The best of healthcare news, week of 11/30/15

The future of healthcare, according to one cardiologist

In the future, smart phones might help prevent heart attacks and strokes. That's according to Eric Topol, MD, a cardiologist and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, who wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal. Topol predicts that patients will use their smart phones to provide doctors with continuous data on themselves, as opposed to waiting for office visits--a practice that would provide for earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Doctor strikes don't increase patient deaths

In wealthy countries, patient mortality doesn't suffer because of work stoppages by physicians, according to a new study published in The BMJ. Mortality rates even fell during  some strikes. Researchers theorized that patient mortality didn't increase during strikes because hospitals cancelled elective surgeries and continued to offer emergency care, among other reasons. They also noted that many doctors continued to work during strikes, and theorized that those who worked were better rested, enabling them to provide better care.

Age a big determinant of stroke rates in adults with ACHD

Patients with adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) face a substantially higher risk of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes than the general population, according to a retrospective study.  "Compared with the general population, patients with ACHD who were younger than 55 years old had a 9 to 12 times higher rate of ischemic stroke, and a 5 to 6 times higher rate of hemorrhagic stroke," the study found. "Patients with ACHD who were 55 to 64 years old had a 2 to 4 times higher rate of ischemic strokes." Heart failure, diabetes and recent MI were the biggest predictors of ischemic stroke. 

One-third of healthcare organizations leave records vulnerable to cyberattacks

Despite the prevalence of hacking, many hospitals haven't implemented strong web security programs, according to a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics and Akamai, a content delivery network. More than 39 percent of hospitals in the survey reported that they don't have web application firewalls in place. And 35 percent of healthcare organizations are "vulnerable to a type of  cyberattack that is increasing in frequency and size across all industries," the survey said.

Paper demonstrates efficacy of repeat BAVs in high-risk population

Patients deemed to be at too high a risk for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) can benefit from balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV), according to a new study. "For patients in whom BAV is the only structural treatment available to relieve their symptomatology, repeat BAV performance is one of the only means to maintain symptomatic control in an otherwise very high-risk patient population," the study's authors note.

Posted by 12/02/2015 Categories: healthcare reform HIPAA hospital management