The pMD Blog

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pMD Blog...

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.


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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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• In the past five years, deaths due to hospital-acquired conditions have shown a significant decrease. This, in turn, has saved hospitals more than $28 billion in health care costs, according to a new government report. A big factor in the decline is being attributed to the Affordable Care Act and how its tools and resources to build a better health care system resulted in the best possible outcome for the patient.  Read More

• In the last few weeks, at least five cases of the Zika virus transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported in Brownsville, Texas. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned pregnant women to avoid the area due to the threat of infection.  Read More

• Patients are frustrated with the lack of a centralized health record, coupled with the inaccessibility and difficulty to share their own personal health information with other providers, according to a new survey from health information network Surescripts. Patients are typically spending an average of 8 minutes telling their doctor their medical history. If health data were stored electronically in a single location, doctors could see an improvement in efficiency and a reduction in medication errors. Read More

• Cuisinart, a popular kitchen appliance brand, is voluntarily recalling about 8 million units after it was found that 30 cases of broken blade pieces found in food had caused mouth lacerations and tooth injuries. The units were sold from July 1996 through December 2015, according to the company, and customers can get a free replacement blade. 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: Keith Negley

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• While the chances of getting audited are slim, according to the HHS Office for Civil Rights, hospitals should know what to expect if they're selected for an onsite audit in 2017. "We’re looking for evidence that you are implementing the [HIPAA] policies and procedures," says OCR senior advisor Linda Sanches. HIPAA-covered entities will be audited on their current policies and procedures that address privacy rule controls, breach notification rule controls and security rule controls. Read More

• Children's headphones are made to limit the volume at which sound can be played, providing a safe listening experience for delicate ears. However, a new study has shown that approximately 15 sets of children's headphones that were tested did not restrict volume as promised by the manufacturer. Some even produced hazardous sound levels. Read More

• U.S. health care spending has risen to $3.2 trillion in 2015, which equates to approximately $10k per person, according to the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and published by Health Affairs. The rising cost of private health insurance, hospital care, physician and clinical services, and prescription drugs are highlights of the many factors contributing to the unprecedented skyrocketing costs of health care in the U.S. Read More

• For the first time in a decade, the overall death rate has increased in the U.S., leading to a drop in overall life expectancy since 1993. The decline was driven by increases in deaths from eight of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., which include heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and diabetes. 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:

• On Wednesday, the Obama administration issued a rule banning smoking in all public housing units nationwide. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will give housing agencies 18 months to bring their buildings into compliance. This rule applies to any lit tobacco products in indoor areas, as well as outdoor areas within 25 feet from public housing complexes. Read More

• Health Secretary nominee, Representative Tom Price of Georgia, is one of the first lawmakers to draft a full replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Some highlights from his proposed bill include tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies, eliminating federal requirement for most Americans to have health insurance, allowing insurers that are licensed in one state to sell policies to residents of other states, all in addition to a long list of proposed changes. Read More

• The spread of low-quality medical information or fake news among popular social media sites could have negative effects on the medical community. Many online readers fail to read past poorly crafted headlines or rely heavily on crowd-sourced responses in group messaging boards, which may contain potentially harmful or medically inaccurate advice. Patients are advised to seek information from a health professional who knows their medical history, and physicians, in turn, should guide their patients toward more reliable information.  Read More

• The 21st Century Cures Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this Wednesday, is the largest healthcare-focused legislation since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The $6.3 billion in provisions will fund federal agencies aimed at improving disease therapies, mental health treatment and fighting the opioid crisis. Additional initiatives that will benefit from these funds include the Precision Medicine Initiative and BRAIN Initiative spearheaded by President Barack Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot program. 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: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• Restrictive diets imposed on children by parents can be a source of tension during the holidays. For example, little Johnny rejecting great aunt Millie's special family dish due to dietary preferences may bring forth disharmony in epic proportions. Dietitians urge parents to consult a professional before embarking on a new diet for their child in order to properly assess nutritional requirements, discuss their child's motivations and screen for any underlying eating disorders. Read More

• What are some of the most heavily used ICD-10 diagnosis codes in November? It's no surprise that "W29.0XXA - Contact with powered kitchen appliance, initial encounter" is on that list but who knew there was even a code for "Problems in relationship with the in-laws (Z63.1)" or even better, "Pecked by turkey (W61.43XA)"? We hope that this Thanksgiving, you don't find yourself face-to-face with an ominous beak! Read More

• This Thursday, President Obama will pardon the final turkey of his Presidency. This long-cherished White House tradition dates back to 1947. While only one of the two birds will go home with the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey, these two lucky turkeys will safely make their way to their new home at Virginia Tech's Animal and Poultry Sciences Department. 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: Bloomberg via Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• New drug-resistant pathogens are becoming a growing problem around the world every year. How can we stop the spread of this resistance? One surprising solution lies within a simple strip of bacon. Antibiotic-raised farm animals are often treated with larger amounts of antibiotics than prescribed by doctors and nurses in hospitals, in order to help prevent livestock disease and promote the animals' growth. Fast-forward to the breakfast table where your family is likely ingesting these drug-resistant bacteria carried over from farm to table. Stop the spread of these superbugs by conscientiously choosing meat raised without antibiotics or are USDA-certified organic! Read More

• Health care experts remain optimistic that the MACRA regulation issued on October 14 will remain largely intact under the new Trump administration come January. According to Michael Millenson, president of Health Quality Advisors, the Trump administration may be too busy concerning themselves with the repeal of Obamacare that MACRA will be low on their radar. While the value of MACRA reporting will be assessed by the new administration, it is widely supported by Republicans and will likely see little change. Read More

• U.S. blood banks will now require Zika screening for all donated blood. Early testing results for the virus show an exceedingly rare occurrence. In the past six months, only about 40 cases tested positive for the virus out of about 800,000 blood donations, which can be attributed to blood banks becoming more proactive about dissuading people from donating if they recently traveled to an area where the virus is widespread. Read More

• Premier's Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs,  have contributed to 22 percent of the $1.3 billion in total Medicare savings since 2012. Premier ACOs also outshown its competing ACOs by 2.5 percentage points when looking at quality and outcomes. Premier's success, in the wake of many participants dropping out of ACO programs due to financial losses, shows that while these models can be challenging, with the right combination of tweaks and collaboration, the best possible outcomes can be achieved. 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: Erik Carter

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• A study done by the journal of Hospital Medicine found that Medicare is spending approximately $500 million a year on unnecessary genetic blood tests. The report examines testing for one disorder in particular, venous thromboembolism or VTEs. Doctors currently do hundreds of thousands of these tests a year on Medicare patients alone when there is very little justification for ordering inherited thromboembolism testing on inpatients. Read More

• The Association of American Medical Colleges is projecting that by 2025, there will be a shortfall of 46,100 to 90,400 doctors in the United States. In primary care alone, the shortfall is projected to be between 12,500 and 31,100 doctors. While training and hiring more physicians seems like an easy solution, the situation becomes more complicated when considering the distribution of doctors who find big cities with higher Medicare reimbursements more desirable over rural towns or the distribution of doctors who are specialists over generalists. Read More

• The University of Utah Health Care system has developed a version of the EpiPen that costs only $10, which is a drastic reduction from the $600 EpiPen of drug company, Mylan. The EpiKit is expected to save the health care system $35,000 per year. In comparison to the EpiPen, however, the EpiKit is not as straightforward, containing a vial of epinephrine, two needles, alcohol wipes, two syringes and instructions. Read More

• Voters in three California cities passed ballot measures to place a tax on sodas and other sugary beverages in an effort to tackle the growing obesity problem. The CEO of the American Heart Association, Nancy Brown, saw this as a big win for public health. 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.

ImageCreditAlon Reininger/Contact Press Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

• The man once blamed for starting the American AIDS epidemic has been declared innocent after new genetic analysis of stored blood samples indicate that H.I.V. had arrived in the U.S. long before Gaétan Dugas (formerly known as patient zero). Read More

• This year's Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) annual conference will be held in San Francisco, CA from October 30 through November 2. Anticipated hot topics include MACRA's final rule, value-based care, leadership, maximizing the benefits of third party relationships, the changing patient relationship and the independence to integrated spectrum. Read More

• Zika is here to stay in the U.S. Despite efforts to stop the spread of the virus in Miami, local and state officials have not been able to slow down its progress. The state of Florida has been upgraded in its Zika-related health advisory by the CDC. As Zika continues to spread through additional Miami counties, it is well on its way to becoming an epidemic disease, according to the head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden. Read More

• The Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) introduced its Cybersecurity Hub this week in Cleveland to help the health care industry better manage mounting cybersecurity threats. The interactive exhibit allows viewers to learn how to become part of the solution. Viewers are presented with security-related scenarios and are offered countermeasures to better understand the threats and different ways to protect their systems.  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.