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The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: Week of 2/15/16 

Don't miss out on this week's top stories


CMS and health insurers announce alignment and simplification of quality measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and America's Health Insurance Plans (the health plans' trade group)  announced that they have agreed on seven sets of clinical quality measuresThe standardized measures are designed to help payers and consumers shopping for high-quality care. "These measures support multi-payer alignment, for the first time, on core measures primarily for physician quality programs," according to the CMS. This work is informing the CMS’s implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Supreme Court: What will happen to healthcare cases after Justice Scalia's death?

A number of healthcare-related cases are in limbo following the death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 12. "The court is weighing a case about data sharing with potential implications for insurers and state healthcare reform efforts," Modern Healthcare reports. "Another case has the potential to reduce—or increase—the number of False Claims Act suits brought against healthcare providers and other companies." Also before the court is a case involving the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. 

CMS anticipates giving out $7.7 billion in ACA reinsurance payouts

Healthcare insurance companies could receive as much as $7.7 billion as part of the Affordable Care Act's reinsurance program. Reflecting data from the 2015 benefit year, the payouts are to be issued this year. "The Affordable Care Act created the temporary, three-year reinsurance program to protect insurers during the early years of the new individual marketplaces," according to Modern Healthcare"Insurers pay into the reinsurance pool, and those funds are then paid out to health plans that had members with extremely high medical claims." 

Still stalled: Federal healthcare rule that ties Medicare, Medicaid payments to disaster-preparedness plans

A proposed federal rule that would require healthcare facilities and hospitals to create emergency-preparedness plans in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding is stalled in the Office of Management and Budget, undergoing a legally required review. It would affect more than 68,000 providers, according to a New York Times news analysis."Industry groups have been critical of the time and expense they said would be involved in steps such as test backup power generators more frequently and for longer periods, or to pay staff overtime during drills," according to FierceHealthcare.com.

Harvard researchers say PCI readmission metric could be model

A model for improving the quality and value of cardiology care may be found in a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR), according to Harvard researchers. The program evaluated and reported risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rates after PCI. "The researchers noted that preventing readmissions could improve the quality of care and reduce costs for cardiology patients," according to CardiovascularBusiness.com.

 

The Best of HealthIT News: Week of 2/8/16  

Population health, Obamacare, and cost containment

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the healthIT community? Let us help keep you up to date on the stories you won't want to miss.

Companies Form New Alliance to Target Healthcare Costs

Hoping to hold down the cost of healthcare benefits, 20 large companies—including American Express, Macy’s  and Verizon—have come together to use their collective data and market power. Members of the new alliance will share data about employee healthcare spending and outcomes, possibly using the data to change how they contract for care. "Some members say they could even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or try to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers," Yahoo news reports.

Federal Insurance Marketplace Signs Up Millions of New Obamacare Users

The Obama administration reports that approximately 12.7 million new patients signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or automatically renewed their policies during Obamacare's third annual open enrollment season. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the New York Times that the signups show that “marketplace coverage is a product people want and need.” Most of the plan selections were for people in the 38 states—more than 9.6 million—who used the federal website, HealthCare.gov, the Times reported. The other 3.1 million people were enrolled in states that run their own marketplaces.

Healthcare Economics: Court Allows Some Hospitals to Save Money by Classifying Themselves as Both Rural and Urban

While an earlier Health and Human Services (HHS) rule had barred both urban and rural classifications at once, a new federal appeals court ruling removed the barrier for dual hospital classification. The recent court decision applies only to hospitals within the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but some hope that—combined with an earlier similar decision in a different circuit—the 2nd Circuit Court's ruling will inspire HHS to change the regulation across the country. "The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services allows hospitals to classify themselves as rural (which providers typically leverage for discounts on drug purchases) while also classifying themselves as urban, (an important factor to attract qualified clinicians)," according to Reuters. 

Population Health: Hospital-based Wellness Centers Are Changing the Healthcare Model

Wellness centers housed in hospitals are helping communities prioritize preventive care and management of chronic conditions. The centers are part of the population health management model that focuses on preventing illnesses rather than simply treating them when and if they occur. The idea is to get patients to seek treatment before their conditions worsen, thus easing the burden on emergency rooms and acute care centers—and saving money.

Cost Control: Surgical Safety Checklists Can Save Lives and Reduce Hospital Stays

Surgical safety checklists—if implemented correctly—can save time, lives, and money. After the checklists were implemented, one study found, the average length of a hospital stay dropped from 10.4 days to 9.6 days. In addition, the checklists led to a 27 percent drop in the risk of death following surgery. Proper and consistent implementation is critical, however, for the checklists to work.

The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 2/1/16 

Trending topics in HealthIT

Leave the researching to us! LUMEDX surveys the top healthcare and health IT stories of the week.

Healthcare economics: Basing healthcare decisions on Medicare data might not be best practice

A recent study found that the correlation between total spending per Medicare beneficiary and total spending per privately insured beneficiary was 0.14 in 2011, while the correlation for inpatient spending was 0.267. “What that suggests is that policy for Medicare doesn’t necessarily make better policy for the privately insured,” one researcher told Health Exec.

Reducing readmissions among minorities: 7 population health strategies

A new guide from Medicare gives hospitals methods for addressing ethnic and racial healthcare disparities in readmissions. The guide comes amid increasing concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes, and frustration about federal penalties that some say unfairly punish providers in high-risk communities. 

Sharing of medical-claim data would be allowed under proposed #CMS rule

"Some medical data miners may soon be allowed to share and sell Medicare and private-sector medical-claims data, as well as analyses of that data, under proposed regulations the CMS issued," Modern Healthcare reports. "Quality improvement organizations and other 'qualified entities' would be granted permission to perform data analytics work and share it with, or sell it, to others, under an 86-page proposed rule that carries out a provision of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015" (#MACRA). 

Federal gender pay equity rule: What will it mean for healthcare industry?

Nearly 80 percent of hospital employees are women. How might they be affected by President Obama's recent announcement that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will begin requiring companies that employ 100 or more people to report wage information that includes gender, race, and ethnicity?

The price of healthcare miscommunication: $1.7B and nearly 2,000 lives

New research shows that healthcare miscommunication has cost nearly 2,000 lives, and was a contributing  factor in 7,149 cases (30 percent) of 23,000 medical malpractice claims filed between 2009 and 2013. Communication failures were also to blame for 37 percent of all high-severity injury cases.

Physical fitness can decrease mortality risk following first heart attack

Being physically fit may not only help to reduce the risk of heart attacks, but may also decrease the risk of mortality following a first heart attack, according to a new study. The study used multivariable logistic regression models to assess how exercise affected the risk of mortality at 28, 90, and 365 days after a heart attack.

 

The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 1/4/16 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the cardiology and healthIT communities? Let us help keep you up to date on the stories you won't want to miss.

2016 may bring slower patient growth, higher wages, more expensive drugs

Late 2015 data support health systems' anticipation that the demand surge from patients newly insured under the Affordable Care Act would fade this year. Economists with the Altarum Institute say spending acceleration from the coverage expansion may have peaked last February. 

FDA clears Biotronik's peripheral stent 

The FDA has cleared Biotronik's Astron Peripheral Self-Expanding Nitinol Stent System, a device for improving luminal diameter in patients with iliac atherosclerotic lesions. The stent system is described as a self-expanding stent loaded on an over-the-wire delivery system. 

Patients increasingly turning to mobile health apps

More than 30 percent of consumers last year said they have at least one health app on their smartphones, and 60 percent are willing to have a video visit with a doctor through a mobile device, according to an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. An increased use of telehealth apps is one of the predictions for 2016 from the PwC Health Research Institute.

Diagnostic errors, measuring performance among top healthcare quality issues for New Year

Zeroing in on individual doctor performance, reducing diagnostic errors, standardizing performance measures, and rethinking the patient experience may be among the top agenda items for healthcare quality and safety leaders this year. There could also be a greater focus on individual doctor performance as it relates to value-based payment and quality reporting.

Family satisfaction increases when ICUs relax their visiting hours

A survey published in the American Journal of Critical Care shows patients benefit when families visit throughout the day and night. "These findings support open and patient-centered visitation guidelines in critical care settings," the researchers wrote.
 

The Best of Cardio, Health IT News: Week of 12/14/15 

Telehealth trend continues its upward climb

2015 sees digital health funding top $4.3 million

More than $4.3 million flowed into the digital health market this year, with consumer engagement tools, personal health tools, and tracking categories by themselves making up 23 percent of overall funding. Consumerization in healthcare is also driving mergers or funding deals, according to a report by Rock Health.

Doctor shortages, readmission fines drive up use of remote patient monitoring systems

A new report from Frost & Sullivan predicts that the remote patient monitoring market will grow by 13.2 percent during the next five years. The market growth is thought to be caused in part by fear of readmissions penalties, an anticipated doctor shortage, and an increase of chronic health conditions.

Kaiser betting telehealth is the wave of the future

Kaiser Permanente Ventures has invested $10 million in Vidyo, a visual communications company that integrates hi-def video communications into workflow and patients’ electronic health records. Forbes reports that Vidyo is already used by clinicians at Mercy, American Well, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and Philips, among others.

Adequate nursing staff increases survival rates for in-hospital cardiac arrest patients 

A new report finds that assigning fewer patients to each nurse and improving working conditions for those nurses can increase the number of in-hospital cardiac arrest patients who live to return home. Outcomes are better “when nurses have a more reasonable workload and work in good hospital work environments," the report’s authors said in an announcement.

STS issues new CABG guidelines

Physicians who perform coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) should use arteries from the chest and forearm instead of veins from the leg in certain patients, according to guidelines from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). The STS members who created the guidelines “found that targeting the left internal thoracic artery during CABG procedures was associated with improved survival, graft patency and freedom from cardiac events compared with saphenous vein grafts,” according to cardiovascularbusiness.com.

 

Hospitals drowning in paperwork 

Did you know that in many hospitals, every two hours of patient care causes one hour of paperwork? It's even worse for emergency rooms, which have a 1-to-1 ratio of paperwork to patient care. Those are just two of the findings in "Patients or Paperwork? The Regulatory Burden Facing America’s Hospitals." The report, by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), was commissioned by the AHA. 

For more healthcare facts, click here

And for the full report, click here

Best of Cardio and Healthcare News: Week of 11/23/15  

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the cardiology community? We've captured the top industry stories from this week that you won't want to miss.

After Obamacare implementation, public still rates healthcare good or excellent

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) hasn’t changed how Americans rate their healthcare, according to a new Gallup poll. More than half of the respondents rated their healthcare good or excellent, but less than 24 percent were satisfied with healthcare costs. Healthcare coverage was rated positively by only 33 percent.

Diagnostic ECG waveform reading in Carestream Vue Motion viewer cleared by FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given clearance for diagnostic reading of electrocardiogram (ECG) waveforms on mobile tablets and desktop displays using Carestream’s Vue Motion universal viewer. The new capability would allow physicians to give faster responses to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and other serious heart conditions. It would also allow physicians to simultaneously view current and prior ECGs using tools that include pan, zoom, line measurement, caliper, and gain and speed adjustments.

Cardiac outcomes improved after using intravascular ultrasound in stent implantation

After one year, patients with long coronary lesions who were implanted with an intravascular ultrasound-guided everolimus-eluting stent had a significantly lower rate of major adverse cardiac events compared with those implanted with an angiography-guided stent, according to cardiovascularbusiness.com. “Patients were implanted with an everolimus-eluting stent (Xience prime, Abbott Vascular) for long coronary lesions and randomized to receive intravascular ultrasound-guided or angiographic-guided stent implantation immediately after their pre-PCI angiogram,” the site reports. One year later, 2.9 percent of patients undergoing intravascular ultrasound-guided stent implantation suffered major adverse cardiac events, compared with 5.8 percent of patients in the angiographic-guided group.

Cardio-diagnostic processes improve with smart ECG stethoscope attachment

Rijuven’s CardioSleeve for Pediatrics, the first device that adds electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities to transform stethoscopes into smart, mobile-connected devices, has been cleared by the FDA. The device, which can be attached to any stethoscope, can analyze for arrhythmia or murmur and identify heart failure. 

Number and severity of migraine headaches reduced by dual antiplatelet therapy following transcatheter ASD closure

The use of dual antiplatelet therapy consisting of clopidogrel and aspirin–as opposed to aspirin alone–led to fewer and less severe migraine headaches for patients undergoing transcatheter atrial septal defect (ASD) closure. That’s according to a randomized, double-blind trial. About 15 percent of patients had new-onset migraine episodes following transcatheter ASD closure, previous studies found. 

Remote monitoring system for patients with implantable pacemakers gets FDA approval

The first app-based remote monitoring system in the U.S. for patients with implantable pacemakers–called MyCareLink Smart Monitor–was approved by the FDA on Nov. 17. The system, manufactured by Medtronic, has a mobile app that is available for free on Android and Apple platforms. It also features a handheld portable device reader.

Best of Health IT News: Week of 08/06/15  

Did you have a chance to check out the latest healthcare IT news stories around the Web? We’ve captured the top industry news stories from this week that you won’t want to miss.

Future of Cardiology Includes Your Heart in 3D

Dassault Systemes, a French company that specializes in 3D software, has released The Living Heart Project - a 3D simulation of the human heart. With the technology, doctors can use 3D glasses to tour a patient's heart and see its muscle movements, electrical impulses, and more. 

What Are the 3 Critical Keys to Healthcare Big Data Analytics? 

A recent industry poll by Stoltenberg Consulting reveals that half of healthcare providers are confused by big data, and 6% are too intimidated to even consider implementing a healthcare big data analytics program. Health IT Analytics discusses three critical steps that hospitals need to take when developing an analytics program. 

FDA to Develop Open-Source Precision Medicine Software Platform 

According to iHealthBeat, the FDA has announced plans to develop an open source software platform that would share genomic information. The software would be a part of President Obama's precision medicine initiative. 

Telehealth Underused in Coordinating Care for Children with Special Needs

FierceHealthIT reports on a new report from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. According to the report, telehealth should be more frequently used in order to bring services to children with special healthcare needs - especially when providers are scarce or poorly distributed. 

Best of Health IT News: Week of 07/23/15 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest healthcare IT news stories around the Web? We’ve captured the top industry news stories from this week that you won’t want to miss.

CMS Updates Hospital Star Ratings, More than 500 Earn Top Marks 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published its latest patient satisfaction survey results, which shows that the number of hospitals earning a 5-star rating has more than doubled. 548 hospitals earned a 5-star rating for the reporting period between October 2013 and September 2014. 

Health Specialists Call for $2 Billion Global Fund for Vaccines 

Several global health experts have written a paper calling for the creation of a $2 billion global fund to support vaccine development. The fund would come from governments, foundations and the pharmaceutical industry, and would be used to develop new shots against high priority diseases such as Ebola, MERS and the West Nile virus. 

AMA Docs Fed Up with EHR Woes 

At a recent American Medical Association Town Hall, physicians expressed their frustrations over EHR challenges and experiences. According to AMA President Steven J. Stack, MD: "They have so much potential to improve healthcare, improve quality, improve our efficiency, improve patient engagement, and yet that's not the current state of reality." 

This Week in Cardiology: 07/17/15 

The past few weeks have been filled with exciting news for the cardiology community. Here are some of the top stories we've collected from around the Web: 

67% of Adults Should Do This to Avoid Heart Attacks 

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA), the pool of candidates that can be treated with statins can be expanded to 67% of all U.S. adults between the ages of 40-75. It is projected that this could prevent an additional 161,560 cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, and others. 

The Lowdown on TAVR: As Risk Drops, Expectations Rise 

Cardiovascular Business reports on the five-year results from the PARTNER I trial (Placement of Aortic Transcatheter Valves Trial), which show that 5 years after implant, "valves showed no signs of deterioration with durable hemodynamics." With risk down, GlobalData now projects that the compound annual growth rate for TAVR valves will increase 19.7% between 2013 and 2020. 

New "Once-in-a-Decade" Novartis Drug for Heart Failure Approved by FDA 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new heart failure drug by Novartis, which has been met with considerable support from the medical community. The drug - Entresto - is the first in a new class of drugs called angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors that is used to treat high blood pressure and congestive heart failure while enhancing neurohormonal systems. 

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