A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division of Laboratory Science and Standards
March 14, 2013
View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive
CDC Wants U.S. Docs to Look out for Mysterious Coronavirus From Middle East
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning U.S. doctors about a mysterious new coronavirus that's been claiming lives overseas. The CDC's new report, published March 7 in its journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows there have been a total of 14 confirmed cases of the novel infection reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), with eight deaths. The illnesses occurred in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the United Kingdom from April 2012 through February 2013. No cases have been reported in the United States. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to SARS, which killed 800 people during a 2003 global epidemic.
FDA Offers Guidance on Financial Disclosures Under Sunshine Act
The FDA has issued draft guidance governing financial disclosures mandated by the Sunshine Act, which will go into effect Aug. 1. The document explains how medical-device manufacturers and drugmakers should report financial ties with doctors when applying for FDA marketing approval, which of those relationships should be reported and how bias is established.
FDA Critic Calls for Independent Post-market Device, Drug Oversight
The responsibility of overseeing market-available drugs and devices should be transferred from the FDA to an independent bureau similar to the National Transportation Safety Board, Dr. Robert Hauser argued during the American College of Cardiology conference. "The FDA is being asked to approve devices and then to be responsible for monitoring performance for devices and drugs," Hauser said. "Right away, you have a conflict because the group that approved the drug is going to question the group that is now criticizing the drug." http://www.smartbrief.com/
ONC Sets Early Summer for Release of HIT Safety Plan
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology anticipates releasing a final health information technology safety plan by early summer, officials announced on March 5 at HIMSS13 in New Orleans.
ONC released a draft plan in December and accepted public comment until February 4. The draft followed an Institute of Medicine report that ONC commissioned that highlighted the need for better understanding of the HIT impacts on safety, as well as shared responsibilities among all stakeholders to improve safety, Jodi Daniel, director of the ONC office of policy and planning, said during an educational session.
W.Va. Advances Bill to Charge for HIV Testing
Facing pressure from shrinking federal funds, the West Virginia Senate advanced a bill that would allow local health departments to charge patients for testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Currently anyone in West Virginia can get free STD tests and treatment from local health departments. The funding for those services comes primarily from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has had recent budget cuts. Over the last two years, West Virginia has lost about $617,000 in federal money for its HIV-AIDS program. Much of that money was shifted from West Virginia to states with higher HIV rates.
FTC, Idaho Attorney General Fight Acquisition of State's Biggest Doc Group
The Federal Trade Commission and the attorney general of Idaho will file an antitrust challenge to try to unravel the 3-month-old acquisition of the state's largest physician practice by its biggest health system. But the healthcare providers are not backing down from the deal. Regulators across the country have kept vigilant watch as hospitals have been acquiring physician practices at a rapid rate, but the challenge was the rare case in which the government signaled it would take its concerns to court.
The expansion of biotechnology to include practicing nonprofessionals has many citizens understandably concerned. As the tools used for molecular biology become more affordable, DIY biologists are increasingly able to experiment with bacteria, synthesize DNA, and dabble in virology—and regulation of such work is weak. The potential risk to public health posed by this trend prompts the questions: Are these amateur biologists dangerous, and if not, could they be in the future?
AMA, McKesson Partner on Molecular Pathology Coding Project
The American Medical Association and McKesson Health Solutions are teaming up on a licensing partnership to create a registry of molecular diagnostic tests. The registry will enable physicians, patients and health insurers to keep better track of the growing number of tests available and the Current Procedural Terminology codes that can be used to bill for them.
The partnership, announced Feb. 26, will group McKesson’s Z-code Identifiers for genomic, metabolomic, proteomic and other molecular tests with corresponding molecular pathology codes in the AMA’s CPT set beginning in early 2014. The two organizations said that with the number of molecular tests at roughly 3,000 and growing, and greater interest in using genomic testing for more personalized care, there was a need to develop a system to help unlock the tests’ potential.
Medical Device Companies May Pass New 2.3% Federal Excise Tax Along to Healthcare Providers, Including Clinical Pathology Laboratories
Will it be medical device manufacturers or their customers—including medical laboratories—who pay the new 2.3% medical device tax that became effective on January 1, 2013? That question is being asked by healthcare policymakers and experts, as well as pathologists and clinical laboratory administrators. This new tax is mandated by the Affordable Care Act on medical device sales to healthcare providers. It taxes gross receipts of more than $5 million for manufacturers and importers of medical devices and is unpopular within the medical device industry, including in vitro diagnostics (IVD) manufacturers. Early evidence indicates that hospitals, physicians, and clinical laboratories will see a 2.3% hike in the cost of the medical devices they purchase. This would occur because the medical device industry would pass this tax on to customers via higher prices, according to a story recently published by Modern Healthcare.
Wary of Attack With Smallpox, U.S. Buys Up a Costly Drug
The United States government is buying enough of a new smallpox medicine to treat two million people in the event of a bioterrorism attack, and took delivery of the first shipment. But the purchase has set off a debate about the lucrative contract, with some experts saying the government is buying too much of the drug at too high a price. A small company, Siga Technologies, developed the drug in recent years.
ASCP Vacancy Survey Underscores Need for New Laboratory Workforce Skills
Increasing demand for medical care for an aging population is prompting rapid change in medical technology, coupled with anticipated increases in the volume of laboratory tests. This may require new workforce skills to meet future laboratory needs, according to the results of the ASCP 2012 Vacancy Survey, which appeared in the February 2013 issue of Lab Medicine.
ASCP Director of Public Policy Andrea Bennett, MPH, MT(ASCP), surmised that the slight decrease in job vacancies across the laboratory professions may indicate that more employees are staying in their jobs, rather than retiring at age 65, because of the sluggish economy.
Source: Source: http://laboratorian.advanceweb.com/
A Laboratory Grows Young Scientists
If history is any indication, several of these young men and women will go on to greater fame: Since the science competition’s inception in 1942, as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, seven of its alumni have won Nobel Prizes and 11 have received MacArthur “genius” awards.
The 40 finalists were culled from more than 1,700 applications, which are due in November. The competition is run by the Society for Science and the Public and is financed by the Intel Corporation, through its Intel Foundation. When Westinghouse ceased sponsorship 15 years ago, Intel took over, primarily “to change the conversation about young scientists in the U.S.,” said Wendy Hawkins, the foundation’s executive director.
The adjusted 3-year cumulative incidence risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or higher (CIN3) among women with negative results on liquid-based cytology at enrollment was 0.77 compared with 0.33 for those who were negative based on high-risk HPV testing, according to Thomas Wright, MD, of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues. Additionally, for women who underwent both tests, only a small additional reduction in 3-year cumulative incidence risk was seen in those who had negative results on both tests versus those who were negative on the HPV test alone (0.29 versus 0.33, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.07).
"Co-testing with both liquid-based cytology and high-risk HPV screening provides little benefit over high-risk HPV screening alone," Wright noted during a presentation at the meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. The comparison trial was part of the ATHENA trial testing the Roche cobas HPV Test. The test separately detects "HPV16, HPV18, and a pool of 12 other high-risk HPV genotypes," Wright and colleagues wrote.
Brain Injuries in Athletes May Be Detected by Blood Test
Researchers have made two key assertions with new findings. Firstly, they can now test for brain damage by performing a simple, quick and cheap blood test. Researchers found that there was a detectable level of a protein that has been shown to be a biomarker in traumatic brain injuries, S100B. They saw that in 67 football players that didn't have a concussion, there was presence of this protein in players' blood after a game.
This shows that even routine hits, those that aren't severe enough to cause a concussion, can damage the blood brain barrier, which is important in protecting the brain from infection and other damage. Secondly the researchers deduced that this S100B protein, which is normally not present outside of the brain, may cause an immune reaction when there is damage to the blood brain barrier and it leaks out into the rest of the body. Antibodies made by the immune system to attack this foreign protein could gain access to the brain through the damaged and leaky blood brain barrier and attack the protein and cause collateral damage to the brain tissue.
New Rapid Disease Test Uses DNA Powder and Gold Nanoparticles
Using DNA powder and gold nanoparticles, an innovative diagnostic method could enable rapid point-of-care diagnosis of the world's leading infectious diseases including STDs in the near future, replacing currently needed expensive and time consuming tests in labs. The new method is under development by scientists at the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, who successfully tested their method on several sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and malaria.
Cutting-Edge DNA Sequencing Used to Diagnose Unknown Disease
Deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing is emerging as a clinical tool to help diagnose mystery diseases, investigators report. "If physicians have cases for which they've done everything they know what to do and they really need a diagnosis, this is an alternative now," Howard Jacob, PhD, from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, told Medscape Medical News. Dr. Jacob said that at his center, the use of genomic sequencing ups the odds of finding a diagnosis by 3- to 6-fold. Presenting at the opening session at the Future of Genomic Medicine (FoGM) VI conference in La Jolla, California, Dr. Jacob and other experts said they envision a future where whole-genome sequencing will be routinely performed on every individual at birth.
Alzheimer's Blood Test Could Give Early Diagnosis
British researchers have developed a test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages. It works by looking for a combination of "markers" in the blood which are different in healthy people and those with the disease. Delegates at the Alzheimer's Research UK Conference heard that the University of Nottingham is now developing a quick and easy test to do in clinics. It could mean much earlier diagnosis and better treatments, they said. The test uses some proteins that have been strongly linked with Alzheimer's disease, such as amyloid and APOE.
BNP Screen May Halt Heart Failure
Screening asymptomatic patients at risk for heart failure and intervening based on B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) status may help prevent heart failure, Irish researchers reported. In the randomized, controlled STOP-HF trial, patients with risk factors for heart failure, and who had an intervention if their BNP levels exceeded 50 pg/mL, had a significantly lower risk of a composite of hospitalization for heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction than those who had usual care (P=0.01), reported Kenneth McDonald, MD, of St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, at the American College of Cardiology meeting.
FDA Clears Quidel's RSV, hMPV Molecular Assay
Quidel has received US Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance to market its molecular respiratory viral panel in the US, the company said. The assay, called the Quidel Molecular RSV + hMPV assay, detects respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus and distinguishes the two from each other. While they are different viruses, they cause respiratory infections with very similar symptoms, Quidel said.
FDA Approves Blood Glucose Monitor With Bluetooth Technology
LifeScan, Inc. announced that the OneTouch® Verio®Sync Blood Glucose Monitoring System has received clearance from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). According to the manufacturer, it is the first meter to automatically send blood glucose results wirelessly via Bluetooth technology to an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the OneTouch® Reveal™ mobile app.
New HCV Test Wins FDA OK
The FDA has approved a new quantitative lab test for hepatitis C virus (HCV) loads with increased genotype coverage and improved sensitivity compared with earlier tests, its manufacturer said. Called the COBAS AmpliPrep/COBAS TaqMan HCV Test v2.0, the test uses a novel dual-probe design that reduces the impact of possible sequence mismatches with higher accuracy as a result, according to Roche.
BioFire Receives FDA Clearance for Updated FilmArray Respiratory Panel
BioFire Diagnostics Inc. announced the FDA clearance of its updated FilmArray Respiratory Panel. The purpose of the updated panel is to improve the detection of Adenovirus. Studies performed to support the clearance of the modified panel demonstrated a 73% increase in the detection of Adenovirus and a 3-fold improvement in the limit of detection when compared to the original panel.
BioChain Licenses Epigenomics Methylation Marker
BioChain has licensed Epigenomics' methylated Septin9 biomarker for the detection of colorectal cancer and will start offering an assay based on the marker in China, Epigenomics announced . BioChain will offer the assay through its Beijing-based independent reference laboratory — equivalent to a CLIA lab — called Beijing BioChain Medical Laboratory.
Ga. Tech Students’ Inventions Could Lead to New Jobs
Imagine a cellphone charger the size of a credit card that fits in a wallet. Or an inexpensive test that would allow millions of pregnant women and people with blood disorders to screen for anemia. Maybe life would be easier with automated robotic dog toys so canines can entertain themselves. One — or all — of these could become the next big company in Georgia. For now these inventions are among the six finalists for the InVenture Prize, an annual Georgia Tech contest that rewards undergraduate students for innovation and creativity.
iPhone Microscope Yields Modest Results in Worm Diagnosis
A mobile telephone transformed into a microscope yielded "only modest" accuracy and sensitivity but holds future promise when used to diagnose soil-transmitted helminths compared with traditional light microscopy, according to an article published online March 11 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The researchers assessed 199 smears by using both mobile telephone microscopy and conventional microscopy. They found that the mobile telephone microscope captured a sensitivity of 69.4% and a specificity of 61.5% in detecting helminth infections compared with light microscopy.
New Algorithm Improves Accuracy of Computer Screening for Thyroid Disease
It’s long been predicted that use of computer algorithms to sift through clinical data sets can be one way to detect disease. This is a diagnostic method that—in theory—could either increase or decrease the need to perform medical laboratory tests for certain types of diseases. A paper recently published by researchers in India describes an improved algorithm to detect thyroid disease by computer screening. The advancement could lead to earlier detection of subclinical thyroid problems and allow for earlier diagnosis and intervention.
The Proposed 11th Edition of Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories
The proposed 11th edition of Standards for Relationship Testing Laboratories is available for public comment from February 22, 2013 until April 22, 2013. A summary of significant changes is provided to facilitate review of the proposed Standards.
The Shelf Life of Donor Blood
How long should blood be stored?
For decades, the Food and Drug Administration has limited storage of refrigerated red blood cells to 42 days. But it has been clear for some time that stored blood degrades in various ways long before that six-week limit, and some research suggests that the changes may be harmful to patients who receive older blood. Now a study published in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia has found that after even 21 days, the membranes of stored blood cells have stiffened, apparently the result of damage over time. That’s a problem because red blood cells are about the same diameter as small capillaries, and they have to change shape to get through. “What we showed is that the cell membranes lose their flexibility,” said the lead author, Dr. Steven M. Frank, an associate professor of anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins. “That makes it more difficult for them to travel through.” The study also found that the older blood cells did not recover their flexibility after being transfused into patients, unlike certain other kinds of changes that blood cells undergo during storage.
Cholesterol Levels May Vary by Season
Brazilian study doesn't necessarily mean that heart attack or stroke risk rises in winter
Cholesterol levels increase with winter's arrival and drop again as warmer weather returns, a new study by Brazilian researchers suggests. "In the winter, people should be careful with their cholesterol levels," said lead researcher Dr. Filipe Moura, a doctoral student at the State University of Campinas. Whether these changes in cholesterol are putting patients at risk for heart attacks or stroke isn't clear, Moura said. It's a complex picture and these changes might have a role, but there are many other factors, he added. There are several possible reasons cholesterol varies by season, Moura said, including changes in diet, exercise and exposure to the sun. "In the winter, people consume more calories and eat fattier foods, which could have an effect on their bad cholesterol," he said. "Also, it's common for people to exercise less during the winter and stay in more."
NIH Researchers Identify Novel Genes That May Drive Rare, Aggressive Form of Uterine Cancer
Serous endometrial tumors account for some of the most difficult to treat cancers of the uterine lining. Researchers have identified several genes that are linked to one of the most lethal forms of uterine cancer, serous endometrial cancer. The researchers describe how three of the genes found in the study are frequently altered in the disease, suggesting that the genes drive the development of tumors. The findings appear in the Oct. 28, 2012, advance online issue of Nature Genetics. The team was led by researchers from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Study Maps Human Metabolism in Health and Disease
Scientists have produced an instruction manual for the human genome that provides a framework to better understand the relationship between an individual's genetic make-up and their lifestyle. The international team of researchers, say their study - published in Nature Biotechnology - provides the best model yet to explain why individuals react differently to environmental factors such as diet or medication.
Study Provides New Clues to How Flu Virus Spreads
People may more likely be exposed to the flu through airborne virus than previously thought, according to new research from the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health. The study also found that when flu patients wear a surgical mask, the release of virus in even the smallest airborne droplets can be significantly reduced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons with influenza wear surgical masks to prevent transmission to susceptible individuals. Yet, this recommendation has been supported so far by only one study of mask impact on the containment of large droplet spray during influenza infection. Maryland's study is the first to provide data showing that using a surgical mask can reduce the release of even the smallest droplets containing infectious virus.
Gut Bacteria Help Regulate Blood Pressure
In a new study, US scientists suggest gut bacteria form part of a complex system that maintains the body's blood pressure. They have discovered a specialized odor-sensing receptor normally present in the nose can also be found in blood vessels throughout the body. In the gut, the receptor reacts to small molecules generated by bacteria by raising blood pressure. The study may aid understanding of how antibiotics, probiotics, and changes in diet affect blood pressure. The team, led by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and Yale University, write about their work, which they conducted in mice and lab cultures, in the 11 February online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
ACC: HPS2-THRIVE May Signal the End for Niacin
Results from a landmark study of specially formulated niacin in 25,673 high-risk patients appears to have extinguished any clinical role for niacin to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in these patients, researchers said. Compared to treatment with simvastatin or simvastatin/ezetimibe (Vytorin), the relative risk of myopathy was more than four times higher for patients treated with Tredaptive (extended-release niacin plus laropriprant, an anti-flushing agent), Jane Armitage, FFPH, FRCP, from the University of Oxford in England, reported at the opening session of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) meeting.
Mice Get Human Brain Cells and Get Smarter, Too
Researchers who transplanted human brain cells into newborn mice said the rodents grew up to be smarter than their normal littermates, learning how to associate a tone with an electric shock more quickly and finding escape hatches faster. The experiments are aimed at making models to study human brain diseases such as Huntington’s and schizophrenia, as well as nerve diseases such as multiple sclerosis. But, the team at, the University of Rochester say their findings also suggest that these brain cells, called glial cells, may very well be one of the important factors that make humans different from other animals. “Human cognitive evolution might be the product of glial evolution,” said Dr. Steven Goldman.
Bees Get Memory Boost When Buzzed up on Caffeine
Honeybees, like tired office employees, like their caffeine, suggests a new study finding that bees are more likely to remember plants containing the java ingredient. Caffeine occurs naturally in the nectar of coffee and citrus flowers. Bees that fed on caffeinated nectar were three times more likely to remember a flower's scent than bees fed sugar alone. The findings, detailed in the journal Science, show how plants can manipulate animals' memories to improve their odds of pollination. "Remembering floral traits is difficult for bees to perform at a fast pace as they fly from flower to flower, and we have found that caffeine helps the bee remember where the flowers are," study leader Geraldine Wright, a neuroethologist at Newcastle University, UK, said in a statement. "Caffeine in nectar is likely to improve the bee's foraging prowess while providing the plant with a more faithful pollinator," Wright added.
Bee Venom Could Be Key to Killing HIV, say Scientists
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis believe they've uncovered a vital step in developing a vaginal gel that may prevent the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS. Nanoparticles carrying a toxin found in bee venom can destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), while leaving surrounding cells unharmed. Their hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use the gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection. Nanoparticles carrying melittin, the toxin in bee venom, fuse with HIV and destroy its protective cover. Meanwhile, molecular bumpers prevent the nanoparticles from harming the body's normal cells. Melittin pokes holes in the protective envelope that surrounds HIV, and other viruses, and can cause a lot of damage in large amounts.
Stem Cell Survival Could Help Treat Bones
Helping certain stem cells survive transplantation and aging could pave the way to speeding up the repair of broken bones and battling diseases such as osteoporosis, say researchers at Georgia Regents University. Unlike conventional bone marrow transplants that focus on hematopoietic stem cells, which produce red and white blood cells, transplants of mesenchymal stem cells, which can produce bone-building cells, don’t fare well, said Dr. David Hill, a research physiologist at GRU and Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. He and a group of researchers at GRU were looking at a cell signal called stromal derived factor-1, or SDF-1, that seems to be important in stem cell survival.
Analysis: Antibiotic Apocalypse
A terrible future could be on the horizon, a future which rips one of the greatest tools of medicine out of the hands of doctors. A simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life. Luck will play a bigger role in your future than any doctor could. The most basic operations - getting an appendix removed or a hip replacement - could become deadly. Cancer treatments and organ transplants could kill you. Childbirth could once again become a deadly moment in a woman's life.
It's a future without antibiotics.
This might read like the plot of science fiction novel - but there is genuine fear that the world is heading into a post-antibiotic era. The World Health Organization has warned that "many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, could kill unabated". The US Centers of Disease Control has pointed to the emergence of "nightmare bacteria". And the chief medical officer for England Prof Dame Sally Davies has evoked parallels with the "apocalypse".
10 Strategies to Improve Patient Safety
Hospitals should immediately adopt 10 strategies to improve patient safety, according to a research group headed by RAND Corp.
- Preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists to prevent operative and postoperative events
- Bundles that include checklists to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections
- Interventions to reduce urinary catheter use, including catheter reminders, stop orders and nurse-initiated removal protocols
- Bundles to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia including head-of-bed elevation, sedation vacations, oral care and subglottic suctioning endotracheal tubes
- Hand hygiene
- A do-not-use list for hazardous abbreviations
- Multicomponent interventions to reduce pressure ulcers
- Barrier precautions to prevent healthcare-associated infections
- Use of real-time ultrasonography for placing central lines
- Interventions to improve prophylaxis for venous thromboembolisms
Tips to Prevent Medical Errors, Get Better Care, When You or a Loved 1 Are in the Hospital
A stay in the hospital can be stressful, whether it’s an emergency visit, a birth of a child or a planned surgery. But there are a number of things patients and their relatives or friends can do in order to make stays in the hospital more comfortable.
- ASK QUESTIONS
- SPILL YOUR GUTS
- BRING A FRIEND
Primary Care Time Squeeze Explains Errors in Diagnosis
Innovative research on diagnostic mistakes suggests that most misdiagnoses that occur in primary care practice are related to basic elements of the office visit. A new study illustrates how time constraints make it harder for physicians to solve the medical mysteries that confront them. There was no single cause of diagnostic errors found in the primary care clinics examined, said the study published online Feb. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine, formerly Archives of Internal Medicine. Rather, many of the missed diagnoses involved several contributing factors.
Pregnancy Rhesus Disease Errors too Common
Some pregnant women are being denied a routine treatment to protect their unborn child, say investigators. A simple injection can prevent a life-threatening condition known as rhesus disease, which occurs if the mother and her baby have incompatible blood groups. All pregnant women should be screened and any found to have rhesus-negative blood should be offered the anti-D jab. A UK-wide audit of NHS hospitals shows this is not happening.
Hospital C-Section Rates Vary Tenfold
A new study from the University of Minnesota found that the rate of cesarean births varies from 7 percent to 70 percent at hospitals across the country. The Health Affairs study is the largest to date suggesting C-sections, in some cases, are being chosen over traditional birth and inflating healthcare costs.
Colonoscopies Still Common in Older Patients
Another study has found that many older patients continue to undergo colonoscopies that probably pose more risk than benefit -- although the patients themselves may be responsible, researchers said. Medicare data from the state of Texas indicated that nearly a quarter of screening colonoscopies in patients 70 and older were "potentially inappropriate" on the basis of patient age and timing since a previous negative screening, according to Kristin M. Sheffield, PhD, of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues. Nearly one in five were deemed probably inappropriate in their analysis.
Firearm Deaths Lower Where Gun Laws Strong
States with more intensive regulation of gun ownership, sales, and storage tended to have lower rates of gun-related fatalities, researchers said. With state-level gun laws from 2007 to 2010 rated on a "legislative strength" scale, states in the top quartile had gun-related fatality rates more than 40% lower than states in the bottom quartile (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.58, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.92), according to Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH, of Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues. The lower rates applied both to homicides and suicides, they reported online in JAMA Internal Medicine.
EHR User Satisfaction Declines in Meaningful-Use Era
As more and more physicians adopt electronic health record (EHR) systems, they like them less and less, according to a new survey from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and a group that it cofounded to promote the technology. A likely reason for the greater discontent, say experts, is that software vendors have made EHR programs more click-intensive by adding features to help physicians meet federal "meaningful use" requirements and earn a bonus.
Other survey findings suggest clinicians are banging computer screens in frustration:
- The percentage of clinicians complaining about EHRs being hard to use rose from 23% to 37%.
- The percentage of users who had not returned to their pre-EHR levels of productivity rose from 20% to 32%.
- The percentage of users who were very dissatisfied with the ability of their system to improve care increased 10%, and the percentage of those who were very satisfied in this regard decreased by 6%.
- Thirty-nine percent of users said they would not recommend their EHR to a colleague, up from 24% in 2010.
If Practices Don't Change, EHRs Lose Money
The average physician lost nearly $44,000 over 5 years implementing an electronic health record system, a large pilot study found, but the technology itself was just part of the reason. Just 27% of practices achieved a positive 5-year return on investment -- a number that would rise to 41% with the addition of federal incentives to use EHRs, the study in the March issue of Health Affairs stated. But the vast majority of practices lost money because they failed to make operational changes to realize the benefits of EHRs such as ditching paper medical records after adoption, Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues wrote.
Clinton, Topol Preach the Importance of Evolution in Healthcare
For all of their differences, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and cardiologist Eric Topol--the West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.--delivered a similar message in their respective keynote addresses at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in New Orleans. The status quo won't cut it in healthcare anymore. Clinton talked about the great potential for IT to fix healthcare, not only on a clinical level, but at a foundational level, as well.
Austrian Blood Service Approved for Clinical HLA Typing Using 454 Sequencing
Almost five years after first exploring next-gen sequencing for clinical HLA testing, the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service of Upper Austria has won accreditation for an HLA typing method using Roche's 454 GS Junior, and is the first lab to begin routinely using the technology to test clinical samples for that application. Collaborating with Roche, the team spent several years working to automate pre-sequencing steps and optimize a bioinformatics strategy that would make the 454 method both accurate and cost-effective enough to replace Sanger sequencing, the blood service's medical director, Christian Gabriel, told Clinical Sequencing News.
China's Proteomics Boom Continues, Though Not Immune From Global Life Sciences Slowdown
Proteomics research continues to be a booming business in China, with the market over the last few years having grown at around 30 percent to 35 percent annually, according to estimates from biotech consulting firm JZMed. This comes as little surprise, particularly given the role China has played in recent years in driving sales growth for the world's life sciences firms, including major mass spectrometry vendors.
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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