- HHS announces the launch of HealthCare.gov on Facebook: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the launch of HealthCare.gov on Facebook.
- Federal health IT coordinator completes nationwide system to assist in EHR switch: David Blumenthal, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology, has announced selection of the final Regional Extension Centers (RECs), completing a national system of 62 organizations that will help physicians, clinics and hospitals to move from paper-based medical records to electronic health records (EHR). (more…)
Archive for September, 2010
FALLS CHURCH - Recalls continue to be an ever-increasing time-expense on healthcare, according to mid-year statistics from RASMAS .
RASMAS collects and posts recalls and product safety notices for the healthcare industry. Between January and June 2010, RASMAS statistics show that the number of product safety notices and alerts increased 10 percent over the same period in 2009, as compared with a 4 percent increase from 2008 to 2009. RASMAS has released 1,752 alerts to its subscribers as of the end of June 2010; an average of 67 per week. This compares to 62 alerts per week in the same 2009 period.
Bill Klein, manager of RASMAS data, attributes the rise in the number of notices to to the large number of over-the-counter drug recalls by McNeil Consumer Healthcare and the numerous recalls of tainted food.
“It could be that the FDA or manufacturers are pushing out alerts at a faster pace,” says Klein. “In the past manufacturers and the FDA would identify a problem, conduct an investigation, and eventually the recall notice would be published in an FDA Enforcement Report.” But with the criticism over Tylenol and other issues, Klein believes that the FDA may be moving faster when there is a problem. “The Heparin recalls of 2008 were a wake-up call to the FDA and Congress,” says Klein.
When food recall statistics are excluded from the results, RASMAS data shows that general healthcare recalls have surged by over 15 percent. Klein reports that the busiest month for recalls this year was March, when healthcare facilities received 420 recall notices, compared to 286 recall notices issued in March 2009, a 47 percent increase.
Last year, peanut recalls were a major issue that negatively affected both consumers and the healthcare industry, Klein says. This year, other food issues have surfaced, including Salmonella-contaminated food ingredients.
Recall Themes in 2010
Some major types of recalls in the first half of this year:
- Toys and Cribs: While cadmium tainted Shrek glasses from McDonald’s made the news this year, some older recall issues have not been resolved. Health Canada issued a reminder notice that Fisher Price “Little People” manufactured prior to 1991 should be discarded, because they can be lodged in a child’s throat. Health Canada has become aware of the death of a 10-month-old child resulting from the use of one of these older products. The death occurred after an older “Little People” figure became lodged in the child’s throat. Drop Side and Fixed Side Cribs were also subject to numerous CPSC and Health Canada recalls this year. These recalls highlight the issue of millions of recalled products that remain in homes and on shelves because recall announcements were missed.
- HVP and Salmonella: Contaminated or possibly contaminated food continued to be a big issue in 2010. The recalls this year include Salmonella-contaminated HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) supplied by Basic Food Flavors of Las Vegas, Nevada. Another contributor to recalls was Salmonella-contaminated pepper from the Mincing Overseas Spice Company.
- Imports: Some drugs made overseas had issues with quality. Claris Lifesciences recalled intravenous Metronidazole, Ondansetron, and Ciprofloxacin due to “floating matter” which could be an indication of lack of sterility or contamination. The Indian manufacturer Aurobindo Pharma Limited, Andhra Pradesh recalled Sertraline HCL Tablets, 100 mg. because a foreign tablet of Zolpidem Tartrate Tablets, 10 mg, was found in a bottle.
- Undeclared Ingredients, Out of Specification: A number of recalls this year have been for ingredients that were not declared. For instance, JTM Foods Inc. of Erie, Pennsylvania recalled marshmallow treats because of undeclared colors FD&C Yellow #5 and Yellow #6. Many recalls were for drugs “out of specification” for various parameters such as stability and expiration date. PL Developments, Inc. of Westbury, NY recalled over 1.4 million bottles of Ketotifin eye drops in March because they were out of specification for pH.
- Market Withdrawals: Pfizer pulled the drug Mylotarg (gemtuzumab ozogamicin for injection) used for the treatment of relapsed acute myeloid leukemia. Pfizer took the action at the request of the FDA after results from a recent clinical trial raised new concerns about the product’s safety and the drug failed to demonstrate clinical benefit.
Below are statistics from RASMAS for the first half of 2010:
All Recalls/Alerts Per Month Released By RASMAS
All Recalls/Alerts per Month by RASMAS, Excluding Food
Breakdown of RASMAS Alerts by Subject Area, January-June 2010
|Children’s Consumer Products||9%||8%|
|Engineering and Facilities||6%||5%|
|Operating Room Products||5%||12%|
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Tuesday, Sept. 28. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Infection surveillance varies by hospital: Hospitals need to get on the same page when it comes to checking for bloodstream infections among patients seeing as current methods of surveillance vary from facility to facility, according to a study published in the October 2010 American Journal of Infection Control.
- Despite heavy increases, only 12 percent of prescriptions are electronic: Electronic prescribing continues to grow at an impressive rate, but still only accounted for 12 percent of the 1.63 billion prescriptions written nationwide in 2009, according to the latest statistics from e-prescribing network Surescripts.
- Digital Trainers Know How to Motivate: People who have trouble sticking to weight-loss regimens can find an array of devices that help track their progress – and offer encouragement, too.
Find out more
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When the public needs to know about unsafe food, the federal government releases announcements about contaminated foods on its website, FoodSafety.gov. The information comes from the two agencies that inspect food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
FSIS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and tracks meat, poultry and processed egg products produced in federally inspected plants. FDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, issues notices for other food products.
The Food Safety Alerts & Tips widget, seen at right, combines all the food recalls, market withdrawals and safety alerts from the FDA and FSIS, as well as tips and research.
Food Safety Widget. Flash Player 9 is required.
Healthcare providers often receive their alerts from a recall service, such as the RASMAS. For consumers concerned about the safety of specific food items, below are the main pages where the most recent food safety cases are listed:
- Current Recalls and Alerts from FSIS
- FSIS Recall Case Archive (searchable by year)
- FDA Food Recalls and Safety Alerts
Find out more
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Monday, Sept. 27. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Health departments to receive healthcare-reform boost: As some of the key provisions of the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law took effect last week, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced details of a public health funding component of the law that includes resources to help prevent and manage disease outbreaks.
- Keep Track Of Information Technology With HIMSS State HIT Dashboard: The HIMSS State HIT Dashboard gives healthcare professionals, policy makers and stakeholders a snapshot of major health information technology initiatives underway across the Nation.
- Told to Eat Its Vegetables, America Orders Fries: Despite two decades of public health initiatives, a study found Americans still aren’t eating enough vegetables.
- National Library of Medicine opens application portal: The National Library of Medicine has created a new website to promote software applications that allow developers and the public to tap into the library’s resources more broadly and effectively.
FALLS CHURCH – Top recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Friday, Sept. 24. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Similac Recall Freezes Abbott Website: A reporter goes through the frustrating process of trying to figure out if the Similac in her possession was part of Wednesday’s recall. The product Similac is made by Abbott Pharmaceutical. Find out more at similac.com/Recall
- Bentley “B” Causes Recall of Pricey Autos: Problems with a hood ornament on a luxury British car have caused a recall.
- Amgen, J&J anemia drugs recalled: Reuters reports that Amgen Inc and Johnson & Johnson are recalling their Epogen and Procrit anemia treatments because of the potential for barely visible glass flakes in vials containing the injectable medicines.
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Friday, Sept. 24. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Survey Reveals Frustration over Drug Shortages: Many respondents stated that the conditions associated with drug shortages during the past year have been the worst ever, without a glimmer of hope for any improvement in the near future. They feel unsupported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and perplexed regarding why the US is experiencing drug shortages of epic proportion. (more…)
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Thursday, Sept. 23. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Blumenthal: 2013 meaningful use to ramp up HIE, decision support Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator, sent a strong signal to healthcare providers and vendors to expect that more complex requirements for health information exchange and clinical decision support tools will be among forthcoming requirements for the next stage of meaningful use.
- CDC says state and local preparedness improving: State and local health departments have significantly improved their readiness for public health emergencies in the past few years, with laboratory capacity and emergency operations centers leading the list of improved areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a major report released Tuesday.
- Health Insurance Changes Take Effect: It has been exactly six months since the sweeping health-care overhaul bill known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, and Thursday is the day a number of consumer protections provided by the law take effect.
- Mortality Rates Fall at PA Hospitals: Patient mortality rates for 20 conditions reported at hospitals throughout the state declined, but readmissions increased, according to an annual analysis by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
- New South Carolina Hospital Almost Ready: The 218,856-square-foot, 85-bed medical center in the Charleston area will open Nov. 1, when its 29 departments and services, including a cardiovascular unit and 24-hour emergency care, go live.
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Wednesday, Sept. 22. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Senators urge Defense, VA to combine needs for medical systems: The Senate Appropriations Committee has asked the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments for details on how they will develop new electronic health record systems for soldiers and veterans.
- CDC awards $42.5M for public health system improvements: The Centers for Disease Control has awarded $42.5 million in grants to assist 94 projects in state, tribal, local and territorial health departments across the nation improve the performance and quality of their health services.
- Flashing glasses may offer hope for trauma survivors: Psychologists say they might be able to prevent or treat post-traumatic stress disorder using glasses with a pair of flashing lights.
- Seagulls ‘may be spreading superbugs’ Scientists fear migratory birds may be spreading hard-to-treat infections after discovering gulls can carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
FALLS CHURCH – Top medical and recall news headlines from Noblis Health Innovation for Tuesday, Sept. 21. Click on the underlined item for the actual link to the story:
- Study: Consumers shift to online health plan enrollment: As states gear up to develop health insurance exchanges, a new study suggests that more consumers are venturing online to enroll in health plans.
- Feds gain power over billions in Medicare fraud: Proposed regulations unveiled Monday seek to crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud by subjecting operators of certain medical firms to fingerprinting and stopping payments when credible fraud allegations are made, documents show.
- Short of Repeal, G.O.P. Will Chip at Health Law: Republicans say they will try to withhold money federal officials need to administer the health care overhaul.
- Google Health Gets Usefulness Injection: In an effort to make Google Health more appealing to people, Google has redesigned and refocused the service.