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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new study released this week by HealthlinkNY found that New York hospitals that accessed outside patient records reduced patients' average length of stay by over 7 percent and by 4.5 percent for 30-day admissions. The report clearly shows that the benefits of using HIEs are greater when they contain robust patient data and when physicians have experience using them.  Read More

•  Prestigious hospitals across the U.S. are offering more and more alternative medicine therapies. Despite very little evidence that methods such as Chinese herbal therapies and acupuncture actually work, alternative medicine is on the rise. Opposers to alternative medicine are quick to point out that physicians who promote these therapies forfeit claims they belong to a science-based profession. Advocates say these unconventional treatments offer alternatives that have helped patients who could not be cured by modern medicine.  Read More

•  Hospital and Medical groups are among the opposers to the Republicans' Health Care Plan, citing expected declines in health insurance coverage and causing potential harm to vulnerable patient populations as well as threatening health care affordability, access and delivery.  Read More

•  A newly released study found that there are two effective tests in determining the cause of a stillbirth, a death of a fetus at or after 20 weeks of gestation. Both an examination of the placenta and a fetal autopsy helped in approximately 40 percent of cases, and with genetic testing being the third most useful test.  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 software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Will Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) survive a repeal and replacement of the current Affordable Care Act? One leading health policy expert seems to think so. Paul Keckley, Ph.D., managing editor of The Keckley Report predicts that ACOs will evolve with the ever-changing health care regulations. Studies have shown evidence that ACOs do lead to quality improvement benefits, which will only continue to grow over time.  Read More

•  A recent study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), compared birth outcomes of several hundred pregnant women entered into the CDC's Zika Pregnancy Registry and who were likely to have the virus. It found that women who were infected with Zika were 20 times as likely to give birth to babies with birth defects as mothers who were not infected with the virus.  Read More

•  Health care sites took a hit this Tuesday when Amazon's S3 cloud-based hosting service experienced outages. AWS partners with many health care technology vendors, such as Synapse, PracticeFusion, Philipps and Cognizant, to name a few.  Read More

•  According to a recent article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, we're seeing an upward trend in colon cancer among younger Americans. While overall cases of colon cancer have been decreasing dramatically since the 1980's, cases in people younger than 50 years of age have slowly been on the rise.  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 software.

Image: Robert Hanson/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Republicans' newly unveiled health care plan is not exactly drawing confidence from health insurance leaders. Just some of the many concerns with the new ACA replacement proposal range from no mention of temporary funding for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions to not having a replacement in place for ACA's individual mandate, giving healthy individuals less incentive to enroll in insurance plans. Read More

•  Can design flaws really kill us? According to a recent article in the New York Times, hospitals are among the most expensive facilities to build but we may have been building them all wrong. From housing patients too closely together for too long to poorly lit areas and poorly designed bathrooms causing many falls to too much exposure to noise, patients are surrounded by many factors that could potentially be life-threatening in a place that is meant to save lives. One idea to improve hospital design? More exposure to nature! Read More

•  The age of nursing homes may be transitioning to home health care with the slew of new technology available to aging patients. The existence of a "community of care" is in the near future as more of patients' data are shared with their family, health care team and even their neighbors. While all these data points raise the question of liability and privacy, some companies are more aimed towards creating new systems to help providers navigate the plethora of incoming data. Read More

•  While a handful of non-profit organizations are popping up to promote low-cost to free heart screenings for teens, disadvantages surrounding electrocardiograms (EKGs) for adolescents could far outweigh the benefits.  For one, there is no evidence that EKGs for young adults can prevent deaths, especially since sudden cardiac death is rare in young people. False positives can lead to follow-up tests and risky, unnecessary interventions. 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 software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The unintended consequences of a gluten-free diet? Increased blood levels of arsenic and mercury, apparently. While everyone has some trace amount of arsenic and mercury in their blood, those on a gluten-free diet tend to have higher than average levels due to eating many rice-based products. Rice, it turns out, absorbs metals from water and soil.  While the health impacts at these levels are still unknown, it's good to keep in mind how much more rice gluten-free eaters are potentially consuming.  Read More

•  In an age where technology is ever prevalent in the health care setting, clinicians are often bombarded with daily alerts and alarms, causing alert fatigue and proving ineffective from its intended use. Dr. Vitaly Herasevich of the Mayo Clinic proposes a smart system to be put in place in order to curb this phenomenon. The idea is to issue alerts only in a situation when clinical providers fail to do the intended action as opposed to a reminder-like alert. This approach decreases unnecessary alerts while easing cognitive overload.  Read More

•  Trump's nomination for head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) faced ethics questions this Thursday after nearly 3 hours of questioning during her confirmation hearings. Democrats raised ethics questions about Seema Verma's consulting firm and whether the work she did there conflicted with her public duties in Indiana.  Read More

•  New studies have found that vitamin D helps reduce the risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, especially in those who are vitamin D deficient. However, not everyone is convinced that we should all be heading to the supplement aisle. If you're already getting the recommended daily dose of vitamin D from your diet, a supplement may not lead to any further benefit.  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 software.

Image: Cell

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Recently published in JAMA, new research finds that sepsis accounts for more 30-day readmissions and associated costs than any other commonly tracked medical condition such as heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and obstructive pulmonary disease. Sepsis contributes to as many as 50% of all U.S. hospital deaths, according to previous research. To help providers improve patient care and outcome for sepsis patients, JAMA also published updated sepsis treatment guidelines. Read More

• A Reagan-era policy, known as the Mexico City policy, has been revived by President Trump. The rule requires not only hospitals or clinics to refrain from providing education on the benefits and availability of abortion but also includes any international organizations supporting those clinics to stop promoting abortion or advocating abortion rights anywhere in the world — regardless of whether or not they use non-American money to do so. The policy spells out a few exceptions, including cases of rape and treating women who have had botched abortions. Read More

• Controversial scientific experiments have successfully resulted in part human, part pig embryos. Scientists grew embryos inside a sow, containing a 'low' amount of human tissue. The hope is to one day utilize this technique to allow for whole organs in the pig to be grown of human cells, tackling the increasing problem of organ transplant shortage. However, ethical concerns focused on the possibility that the human cells could create animals that had human brain cells or tissues, blurring the line between the species. Read More

• Finding creative and holistic ways to assess and treat a patient often times may prove to be challenging from a revenue standpoint when there is no code to reflect that treatment. It’s essential for codes to be correct, both for reimbursement and for population health. In turn, accurate population health data is essential for ensuring that the patient's home and clinical needs are being met. 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 software.

Image: Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report this week about a Nevada woman who died because the bacteria was resistant to every single antibiotic available in the United States. Dubbed as a "nightmare bacteria", Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, is highly resistant to antibiotics. Recent findings indicate that CRE is more widespread than previously thought and that people may spread the germs even though they may show no sign of illness. Read More

• The number of uninsured Americans will increase by 32 million within a decade by enacting even a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act. While most of the coverage reductions would result from the disappearance of individual mandate penalties, a mass exit from insurers from the individual market are also expected to play a role. Read More

• A group of prominent donors announced this Wednesday that they had raised almost $500 million for a new partnership with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to tackle pandemics. New epidemics can be expected to occur regularly and spread quickly due to air travel, public health experts warn. Stopping them in their early stages will save lives and billions of dollars. Read More

• A.I. can be applied today to ever-expanding health data sets. Its many uses can be applied to settings such as clinical decision support, research data mining and analytics, as well as pattern classification for tasks such as tumor detection. One of many limitations to keep in mind, however, is that A.I. is only as good as the quality of data they are being fed. But hospitals holding off on A.I. might be missing out on the opportunity to help shape the technological advancements in health care. 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 software.

Image: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• In a recent analysis released this week by the nonprofit Fair Health, studies have shown a sharp rise in obesity-linked diagnosis among kids and teens. These findings come amidst a rise in obesity-related insurance claims for youth under the age of 22. Whatever the underlying cause of the increase, one thing remains certain: the longer children remain obese, the more likely they are to get diabetes. The challenge is providing the resources that will be necessary to address this emerging situation. Read More

•  The ongoing Affordable Care Act (ACA) debate continues as Republicans push forward with a repeal. Lawmakers have cautioned about moving too quickly and some even Republicans have asked to delay repeal of the ACA until a replacement plan is in place. However, after seven hours of voting this Thursday and objections from Democrats, a budget that could possibly dismantle the ACA received the needed simple majority, 51-48, to pass the Senate. Read More

•  Recent observational studies have found that "weekend warriors", or individuals who pack in their workouts into one or two sessions over the weekend, are equally less likely to die prematurely as individuals who meet the recommended guidelines of five moderate 30-minute sessions each week. But don't get too comfy on the weekdays. There are still a lot more health benefits to spreading out your exercise throughout the week! Read More

• A new study recently published by Health Affairs has found that hospitals affiliated with accountable care organizations (ACOs) were able to reduce readmission rates of nursing home patients in contrast to other hospitals. What exactly are ACOs doing differently to improve readmission rates? Researchers are calling for additional studies to examine the discharge behaviors and care coordination of ACO-affiliated hospitals to determine their impact on these statistics. 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 software.

Image: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• SBH Health System, based in New York’s Bronx borough, is taking a different approach to addressing its community’s health care needs.  The organization is working with a developer to build low-income housing on its campus, which includes urgent care and outpatient options, in an effort to reduce hospital admissions. Offering housing options can have a significant impact on low-income patients by allowing them to manage their health and access much needed care. Read More

• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced this week that the recommended time frame in which parents should introduce peanut-containing foods into babies’ diets can start as early as 4 to 6 months, with proper evaluation by a specialist prior to doing so. Many studies in the past few years have found that babies with a high risk of developing a peanut allergy are less likely to develop the allergy if regularly exposed to peanut-containing foods in their first year. Read More

• Due to a recent change in New York state policy, providers are now able to access patient data for minors through state-qualified exchange entities, with the consent of the child’s parents or legal guardians. For minors who may see several specialists, this change gives parents and legal guardians the peace of mind that their child’s care team will have access to the most up-to-date health information. Read More

• Think you’ve ever had a bad reaction to five-too-many gin and tonics? Hangover central? Try being one of the rare individuals who are allergic to quinine, a malaria treatment used for hundreds of years and, more recently, the ingredient that gives tonic water its bitter tang. Individuals who are allergic to quinine can react violently, becoming ill with chills, fever, vomiting, headaches, or additional side effects, and may even experience lingering kidney and cognitive problems. But don’t worry, tonic lovers. The condition is rare and very few people have to worry about 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 software.

Image: Phil Marden

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized guidance on how to protect medical devices from cyber attacks. It outlines how manufacturers should maintain security for medical devices that are connected to the internet but these guidelines come with criticism as there is no final draft on how to enforce these rules. Read More

• The new year is fast approaching and as resolutions gear towards a healthier year, consider a gut makeover by investing in the long-term health of your microbiome (bacterial and microbial community living in your intestinal tract). This microbiome allows us to properly process nutrients from our food, along with many additional health-promoting tasks in our body. Altering our daily diet to more plant-based foods and restricting daily calories in comparison to a typical American diet are just some of the ways to a healthier gut in the new year! Read More

• As we say goodbye to 2016, we look back on some incredible headlines that mark this historical year. One such story, much to the dismay of health care IT, highlights the upward and increasing trend of security breaches in electronic health records. In October of this year, more than 25 million patient records were reportedly compromised and even more leading into the end of November, half of which were a result of inside employees. Will we see stricter enforcement on electronic actions in 2017? Read More

• In some counties across the U.S., Obamacare consumers will only have one, single insurer to choose from. While there is an expectation to see price hikes in areas without insurer competition, the reality is that prices for underserved areas are not significantly higher than they are for people living in areas served by multiple insurers, according to data from Avalere Health. The reason could be attributed to the fact that insurers had to file their initial 2017 rates prior to knowing exactly where competitors were dropping out. 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.

Image: Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A new, experimental Ebola vaccine has been shown to provide 100 percent protection against the lethal disease. The 2014 Ebola outbreak, primarily in Africa, killed 11,000 people and reached many countries overseas. While this new vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority, it has been considered so effective that 300,000 doses have already been created. Read More

• Health IT organizations are asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for more time regarding the implementation of MACRA. Some major concerns focus on the preparation time of both vendors and providers, needing ample time for development, testing and deployment of software programs to satisfy CMS' requirements. Read More

• With the rampant spread of antibiotic-resistant germs, the government has decided to cut payments to hospitals with high rates of patient injuries due to this cause, including potentially avoidable complications such as various infection types, blood clots, bed sores and falls.Based on rates of these complications, hospitals can lose 1 percent of all Medicare payments for a year beginning this past October.  Read More

• This week, the Office of the National Coordinator for IT (ONC) released its Interoperability Standards Advisory for 2017. It includes essential standards and implementation specifications for tech developers and clinicians. These specifications are meant to further the spread of interoperability and enable ease of sharing with regards to clinical data. 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.