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Feb. 13– 15, 2015
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Study: Many patients don't understand electronic lab results
More and more patients may be accessing their personal health information online through patient portals thanks to stage 2 of meaningful use, but only slightly more than half of patients, on average, were able to decipher electronic lab test results on their own, says a study from the University of Michigan. Patients who scored on the lower end of numerical and health literacy tests were twice as likely to express confusion when shown a hypothetical blood glucose test result, said study author Brian Zikmund-Fisher, associate professor of health behavior and health education at the U-M School of Public Health.
Higher enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans means local clinical labs, pathology groups lose access to these patients
Enrollment in Medicare Advantage health plans is booming. This development is not auspicious for local medical laboratories, hospital lab outreach programs and anatomic pathology groups because the private health insurers operating these plans typically prefer to contract with national lab companies while narrowing their lab networks. The mathematics of this trend are simple. As Medicare Advantage enrollment increases, the proportion of patients covered by traditional Medicare Part B fee-for-service shrinks. The consequence is that local labs have fewer Medicare Part B patients to serve and are locked out of providing medical laboratory testing services to Medicare Advantage patients.
Outsourcing lab services can save money, but it's not that simple
When executives at 65-bed Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, New York, go over the draft of next year's budget, they likely will discuss whether to outsource laboratory services. Doing so would reduce annual lab costs by about 20 percent, according to hospital consultants and market analysts. But it could mean longer turnaround times for lab results and the hospital's loss of control over lab services.
Laboratory guidance on Ebola
For more than four decades, Ebola virus had only been diagnosed in Central or Eastern Africa. Then late this past March, the first cases of Ebola began appearing in a surprising part of the continent. The outbreak in Guinea was the first sign that the virus had made the jump across the continent. Ebola then spread quickly to Sierra Leone and Liberia, and then to Nigeria. As the world learned of the cases, CDC began receiving questions from American hospital labs.
How to create a balanced price communication approach
Medical Marketing & Media
The cost of healthcare dominates nearly every conversation about healthcare, and with good reason: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, healthcare costs have risen 131 percent over the last decade, while wages have only increased 38 percent in the same period. As healthcare marketers, we are chartered with creating clear, balanced, impactful communications. Price is an important component of that conversation and requires a multi-prong approach.
Faster and cheaper tests for sickle cell disease
Science World Report
Within minutes following birth, every child in the United States undergoes a series of tests designed to look for certain conditions, including sickle cell disease — a health issue that affects thousand of children around the world. Survival can be a particular problem for children with the health issue for children growing up in the developing world. Now, scientists have discovered cheaper tests for to determine the problem and potentially treat the issue sooner.
Easy online access changes doctor-patient relationships
California Health Report
The days of waiting on hold and playing phone tag with the doctor's office are diminishing for patients across the state and nation as more and more health providers implement patient portals. These interactive sites, which allow patients to message physicians, refill prescriptions and schedule appointments online, are bringing medical interactions into the digital age and prompting dramatic changes in doctor-patient relationships.
UT Southwestern researchers discover gene tied to childhood cancers
Bio News Texas
Researchers at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern have identified a gene, Lin28b, which plays a key role in the development of different childhood cancers. "We and others have found that Lin28b — a gene that is normally turned on in fetal but not adult tissues — is expressed in several childhood cancers, including neuroblastoma, Wilms' tumor and hepatoblastoma, a type of cancer that accounts for nearly 80 percent of all liver tumors in children," Dr. Hao Zhu, a principal investigator at CRI, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center said in a University's press release.
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