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In The News

MEDICAL ECONOMICS
Is Medicare a money maker for your hospital?
A study looking at the profitability of Medicare patients for hospitals finds that hospitals with strong market share and higher private-payer reimbursement lose the most money in caring for Medicare patients. The study, published online this month by Health Affairs, found that hospitals that don't have higher payments from private insurers face increased financial pressure, leading to cost restraints and less of a hit on Medicare patients. Hospitals with the largest Medicare losses tend to have the highest overall profitability.

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Posted on 03-22-2010 at 11:53 AM


MOBILE COMPUTING
80% of MDs plan to use smart phones by 2012
Nearly 80% of physicians plan to be using smart phones by 2012. According to an analysis of survey data from Medical Marketing & Media, a trade journal, the market for health care related apps is exploding, with about 1,500 apps for health care professionals in Apple’s app store alone. Of those apps, about half are for medical reference, about 9% are medical calculators, and about 7% pertain to EMRs.

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Posted on 03-22-2010 at 11:53 AM


BLOOD INFECTIONS
Septicemia costs lead hospital spending increases
What hospitals paid to treat septicemia rose close to 12% every year from 1997 to 2007, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In terms of dollars, hospitals spent $1.4 billion in 2007 in treatment costs, a figure that soared to $12.3 billion in 2007. Other major increases in hospital treatment costs were incurred for osteoarthritis, back problems, acute kidney failure and respiratory failure.

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Posted on 03-19-2010 at 11:18 AM


PPIs
PPIs with drug-eluting stents may raise mortality
Patients who undergo PCI with drug-eluting stents and receive a prescription for clopidogrel at discharge show a greater incidence of a major cardiac event and overall mortality a year later. In a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers hypothesize that because the body metabolizes clopidogrel and PPIs in the same way, patients taking both drugs may have greater levels of platelet reactivity.

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Posted on 03-19-2010 at 11:18 AM


MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
iPhone app tracks ED wait times
A hospital system in Connecticut is now using patients' iPhones to post the wait times at the system's two EDs. The new app, the thinking goes, may help boost both patient satisfaction scores and ED throughput. The app, which updates waiting times every five minutes, may encourage patients to choose to go to one of the two hospitals where patients have less of a wait, smoothing out delays in both EDs.

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Posted on 03-19-2010 at 11:18 AM


RUNNING
Long-distance runners have more calcified plaque
If you’ve already blown your New Year’s resolution to get in shape, the following news may make you feel better. While a study found that long-distance runners have less body fat, better lipid profiles and better heart rates, it found that the most hardcore runners also tend to have more calcified plaque. Researchers, who examined runners who had run at least one marathon a year since 1985, hypothesized that because long-distance runners are in a constant state of inflammation, they may actually be producing more plaque.

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Posted on 03-19-2010 at 11:17 AM


PATIENT SATISFACTION
Can higher satisfaction rates reduce mortality?
A new study is making the case that increasing patient satisfaction might actually decrease mortality rates in patients who have experienced a heart attack. According to a study in Circulation, patient satisfaction scores rose when performance measures for AMI were followed. Higher satisfaction scores were also associated with lower inpatient mortality. The study found that an increase of one quartile (from the 75th to the 100th percentile, for example) in either patient satisfaction scores or adherence to guidelines led to increases in predicted survival rates.

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Posted on 03-18-2010 at 12:58 PM


MEDICAL ECONOMICS
Hospitalists spend more treating GI hemorrhage
When it comes to treating patients with GI hemorrhage, hospitalists’ outcomes are just as good as those of nonhospitalists, but a little more expensive. According to a study in the March 2010 Journal of Hospital Medicine that compared treatment by academic hospitalists and nonhospitalists, outcomes were largely similar, although patients cared for by hospitalists were more likely to receive a transfusion or be readmitted within 30 days. And while length of stay was similar for hospitalists and nonhospitalists, patients cared for by hospitalsts had a higher median cost ($7,359 vs. $6,181).

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Posted on 03-18-2010 at 12:57 PM


PATIENT COMPLIANCE
“Abandoned” prescriptions up 24% in 2009
While the total number of prescriptions written last year grew by nearly 3%, the rate of prescriptions that went unfilled rose 24% in 2009. That rate of unfilled or “abandoned” prescriptions has jumped 68% among brand-name drugs since 2006. According to a report in the trade journal Medical Marketing & Media, analysts speculate that the recession is causing many patients to tighten the purse strings, even for prescription drugs.

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Posted on 03-18-2010 at 12:56 PM


HEART FAILURE
Data paint portrait of heart disease patients
New data from the CDC show that the highest hospitalization rates for heart disease occur among blacks, and in counties located primarily in Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, Texas and Oklahoma. The report also says that a significant number of Medicare beneficiaries live in areas where hospitals don’t offer specialized cardiac treatment facilities.

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Posted on 03-17-2010 at 12:04 PM


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