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where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.

POSTS BY TAG | Healthcare


Source: www.fiercehealthcare.com

 

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Patients are sometimes burdened with the task of gathering their medical records, often finding that their health information is scattered across different states, different electronic systems or different doctors' offices. Between medical records still being in paper form, siloed EHRs and HIPAA compliancy, it can be near impossible for patients to get a full medical history in one fell swoop. Read More

• Leaders in health care met this week in Chicago to discuss the next steps in population health management. Positive patient experience, data collection, telehealth tools and care coordination were just a handful of the topics discussed at this year's Pop Health Forum 2016. Read More

• Cat-scratch disease, which is spread by cats, may have more serious and fatal complications than previously believed. Kissing kittens can increase the risk of being infected. Symptoms typically involve fatigue, fever and swollen lymph nodes but in a few cases, the disease can cause the brain to swell or infect the heart and can prove to be fatal if not treated properly. Read More

• The Census Bureau released some promising economic statistics on Tuesday, one being that only 9.1 percent of Americans do not have health care coverage, the lowest level ever recorded by the agency. About 18 million more people have coverage now than they did in 2013. 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.

Source: Susan Biddle/Washington Post/Getty Images

 

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A hepatitis A outbreak has been linked to strawberries at a smoothie chain across seven states and has sickened 89 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infected, frozen strawberries were imported from Egypt. Tropical Smoothie Cafe has since switched to another supplier and apologized, in a statement, to the infected persons. Read More

• According to experts, preventing medical errors begins with a shift from a production-based model to an integrated model, focusing on ways to treat the whole patient and promote shared decision-making. In the current industry model, providers are incentivized to churn through patients to make money but are now encouraged to do more and understand that a change  to patient-centered, whole-person care is necessary. Read More

•With the Quality Payment Program under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act set to start on January 1, 2017, CMS chief, Andy Slavitt, outlines four options for clinicians to comply and avoid a negative payment adjustment in 2019. The four options will also be described in detail in the final rule slated for release this November. Read More

• This year, pediatricians recommend giving the flu vaccination in the form of a shot rather than via nasal spray. That's because the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices found that the nasal spray vaccination, FluMist, was only 3 percent effective in children aged 2 through 17 during last year's flu season, while injected flu vaccinations protected about two-thirds of children in the same age group. 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.

Source: Ted Horowitz/Getty Images


 

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Single-payer insurance may be more feasible than previously believed. In 2016, 71 percent of California's health care expenditures were covered by public funds. Will this publicly-funded, single streamlined, nonprofit system show promise over today's inefficient, profit-oriented, multiple insurance payers? Read More

• The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to pay $20 million over the next 18 months to Japanese-headquartered company, Takeda Vaccines, to accelerate the development of a Zika vaccine for the U.S. If approved with the FDA, the first clinical trials of the vaccine on humans could begin next year.  Read More

• Low value services, or services that provide little value to patients, given all the costs and alternatives, account for about 0.5% of total medical services spending. While this may not seem significant, this adds up to approximately $32.8 million of spending in 2013 and equates to just under 8 percent of 1.5 million adults with commercial insurance. Read More

• Carfentanil, which is used as an elephant tranquilizer, is causing a record spike in drug overdoses in the Midwest. The synthetic opioid is 100 times more potent than the prescription painkiller, fentanyl. Officials in Ohio have declared a public health emergency. 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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• The FDA is recommending that all blood donations in the U.S. be screened for the Zika Virus as additional precautionary measures against the spread of the virus. Not all states are required to test blood donations at once. Testing will begin within the next four weeks for 11 states that are within proximity to areas where Zika is actively spreading via mosquitoes. The expansion of blood testing to all states will occur within a 12-week time frame.  Read More

• Physicians are concerned that the new MACRA payment system, which rewards quality over quantity of care based on quality benchmarks, will put small practice or solo practice doctors at high risk of incurring payment penalties or even push thousands of these physicians into larger practices.  With the way this payment model is structured now, larger practices will do well and smaller practices are likely to do worse. Read More

• Less than one-third of ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations) qualified for bonuses from Medicare in 2015, according to CMS. However, ACOs participating in the past two years have improved on 84 percent of the quality performance measures used and have grown 13 percent in savings since 2014.  Read More

• A new ultrasound-enabled genetic therapy called sonoporation may one day be the new cancer and heart disease fighting tool. This strategy involves the use of "microbubbles" and ultrasound energy to poke holes in cells, administering genes on a molecular level. This approach allows researchers to deliver therapeutic agents to the precise location of the disease while sparing its healthy surroundings. 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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Dr. Karen DeSalvo officially stepped down as National Coordinator of the ONC (The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) as of last Friday. Her predecessor, Dr. Vindell Washington, has been with the ONC since January 2016 and is a longtime proponent of health IT and information exchange. Read More

• The U.N. admits to playing a role in the Haiti cholera outbreak that began in the fall of 2010, just months after the devasting earthquake had struck Haiti. The strain found in Haiti was a perfect match for a strain found in Nepal. The source was believed to have come from Nepalese peacekeepers who were staying at the U.N. camp in Haiti. Coupled with poor sanitation, the infectious disease spread into local waterways from the camp's sewage. Cholera is spread through contaminated water and causes dehydration and can lead to death if left untreated. Read More

• Aetna is pulling back its Affordable Care Act exchange presence in 11 states, which leaves some counties with zero insurers offering plans in the 2017 open enrollment period starting November. This exit, combined with that of United and Humana's, will impact approximately 1 million to 1.5 million of the 13 million people who signed up during the 2016 open enrollment period. Read More

• Within the past three weeks, the number of confirmed Zika infections have increased to 35 in the greater Miami area. While public health officials do not expect the virus to spread as rapidly as it has in other countries, pregnant women are still worried. Expectant mothers are taking precautions by confining themselves indoors, spraying exposed limbs with insect repellent, wearing long clothing in 90-degree weather and even going so far as to stay with family and friends far outside of the Zika zone until they've given birth. 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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Some hospitals have established a separate medical unit for the treatment of elderly patients. Hospitalization can be very taxing on the elderly, especially when faced with drug side-effects, interrupted sleep, unappetizing food and long days in bed. San Francisco General opened the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) ward in 2007 and focuses on how to get patients back home and living as independently as possible. With only about 200 of these units around the country, they are rare yet promising. ACE units have been shown to reduce hospital-inflicted disabilities in older patients and decrease the length of stay. Source

• The greatest impact on reducing costs to health care organizations and maximizing ROI comes from remote patient monitoring. Coming in second and third are patient engagement platforms and EHRs (electronic health records systems). In order to help strengthen the quality of technology implementation in health care organizations, there should be priority in designing workflows that improve efficiency and technology adoption. Source

• A new, alternative approach to treating psychosis allows the voices in the patients' heads to be directly addressed by support group members. In this holistic, nonmedical approach, members help one another understand each voice, as a metaphor, rather than try to extinguish it. The Open Dialogue treatment approach begins with a team of mental health specialists who visit homes and discuss the crisis with the affected person rather than resorting to medication. The culture aims to provide a nonpsychiatric label, avoiding the words "patient" or "treatment". Source

• Studies have found that 20 percent of hospital patients are sent home before their vital signs are stable, increasing their likelihood of readmission or even death. Researchers suggest hospitals take further action to prevent such mishaps by closely monitoring patients' vital signs and conducting thorough outpatient follow-up education. Source

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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Medicare is dinging U.S. hospitals for excessive 30-day readmission rates. More than half of U.S. hospitals are being penalized this year, taking effect with the new fiscal year in October. These penalties mean that hospitals will lose upwards of $520 million in payments from Medicare. While these readmission penalties are controversial, fear of penalties are pushing hospitals to work harder torwards reducing their readmission rates. Source

• Will the latest health food trend arise from one of the least revered insects? Cockroach milk, secreted from the Pacific Beetle Cockroach, is actually a liquid that takes the form of protein crystals in the guts of baby cockroaches. It's high in protein, fat and sugar and researchers indicate this may someday be a food supplement worthy of human consumption. Source

• The largest settlement yet paid by a single entity for potential HIPAA violations came from Advocate Health Care to the tune of $5.6 million. In an investigation starting in 2013, it was revealed that Advocate Health Care was in violation of HIPAA-compliancy involving electronic protected health information. Source

• Researchers have found that microbes from farm animals, carried into the home via dust, could be the magic ingredient in preventing asthma in children. Children who are exposed to microbes that stimulate their immune system at an earlier age are more likely to be protected against asthma. Studies have shown that children who lived in far too clean environments were developing asthma at rate higher than those who grew up in other environments, such as a farm.  Source

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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Thirty percent of pediatric readmissions may be preventable by making improvements in post-discharge engagement. Family engagement and proper care assesment after a child is discharged from the hospital both play a huge role in preventable readmissions. It is essential for organizations to take an active role in preparing patients and their families for discharge. Source

• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its first overall hospital quality rating this Wednesday. The results were far more than dismal for many of the nation's best-known hospitals, while dozens of obscure hospitals were awareded top scores. Health care organizations are concerned about the potential consequences for patients that could result from painting such an overly simplistic picture of health care quality using a star rating system.  Source

• Four cases of Zika infection are traced back to a one-square-mile area north of downtown Miami. No mosquitos have tested positive yet for the Zika virus but people in that specific area are being tested to ensure there are no additional cases. Mosquitos have a very short range and tend to cluster, zip code by zip code, and at the moment avoiding widespread transmission. Source

• Rising costs of generic drugs may be blamed on insurers. Traditionally, health care professionals point the finger towards drug manufacturers but insurers can simply change the design of their health plan's drug benefit, moving drugs into a higher tier, for example, requiring consumers to pay a bigger chunk of the cost. Drug price increases can sometimes also be blamed on the rising cost of manufacturing or distributing the drug.  Source

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.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new genome sequencing test that detects mutations can guide cancer treatment with more than 95 percent accuracy. Scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine say EXaCT-1 has proven to be reliable and reproducible. How does it work? EXaCT-1 scans 21,000 genes and detects genetic mutations that drive cancer. It's about a three-week process on average but may be feasible to perform the test in only 6 days. Source

• The government plans to invest more than $149 million to increase the primary care workforce in the U.S. The funds will go towards 12 different health care workforce programs across the country and will promote education and training for health care professionals, increasing presence in high-need areas. Source

• A second possible locally-transmitted Zika infection in Florida is being investigated. There are more than 1,300 confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. but all have been contracted abroad. If either of these two cases are confirmed, it would be the first time a person has been infected by a mosquito carrying the virus in the continental U.S. Source

• Microhospitals are popping up in fast-growing urban and suburban markets. These tiny, full-service hospitals provide residents quicker access to emergency care and possible other services such as outpatient surgery and primary care. Microhospitals have the potential to help medically underserved areas, where currently they're most prevalent in larger urban and suburban metro areas.  Source

 

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.