A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services
October 30, 2014
- Interim U.S. Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Potential Ebola Virus Exposure
- Scientists Consider Repurposing Robots for Ebola
- Google is Developing Cancer and Heart Attack Detector
- Digital Management of Quality Control: a Critical Tool for the Modern Lab
- Task Force Recommends Use of Hba1c Test to Screen for Diabetes and Abnormal Blood Sugar
- Serum Prostate-Specific Antigen Measured by Tandem Mass Spectrometry
- Most Sensitive Microscope Sees Cells Change in Real Time
- Megakaryocytes Might Facilitate Adult Stem Cell Regeneration
- WHO Revises Global Tuberculosis Estimate up by 500,000
- Main Source of S. aureus Differed for Community- and Hospital-acquired Infections
- 4 Pieces of NIH's Big Data Puzzle
- Interoperability, Population Health Remain Top EHR Challenges
View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive
Interim U.S. Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons With Potential Ebola Virus Exposure
The world is facing the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. On August 8, 2014, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) because it was determined to be an ‘extraordinary event’ with public health risks to other countries. The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious considering the following factors:
1. the virulence (ability to cause serious disease or death) of the virus,
2. the widespread transmission in communities and healthcare facilities in the currently affected countries, and
3. the strained health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries.
Coordinated public health actions are essential to stop and reverse the spread of Ebola. Healthcare workers who take care of patients with Ebola are not only helping the nations facing the Ebola outbreak but also protecting people in the United States by helping to fight the outbreak at its source. The risk in this country will only be fully addressed when the current outbreak in Africa is over, and the participation of US and other healthcare workers from outside of the countries with widespread transmission is essential to control the disease.
With the complex nature and seriousness of the outbreak, CDC has created interim guidance for monitoring people potentially exposed to Ebola and for evaluating their intended travel, including the application of movement restrictions when indicated. This interim guidance has been updated by establishing a “low (but not zero) risk” category; adding a “no identifiable risk” category; modifying the recommended public health actions in the high, some, and low (but not zero) risk categories; and adding recommendations for specific groups and settings.
Scientists Consider Repurposing Robots for Ebola
Robotics scientists nationwide are pondering an intriguing possibility: Might robotic technologies deployed in rescue and disaster situations be quickly repurposed to help contain the Ebola epidemic? A robot that could perform even some of the tasks of a human, such as waste removal or the burial of bodies, would have significant lifesaving potential. So, with the assistance of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, scientists are planning a series of brainstorming meetings. The first round will be held Nov. 7 at four locations: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Massachusetts; Texas A&M; the University of California, Berkeley; and in Washington. The problem, scientists say, is that the technology is still limited when it comes to medicine. While mobile robots now can disarm roadside bombs and drive cars, they are taking only the first tentative steps toward the human levels of dexterity required in health care.
Google is Developing Cancer and Heart Attack Detector
Google is aiming to diagnose cancers, impending heart attacks or strokes and other diseases, at a much earlier stage than is currently possible. The company is working on technology that combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient's bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor. The idea is to identify slight changes in the person's biochemistry that could act as an early warning system. The work is still at an early stage. Early diagnosis is the key to treating disease. Many cancers, such as pancreatic, are detected only after they have become untreatable and fatal. There are marked differences between cancerous and healthy tissues. Google's ambition is to constantly monitor the blood for the unique traces of cancer, allowing diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear.
NIH Begins Early Human Clinical Trial of New Ebola Vaccine
Human testing of a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is under way at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are conducting the early phase trial to evaluate the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, for safety and its ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults who are given two intramuscular doses, called a prime-boost strategy. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is simultaneously testing the vaccine candidate as a single dose at its Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
One Million Ebola Vaccine Doses by End of 2015
One million doses of an Ebola vaccine will be produced by the end of 2015, the World Health Organization has announced. It said "several hundred thousand" will be produced in the first half of the year. And vaccines could be offered to health workers on the frontline in West Africa as soon as December 2014. However, the WHO cautioned that vaccines would not be a "magic bullet" for ending the outbreak.
Experts to Test if Survivors' Serum Can Help Ebola Patients
Scientists will start testing whether treatment with antibodies in the blood of Ebola survivors can help infected patients fight off the deadly disease in a clinical trial starting in Guinea next month. If effective, so-called convalescent serum could be scaled up quickly as a short-term intervention while work continues to develop drugs and vaccines. An international research consortium led by the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp is undertaking the work in the West African country where the world's worst Ebola outbreak was first confirmed in March this year, after receiving a 2.9-million-euro ($3.7-million) grant from the European Union.
Digital Management of Quality Control: a Critical Tool for the Modern Lab
Quality control (QC) remains one of the most important tasks of the medical laboratory to ensure the reliability and accuracy of reported patient results. One of the most important attributes of a real-time quality control reporting system is the ability to capture and process QC data automatically from laboratory information systems (LIS) or middleware systems. Laboratories cannot afford to lose time waiting for the green light to begin testing patient samples. In today’s environment, it is not possible to use paper Levey-Jennings charts in which laboratorians manually plot the QC results or manually enter results in long spreadsheets. Laboratories need QC data management with connectivity solutions that will integrate seamlessly within their workflow for real-time results. The best solutions include bi-directional connectivity that automatically directs instruments to stop reporting results for QC failures even before a laboratorian has seen a result. This technology is called auto-verification. Digital management of quality control data provides opportunities and benefits for laboratories, starting with the design of the QC process. Laboratory staff can use new integrated algorithms for the selection of the most appropriate QC rules to detect clinically significant errors, minimizing the risk of reporting incorrect patient results.
Task Force Recommends Use of Hba1c Test to Screen for Diabetes and Abnormal Blood Sugar
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has issued a draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review on screening for abnormal glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus. It recommends that all adults ages 45 and older be screened for diabetes and abnormal blood sugar and recommends the use of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing as a primary method for screening at-risk individuals, Sometime after the formal period of public comment on the draft recommendation and draft evidence review ends November 3, the Task Force will develops its final recommendation and final evidence review.
Serum Prostate-specific Antigen Measured by Tandem Mass Spectrometry
PSA is a 34-kDa glycoprotein with chymotrypsin-like enzyme activity that circulates both in free forms and complexed to various enzyme inhibitors including anti-chymotrypsin and α2-macroglobulin. Prostate-specific antigen bound to α2-macroglobulin is not detected by commercial PSA immunoassays. Scientists at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (Rochester, MN, USA) developed a strategy to use a mass spectrometry (MS) assay to measure PSA concentrations that measures only the immune-reactive forms. Prostate-specific antigen is immune extracted from serum using antibodies directed to different PSA epitopes. A combination of three monoclonal anti-PSA antisera, which are directed to different PSA epitopes, was used for immune extraction of PSA from serum. PSA was extracted from serum, trypsin digested, and the LSEPAELTDAVK peptide was quantitated.
Now Canada Says Don't Use PSA Test for Cancer Screening
The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care has released updated guidelines that say the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should not be used to screen for prostate cancer. This recommendation is based on evidence that shows an increased risk for harm and uncertain benefits, and it applies to all men (all those without a previous diagnosis of prostate cancer). The new guideline is published online October 27 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. These updated Canadian guidelines are consistent with the latest recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force and the Cancer Council Australia, the task force notes. It adds that the United Kingdom does not have an organized screening program but recommends that men concerned about the risk for prostate cancer receive balanced information on the benefits and harms of screening.
Digital Pathology a New Data Source to Transform Medicine
The rich trove of data encoded in images taken for analysis by today's pathologists will be mined for its value in the not-too-distant future, according to pathologists at the American Society for Clinical Pathology 2014. "Right now, all we are primarily doing with digital data — which is the image itself in digital form — is looking at it," said Ulysses Balis, MD, director of the division of pathology informatics and professor of pathology at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. "The real opportunity for us now is to do computational, quantitative analytics on all of these data. I think imaging informatics will be a big portion of the type of informatics in which pathologists will be involved," he told Medscape Medical News. This has the potential to change the main job of a pathologist from just screening slides to a "directed review" of slides, focusing on the most worrisome lesions — highlighted by the computer — in the slide set. "Computers don't get bored," said Dr. Balis.
Benefits of Thyroid Screening Unclear
Researchers for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) suggest that more research is needed to determine the benefits of screening asymptomatic individuals for thyroid dysfunction. Their review is being published in Annals of Internal Medicine. An estimated 5 percent of women and 3 percent of men in the U.S. have undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction, and about 0.5 percent of the population may have undiagnosed overt thyroid disease. Thyroid screening could identify persons who could benefit from treatments to reduce the risk of associated adverse health outcomes, such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and decreased bone density.
Source: Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
Tumor Marker Surveillance for Early Breast Cancer Frequently Ordered, Despite Guidelines
A substantial and increasing number of oncologists continue to use tumor markers for routine surveillance in women with early-stage breast cancer, despite recommendations against this testing, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This monitoring, which to date has not demonstrated an improvement in outcomes, is also tied to increased health care use and associated costs in the two-year period following diagnosis. For more than a decade the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has discouraged the use of routine tumor marker surveillance in nonmetastatic breast cancer due to a lack of evidence that that intensive laboratory monitoring improves survival beyond physical examination
Blood Tests in the Works for Breast Cancer Diagnosis
After breast cancer tumors are removed, many women undergo chemotherapy to eradicate any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk that the disease will recur. The drugs can make them nauseous and anxious and lead to hair loss. But a blood test under development at the Johns Hopkins University could reduce the number of women who need chemotherapy significantly by revealing who has residual cancer cells after surgery to remove the tumors. "Oncologists are over-treating breast cancer because they don't know who to treat" after surgery, said Dr. Ben Ho Park, a Hopkins associate professor of oncology working on the test. Park's test seeks to identify with certainty the 30 percent of early-stage breast cancer patients who will have a recurrence so they can get additional therapies such as chemotherapy, while those not expected to get the disease again can be spared the toxic and expensive treatment. The test would look for DNA molecules that cancer cells shed into the blood. In early trials, the test was able to tell the difference between these cancerous DNA molecules and normal ones. Now a larger trial at several medical centers is planned.
Genetic Counseling Encourages Physicians to Act
Physicians are more likely to take action in response to results from genetic testing if the patient has received genetic counseling, a new study shows. However, an effort to educate physicians about the significance of the genetic data seemed to make no difference, researcher Kevin Sweet, MS, associate professor of genetic counseling at Ohio State University in Columbus, told Medscape Medical News. Genetic testing is becoming more extensive and readily available, but it is not yet clear how the information it produces is affecting healthcare.
Ebola Crisis: New 15-minute Test Kits Could Soon be Sent to West Africa
An Ebola test that can diagnose the virus in just 15 minutes could soon be shipped out to West Africa, where the disease has killed more than 4,500 people. Current tests can only be conducted in laboratories with specialist equipment, taking up to two-and-a-half hours each, but a pregnancy test-sized kit developed by French scientists could dramatically speed up the process. France’s Alternative and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) said “Ebola eZYSCREEN” is designed to be used in the field, using only a drop of the patient’s blood, plasma or urine. A prototype will be available to start clinical trials in West Africa by the end of the month.
U.S. FDA Issues Emergency Authorization for two New Ebola Tests
Federal health regulators granted emergency authorization for two new tests made by BioFire Defense that detect Ebola in humans, highlighting new steps by the government to prevent a severe outbreak in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been working closely with Salt Lake City-based BioFire, a subsidiary of medical diagnostics maker BioMerieux, to obtain the necessary performance data to allow for the authorizations, the federal agency said in a news release. BioFire's tests can detect Ebola in a blood or urine sample in one hour, compared with the 24 to 48 hours current tests take to deliver results, said Matt Scullion, vice president of sales and marketing for BioFire Defense. The test can also be performed in a hospital with BioFire lab equipment.
Faster Ebola Tests Could Help Stem the Outbreak in West Africa
The dying at the tin-roofed clinic in the rural Kono district of Sierra Leone comes at a ruthless pace. In the first two weeks of October, 20 out of the 22 patients seeking treatment for Ebola died. That fatality rate, high even by the lethal standards of Ebola, could easily be brought down, says Dan Kelly, an infectious-disease doctor who is currently in Kono with the Wellbody Alliance, a medical nonprofit organisation he set up eight years ago. “The ability to test for Ebola, to test quickly, has become ever more important,” says Kelly, who believes the high death toll in the Kono clinic was due in part to the fact that there is no place to test for Ebola in the entire district. Instead, blood samples from suspected Ebola patients have to be sent to the capital over rutted mud roads that are often washed out by rain. “Even if we have the best treatments available, without a timely diagnosis people are still going to die,” says Kelly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. military have helped by setting up four additional labs in West Africa over the past six months—Liberia now has a total of five, Sierra Leone four and Guinea three—but capacity is still limited to about 100 tests per lab per day, not nearly enough to cope with an epidemic that could grow to 10,000 new cases a week by December, according to the World Health Organization.
Cheap, Fast 'Paper Strip' Test for Ebola, Other Infections, Steps Closer
Researchers working in the field of synthetic biology are bringing together science, engineering and computing to understand and copy the workings of biological life in new ways to achieve remarkable breakthroughs. Two studies published in Cell show how advances in this field could one day lead to cheap, reliable diagnostics for diseases like Ebola - tests that could be done rapidly in the field using only drops of blood or saliva on strips of paper embedded with synthetic biology circuits. In the first study, the scientists, from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biological Inspired Engineering in Boston, MA, describe how they brought lab-testing ability to pocket-sized slips of paper by embedding them with synthetic gene networks.
British Columbia Researchers Develop Quick Sepsis Test
Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a test that can predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis, a syndrome that can lead to infection and possible organ failure. "We identified a gene signature that is associated with the eventual diagnosis of sepsis and subsequent organ failure," co-author of the study Bob Hancock said in a press release. "We can test for this genetic signature as soon as the patient arrives in the emergency ward."
Medical Devices; Immunology and Microbiology Devices; Classification of Nucleic Acid-Based Devices for the Detection of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Complex and the Genetic Mutations Associated With Antibiotic Resistance
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is classifying nucleic acid-based in vitro diagnostic devices for the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB-complex) and the genetic mutations associated with MTB-complex antibiotic resistance in respiratory specimens devices into class II (special controls). The Agency is classifying the device into class II (special controls) because special controls, in addition to general controls, will provide a reasonable assurance of safety and effectiveness of the device.
A Breathalyzer for Hospital-acquired Infection
Wisconsin startup Isomark has developed a breath-based test that can detect infection within two hours of its onset. The patented concept has wide-reaching applications – for instance, it’s proposed developing a smart neonatal incubator that’s constantly checking a preemie’s breath for signs of sepsis. The company has received $2.2 million now in NIH-backed SBIR grants; the device is in the midst of a 110-patient trial at the University of Wisconsin. Read more about its technology here.
Most Sensitive Microscope Sees Cells Change in Real Time
A microscope designed by this year’s Nobel Prizer winner harnesses ultrathin sheets of light to peer into living cells, tracking everything from a single protein’s moves to embryo formation. The development, outlined in the journal Science, goes beyond the super resolution tools that led to Eric Betzig being awarded the 2014 Nobel for chemistry. While his earlier work allowed scientists to study cell structure with greater clarity, the new device allows three-dimensional imaging of cells as they change over time. The result: Movies made at a molecular level that allow an inside peek at how single cells divide, or are penetrated by a virus. The microscope was designed as a basic research tool, used by scientists to look at fruit flies, worms and zebra fish. The results, though, hold promise for helping understand how cancer metastasizes and birth defects occur. “We can slice and dice like a deli,” Betzig said in a telephone interview. “We can track and see the production of single molecules, trace them and see how they assemble into structures. It’s going to be a go-to tool for live imaging.”
Megakaryocytes Might Facilitate Adult Stem Cell Regeneration
Scientists from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have discovered that megakaryocytes, best known for producing platelets that heal wounds, also play a critical role in regulating stem cells. In fact, hematopoietic stem cells differentiate to generate megakaryocytes in bone marrow. The Stowers research reportedly is the first to show that hematopoietic stem cells (the parent cells) can be directly controlled by their own progeny (megakaryocytes). The study ("Megakaryocytes maintain homeostatic quiescence and promote post-injury regeneration of hematopoietic stem cells"), published in Nature Medicine, could cause researchers to rethink what they know about the workings of megakaryocytes and potentially lead to new treatments for patients recovering from chemotherapy or organ transplantation. "Our results suggest that megakaryocytes might be used clinically to facilitate adult stem cell regeneration and to expand cultured cells for adult stem cell transplants," says Meng Zhao, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Stowers and lead author on the study.
Genes Confirm LDL Causes Aortic Stenosis
High LDL cholesterol appears to cause aortic stenosis, even though lipid-lowering trials in established valve disease haven't worked, a genetic study suggested. In the Mendelian randomization study -- using genetic allocation conferred at conception akin to trial randomization -- weighted genetic risk scores for predisposition to high LDL cholesterol were linked to 28% higher incident aortic stenosis risk per mmol/L LDL and 2.78-fold higher incidence per genetic risk score increment (both P=0.02). (Each mmol/L of LDL cholesterol equals about 39 mg/dL.) Genetic risk scores for HDL and triglycerides held no such link, George Thanassoulis, MD, of McGill University Health Center and Research Institute in Montreal, and colleagues reported.
Scientists Identify a Promising Target for HIV/AIDS Treatment
Like a slumbering dragon, HIV can lay dormant in a person's cells for years, evading medical treatments only to wake up and strike at a later time, quickly replicating itself and destroying the immune system. Scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered a new protein that participates in active HIV replication, as detailed in the latest issue of Genes & Development. The new protein, called Ssu72, is part of a switch used to awaken HIV-1 (the most common type of HIV) from its slumber.
Researchers Sequence High-Quality Genome for 45,000-Year-Old Modern Human
An international team led by investigators at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has sequenced the genome of a modern human man who lived in Siberia some 45,000 years ago, at a time when Neanderthals still resided in Europe and Western Asia. In a paper published online inNature, the researchers described this high-quality genome sequence — established with DNA from the femur bone of an "Ust'-Ishim" individual named for the western Siberian settlement where his remains were found — and its use for addressing everything from human mutation rates to mixing with Neanderthals.
WHO Revises Global Tuberculosis Estimate up by 500,000
The World Health Organization has revised up its estimate of how many people have tuberculosis by almost 500,000. In 2013 nine million people had developed TB around the world, up from 8.6 million in 2012, the WHO said. However, the number of people dying from TB continued to decline, it added. TB campaigners said that one of the biggest problems in tackling the deadly disease was gauging how many people were affected. About 1.5 million people had died in 2013 from TB, including 360,000 people who had been HIV positive, the WHO said in its Global Tuberculosis Report 2014. And in 2012, there had been 1.3 million tuberculosis deaths.
Main Source of S. aureus Differed for Community- and Hospital-acquired Infections
Data presented at IDWeek 2014 suggest soft tissue infections are the main source in community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus blood stream infections, whereas central catheters are the main source of hospital-acquired cases. Researchers from the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Canada examined the records of patients with a blood culture positive for S. aureus from 2010-2012 (n=342). The mean age of the patients was 60.6 years, and 69.3% were male. ICU admission was required for 43.5%, while 57.8% were admitted to medical services. Fifty-four percent of S. aureus cases were community-acquired (CA). Other than a decline of hospital-acquired (HA) MRSA in 2012, blood stream infection rates were consistent throughout the study period.
UCSF Researchers log 2.5 Million Patient Alarms in one Month
Alarm fatigue continues to be a problem for hospitals, so much so that last fall, it topped the ECRI Institute's annual list of technology hazards. To that end, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, monitored one month's worth of alarms at the facility to determine the alarm causes, as well as potential solutions to fatigue. In a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers logged more than 2.5 million hours of patient-monitoring alarms over 31 days. The alarms were used for 461 patients in five intensive care units at UCSF Medical Center. Many, according to the researchers, were caused by inappropriate user settings and computer algorithm deficiencies.
Uber Offers Flu Shots on Wheels
The limited, one-time promotion dubbed UberHEALTH offered free delivery of a flu vaccination service in Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The idea came from Harvard Medical School epidemiologist John Brownstein, who was looking for creative ways to increase relatively low flu vaccination rates in the United States. To participate, users could tap a special button in the Uber application and one of the service’s SUV drivers would ferry a nurse or doctor to their office or home. After obtaining signatures on a few consent forms, the health worker would administer up to 10 vaccinations and hand out flu prevention kits containing water and tissue paper. Meghan Joyce, the general manager of Uber in Boston, said demand for the flu-shot offer was “through the roof,” but the company would not say how many vaccinations were administered over a five-hour period. “We will be watching very closely to see whether there may be long-term possibilities for improving access to vaccines and health care in general,” Joyce said.
4 Pieces of NIH's Big Data Puzzle
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) plans to develop four initiatives to better analyze and leverage the explosion of information available from complex biomedical data sets, known as Big Data. Funding for the programs will come from four new grants, totaling $32 million, that will be used to develop the NIH’s new Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative for the creation of new approaches, software, tools, and training programs to improve access to these data sets and the ability to make new discoveries using them, the NIH said.
The four components of the BD2K awards are:
1. Centers of Excellence for Big Data Computing:
2. BD2K-LINCS Perturbation Data Coordination and Integration Center:
3. BD2K Data Discovery Index Coordination Consortium (DDICC):
4. Training and Workforce Development:
Interoperability, Population Health Remain Top EHR Challenges
EHR interoperability, population health management, and data integration between health IT systems remain among the top challenges of EHR users, says a new Software Advice report, but belief in the ability of EHRs to add effective patient safety, population health management, and care coordination features to the workflow remains high. Three-quarters of respondents indicated that they were somewhat or very satisfied with their electronic health records systems, and more than a quarter are planning to increase their investments in health IT to take advantage of more advanced features and improved health information exchange. When it comes to health IT spending, the patient portal is at the top of the list. More than a quarter plan to boost their patient engagement capabilities in the near future, and only slightly fewer are interested in improving health information exchange. Lab integration and patient scheduling are also attracting interest, while around 20% anticipate increasing their spending on business intelligence systems, suggesting an overall push for better systems integration that will facilitate the flow of healthcare data internally and across the care continuum.
Health IT Interoperability Up to Market, Say Feds
Jason Task Force co-chairs say government should exercise its regulatory powers only to guide process along. The co-chairs of the federal Health IT Policy Committee's Jason Task Force (JTF) are advocating a mix of mostly market-led initiatives and some government action to spur adoption of open standards for electronic health information sharing in the US. In comments to InformationWeek on Monday, David McCallie and Micky Tripathi of the JTF both recommended an approach where healthcare providers and vendors of healthcare systems take the lead in addressing technology interoperability issues, with the government intervening where necessary. The Jason Task Force, an ad-hoc working group of the Health IT Policy Committee, was established to review the findings of a federally commissioned study conducted last year on the requirements for an electronic health data infrastructure in the US.
How to Motivate Patients to Use Their Online Health Records
A new study on patient portals has implications both for engaging patients in preventive and long-term care and meeting meaningful use stage-2 requirements. Published in the current issue of the Annals of Family Medicine, the study compared two strategies for getting patients to sign up for and use a patient portal that included personalized educational materials and recommendations for preventive and long-term care. In the 8 primary care practices that they studied, in which 112,893 patients had an office visit from December 2010 to June 2013, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) found that pitching the portal when patients came in for care induced 25.6% of patients aged 18 to 75 years to enroll within 30 days of their office visit. The percentage rose to 32.5% in the final month of the study. By comparison, an earlier trial in the same practices showed that only 16.8% of patients signed up for the portal when the practices mailed them invitations. In the study, 64% of the patients created a portal account after 2 office visits, and another 21.8% did so after 4 encounters.
CMS Launches $840 Million Initiative to Accelerate Care Transformation
The CMS Innovation Center will spend $840 million in coming years to help doctors and hospitals do more to teach each other how to improve quality and cut wasteful practices. The four-year effort is expected to include 150,000 clinicians working in networks where they will swap ideas, trade information and learn from others' mistakes and successes. The investment is a gamble that sharing care-improvement experiences among medical groups, health systems and others will push the industry more rapidly toward more efficient models of care. Dr. Patrick Conway, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer for the CMS, said the effort is projected to save $1 billion to $5 billion over four years and could prevent 5 million avoidable hospitalizations.
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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