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This Week in Health Care: Hospital Quality Ratings Delayed, OpenNotes Offers Patient Access, Future of Drug-Resistant Superbugs

Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:

• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put a hold on revealing new quality star ratings for U.S. providers due to pressure from Congress. The release date has been pushed to July in order to  better clarify questions to providers over the next few months regarding the current methodology of how ratings are generated. The rating system gives providers one to five stars based on specific inpatient and outpatient reporting measures and is a way for consumers to compare and choose among different providers. Only 87 out of over 3,600 U.S. hospitals received a rating of five stars and just over half fell within the three-star range. The urge in delaying the program is also in response to questions about the seemingly confusing methods and disparity in outcome for hospitals in disadvantaged communities, which could potentially mislead consumers. These next few months are essential as hospitals and health systems work with CMS to improve the ratings for patients. Source

• In an effort to improve transparency, trust, and communication between physicians and their patients, OpenNotes is now being embraced by New York's Mount Sinai Health System. This initiative allows patients to access their provider's notes in their medical records, electronically. The notes are available in their health system's online electronic health record portal, called MyMountSinaiChart, and users are now able to read details surrounding their recent office visit from the comfort of their own home via personal computer, tablet or smartphone.  The ultimate goal is to improve and enhance patient engagement as well as patient empowerment. Source

• By 2050, an estimated 10 million people will be killed by drug-resistant bugs, exceeding the number of those who would die from cancer. These superbugs are bacterial threats that have become resistant to antibiotics. In the U.S., the CDC calls on hospitals and health care system leaders to help prevent infection by ensuring that staff follow best practices in proper hand-hygiene, isolation, and environmental device-cleaning. UK Chancellor George Osborne urges leaders to shift incentives to encourage pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics, which is critical because it can take 10 to 15 years to develop new antibiotic therapies at a very high cost.  Source


On The Front Lines:

It's no surprise that Apple went up this week by 0.04 percent in light of releasing their upgraded MacBook Pro with new processors that are Intel's sixth-generation Core M and range from 1.1GHz to 1.3GHz depending on configuration. I predict we'll see Apple continue to dominate the mobile device scene among health care providers this year.



iOS: 90.82%
Android: 9.18%

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's physician charge capture users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.
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