Archive for May, 2010

Study: Lowering Cholesterol Through Care Coordination

Monday, May 17th, 2010

DENVER — New research from Kaiser Permanente demonstrates that more than 40 percent of patients were able to reach aggressive cholesterol reduction targets through care coordination and electronic medical records.

When the National Cholesterol Education Program issued revised cholesterol goals in 2004 recommending people at very high-risk for heart disease move their target LDL or “bad” cholesterol from 100 mg/dL to 70 mg/dL to reduce the risk for another heart attack, many health experts questioned if the lower goal was possible.

The study, which is the largest to date demonstrating how many patients can get to the lower goal, is published in the May issue of the Journal of Clinical Lipidology.

Other news of today’s health safety headlines gathered by the library department of Noblis Health Innovation includes:

  • Vets poorly served by VA call centers, audit finds: Callers seeking help from the Veterans Benefits Administration have only a 49 percent chance of reaching an agent and getting accurate information, according to a new audit by the Veterans Affairs Department’s Office of Inspector General.
  • VA reports new data breaches: The Veterans Affairs Department has notified lawmakers of two recent data breach incidents, according to a House committee aide. One breach was a contractor’s laptop that was stolen on April 22 and contained unencrypted personal information on 616 veterans.
  • Laptops plague government health data keepers: Two instances of health data breaches last week served as a stark reminder that the wayward laptop — and not the hacked database — might be the more insidious information security threat to government healthcare organizations and their beneficiaries.
  • HHS to study patient perceptions of health IT: The Health and Human Services Department will conduct two surveys to find out more about patient perceptions and preferences for the use of health IT in the course of their healthcare.
  • Health insurance companies try to shape rules: Companies are lobbying to ward off strict regulation of premiums and profits under the new health care law.

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Headlines: HIPAA Goes to the Clouds

Friday, May 14th, 2010

FALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Friday, May 14, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

  • Mental care stays are up in military: Mental health disorders caused more hospitalizations among U.S. troops in 2009 than any other reason, according to medical data released recently by the Pentagon. This historic high reflects the growing toll of nearly nine years of war.
  • Turning to the cloud for HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 compliance: Cloud computing has already caught on in other facets of healthcare IT – and as providers and payers prepare to meet the pending mandates, hosted services could prove a viable option.
  • TRICARE fee structure needs overhaul, says official: The Pentagon’s top policy official on Thursday called for changes in the military’s health benefits system for retirees, saying the current structure has become unsustainable in today’s economic environment.
  • Kaiser, CHW see green: Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare West have endorsed environmental guidelines for the purchase and management of I.T. equipment.

Eastern Maine Transitions to ICD-10

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

FALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Thursday, May 13, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

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Feds Advocate for Protection of Patient Health Information

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Health and Human Services LogoFALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Wednesday, May 12, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

News: Ink-Jet Cartridges “Print” Skin in Wake Forest Study

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

FALLS CHURCH – Top news headlines in health from the library services department of Noblis Health Innovation.

New V.A. Hospital Campus Expansion

Monday, May 10th, 2010

FALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Monday, May 9, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

  • D.C. planners approve VA hospital expansion: The Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus in northwest Washington will nearly double in size during the next 20 years under a master plan approved May 6 by the National Capital Planning Commission.
  • Drugs not found to be main driver of cancer care costs: The cost of treating cancer in the United States nearly doubled over the past two decades, but expensive cancer drugs may not be the main reason, according to a surprising new study reported in The Washington Post.
  • Panel endorses permanent EHR certification plan: The Health IT Policy Committee endorsed comments on a plan by the Office of the National Coordinator to offer permanent certification of electronic health record systems, including a provision to monitor EHRs after they are purchased to ensure providers are installing the proper technology.
  • EMR adoption increases hospital costs: Expenses typically rise and patient care doesn’t always improve when electronic medical records are implemented, says a study published in the journal Health Services Research.
  • ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalks: There’s got to be a better way: At a time when industry bodies and consultancies are trying to figure out how providers and payers can best transform existing ICD-9 data into the imminent ICD-10 code schemes, and the word “crosswalk” keeps being batted around, Dennis Winkler at Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan is the curious case of an ICD-10 crosswalk contrarian, says Tom Sullivan in Healthcare IT News.

Headlines: Barcodes Eliminate Errors at Boston Hospital

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

FALLS CHURCH – Top headlines in patient safety compiled by staff at Noblis Health Innovation:

  • A new study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that after bar-code technology was added to electronic medication records, errors in transcribing medication orders were eliminated and errors in administering drugs with potentially serious consequences were cut in half. This according to Elizabeth Cooney in The Boston Globe‘s White Coat Notes website.
  • A recent report by the Lucian Leape Institute at the National Patient Safety Foundation finds that U.S. “medical schools are not doing an adequate job of facilitating student understanding of basic knowledge and the development of skills required for the provision of safe patient care.” The complete report is available online and is called titled “Unmet Needs: Teaching Physicians to Provide Safe Patient Care” and is based on a round-table of leading experts in medical education, patient safety, healthcare, and healthcare improvement convened by the Institute.
  • The Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice recently received a $100,000 to take a hard look at errors associated with computerized physician order entry systems, reports Anthony Guerra of Information Week.

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House Investigates Children’s Drugs After Tylenol Recall

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

tylenol recallFALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Thursday, May 6, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

Unplugged Computer Affected Cancer Patients

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Department Veterans Affairs

FALLS CHURCH – Today’s top headlines in healthcare and patient safety for Wednesday, May 5, compiled by the library research department of Noblis Health Innovation:

  • Unplugged VA computer affects treatment of cancer patients: It took officials at a Veterans Affairs Department hospital in Philadelphia more than a year to learn that a computer used to assess patient’s response to treatments for prostate cancer had been unplugged, delaying assessments, according to an inspector general report released on Monday.
  • IT included in Sebelius’ top priorities for HHS: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has included several health information technology elements as part of her department’s nine top strategic priorities in a new report.
  • FDA: Plant that made Tylenol and other pediatric medicine lacked quality control: Federal officials said Tuesday that the sole plant that manufactures children’s and infants’ Tylenol, Motrin and other popular over-the-counter pediatric medicines lacked quality controls, used raw materials contaminated with bacteria and failed to investigate consumer complaints that some medicines contained black particles.
  • E-health records grants to create 1,000 jobs, White House says: Health information technology grants awarded to 15 communities for expanding the use of electronic health records also will create about 1,000 jobs, White House officials announced on Tuesday.
  • Pentagon scientists inject necks to ‘cure’ PTSD: The Pentagon pours billions into treating troops’ post-war stress. But a small new study out of Walter Reed might offer more than temporary relief — with nothing more than a quick jab to the neck.

McNeil Recalls Tylenol, Motril, Zyrtec and Benadryl

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

tylenol recallFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 30, 2010 – McNeil Consumer Healthcare, in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is recalling all lots that have not yet expired of certain over-the-counter children’s liquid products manufactured in the United States and distributed in the United States, Canada, Dominican Republic, Dubai (UAE), Fiji, Guam, Guatemala, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, and Kuwait.

A list of the products is below; consumers should visit www.mcneilproductrecall.com to find out more. (more…)