Regular screening in Barrett's patients may catch cancer sooner | Phase III trial results reported for hepatitis C combination therapy | Study shows diet changes can quickly affect colon cancer risk
April 29, 2015
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Clinical Updates
Regular screening in Barrett's patients may catch cancer sooner
A multicenter study from the Netherlands showed regular endoscopic testing in patients with Barrett's esophagus may lead to earlier detection of esophageal cancer, when it is more easily treated. The study adhered to American College of Gastroenterology endoscopy guidelines that call for surveillance every three to five years for nondysplastic Barrett's patients. Medscape (free registration) (4/28)
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Phase III trial results reported for hepatitis C combination therapy
Merck presented data from a late-stage trial of grazoprevir/elbasvir combination therapy in hepatitis C patients with genotypes 1, 4 or 6 with or without liver cirrhosis. More than 1,700 patients were treated, and 95% of those receiving the combination as a first treatment achieved a complete response with a 12-week regimen. Pharmaceutical Business Review Online (4/27)
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Study shows diet changes can quickly affect colon cancer risk
A study found black Americans who ate a high-fiber African diet for two weeks saw a significant decrease in colon cancer risk factors, while a group of Africans who ate an American diet high in animal protein and fat had increased risk factors. Researchers from the U.S. and the U.K. said one reason for the risk factor changes may be that gut bacteria changed their metabolism to adapt to the new diet. Reuters (4/28)
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Legal & Regulatory
ACG note: SCREEN Act introduced in Congress
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., introduced the "Supporting ColoRectal Examination and Education Now (SCREEN) Act" (S. 1079/H.R. 2035), which eliminates barriers to potentially lifesaving colorectal screenings for Medicare beneficiaries and ensures they are screened regularly through a variety of recommended methods, including colonoscopy. The SCREEN Act also establishes an innovative Medicare demonstration project that allows for an office visit to discuss preparation and patient questions, but also serves as an opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to discuss the importance of Hepatitis C screening with their provider. Read the press release.
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Budget includes allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices
President Barack Obama's proposed budget includes a precision medicine initiative and would give Medicare officials the power to negotiate drug prices. Many health care professionals have concerns about the cost of specialty medications, for which Medicare patients often cover one-quarter to one-third of the cost. "It would be unfortunate if we make scientific progress and then price patients out of the drugs we develop through that progress," said Dr. Peter Bach, who directs the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/27)
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Open Payments database gets millions of hits
The Open Payments database, which catalogs financial relationships between device makers, drugmakers and health care providers, logged 2.5 million unique page views between Feb. 8 and 14, and data from the last quarter of 2013 has been viewed more than 6 million times, according to a CMS report. Medical Marketing & Media (4/27)
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Practice News
Study: Nearly 38% of GERD endoscopies do not follow best practices
Data showed almost 38% of outpatient upper endoscopy procedures for gastroesophageal reflux disease and low-risk dyspepsia, including 33.3% initiated by gastroenterologists, did not comply with the American College of Physicians' best-practice recommendations, researchers reported at the Society of General Internal Medicine's annual meeting. Inappropriate procedures most often were found in cases where patients had been given inadequate proton pump inhibitor therapy or had surveillance for Barrett's esophagus too frequently. Medscape (free registration) (4/28)
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Business & Market Trends
Drug developers target celiac disease, gluten sensitivity
Increased attention to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity has led pharmaceutical companies to ramp up development of drugs to help patients. The majority of the drugs are not aimed at eliminating the need for a gluten-free diet, but rather at helping patients control symptoms if traces of gluten enter foods. The earliest contenders may be on the market in 2018. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (4/28)
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Survey: Data analytics, business intelligence are top health IT issues for 2015
A Stoltenberg Consulting survey found that 41% of health IT leaders consider business intelligence and data analytics to be the most important health IT issues this year, followed by health information exchange at 26% and mobile health at 21%. The survey also showed that 33% of respondents believe that health care groups still don't have enough knowledge about data analysis and collection, and 84% have questions about leveraging health care information. Healthcare Informatics online (4/28)
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Patient's Perspective
Barbers encourage clients to get colon cancer testing
Maryland barber Fredie Spry is helping educate his clients about colonoscopy and colorectal cancer prevention as part of the University of Maryland's Health In-Reach and Research Initiative. He and other barbers in the HAIR program get special outreach training. Spry says advocating for colon cancer prevention is his way of giving back to the community. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/24)
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ACG News
New ACG member benefit, mobile health application Smart Clinic incorporates trackable patient compliance
Smart Clinic, an industry-leading mobile health application, is now available for your practice. Conceived and designed by a leading gastroenterologist, the app encompasses functionality that has been clinically proven to increase bowel preparation compliance in patients, consequently improving colonoscopy quality. The only app of its kind, Smart Clinic incorporates trackable patient compliance and enhances patient engagement, communication and satisfaction while also cutting office overhead. Smart Clinic can help your practice enhance your patients' experience. ACG has partnered with Smart Clinic to make the application available to current ACG members at a discounted rate. To set up your live demo, visit
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Experts review quality indicators for Barrett's esophagus, colonoscopy and IBD
A team of experts will present quality indicators in gastroenterology at ACG's Eastern Regional Postgraduate Course on June 13 and 14 at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center in Boston. Choose which data to assess and how to utilize in order to improve patient outcomes in Barrett's esophagus, define current quality indicators and discuss technology and techniques to improve them in the performance of colonoscopy, and describe the current and prospective quality indicators and their effect on treatment of IBD. Other topics to be offered include IBS, endoscopy, celiac disease, acute and chronic pancreatitis, and more. Prior to the start of the Regional Course, ACG will offer Hepatitis School on Friday, June 12. Registration is open. Learn more about Hepatitis School and the Eastern Regional Postgraduate Course. Register today.
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The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places."
-- Ernest Hemingway,
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