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Health Care Week In Review: Independent Physicians Are Less Likely to Utilize EHRs, HHS Department Announces $20M Program to Bring Residency Programs to Rural Areas, Improvements to Prosthetic Hand Recovers Patient's Sense of Touch, Doctors Advise Against Daily Aspirin Use

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

•  New research has found private practice physicians are less likely to utilize electronic record systems (EHRs) compared to group practices and hospital employed physicians. Since the America Reinvestment and Recovery Act was introduced in 2009, which defined meaningful use of EHRs and offered financial incentives to physicians who adopted such systems, the number of independent providers participating in the program decreased by half as of 2015 and has continued to drop. Results of the study have been interpreted in multiple ways. First, since independent doctors have more authority over the technology they use, they simply have more freedom to choose not to continue in the program -- as opposed to doctors in integrated systems in which management could require participation. Second, the high-cost and time burden of maintaining EHRs is not longer offset by the financial incentives offered, leaving independent physicians unable to invest in maintaining them.  Read More

•  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced their Rural Residency Planning and Development program, which will provide 27 healthcare organizations across the country $20 million in federal grants to establish new residency programs. Medical schools, rural hospitals, community health centers, and Indian Health Service centers are among the organizations that will receive funding. The goal of this government program is to address the increasing shortage of doctors in rural, disadvantaged areas and improve patient access to high-quality healthcare providers.  Read More

•  A 14-month study, conducted by a research team from the University of Utah, has made significant leaps in prosthetic technology by adapting a commercially developed prosthetic named the "LUKE arm." The original LUKE arm had been designed to perform a variety of movements, but the Utah collaboration significantly improved it by identifying how to mimic the way the human brain sends a signal to the hand to touch an object, and how the hand sends a signal back in response to touching it.  Research suggests nerves that control the hand and sends information to the brain still exist, even after the hand has been amputated. Using electrodes implanted in the existing nerves of the subject’s forearm, the prosthetic was able to convert brain signals into movement for participants. This enables the sensations of touch and provides the ability to feel and manipulate objects, which they previously had not been able to do.  Read More

•  The American Heart Association suggests that adults older than 70 years of age who have not had a heart attack and people who have a higher risk of bleeding should not take aspirin, but new research shows that nearly 7 million people surveyed take aspirin daily regardless of medical advice from their physician. Although aspirin can benefit people affected by a heart attack or stroke, the drug is not always beneficial and can cause higher risk of severe bleeding. Because of the widespread use for aspirin, which can cause serious side effects, physicians should ask patients whether or not they take the pill and help them understand the potential risks and benefits associated with it.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.
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