scans, they see a green or red icon in the corner of the study. This means a machine learning algorithm has already reviewed the image. A green icon means the application found nothing troubling, while a red icon can be clicked on to see what abnormalities the technology found.
The Charlottesville-based health system has been partnering with Zebra Medical Vision to test beta versions of algorithms that detect five medical conditions or abnormalities on CT scans: emphysema, coronary artery calcification, fatty liver, spinal fractures and spinal low bone density.
While the algorithms are doing a good job identifying routine specific findings, they are not yet reducing a radiologist’s workload or improving the accuracy of radiology reports. What needs to occur before that happens?
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Hospital Impact―Ear to the ground: 5 healthcare delivery trends to watch in 2018

Jan 3, 2018 6:45pm
Since becoming president and CEO of AMGA in October, I’ve spent as much time as possible listening to as many of our 450 members as three months will allow. You can learn a lot of valuable information and insight when your membership represents 175,000 physicians and legions of allied professionals―from nurses to pharmacists to information technology specialists―who treat 1 of every 3 Americans.
What I hear is encouraging. Healthcare organizations are finding new ways to enhance care delivery through innovative models and partnerships. For instance, many AMGA members―including Dignity Health, Intermountain Healthcare, the Permanente medical groups, Sutter Health and Christus Health, to name a few―are implementing successful community engagement strategies. These systems are partnering with their communities to address some of the key drivers of poor health, like food insecurity, transportation and substance abuse.
What I hear is providing insights into what issues will be top of mind with healthcare leaders in 2018. Thus, here’s a short list of delivery trends to watch for in the coming year:
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Study shows patient portals have no impact on hospital readmissions or mortality

Jan 3, 2018 10:33am
Previous research has have tackled patient portal usability and satisfaction among users, but few studies have looked at the impact of portals on hospital outcomes.
A new study out of the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, does just that with relatively uninspiring results.
Researchers found that 30-day readmissions, inpatient mortality and 30-day mortality were virtually the same when comparing hospitalized patients that used portals versus those that did not, leading them to conclude that patient portals may not ultimately improve hospital outcomes. The results were published last week the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
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Six Cyber Threats to Really Worry About in 2018

From AI-powered hacking to tampering with voting systems, here are some of the big risks on our radar screen.

Hackers are constantly finding new targets and refining the tools they use to break through cyberdefenses. The following are some significant threats to look out for this year.

More huge data breaches

The cyberattack on the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017, which led to the theft of Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other data on almost half the U.S. population, was a stark reminder that hackers are thinking big when it comes to targets. Other companies that hold lots of sensitive information will be in their sights in 2018. Marc Goodman, a security expert and the author of Future Crimes, thinks data brokers who hold information about things such as people’s personal Web browsing habits will be especially popular targets. “These companies are unregulated, and when one leaks, all hell will break loose,” he says.

Ransomware in the cloud

The past 12 months have seen a plague of ransomware attacks, with targets including Britain’s National Health Service, San Francisco’s light-rail network, and big companies such as FedEx. Ransomware is a relatively simple form of malware that breaches defenses and locks down computer files using strong encryption. Hackers then demand money in exchange for digital keys to unlock the data. Victims will often pay, especially if the material encrypted hasn’t been backed up.
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Sweden aims to be global e-health leader by 2025: health minister

Source: Xinhua Published: 2018/1/3 10:38:04
The Swedish government is investing heavily in helping Sweden become a global leader in e-health, with the country's National Board of Health and Welfare tasked with ensuring that the government meets this goal by 2025, it was reported Tuesday.
"The aim of the mission we are now giving the National Board of Health and Welfare is to offer members of staff better conditions for providing patients with the best possible health care," Minister for Health and Social Affairs Annika Strandhall said in a statement.
As part of the new push to improve e-health, which is a healthcare practice supported by electronic processes and communication, the Swedish government is investing heavily in semantic standardization.
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Artificial intelligence and machine learning took hold in healthcare during 2017

A look back at what happened and how it shaped the future of AI, cognitive computing and machine learning for 2018 and beyond.
December 29, 2017 01:10 PM
This year was a fun one for futurists, sci-fi fans and health IT professionals fascinated by artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and machine learning. 2017, in fact, was packed with real-world AI applications amid incredible hype.
The excitement started building ahead of HIMSS17 in Orlando and the show floor was abuzz with AI talk — much the way pop health dominated the discourse at HIMSS16 and HIMSS15 before that.
Several things became clear this year: AI is real and it’s here with 86 percent of hospitals using some form of it and others like NewYork-Presbyterian already embarking on significant projects, there are two types of machine learning to understand now (those being supervised and unsupervised), and machine learning engineers are among the hottest emerging careers, and early practical applications include claims collection, clinical decision support, cybersecurity and radiology, just to name a few.  
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2017 Year in Review: A digital health boom, cyberattacks and navigating health IT’s awkward teenage years

Dec 21, 2017 2:42pm
Even if we’ve tried to forget, everyone remembers those painfully awkward teen years when we were still getting comfortable with who we were and our place in the world.
That’s where the health IT industry finds itself now: still getting comfortable in its own skin. 
Health systems have the basic IT infrastructure in place. They have an EHR system. They have analytics and population health tools. They have more data than they know what to do with. Now they’re just trying to pull it all together into a cohesive unit.
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Stool-sample-sniffin' electronic nose detects diseases

December 28th, 2017
Typically, colon-related illnesses such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diagnosed via invasive tests. Thanks to a new "electronic nose," however, it may soon be possible to detect such disorders by analyzing a whiff of the patient's feces.
Known as the Moosy 32 eNose, the device is being developed by a Spanish team from Valencia's Polytechnic University and the La Fe Health Investigation Institute.
In lab tests performed on 445 stool samples so far, it's proven to be almost 90 percent accurate at differentiating between Crohn's and colitis – this is based on a three-minute analysis of the volatile organic compounds emanating from those samples. The technology can also ascertain the severity of the disease.
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Despite increased interest, quantum computing years away

Published January 02 2018, 7:15am EST
It hasn’t hit the radar screens of most CIOs yet, but there is a new game-changing technology on the horizon. Quantum computing, which has the potential to dramatically alter the computing landscape, is likely to receive a lot of attention in 2018.
Quantum computing theory has been around since the late 1970s, and a commercial system has been available for a decade. But persistent technical problems have impeded the widespread adoption of this potent new approach to data processing.
Now, however, the technical dam is breaking, and outfits ranging from research labs, like Sandia National Laboratories, to government agencies, such as NASA and IT giants including Google, IBM and Microsoft, are pressing hard to make quantum computers a practical reality. In lockstep, a startup ecosystem is emerging, as firms like D-Wave Systems and QC Ware attract of hundreds of millions of investment dollars.
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HIT Think Why machine learning isn’t a cure-all to improve security

Published January 02 2018, 4:30pm EST
Hospitals and other healthcare providers continue to be prime targets for hackers, and as providers increasingly depend on the constant flow of information through their systems, the potential negative effects of attacks loom larger in 2018.
In addition to the substantial financial costs associated with cyberattacks, security breaches frequently disrupt critical medical services—a major problem when hospitals get attacked is that patient record systems can go down or become encrypted. When that happens, doctors are forced to revert to taking and circulating patient notes by hand. They may not be able to access important information regarding patient history, medications, test results and more.
With the threat of and severity of attacks becoming more damaging than ever, healthcare organizations are increasingly looking for new security solutions that can better protect them. While many security vendors claim their protection now incorporates machine learning, in many cases they’re likely to be providing is an updated version of the same file-scanning antivirus solution they’ve been offering for years.
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EHRs lead to declines in financial, clinical productivity for ophthalmologists

Published January 02 2018, 7:43am EST
While ophthalmologists are using electronic health records at an unprecedented level, they are seeing declining financial and clinical productivity from their EHR systems.
That’s the finding of a new study published last week in the journal of JAMA Ophthalmology. Funded by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it is the third in a series of three questionnaire-based surveys conducted in 2006, 2011 and most recently 2016.
Although the EHR adoption rate rose to 72.1 percent from 47 percent since the previous EHR survey of U.S. ophthalmologists in 2011, respondents in the latest survey were more decidedly negative in their perceptions of the effects of EHRs on productivity outcomes and practice costs.
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More Ophthalmologists Using EHRs, but Say Productivity Is Down

Tara Haelle
December 29, 2017
Use of electronic health records (EHRs) has more than doubled among US ophthalmologists in the last decade, yet most of these physicians perceive EHRs as decreasing their productivity and increasing office costs, according to a cross-sectional survey study published online December 28 in JAMA Ophthalmology.
"The adoption rate for ophthalmologists in our survey (72.1%) was in line with that of other specialties," report Michele C. Lim, MD, from the University of California, Davis, in Sacramento, and colleagues.
The researchers emailed surveys to 2000 ophthalmologists out of more than 18,000 active US members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in 2015 to 2016. A random selection from mailing address Zip codes generated the sample, and survey responses remained anonymous. "This sampling process was intended to provide a geographically diverse population of ophthalmologists while minimizing the opportunity for multiple responses from physicians who practiced within the same group," the authors explain in their article.
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GDPR and the NHS Digital Academy: Digital Health’s predictions for 2018
29 December 2017
It’s that time of year again when Digital Health News looks back on the year that has just passed and look to the one coming ahead.
While issues surrounding cyber security dominated the headlines in the world of health technology in 2017 – here is a glimpse ahead to what is coming up in 2018.
Integrated Care Records
Starting January 2018, NHS England has said it will begin issuing invitations for trusts to become one of five new integrated care record exemplars.
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Predictions for the year ahead: UK digital health leaders on 2018
27 December 2017
As the New Year fast approaches, Digital Health News asked a number of UK digital health leaders to give their predictions of what lies in store for 2018.
Our contributors come from a variety of different roles from within the health technology sector including the Professional Records Standards Body (PRSB) and chief information officers (CIOs) from NHS trusts across the country.
Professor Maureen Baker, chair of the Professional Records Standards Body 
“2017 has been a landmark year in digital transformation, from the launch of the “Great North Care Record” to the “Building a Digital Workforce” initiative.
“Change is truly upon us and the PRSB is at the forefront of this. Our professional information standards are integral to the digital revolution and this year we’ve made major strides.
01.04.18
Can This App That Lets You Sell Your Health Data Cut Your Health Costs?
CoverUS wants to use the blockchain to let healthcare companies reward you for the data they now buy from your insurance company.
Americans could do with new ways to save on healthcare. Obamacare-administered plans are set to get more expensive by up to 50% this year amid uncertainty around federal subsidies that help pay for premiums. The cost of employer-sponsored insurance, meanwhile, continues to jump well above inflation. Many of us are hit with surprise medical bills we can’t afford.
CoverUS, a startup, has one idea: monetizing our health-related data. Through a new blockchain-based data marketplace, it hopes to generate revenue that could effectively make insurance cheaper and perhaps even encourage us to become healthier, thus cutting the cost of the system overall.
It works like this: When you sign up, you download a digital wallet to your phone. Then you populate that wallet with data from an electronic health record (EHR), for which, starting in January 2018, system operators are legally obliged to offer an open API. At the same time, you can also allow wearables and other health trackers to automatically add data to the platform, and answer questions about your health and consumption habits.
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Intel starts issuing patches for Meltdown, Spectre vulnerabilities
Intel says it has already issued updates for the majority of its processor products released in the last five years.
By Natalie Gagliordi for Between the Lines | January 4, 2018 -- 20:05 GMT (07:05 AEDT) | Topic: Security
Intel on Thursday began issuing patches for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities linked to its processors.
In a press release, the Santa Clara-based tech giant said it has "developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems -- including personal computers and servers -- that render those systems immune from both exploits reported by Google Project Zero."
The two critical chip vulnerabilities date back more than two decades and were found to enable an attacker to steal data from the memory of running apps, such as data from password managers, browsers, emails, photos, and documents. The researchers who discovered the vulnerabilities said that "almost every system," since 1995, including computers and phones, is affected by the bug.
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Enjoy!
David.

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