AASPA Newsline
Jan. 27, 2015

The medical world is changing — How can we keep up?
By Joan Spitrey
Healthcare is a dynamic industry. It is constantly changing as new modalities, treatments and technologies are discovered or even rebutted. Even with the changes in technology, diagnostics and treatments, the healthcare environment has stayed relatively static. The patient seeks treatment, and the healthcare provider treats based on the needs of the patient. The provider of care bills for services and is paid. For the most part, the healthcare providers have wielded most of the control with little resistance. However, this is changing, and the power has shifted.More

Studies: Long hours, shift work can be detrimental to health
By Denise A. Valenti
"Workin' 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin'. Barely gettin' by, it's all takin' and no givin' ..." Dolly Parton's popular song "9 to 5" from 1980 lamented the difficulties and stress associated with having a traditional workday. But, an eight-hour day of working 9-to-5 really is not that bad — especially for your health. Several recent studies show the impact of work hours on health is related to the number of hours that are worked and also what time of day the work occurs. An analysis in The Lancet showed that longer working hours for those in lower socioeconomic groups has been associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes. More

Study finds huge disparities in costs of common surgeries
In this article: Robert Siegel talks to Maureen Sullivan, senior vice president of strategic services and chief strategy officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, which did the study.More

Antimicrobial prophylaxis overused for urological surgeries
Renal & Urology News
Utilization patterns indicate that antimicrobial prophylaxis is overused for urological surgeries in the community practice setting, according to research published in the February issue of The Journal of Urology. In an effort to assess patterns of use for antimicrobial prophylaxis in a large, community-based population, Matthew Mossanen, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data for patients undergoing certain urological surgeries.More

Heart bypass surgery: What women should know
U.S. News & World Report
Cardiologist Sharonne Hayes, founder of the Women’s Heart Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, says the volume of CABGs has dropped in the past decade. One reason is that percutaneous interventions – less-invasive procedures to place tiny stents along the arteries – are often done instead. Many of Hayes’ patients have already tried several treatments, from medications to stents. But for some patients with conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease, or with multiple blockages, she says “bypass surgery is the best thing we can for them, because it gives them a better long-term outcome.” More

Researchers make breakthrough on new anesthetics
For the first time since the 1970s, researchers are on the verge of developing a new class of anesthetics. According to a study published in the February issue of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), a new approach to identifying compounds may lead to the next generation of anesthetics. “While physician anesthesiologists have improved the safety of anesthesia over the years, there are still many risks associated with general anesthesia.More

New healthcare price study hides the true cost of care
By Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
A recent Reuters article discusses the huge disparity in prices for common surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacement. The article highlights a study by Blue Cross Blue Shield that is self-serving to say the least. It points out how doctors and insurers charge high prices for these procedures and, depending on the facility, prices can fluctuate by up to 300 percent. More

One dose, then surgery: A new way to test brain tumor drugs
The Associated Press via ABC News
Lori Simons took the bright orange pill at 3 a.m. Eight hours later, doctors sliced into her brain, looking for signs that the drug was working. She is taking part in one of the most unusual cancer experiments in the nation. With special permission from the Food and Drug Administration and multiple drug companies, an Arizona hospital is testing medicines very early in development and never tried on brain tumors before. More

Empathy levels among healthcare professionals
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
There is plenty of recent evidence suggesting that empathy could improve clinical outcomes. Empathy has been defined as the ability to stand in the shoes of another and look at the situation from someone else's view. In the healthcare discipline, researchers define empathy as "a predominantly cognitive attribute that involves an understanding of the patient's experiences, concerns and perspectives, combined with a capacity to communicate this understanding and intention to help." More

Complete mesocolic surgery improves outcomes in colon cancer
Medscape (free login required)
In colorectal cancers, surgery represents a potentially curative outcome for patients with stage I-III disease. A surgical technique that involves complete removal of mesenteric layers is now a gold standard in rectal cancer surgery, but although it has also led to improved outcomes in colon surgery, its uptake among colon surgeons is slow. But experts now argue that the new technique should be taken up as a standard procedure worldwide.More

EHRs don't do enough for care coordination, docs say
Health IT Analytics
Trying to improve patient care coordination and clinical communication through current EHR systems is frustrating and difficult, according to the majority of physicians in a new Spyglass Consulting Group survey, and healthcare organizations are making it worse by not investing adequately in health IT infrastructure. As patient-centered and team-based care begin to demand more from staff members and technology alike, organizational leaders must focus on EHR interoperability, health information exchange, and improved data governance structures that foster an environment of simple and secure communication.More