A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division of Laboratory Science and Standards
January 24, 2013
View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive
2012 Salary Survey Results
The results of the 2012 ADVANCE salary survey offer some good news in these difficult times, as salary increases were seen throughout the data. According to data from 875 respondents, the average laboratorian is a female certified bench technologist, aged 50-59, and works in a hospital laboratory. While this provides some insight into the data, we must dig into the details to see the bigger picture.
Harkin Offers Sweeping Public Health Bill Again
For the sixth time, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee introduced sweeping legislation to strengthen the nation's public health with provisions that aim to combat chronic disease and encourage healthier lifestyles in schools, businesses and communities. Sen. Tom Harkin's (D-Iowa) bill calls on several Cabinet departments and federal agencies to implement a host of recommendations, and, in some cases, work together to achieve those goals. The legislation would require HHS to issue and update physical activity guidelines for all ages every 10 years; provide tax credits to businesses that offer comprehensive workplace wellness programs; and mandate that the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Agriculture department release recommendations for standards in food marketing to children.
Supreme Court Agrees to Consider Myriad Case Involving Human Gene Patents
In the ongoing debate about gene patents, the nation’s highest legal authority is about to weigh in on the question. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Myriad Genetics patent case in the upcoming term. The case turns on whether human genes can be patented.
Will Clinical Labs Need to Pay Royalties for Using Human Gene Patents?
How the high court rules on this matter has significant implications for clinical laboratories and pathology groups throughout the United States. That’s because holders of patents on human genes require medical laboratories to pay royalties for the clinical testing they perform.
The Supreme Court will review an earlier decision by a federal appeals court in The Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. et al., a story published by The New York Times. In that decision, the lower court declared that Myriad’s “composition of matter” claims covering isolated DNA of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are patent-eligible under Section 101 of the United States Patent Act.
Mental Health Big Player in Obama's Gun Plan
Mental health issues were in the spotlight in the executive orders President Obama signed and proposals he issued for Congress, all aimed at curbing violent gun deaths. The actions, announced in a news conference, include several that focus on increasing research on gun violence while furthering access to mental healthcare, in part by widening screening and awareness and by putting mental health services on a par with physical health.
Among the 23 presidential actions ordered include: Issuing a presidential memorandum directing the CDC to research the causes and prevention of gun violence
HHS Rebrands Health Exchanges as 'Marketplaces'
As part of its campaign to increase public awareness about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced some new terminology: the entities formerly known as 'health insurance exchanges' -- websites similar to Expedia or Orbitz where people can purchase health coverage -- will now be called 'health insurance marketplaces.'
How HIPAA Final Rule and Meaningful use Could Drive Data Security
The enhanced set of protections finalized in the omnibus HIPAA privacy and security rule now becomes the new baseline for anyone who handles health information. It doesn’t change meaningful use requirements, but combined, the two may drive more providers to protect patient data, according to privacy and security experts. The clear and comprehensive view of privacy, security and enforcement that comprise the final rule now was missing at the dawn of the meaningful use program as physicians and hospitals began to adopt electronic health records (EHRs).
It's Legal for Some Insurers to Discriminate Based On Genes
Getting the results of a genetic test can be a bit like opening Pandora's box. You might learn something useful or interesting, or you might learn that you're likely to develop an incurable disease later on in life.
There's a federal law that's supposed to protect people from having their own genes used against them, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA. Under GINA, it's illegal for an employer to fire someone based on his genes, and it's illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage because of someone's genetic code.
But the law has a loophole: It only applies to health insurance. It doesn't say anything about companies that sell life insurance, disability insurance or long-term-care insurance.
Medicare Quality Reporting Penalty Expected to Strike Most Physicians
Physicians could lose up to a total of $1.3 billion a year from their Medicare pay by not satisfactorily reporting quality measures to the program, researchers determined in an analysis of reporting trends. The loss would be the result of hundreds of thousands of physicians and other health professionals not participating in, or not meeting criteria for, the Medicare physician quality reporting system. Medicare payments will be cut 1.5% in 2015 — and 2% in 2016 and beyond — for every eligible physician who fails to meet PQRS requirements by sending quality data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The 2015 penalty will be based on 2013 reporting activity.
Joint Commission Proposes Alarm Management as National Safety Goal
The Joint Commission is proposing a new 2014 national patient safety goal--alarm management. If approved, the NPSG would require hospital and critical access hospital leaders to set alarm management as a priority, establish a formal policy and provide training for staff. "Alarms are intended to alert caregivers of potential patient problems, but if they are not properly managed, they can compromise patient safety," the accrediting body said.
The ECRI Institute called alarm fatigue one of the biggest technology hazards in 2013. Alarm fatigue has been linked to patient deaths in the past few years, including deaths at UMass Memorial Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. One of the reasons for alarm fatigue is simply that there are too many alarms, while another reason is that default settings are not actionable, The Joint Commission noted.
Among the proposed safety goal, hospitals would have to prepare annual inventory of alarms and identify the default settings. Based on that information, they would identify which alarms are the most important to manage. In addition, leaders would establish policies and procedures regarding which specific alarms unnecessarily contribute to safety concerns and when alarms can be disabled, as well as checking individual alarms for accuracy and proper operation, among other monitoring rules. There are currently no universal solutions. The Joint Commission said the NPSG will reflect best practices as they are developed.
OSU Agrees to Settlement to Keep Clinical Lab Open
Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center will pay the federal government $268,000 and has appointed a new clinical laboratory director, part of a settlement that lets the lab stay open and under OSU control. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services levied sanctions this past summer after the lab sent six proficiency-test samples — meant for quality control, not patient diagnosis — to the Mayo Clinic and to another OSU lab for testing. Federal law prohibits a lab from sending such samples to another lab, even within the same hospital system. The sanctions could have cost OSU millions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. The penalties had been on hold during the university’s appeal of the sanctions. A university spokeswoman couldn’t say whether the $268,000 payment represents the university’s total costs related to the case.
New Opportunity for Pathologists in Molecular Oncology
Approximately 600,000 American cancer patients emerge uncured from standard of care treatment by medicine, surgery, and radiation each year. That is 1,600 every day. What then? Enlightened palliation on the way to hospice care does make sense for many. But now there are additional options based upon emerging science.
Molecular testing of the actual cancer tissue may place the cancer into a narrow subtype that may match the patient with a promising molecular therapy or at least guide the patient into that clinical trial that gives them their best chance, in addition to advancing science. The alphabet soup that describes cancer genes, mutations, and pathways includes EGFR, KRAS, EML4-ALK, AKT, BCL, MITF, CDK, C-KIT, GNAQ, BRAF, and GNA11. What chance has the average physician, much less the average cancer patient, of staying up to date in this rapidly changing field? Virtually none.
Pathologists have always been the leaders in cancer research and practice. But our knowledge of gross pathology and microscopic patterns that have led to histopathologic diagnoses that lead to best therapeutic options is no longer enough. Molecular oncologic diagnostics hold important research and therapeutic implications for many, and soon, most cancers. Academic pathology has no choice but to lead with oncologic molecular diagnostics for research and for patient care at academic medical centers.
Donated Genetic Data 'Privacy Risk'
Researchers have identified people in the US who anonymously donated their DNA for use in medical research - raising concerns about privacy. They could uncover a person's identity using records of donated DNA coupled with other readily available sources of information on the internet. It was made possible because of large "genetic genealogy" databases which help people trace their family tree. The study was reported in the journal Science.
Weak male link
There is a strong link in men between their surname and unique markings on the male, or Y, chromosome. These genetic markings are a useful tool when investigating a family tree as they are passed from father to son and are used in "genetic genealogy" databases. Researchers from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research used this freely available data to create a computer programme which could match unique markers to surnames.
Simple Blood Test Can Help Predict Mortality, Utah Researchers Find
Accidents happen, but researchers in Utah have found that a simple blood test often performed upon admission to a hospital can predict the likelihood of trauma leading to death. "It could possibly help families make decisions if they have a better idea of how the patient is going to do down the road," said Dr. Sarah Majercik, a trauma surgeon at Intermountain Medical Center. She is part of a team of researchers who discovered how a tool already in use can be used to improve patient care at critical times. "Families and patients often want to know how they're going to do," she said.
Researchers studied data from more than 9,500 patients admitted to the hospital with trauma during a six-year period. They discovered that some patients are up to 58 times more likely to die than others, regardless of the severity of their original injury. The probability of death, researchers found, can be determined by applying the Intermountain Risk Score, a computerized algorithm that measures various components of a complete blood count, a metabolic panel and other factors, such as gender and age, which are generally known for every patient admitted at the hospital.
C. diff-sniffing Beagle Dog Could Lead to Better Infection Control Outcomes in Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Researchers from Vrije University Medical Center (VUMC) in Amsterdam successfully used the trained beagle to detect the smell of C. difficile in hospitals. The researchers believe trained canine disease detectives like Cliff could be a cheap and effective way to conduct routine C. diff screening in hospitals.
“In order to try to prevent transmission in your hospital, it’s important to recognize C. diff patients as early as possible,” stated Marije Bomers, M.D., the VUMC study’s lead author Bomers is a consultant internist and infectious disease specialist at VUMC. The study was published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
Many types of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are on the decline. But according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, C. diff remains at historically high levels in the United States. It causes diarrhea linked to 14,000 American deaths each year.
Albumin May Prove a Predictor for Pneumonia Outcomes
Researchers say that assessing serum albumin levels within 24 hours of admission could be a good prognostic marker of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Physicians should consider albumin levels when evaluating the severity of illness in patients with CAP, say Diego Viasus (Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge-IDIBELL, Barcelona, Spain) and co-authors in the Journal of Infection. The research shows that reduced albumin levels could highlight CAP patients most at risk for adverse outcomes. Therefore, investigating whether treatment of CAP-associated hypoalbuminemia would improve clinical outcomes merits further investigation, explain Viasus and team.
Handheld Mobile Device Performs Laboratory-Quality HIV Testing
New research appearing in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of AACC, shows that a handheld mobile device can check patients' HIV status with just a finger prick, and synchronize the results in real time with electronic health records. This technology takes a step toward providing remote areas of the world with diagnostic services traditionally available only in centralized healthcare settings.
In this study, a team including Curtis D. Chin, PhD, and Yuk Kee Cheung, PhD, designed a device that captures all the essential functions of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, the most commonly used laboratory diagnostic for HIV. The authors show that the device performs laboratory-quality HIV testing in 15 minutes using finger-pricked whole blood. The device also detects weakly positive samples, and uses cellphone and satellite networks to automatically synchronize test results with patient health records from anywhere in the world.
FDA Clears Hologic MDx Assay for Gastrointestinal Illness
Hologic said that the US Food and Drug Administration has cleared its Prodesse ProGastro SSCS assay for marketing in the US. Hologic acquired the technology when it bought Gen-Probe last summer. The real-time, multiplex PCR assay is for the qualitative detection of Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter (C. jejuni and C. Coli only undifferentiated) nucleic acids and Shiga Toxin 1 (stx1) and Shiga Toxin 2 (stx2) genes.
FDA Clears Test for 11 GI Pathogens
A test that can identify 11 different pathogens that can cause infectious gastroenteritis has received FDA clearance, the agency announced.
The test called the xTAG Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel and sold by Luminex of Austin, Texas, detects the following bacteria, viruses, and parasites:
- Clostridium difficile toxin A/B
- Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157
- Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) LT/ST
- Shiga‐like toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) stx1/stx2
- Rotavirus A
Source: Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/
NFL: PET Scan IDs Brain Damage in Players
A new imaging technique has allowed detection of tau protein abnormalities in the concussed brains of living retired football players that are identical to the autopsy findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in deceased athletes, researchers reported.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scanning using a tracer for tau protein known as FDDNP found significantly higher binding values among retired players than in controls in several regions of the brain, including the amygdala (1.30 versus 1.14, P=0.03) and caudate (1.48 versus 1.23, P=0.03), according to Gary W. Small, MD, of the University of California Los Angeles, and colleagues.
In addition, the tau binding values were highest in the players who had experienced the most concussions during their careers, which "suggests a link between the players' history of head injury and FDDNP binding," the researchers wrote in the February American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Sickle Cell Test Gets NCAA OK Despite Docs
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has approved mandatory confirmation of sickle cell trait status in Division III student athletes, despite the objections of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). NCAA delegates voted 254 to 200 in favor of the measure at the 2013 NCAA convention over the weekend. Confirmation of sickle cell status will be required of all incoming student athletes in the 2013-2014 school year and for all athletes by 2014-2015. Mandatory sickle cell screening is already required by the NCAA in Division I and Division II athletes.
Quadruple Helix' DNA Seen in Human Cells
Cambridge University scientists say they have seen four-stranded DNA at work in human cells for the first time. The famous "molecule of life", which carries our genetic code, is more familiar to us as a double helix. But researchers tell the journal Nature Chemistry that the "quadruple helix" is also present in our cells, and in ways that might possibly relate to cancer. They suggest that control of the structures could provide novel ways to fight the disease.
Study Finds How Genes That Cause Illness Work
It has been one of the toughest problems in genetics. How do investigators figure out not just what genes are involved in causing a disease, but what turns those genes on or off? What makes one person with the genes get the disease and another not?
Now, in a pathbreaking paper, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report a way to evaluate one gene-regulation system: chemical tags that tell genes to be active or not. Their test case was of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a crippling autoimmune disease that affects 1.5 million Americans.
It was an investigation of epigenetics, a popular area of molecular biology that looks for modifications of genes that can help determine disease risk.
Leprosy Bacteria Use 'Biological Alchemy'
Infectious bacteria have for the first time been caught performing "biological alchemy" to transform parts of a host body into those more suited to their purposes, by a team in Edinburgh. The study, in the journal Cell, showed leprosy-causing bacteria turning nerves into stem cells and muscle. The authors said the "clever and sophisticated" technique could further therapies and stem-cell research.
Experts described the discovery as "amazing" and "exciting".
CMV Infection May Contribute to the Size of the Latent HIV Reservoir
The presence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in blood and semen is associated with higher levels of HIV DNA in blood, investigators from the United States report in the online edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases. The study involved gay men recently infected with HIV. The authors believe that CMV replication may increase the reservoir of cells latently infected with HIV.
“This study demonstrated that presence of CMV in PBMC [peripheral blood mononuclear cells] and in seminal plasma of HIV infected ART-naïve MSM was associated with higher levels of proviral HIV DNA,” write the authors. “It also found that simultaneous detectable CMV in semen and PBMC was associated with the highest levels of HIV DNA in PBMC.”
Stanford lab Creates HIV-Resistant Cells
Stanford scientists have developed a technique to genetically engineer certain immune cells and make them resistant to HIV - a technique that, if proved successful in human subjects, could provide an alternative to the lifetime of medication that people with HIV infections now face.
That technique - placing multiple genes at one site - is known as stacking.
In lab tests, the Stanford team found that applying the single-gene protection provided some resistance against the virus via the CCR5 receptor. But stacking all three protective measures offered even stronger resistance, via both the CCR5 and CXCR4 receptors.
Early HIV Tx Improves Immune System
Treating HIV in the first weeks and months of infection is associated with slower disease progression and better recovery of the immune system, according to two studies in the Jan. 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In the so-called SPARTAC trial, researchers found that 48 weeks of antiretroviral therapy started within 6 months of infection significantly slowed HIV progression compared with no treatment.
In a second study, investigators found that starting therapy during a transient immune system rebound, usually seen about 4 months after infection, was associated with a more robust recovery of the immune system than delayed treatment.
Disease Detective Using Genomic Epidemiology
As a teenager, Jennifer Gardy of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control saw the movie Outbreak and was instantly hooked. "I thought that would be the coolest job in the world, tracking infectious diseases," she says.
At BCCDC, Gardy is combining her background in informatics, infectious diseases, and genomics to help piece together epidemiological, clinical, and sequence data from a strain of tuberculosis that had caused an outbreak in a small town in British Columbia. The work resulted in a 2011 New England Journal of Medicine paper that helped launch the now-burgeoning field of genomic epidemiology. "I'm really proud that something I did is so new and cutting edge," she says. "And also it's just fun. It's solving an outbreak. It's being a disease detective."
Analysis of Ancient DNA Reveals Ancestor to Present-day Asians, Native Americans
Genetic analysis of remains from an early modern human unearthed from a cave in northern China suggests that humans living in that region about 40,000 years ago may be related to the ancestors of both modern-day Asians and Native Americans, researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology's Svante Pääbo reported in an online, early Proceedings of the National Academy of Science paper.
Hepatitis E Risk Factors May Differ in US, UK
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a UK study published by the CDC identified several risk factors related to hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection, but the risk factors may differ in the 2 countries. The CDC study was performed by Jan Drobeniuc, MD, from the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues, and the UK study was conducted by Brendan AI Payne, MD, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals and Newcastle University, and colleagues. Both studies were published in the February issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Inching Closer To the Demise of a Stubborn Parasitic Worm
What's the big fuss about Guinea worm, a parasite that now infects just a few hundred people? Well, the public health community finally has the nasty bug's back against the wall. There were only 542 cases of Guinea worm worldwide last year, the Carter Center said. That's 48 percent less than in 2011. And it's a mere blip compared to the 3.5 million cases back in 1986.
It means the Guinea worm hunters are very close to totally wiping out the disease from the face of the Earth. That's happened only once before when small pox ended in 1979.
H1N1 Flu Shots are Safe for Pregnant Women
NIH researcher assists in study of Norwegian women
Norwegian pregnant women who received a vaccine against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus showed no increased risk of pregnancy loss, while pregnant women who experienced influenza during pregnancy had an increased risk of miscarriages and still births, a study has found. The study suggests that influenza infection may increase the risk of fetal loss.
Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) published their findings online Jan. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research was conducted following the H1N1 influenza pandemic that took place between spring 2009 and fall 2010. The researchers at the NIH were from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
HPV Vaccine Still Beneficial in Sexually Active Women
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination may be beneficial for women with HIV infection even after previous exposure to HPV, according to the findings of a new study.
To better understand the prevalence and risk factors for HPV among young women with HIV infection, researchers tested for cervicovaginal HPV DNA (41 types, including 13 high-risk types) and HPV serology (4 vaccine types) in 99 women aged 16 to 23 years with HIV infection.
Researchers discovered that 75% of the women had an existing HPV infection with at least 1 serotype, with 54% having a high-risk type. However, the findings showed that more than 45% of the women have never been exposed to either HPV-16 or HPV-18. When testing specifically for these high-risk serotypes, nearly 75% of the women had no current HPV-18 infection and no indicators of previous exposure, and 56% of women had no evidence of current infection or previous exposure to HPV-16. Cervical cancer screening is especially important in women with HIV infection or at risk for HIV infection, said study coauthor Bill G. Kapogiannis, MD.2
Where are the Electronic Health Record Savings?
The belief that health care costs can be trimmed if more medical practitioners switch to electronic record-keeping has suffered a blow with the release of a RAND Corp. study finding that such savings have yet to materialize. The conclusion adds to challenges confronting the Health and Human Services Department as it implements the still-controversial 2010 Affordable Care Act. In the January issue of Health Affairs, two RAND analysts updated a 2005 study that held out hope for saving $81 billion a year through electronic health record and information technology efficiencies. “Despite wide investments nationally in electronic medical records and related tools, the cost-saving promise of health information technology has not been reached because the systems deployed are neither interconnected nor easy to use,” the authors concluded in a paper titled, “What It Will Take to Achieve the As-Yet-Unfulfilled Promises of Health Information Technology.”
Still, the study is not a big setback for HHS, said Jack Meyer, managing principal at Health Management Associates, who consults for states setting up health insurance exchanges. “It’s a yellow light, a sobering note, but it doesn’t mean we should all go back to being Luddites.”
The Future of Medical Records
Designers dreamed up patient records that can actually help and serve patients.
Electronic medical records are not working like they should -- or could -- according to a new analysis in Health Affairs that revisited previous predictions for the EMR revolution and found disappointing results, in terms of efficiency, saved costs, and patient care.
The practical concerns pointed out by the study include ease of use and ability to share information across systems. But another important metric -- the corollary to questions like Would You Want to See Everything Your Doctor Writes About You?" -- is, What would you, the patient, do with that information provided you were granted access? The federal government took the Department of Veterans Affairs' current record system, which "looks and feels like a receipt," and challenged designers to reimagine the Continuity of Care Document, an EMR output used to describe a patient's health history.
Technology is "only a tool," as an expert who helped push for the adoption of EMRs under President Obama told The New York Times. "Like any tool, it can be used well or poorly."
Here are some ways it could be done very, very well, as put forward by entrants:
mHealth Market to hit $10.2B by 2018
Smart phones, chronic diseases key drivers
The global mHealth market will grow at a compound annual rate of 41.5 percent in the next five years to reach $10.2 billion by 2018, up from $1.3 billion in 2012, according to a recent report from market research firm Transparency Market Research.
The increasing popularity of smartphones and the uptick in chronic diseases are key drivers, said Pawan Kumar, head of ICT and Semiconductor Practices at Transparency Market Research “The introduction of newer and improved mobile health applications in the market is helping the healthcare providers to cater (to a higher) number of patients in less time with significant cost saving,” said Kumar. “Faster development of 3G and 4G networks is also expected to fuel the further growth of the market.”
Feeling under the weather? You’ve probably looked up your symptoms on the Internet and self-diagnosed your ailment, according to a new report released by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. The survey found that 72 percent of U.S adults with Internet access looked online for health information in 2012. Of 35 percent of American adults who have used the Web to gauge their medical condition, 46 percent said their search led them to consult a medical professional. Women are more likely than men to check the Web for medical diagnoses, as are younger people, and individuals with post-secondary education.
N.Y. Hospital Patients Potentially Exposed to HIV, Hepatitis Through Reused Insulin Pens
More than 700 patients admitted to the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System over a two-year period may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, authorities said. Officials made the announcement following a review that found that multi-dose insulin pens intended for use by a single patient may have been used on more than one person. Officials asked why a Buffalo veterans hospital may have used the pens on many patients, causing an HIV scare. Although the needles were changed, the stored insulin could have been contaminated by a back flow of blood with each use, experts said.
48 States Now Report Flu Activity, Elderly Hit Hard
It's still not too late to get vaccinated, experts say
Forty-eight states are now reporting widespread flu activity, up from 47 last week, and the virus is proving particularly dangerous for the elderly, U.S. health officials reported. In addition, the number of children who have died from the flu continues to rise. So far 29 children have died, nine more than was reported last week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While there's no system to report adult deaths from flu, the CDC said that 8.3 percent of all deaths in 122 cities were caused by pneumonia and flu. This is higher than the 7.2 percent the agency uses to define as the threshold for a flu epidemic.
Americans Sicker Compared to Other Wealthy Nations
Americans die younger and have higher rates of many types of diseases and injuries than people in other high-income countries, a new report shows.
“The health of Americans is far worse than the health of people in other countries despite the fact that we spend more money on health care,” says report author Steven H. Woolf, MD, MPH, during a news conference. He is a professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “This has been going on since 1980 and getting progressively worse. I am struck by the gravity of our findings.”
Surgical Errors: In ORs, “Never Events” Occur 80 Times a Week
About 80 times each week, U.S. patients undergoing surgery experience mistakes that safety advocates say never should happen. The types of errors being made: Surgical instruments such as sponges are unintentionally left behind in the patient; a wrong procedure is performed; a wrong surgical site is operated upon; and surgery is done on the wrong patient altogether.
AMA Offers $10 Million to Fund Med School Innovations
The AMA says it will provide $10 million over the next five years to fund eight to 12 “bold, innovative projects.” “Rapid changes in health care require a transformation in the way we train future physicians,” AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus said in a statement.
Among its criteria, the AMA says it is looking for proposals that create “more flexible, individualized learning plans,” or that promote “exemplary methods to achieve patient safety, performance improvement and patient-centered team based care.” Applicants have until Feb. 15 to submit their ideas. Finalists will submit their full proposals by May 15 and winners will be announced at the AMA’s annual meeting in June.
Core Diagnostics to Begin India Operation
UK- based Core Diagnostics— a Clinical laboratory is planning to launch operation in India. “‘We will launch a high-end diagnostic laboratory in Gurgaon. We will make those high-end diagnostics tests available in India, for which samples used to go to the US and other countries,’ co-founder of the company Arghya Basu said. Earlier, patients had to wait for long for the results of their diagnostic tests but now with high-end laboratory there will be no wait for them,’ Core Diagnostic Director Zoya Bra said.
Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.
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