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Updated: 1 hour 59 min ago

HL20: Lee Aase—Who's Behind @MayoClinic

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:20

Lee Aase, the Mayo Clinic's first social media manager, and now director of its Center for Social Media, continues Mayo's excellent reputation by running one of the best social media campaigns in healthcare, and helps its physicians by teaching them about social media and the privacy issues.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Otis Brawley, MD—Speaking Truth to Healthcare Powers

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:16

Otis Brawley, MD, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, has no fear of acting as a lightning rod in the ongoing storm of healthcare reform. As a leader in the field of health disparities research and co-author of a scathing book on the topic, Brawley sees the growing costs of US healthcare as a recipe for economic calamity that needs to be changed.

Categories: Healthcare News

Docs, Guns, and Smokes

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 08:05

Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH, is already a pioneer in researching the use of tobacco in teenagers. Now he's aiming to tackle another hot topic in healthcare: The physicians' role in gun safety. From MedPage Today.

Categories: Healthcare News

Ratcheting Up Patient Experience Has a Downside

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:59

The push toward patient satisfaction can jumble organizational priorities. It can put new pressures on providers, whose primary focus should be "on staying financially afloat—then quality, and [then] safety," says one observer.

Categories: Healthcare News

Federal agents arrest 14 tied to compounding pharmacy blamed for meningitis outbreak

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:44

Two co-founders and 12 other former employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy blamed for a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people were arrested early Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said. Gregory Conigliaro and Barry Cadden, co-founders of the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, were among 14 people arrested at their homes around the state, attorney's office spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said. One of those arrested was Glenn Adam Chin, a former supervisory pharmacist, who had been charged with mail fraud in September. Tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy were blamed for a 2012 outbreak.

Categories: Healthcare News

NC pharmacists try to boost health and cut costs

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:41

When Robin Blakeney of Concord stopped taking some of her medications to save money, she ended up hospitalized for two weeks. Blakeney, who has congestive heart failure, diabetes and high blood pressure, is the kind of fragile patient who accounts for an outsized share of America's soaring health care tab. The federal government has invested $15 million in a North Carolina experiment that gives community pharmacists a new role in patient care. The pharmacy project is part of a 10-year, $10 billion federal exploration to overhaul the nation's health care system. The Affordable Care Act created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to launch experiments in every state.

Categories: Healthcare News

Popularity of outpatient surgery centers leads to questions about safety

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:40

Wendy Salo was alarmed when she learned where her doctor had scheduled her gynecologic operation: at an outpatient surgery center. "My first thought was 'Am I not important enough to go to a real hospital?' " recalled Salo, 48, a supermarket department manager who said she felt "very trepidatious" about having her ovaries removed outside a hospital. Before the Sept. 30 procedure, Salo drove 20 miles from her home in Germantown, Md., to the Massachusetts Avenue Surgery Center in Bethesda for a tour. Her fears were allayed, she said, by the facility's cleanliness and its empathic staff. Salo later joked that the main difference between the multi-specialty center and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital — where she underwent breast cancer surgery last year — was that the former had "better parking."

Categories: Healthcare News

Fixes planned for clinic that treated Joan Rivers

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:38

The clinic where Joan Rivers suffered a fatal complication during a medical procedure has submitted an acceptable plan to correct problems uncovered during an investigation after her death, a federal health agency said Tuesday. The investigation, ordered by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, found the Yorkville Endoscopy clinic made several errors, including failing to keep proper medication records and snapping cellphone photos of Rivers while she was unconscious. It also found the Manhattan clinic failed to get informed consent for every procedure performed and failed to record Rivers' weight before the administration of sedation medication.

Categories: Healthcare News

Opinion: Doctors' offices jammed during healthcare's seasonal spike

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:34

What's it take to see a doctor in December? The week after Thanksgiving, I came down with flulike symptoms and called my doctor's clinic at 8 a.m. The answering service said to call back in 10 minutes, when the staff would be settled in. At 8:09, I was told every appointment was taken until noon the next day. I went to an urgent care center, as advised, but it had no flu tests and the X-ray machine was down. The next urgent center had a three-hour wait, and the receptionist said to go home and wait for them to text me.

Categories: Healthcare News

Top 10 mobile apps for PCPs

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:33

The following is a list of 10 essential medical apps that Family Medicine providers should have on their smartphones. Links to iPhone and Android platforms are provided for each app. The apps are listed based on my experiences working as a full scope Family Medicine physician and the app reviews that have been done prior at iMedicalApps.

Categories: Healthcare News

How music helps surgery

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 07:31

In an article for the British Medical Journal's new Christmas issue, which classically accepts pieces on all kinds of lighthearted topics, three surgeons from the University Hospital of Wales review the existing literature on music in the OR. "Research guides everything we do?how we wash our hands, how we open and close the skin," says lead study author Dr. David Bosanquet, a surgical registrar at the University Hospital of Wales. "But I wanted to know if there was any evidence behind the music we play in [the operating] theater, and there is, actually."

Categories: Healthcare News

Senate narrowly confirms new surgeon general

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:36

The Senate on Monday approved Vivek Murthy to serve as U.S. surgeon general despite opposition from Republicans and the gun rights lobby for his political advocacy work and statements calling guns a public health concern. The near party-line vote, 51-43, secured a four-year term for President Obama's nominee. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., joined Democrats in support. His nomination had been pending for more than a year. Obama made no reference to gun policies or Murthy's politics in a statement on the confirmation vote. Obama said his priorities would range from "stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong." He will also work on the effort to combat the spread of Ebola.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Roxana Reyna, RN—Finding a Way to Heal

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:16

Roxana Reyna, RN, has learned that sometimes the best way to treat a serious injury is to improvise. Reyna's creative skills as a skin and wound care specialist earned her an invitation to a White House event honoring healthcare professionals who look beyond textbooks and develop their own solutions.

Categories: Healthcare News

HL20: Anne Wojcicki—Unlocking Consumer Access to Genetics

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:13

Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, received unexpected news in November 2013 when the FDA told her company that it would not be able to market its genetic sequence technology to consumers as personalized health reports. Since then, she has been leading the company's efforts to satisfy the FDA's concerns while making sure that 23andMe's services are accessible and affordable to consumers.

Categories: Healthcare News

The odd math of medical tests: One scan, two prices, both high

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:43

Len Charlap, a retired math professor, has had two outpatient echocardiograms in the past three years that scanned the valves of his heart. The first, performed by a technician at a community hospital near his home here in central New Jersey, lasted less than 30 minutes. The next, at a premier academic medical center in Boston, took three times as long and involved a cardiologist. And yet, when he saw the charges, the numbers seemed backward: The community hospital had charged about $5,500, while the Harvard teaching hospital had billed $1,400 for the much more elaborate test. "Why would that be?" Mr. Charlap asked. "It really bothered me."

Categories: Healthcare News

Can flat-rate pricing help control cancer costs?

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:42

For cancer patients already dealing with the extreme stress of their illness, a myriad of surging costs can add to the worry of treatment. UnitedHealthcare, the biggest U.S. health insurer, is taking aim at controlling costs of treatment with a new pilot program that will provide a set sum for a patient's coverage. The plan is being developed with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and will enroll about 150 patients at first, the insurer said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. Terms of the contract are confidential, but the idea of paying a set sum for treatment is a shift away from the typical per-service payment that Americans are familiar with.

Categories: Healthcare News

Prolific prescribers of controlled substances face Medicare scrutiny

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:40

Despite a national crackdown on prescription drug abuse, doctors churned out an ever-larger number of prescriptions for the most-potent controlled substances to Medicare patients, new data show. In addition, ProPublica found, the most prolific prescribers of such drugs as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and Ritalin often have worrisome records. In 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, Medicare covered nearly 27 million prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers and stimulants with the highest potential for abuse and dependence. That's up 9 percent over 2011, compared to a 5 percent increase in Medicare prescriptions overall.

Categories: Healthcare News

Patients at seven Miami-Dade hospitals are more likely to develop infections

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:36

Seven Miami-Dade hospitals fell below national standards for combating infections acquired by patients in hospitals, and patients at one hospital — North Shore Medical Center in Miami — were more likely to develop infections than patients at any other hospital in South Florida, according to data collected by the federal government as part of a national effort to reduce such infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks how hospitals around the nation perform on preventing six types of frequently occurring infections, including bloodstream and urinary tract infections that result from catheters and surgical site infections that develop after colon and hysterectomy operations.

Categories: Healthcare News

White House issues climate change guide for hospitals

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:34

Declaring climate change to be a public health hazard, the Obama administration issued suggestions Monday to help hospitals and other health care facilities cope with multiple threats of extreme weather. Health care industry leaders are visiting the White House on Monday to endorse the new report — "Primary Protection: Enhancing Health Care Resilience for a Changing Climate" — and to pledge to follow the guidelines that are proposed. The "guide and tool kit" is designed to help health care providers and others assure "the continuity of quality health and human care before, during and after extreme weather events," the report said.

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Report: MO hospitals provide $1.1B in uncompensated care

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 07:33

Missouri hospitals provided $1.1 billion in uncompensated care last year, according to a new report. The Missouri Hospital Association report provides a total figure for 122 hospitals across the state. That includes $588 million worth of charity care. The remaining $512 million represents care for which the hospital charged patients but the patients didn't pay. "Hospitals contribute to the physical health and economic strength of communities throughout Missouri," MHA CEO Herb Kuhn said in a statement. "In 2013, hospitals provided more than half a billion dollars' worth of care to individuals in their communities who are without health insurance coverage. Once again, this year's report signals the need for lawmakers to return taxpayers' money from Washington, D.C., to stabilize our state's health care infrastructure and increase access to health coverage."

Categories: Healthcare News