viernes, 30 de mayo de 2014



Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information 
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services


May 29, 2014


View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive


FDA Worried About Unreliable Flu Tests

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that 15-minute influenza tests are all too often unreliable and inaccurate, and could lead to a public health crisis if infected patients are told they don't have the flu when, in fact, they do. To protect against another pandemic like the 2009 swine flu, the FDA's Microbiology Devices Panel announced that it is considering tightening the controls on these rapid influenza test kits to make sure they will produce accurate results. The FDA proposed tightening rules following reports that the rapid influenza detection tests were providing doctors with inaccurate readings, particularly in 2009, when the swine flu broke out. "The recent 2009 flu pandemic has emphasized the poor performance of the rapid influenza detection tests (RIDTs) as they were widely used by clinicians in point of care settings," the FDA wrote in theFederal Register. "At that time, FDA received informal communications from CDC and public health laboratories reporting the poor performance of these devices with anecdotal reports of many misdiagnosed cases of influenza, some with serious or fatal outcomes."


Microbiology Devices; Reclassification of Influenza Virus Antigen Detection Test Systems Intended for Use Directly With Clinical Specimens

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to reclassify antigen based rapid influenza virus antigen detection test systems intended to detect influenza virus directly from clinical specimens that are currently regulated as influenza virus serological reagents from class I into class II with special controls and into a new device classification regulation. Submit either electronic or written comments on the proposed order by August 20, 2014. 


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Urges HBV Screening for High-Risk People

People at high risk for hepatitis B (HBV) should be screened for the virus, according to a new recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The recommendation, appearing in Annals of Internal Medicine, is a change from the task force's 2004 position that the potential harms of screening outweighed any benefits. But evidence accumulated since then suggests that -- at least for people at high risk -- the net benefit of screening is moderate, according to task force chair Michael LeFevre, MD, of the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, and colleagues. The recommendation brings the USPSTF into line with several other groups, including the CDC, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and the Institute of Medicine, LeFevre and colleagues noted.


Preventing Misdiagnoses: How Laboratorians Can Help Reduce Diagnostic Errors

About 12 million adults in the United States are misdiagnosed when treated in outpatient facilities every year, and about half of these errors could be potentially harmful, according to a BMJ Quality & Safety study published in April. Laboratorians can play a crucial role in reducing these types of diagnostic errors, experts say. "Follow-up of abnormal test results was one of the factors that led to diagnostic errors in our study, and this is just one area where lab professionals could work with other stakeholders on improvement strategies," says lead study author Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, chief of the health policy, quality and informatics program at the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, based at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.


Understanding the Cost of Quality in the Laboratory

The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) has published a new report —Understanding the Cost of Quality in the Laboratory (QMS20-R)—which focuses on understanding and managing the different types of quality costs that affect the laboratory. QMS20-R presents an initial approach laboratories can take to identify quality costs and remove unnecessary expense from laboratory processes. “This report takes important information that has been published in business and industry literature for several years, but takes the laboratory approach to that information,” notes QMS20-R Chairholder Lucia M Berte, MT(ASCP)SBB, DLM; CQA(ASQ)CMQ/OE. “The cost of quality is important not only in the broad picture of health care, but also in the laboratory environment now, when costs are being squeezed and laboratories are always being asked to do more with less.”


Cytopathology at the Tipping Point

A major factor presaging the future in cytopathology practice is the closure of cytotechnology schools. With the economic crisis and amid high unemployment rates and tightened budget belts, universities and hospitals that once sponsored cytotechnology and other laboratory science programs to provide a continuing supply of trained laboratorians have taken a second look at the cost of training and decided to cease investment in laboratory allied health education. Cytotechnology programs are often small and especially vulnerable, some with fewer than three students annually. Some administrators have incorrectly deduced that since changes in cervical cancer screening algorithms and use of HPV testing have reduced the volume of Pap tests in the United States, the need for cytotechnologists is less critical. The recent FDA application for an HPV platform by Roche to be used for primary cervical cancer screening may perpetuate this myth, but there is currently no consensus recommendation to switch to HPV tests without Pap tests. Cytotechnology programs are not alone in the attrition of facilities dedicated to training laboratory personnel. Medical technology programs have seen a loss of more than 400 programs over the past three decades.


Genetic Cancer Screening Moves Beyond Single-Gene Tests

Clinicians are ordering more comprehensive gene tests to look for mutations carrying higher risks of hereditary cancer. These multi-gene panels are raising questions about the scope of information being collected as the science and the industry move toward increasingly advanced sequencing. Researchers are learning more about the different genes and variants that put a patient at risk for developing hereditary cancers such as colon cancer and breast cancer. As a result, a growing number of clinical laboratories now test for a wider range of high-risk, medium-risk, low risk and even emerging-risk genes.


Lipase Mutation May Flag Diabetes Risk

A genetic mutation that blocks production of a protein critical for lipolysis appears to have a significant impact on metabolic health, researchers found. In a study of Old Order Amish patients, a mutation in the gene that encodes for hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) was tied to dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, systemic insulin resistance, and diabetes, Coleen Damcott, PhD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues reported online first in the New England Journal of Medicine. They discovered a 19-base-pair frameshift deletion in exon 9 of LIPE in Amish with lipid abnormalities, a loss-of-function mutation that results in insufficiency of the HSL protein in heterozygous patients and complete absence of the protein in homozygous patients. Carriers of the mutation had higher serum triglycerides, more hepatic fat, worse fasting insulin levels, and lower levels of HDL cholesterol, as well as nearly a twofold increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared with noncarriers, they reported (P=0.02).


Giant Rats That Can Sniff Out TB

BBC Earth’s Extraordinary Animals series visited the social enterprise Apopo in Tanzania to see how the rats are trained, and discover what makes a rat's sense of smell so superior. A rat makes about eight sniffs a second compared with two for humans. Rats also smell in stereo, distinguishing two similar odours with one sniff. And around one in every 100 of a rat’s genes is involved with odour detection, compared with one in 1,000 humans.


Lab-on-a-Chip Rapidly Screens for Variety of Cancer Markers 

Early detection of cancer, and specifically the ability to screen for biomarkers in whole blood, may one day revolutionize oncology by focusing on stopping the disease at its initial stages even before tumors develop or symptoms show up. Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain managed to bring together a number of novel technologies to create a lab-on-a-chip device that can simultaneously screen for a variety of protein cancer markers without molecular labeling. The method relies on gold nanoparticles attached to antibodies that target specific proteins.


DNA Test Launched for Laser Eye Surgery Safety

A genetic test has been introduced that can detect both Avellino Corneal Dystrophy (ACD) and another genetic mutation, Granular Corneal Dystrophy type I (GCD1). A patient with GCD1 who undergoes vision correction surgery, such as Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis (LASIK), Laser-Assisted Sub-Epithelial Keratectomy (LASEK) or Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are at extreme risk of experiencing eventual blindness. The Avellino DNA Dual Test (Avellino Laboratory; Menlo Park, CA, USA) is able to detect the presence of the genetic mutation, allowing the patient to take precautionary steps to postpone the progression of the condition, including avoiding vision correction surgery.


Choice of Trypsin Key to Reproducibility, Accuracy in Targeted Proteomic Assays

As mass spec-based proteomics continues its progress towards the clinic, issues of assay accuracy and reproducibility have moved to the fore. This was apparent, for instance, at this year's Mass Spectrometry Applications to the Clinical Laboratory annual meeting where a number of presenters focused on such questions. Among the various parts of the mass spec workflow, the reproducibility of trypsin digestion has emerged as one of the most significant issues. And within this process, many researchers are concerned with the question of properly accounting for the differential decay of peptides during digestion.


Study Finds Massive Cost Savings in High-Tech Pathogen-Identification Method

Researchers at UNC Health Care have found that using a new method for identifying bacteria and fungi in patient specimens led to a 92 percent cost reduction in the reagents needed to run clinical microbiology tests. During the year-long study, the new technology – called MALDI-TOF MS – was also found to take much less time. In most cases, lab technologists identified a pathogen in about an hour; test results from conventional molecular methods take at least a day and often longer. Peter Gilligan, PhD, director of the Clinical Microbiology-Immunology Laboratories at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, says, “I don’t like to use the word ‘revolutionize,’ but this technology has revolutionized our lab. We can diagnose infection more efficiently and treat patients much quicker, both of which help decrease health care costs.” Gilligan, and Microbiology Fellow Anthony Tran, DrPH, presented their findings at the 2014 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston May 18. MALDI-TOF MS stands for Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight mass spectrometry. It analyzes proteins from incubated specimens and identifies the specimens by comparing them to known microorganisms in a database. The technology came into clinical microbiology use within the past five years.


FDA Approves Immucor's Blood Compatibility MDx Test

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the Immucor Precise Type Human Erythrocyte Antigen Molecular BeadChip Test for determining blood compatibility. In a statement the FDA said the test is the first molecular assay to be approved by the agency for use in transfusion medicine to help in determining blood compatibility. The assay can be used to determine donor and patient non-ABO/non-RhD red blood cell types. The FDA said that red blood cell surfaces display minor blood group antigens, as well as the major ABO blood group antigens, and that some people develop antibodies to non-ABO antigens after pregnancy or after receiving a blood transfusion. The development of these antibodies can result in red blood cell destruction if the red blood cells and the corresponding antigens are later transfused.


Mayo, Whole Biome Collaborate on Microbiome Diagnostics

The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and Whole Biome announced a collaboration to develop microbiome-targeted diagnostics. The initial focus will be on women's health, and in particular preterm labor, the most common cause of infant death and a leading cause of long-term disability in children, the partners said. San Francisco-based Whole Biome uses sample prep techniques and "specialized analytics" that integrate high-throughput and long read-length DNA sequencing data to generate microbiome profiles that provide insight into relevant changes. The partners said that unbalanced vaginal microbiomes have been associated in medical issues, including yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and preterm labor, and they plan to develop a test to enable the early indication of preterm labor.


UTHSC’s Biochemists Reduce Sickling and Progression of Sickle Cell Disease in Mice Using S1P

Biochemists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are leading a new research effort exploring the molecular mechanisms responsible for sickle cell disease (SCD), in hopes of developing treatments for the genetic disorder, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The researchers’ new study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, found that sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive lipid that regulates multicellular functions through interactions with its receptors on cell surfaces, is highly elevated in the blood of mice and humans with SCD. Having found this, they manipulated S1P and successfully reduced the sickling of red blood cells in a mouse model of the disease.


Immunocamouflage Lets Donor Blood Cells go Undetected

Chinese scientists are developing a new approach to create “universal” blood: red blood cells (RBCs) that can be transfused into any patient, regardless of the patient's or recipient's blood group. Several approaches have been investigated in the past to strip RBCs of their antigen identity, such as chemical cleavage of the antigens, disruption of antigen–antibody binding by grafted poly (ethylene glycol) molecules or ex vivo production of universal RBCs from genetically engineered hematopoitic stem cells, but each of these methods has its downfalls. Ruikang Tang and co-workers, from Zheijiang University, have used a simple method to mask the ABO group antigens by chemically modifying the RBC surface with polydopamine (PDA), a mimic of the bioadhesive produced by the mussel Mytilus edulis.


Researchers Suggest Payors and Clinicians Should Choose BRCA Labs That Behave Ethically, Make Data Available

Patients who receive genetic tests for cancer risks should be able to trust that the labs conducting their tests behave ethically, and that the genetic data these labs generate will be made publicly available, three genetics researchers said in a commentary published this month in Evidence-Based Oncology. The authors believe payors and clinicians have a responsibility to ensure that the labs they contract with will follow open data-sharing policies and select tests based on performance and price, rather than based on pressure or incentives from testing firms.


Pre-analytical Errors: Their Impact and How to Minimize Them

The process of blood testing, also known as the "Total Testing Process," begins and ends with the patient. It includes the entire process from ordering the test to interpretation of the test results by the clinician. The Total Testing Process can be subdivided into three stages: 
1. Pre-analytical: test request, patient and specimen identification, specimen collection, transport, accessioning and processing
2. Analytical: specimen testing
3. Post-analytical: reporting test results, interpretation, follow up, storage, retesting if needed.
Although errors can arise at any of the three stages, studies show that the pre-analytical phase accounts for 46% to 68.2% of errors observed during the Total Testing Process. The numbers don't lie: it's a significant problem.

Source: Web Site Icon


Medical Test Mistakes Pose Serious Risk

Rosemarie Noto's daughter suffered for 1 1/2 years because of a medical testing error that could have been prevented. A Johns Hopkins study found that her experience is not unusual; diagnostic errors such as these cause billions in malpractice claim payouts and pose a significant patient safety risk in the United States. "This is more evidence that diagnostic errors could easily be the biggest patient safety and medical malpractice problem in the United States," says Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published online in BMJ Quality and Safety. "There's a lot more harm associated with diagnostic errors than we imagined."


Every Lab is a Regulated Lab

There’s an interesting misconception in the research arena that “regulated” labs are only those labs that manufacture drugs and must follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) because they are required by law to do so. But cGMP is only one of hundreds of regulations; there are numerous others with which research laboratories of all types must comply. There are regulations that require labs to report toxic and hazardous chemicals on site. There are regulations that require tracking and reporting certain chemicals any time a site exceeds a maximum allowable quantity (MAQ). There are safety regulations such as the EPA’s “Right-to-Know” requirement. There are regulations from the EPA, FDA, DEA, DHS, CDC, DOT, OSHA and more. In a sense, all laboratories are regulated to some extent because all laboratories handle chemicals that are subject to regulatory oversight. 


NIH Study Links High Cholesterol Levels to Lower Fertility

High cholesterol levels may impair fertility in couples trying to achieve a pregnancy, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the University at Buffalo (New York), and Emory University in Atlanta. Couples in which each partner had a high cholesterol level took the longest time to reach pregnancy. Moreover, couples in which the woman had a high cholesterol level and the man did not also took longer to achieve pregnancy when compared to couples in which both partners had cholesterol levels in the acceptable range. The study findings were published online in JCEMThe Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, a publication of the Endocrine Society.

Panel of 11 Genes Predicts Alcoholism Risk, Gives New Insights Into Biology of the Disease
A group of 11 genes can successfully predict whether an individual is at increased risk of alcoholism, a research team from the United States and Germany reported. The panel of genes is highly accurate in its differentiation of alcoholics from controls at a population level, but less so at an individual level, likely due to the major and variable role environment plays in the development of the disease in each individual, the authors noted. Nevertheless, such a test could identify people who are at higher or lower risk for the disease. "This powerful panel of just 11 genes successfully identified who has problems with alcohol abuse and who does not in tests in three patient populations on two continents, in two ethnicities, and in both genders," says Alexander B. Niculescu III, MD, PhD, principal investigator.


Speeding Maturation of Induced Neurons Yields Better Disease Models

Although skin cells may be reprogrammed to form other cell types such as nerve cells, the “adult” status of the cell you start with may be lost along the way, perhaps irretrievably. That is, a reprogrammed cell may linger in an immature state. Instead of functioning like a fully developed cell, it may look as though it came from an embryo. Such a cell would be of little use in modeling the diseases that afflict adults. 


Mouse Study Raises Possibility of New Treatment for Diabetes

The discovery of a molecule that can help insulin last longer in the body and work more efficiently at lowering blood sugar could lead to a new treatment for diabetes, a new study in mice suggests. Giving the animals the molecule lowered levels of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), which then raised insulin levels, the Harvard University researchers report. Much more investigation is needed, but the compound may one day help people with diabetes control their disease more effectively, according to the authors of the study published May 21 in the journal Nature.


New Vaccine Approach Imprisons Malaria Parasite in Blood Cells

Scientists seeking a vaccine against malaria, which kills a child every minute in Africa, have developed a promising new approach intended to imprison the disease-causing parasites inside the red blood cells they infect. The researchers said on an experimental vaccine based on this idea protected mice in five trials and will be tested on lab monkeys beginning in the next four to six weeks. Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, director of Rhode Island Hospital's Center for International Health Research, said if the monkey trials go well, a so-called Phase I clinical trial testing the vaccine in a small group of people could begin within a year and a half. Using blood samples and epidemiological data collected from hundreds of children in Tanzania, where malaria is endemic, by Drs. Patrick Duffy and Michal Fried of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the researchers pinpointed a protein, dubbed PfSEA-1, that the parasites need in order to escape from inside red blood cells they infect as they cause malaria. The researchers then found that antibodies sent by the body's immune system to take action against this protein managed to trap the parasites inside the red blood cells, blocking the progression of the disease.


E.coli, MRSA Can Linger on Airplane Surfaces for Days, Study Shows

In a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Barbaree and his Auburn University colleague, Kiril Vaglenov, decided to analyze the survival of two common types of bacteria in airplane-like conditions: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and E. coli O157:H7.  The researchers tested the duration of the two pathogens on six types of materials obtained from an unnamed major airline: an armrest, plastic tray table, metal toilet button, window shade, seat pocket cloth, and leather. They exposed the items to each pathogen, and then left them in an incubator which mimicked typical airplane conditions to see how long the pathogens could survive. Overall, MRSA survived the longest – 168 hours – on material from a seat-back pocket. E. coli O157:H7 survived longest – 96 hours – on material from an airplane armrest.


MRSA: Hospital Superbug 'Shared with pets'

Pets can harbour the hospital superbug MRSA and it can pass between pets and their owners, research suggests. Cats and dogs have the same strain of the bacterium as people, genetic tests show. MRSA may spread between animals at veterinary clinics in a similar way to hospital infections, according to scientists at Cambridge University. But they say pet owners should not worry as there is very little risk of them getting ill from their pets. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is commonly carried on the skin of healthy people and humans, where it often causes no symptoms. However, it can lead to an infection, particularly when it gets into a wound. Figures suggest about one in 100 cats and 2% to 9% of dogs in the UK are carriers of MRSA. It has also been found in horses.


Placenta Home to Diverse Bacteria That May Affect Newborn

The placenta that nourishes the fetus isn’t the sterile environment it was once thought to be, according to a study that finds the organ contains a diverse community of bacteria that affect a newborn’s health. The study of 320 placentas, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggests the varied colony of bacteria may influence the pregnancy as well. The analysis by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston also found a link between the types of bacteria and preterm birth.


How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin

For the 35 percent of American adults who do daily battle with obesity, the main causes of their condition are all too familiar: an unhealthy diet, a sedentary lifestyle and perhaps some unlucky genes. In recent years, however, researchers have become increasingly convinced that important hidden players literally lurk in human bowels: billions on billions of gut microbes. Fortunately, researchers are beginning to understand the differences between the wrong mix and a healthy one, as well as the specific factors that shape those differences.


Windshield Washer Fluid a Source of Legionnaires

A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75% of school buses tested in one district in Arizona, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. “Washer fluid spray can release potentially dangerous numbers of these bacteria into the air. These results suggest that automobiles may serve as a source of transmission for Legionella infections,” says Otto Schwake, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, who presented the research.


Over Two Thirds of Americans Harbor HPV, Genomics Study Reveals

More than two thirds of healthy US residents harbor at least 1 type of human papillomavirus (HPV), most of which are undetectable by widely used commercial screening kits, a large genetic analysis shows. However, the relevance of this is at present unclear, commented an expert not connected with the study. The study identified 109 different HPV types in tissue samples taken from 103 men and women whose tissue DNA was made available through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Microbiome Project. Only 4 individuals carried either HPV 16 or 18, considered to be among the most oncogenic HPV types and associated in particular with cervical cancer. "There are more than 170 HPV types, so it's a very heterogeneous virus, and current methods only detect about 20 to 30 of them," senior investigator Zhiheng Pei, MD, PhD, associate professor of pathology, New York University School of Medicine, in New York City, told Medscape Medical News.


Group Urges Going Metric to Head-off Dosing Mistakes

Daniel Budnitz, MD, MPH, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Medication Safety Program, said that about 3000 to 4000 children are treated in emergency departments each year as a result of medication errors by a caregiver. Poison control centers in the United States also field approximately 10 000 calls each year about dosing confusion, he said. Since 2008, the CDC has been working with a variety of stakeholders to prevent medication dosing errors through the Protect Initiative ( Web Site Icon).
The CDC recommends using only milliliters as a measure for liquid medications to avoid confusion between teaspoons and milliliters and avoiding relatively unfamiliar measures such as drams (a holdover from apothecaries). The CDC wants the dosing device with the appropriate unit of measurement included with the medication to avoid caregivers using a kitchen spoon or other implement that uses a different unit of measurement. Further, the enclosed device should only have the recommended doses labeled on it to make it even easier and safer to use.
The report’s recommendations include
  • Using milliliter (mL) as the standard measure.
  • Always using a zero before a decimal point for amounts less than 1; extra zeroes should never be added to the end of the number following the decimal point.
  • Providing a dosing device with units corresponding to the prescribed dose when a medication is dispensed.


Barcoding Still a key Tool for Safety

There is ample evidence that barcode technology for medication has had a significant impact on patient safety. But while most U.S. hospitals have adopted barcode medication administration, experts say there's big room for improvement. According to a recent study conducted at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the use of the bar-code electronic medication administration significantly reduced the rate of errors in order transcription and in medication administration as well as potential adverse drug events. The study, "Effect of Bar-Code Technology on the Safety of Medication Administration," concluded that while barcoding did not eliminate errors altogether, it remains "an important intervention to improve medication safety."


EHR Divide Is Widening Among Physicians, CDC Says

Electronic health record (EHR) systems in physician practices have gone from novelty to norm, but a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to a growing digital divide between group practices and soloists. In 2012, almost 72% of office-based physicians used some sort of EHR system compared with 34.8% in 2007, according to a survey conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). However, not all EHRs are created equal. About 40% of physicians in 2012 used software that met the requirements of what the NCHS dubs a basic system, while only 23.5% had software qualifying as fully functional — able to send a prescription to a pharmacy electronically, for example, or remind clinicians of needed screening tests. The NCHS noted that adoption of EHR technology from 2007 to 2012 generally followed these patterns — primary care more than specialist, large groups more than small groups, HMO ownership more than independent practice — regardless of whether the system was fully functional or not. In addition, the agency said that adoption skewed toward younger physicians compared with older ones, and physicians in multispecialty practices compared with single-specialty practices.
The NCHS survey results are available on the CDC Web site Adobe PDF file.


Update: CMS, ONC Ease EHR Certification Requirements for MU

Healthcare providers and the IT vendors who serve them just got a dose of welcome relief from the increasingly controversial certification pieces of meaningful use. That came in the form of a proposed rule the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT jointly circulated to “change the meaningful use timeline and the definition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT),” the agencies wrote in the rule. “It would also change the requirements for reporting clinical quality measures for 2014.”


E-prescribing Continues to Grow

More than 1 billion prescriptions were routed electronically in 2013, up from 788 million the previous year, according to Surescripts' annual National Progress Report and Safe-Rx Rankings. The nationwide health information network routed 58 percent of the eligible prescriptions, including 73 percent of those written by office-based physicians, according to an announcement. In addition, last year Surescripts delivered nearly 700 million electronic medication history records, covering two-thirds of the U.S. population, a 19 percent increase over the 2012 total.


FDA Targets Illegal Online Pharmacies in Globally Coordinated Action

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in partnership with other federal and international agencies, took action against websites that sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. The FDA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also conducted extensive examinations at U.S.-based international mail facilities, where many packages containing prescription drugs enter the U.S., and found that most of the examined packages contained illegal prescription drugs that had been ordered from online sources. The FDA provides consumers with information on how to identify an illegal pharmacy website and advice on how to find a safe online pharmacy through BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy.


Nurses Launch New Campaign to Alert Public to Dangers of Medical Technology and Erosion of Care Standards

Sweeping changes underway in the nation's health care delivery system that expose hundreds of thousands of patients to severe risk of harm are the focus of a major new national campaign by the nation's largest organization of nurses announced. An unchecked proliferation of unproven medical technology and sharp erosion of care standards are rapidly spreading through the health care system, far outside the media spotlight but frighteningly apparent to nurses and patients, says National Nurses United.  Bedside computers that diagnose and dictate treatment for patients, based on generic population trends not the health status or care needs of that individual patient, increasingly supplant the professional assessment and judgment of experienced nurses and doctors exposing patients to misdiagnosis, mistreatment, and life-threatening mistakes. Computerized electronic health records systems too often fail, leaving doctors and nurses in the dark without access to medical histories or medical orders. The Office of the Inspector General for the Health and Human Services Department has reported widespread flaws in the heavily promoted systems. Telemedicine and robotics marketed as improved care deprive patients of individualized care so essential to the therapeutic process central to healing.


‘Time running out’ Says UN as CO2 Levels hit Record April High

World leaders are running out of time to address the threat of climate change, the UN’s chief meteorologist warned as carbon dioxide levels hit record highs in April. Data released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) revealed that for the first time CO2 topped 400 parts per million (ppm) in April throughout the northern hemisphere. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said the findings had “symbolic and scientific” significance, adding it should serve as a “wake-up call” over the causes of climate change. 


Iran Confirms First Cases of Deadly MERS Infection

Officials in Iran say they have confirmed the country's first two cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome. Two sisters from Kerman province tested positive for the virus that kills around a third of those it infects. One sister is in critical condition and the other is receiving treatment, the health ministry's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said. MERS has been spreading throughout Iran's close neighbour Saudi Arabia.
Source: Web Site Icon

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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