IOM report recommends ways to reduce diagnostic errors | ICU admission linked to better survival of older pneumonia patients | Study: Better patient communication may cut readmissions
September 24, 2015
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IOM report recommends ways to reduce diagnostic errors
An Institute of Medicine report said most people in the US will incur at least one diagnostic error during their lifetime and called for fewer mistakes related to an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis. The report found that nearly 10% of patient deaths are linked to diagnostic errors and recommended better communication among practitioners, patients and caregivers, more training for health care professionals, and more research on improving diagnostic accuracy. Reuters (9/22), U.S. News & World Report (9/22)
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ICU admission linked to better survival of older pneumonia patients
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that older, low-risk pneumonia patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit instead of general wards had higher survival rates. Researchers also found that the difference in admissions did not affect hospital costs, as the medical expenses remained relatively equal for both ICU and regular ward admissions. "Reducing health care spending by preventing ICU readmissions will require addressing the difficult questions about rationing ICU care and the degree to which the nation can afford to make intensive care available to anyone at any time," the study authors wrote in an accompanying editorial. HealthDay News (9/22)
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Other News
What's at the heart of a cryptogenic stroke?
Diagnosing the cause of a cryptogenic stroke can be challenging. Exploring all options gives you the best chance to find a cause and reduce the risk of another stroke for your patients. A guide for Healthcare Professionals, Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment of Cryptogenic Strokes, is now available! To learn more, visit
Practice & Hospital Management
Survey: Doctors agree on importance of accountability
Sixty-nine percent of physician leaders responding to a recent survey said that doctors should be held accountable for quality and costs of care, but they do not want to be held accountable for factors out of their control, such as whether patients quit smoking or take prescribed medicines. A majority of respondents see the accountable care organization as a permanent risk-sharing model, but physician leaders face challenges in convincing staff to accept risk-sharing models, says Paul Keckley, managing director at Navigant. HCPLive/Physician's Money Digest (9/21)
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More physician experience with HIV care tied to better outcomes
A report in Annals of Family Medicine found family physicians who have treated at least 50 patients with human immunodeficiency virus are more likely to follow protocols for antiretroviral therapy, compared with those who have seen fewer patients. The Canadian study found patients with HIV who were cared for by the most experienced family physicians also had the lowest rates of hospital emergency department visits and hospital admission. Medscape (free registration) (9/21)
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E-Health Watch
Study backs telemedicine for some surgery follow-up
A small study published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons found that 76% of patients who underwent uncomplicated surgeries with in-person and online follow-up found the remote option alone would be suitable for follow-up. Online visits were faster, and surgeons said that in the majority of cases there was no difference in the effectiveness of care. United Press International (9/23)
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5 things to consider before an EHR update
Community hospitals preparing to install an update of their EHR system need a solid, specific plan from the beginning, writes Phil Stravers of ICE Technologies. Stravers recommends these five steps: set goals that revolve around the needs of patients and clinicians; consult other hospitals about their experience with the update before making a plan; verify testing by super users before going live; prepare checklists for taking the system down and restarting; and don't make preventable mistakes like being among the first to update or skipping tests. (9/23)
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Spotlight on Innovation
Ill. hospital's eICU program reduces unit transfers
The FHN health system in Freeport, Ill., has reduced its ICU transfers by 40% in the five years since it began contracting with the University of Wisconsin-Madison for eICU services. The program also has helped FHN become fully compliant in the prevention of stress ulcers and deep vein thrombosis. The Journal-Standard (Freeport, Ill.) (9/18)
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Costs & Reimbursement
GAO warns unanticipated errors are possible in ICD-10 transition
A Government Accountability Office report says CMS's true ability to process ICD-10 codes won't be known until after the Oct. 1 transition despite extensive testing and validation beforehand. Unanticipated errors could undermine the processing of Medicare claims, but the report emphasized that CMS is taking steps to minimize problems and will offer technical support. The cost of updating CMS systems for the transition is currently estimated at about $116 million. (9/23)
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Most Medicare Advantage premiums to hold steady or fall, CMS says
Premiums will not rise next year for nearly 60% of Medicare Advantage plan subscribers, and the average monthly premium will decline by 31 cents, according to the CMS. No-premium Medicare Advantage plans are available to about 95% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries, and about two-thirds of Medicare Advantage subscribers have plans with a four- or five-star rating, according to the CMS. Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (9/21)
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ACC News
New ACC/AHA/HRS Guideline Addresses Management of SVT
To aid clinicians in treating SVT and distinguishing it from other disorders, on Sept. 23 the ACC, the American Heart Association and the Heart Rhythm Society released the “2015 Guideline for the Management of Adult Patients With Supraventricular Tachycardia.” The document, which supersedes the 2003 guideline, contains the most updated consensus of clinicians with broad expertise related to SVT and its treatment. To coincide with the guideline, the ACC has developed an SVT Diagnosis and Treatment Tool to help clinicians quickly diagnose the type of SVT a patient presents with and ensure they consistently follow a prescribed algorithm for treatment of the condition. To view all of the SVT resources, including the SVT Diagnosis and Treatment Tool; Slide Set; Key Points to Remember; and CardioSmart Patient Resource, visit On Sept. 23 the ACC/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines also released a report explaining the changes to the latest recommendation classification system, which have been integrated into the 2015 SVT guideline, and better align with the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 recommendations. Learn more on
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JACC: Basic Translational Research Now Accepting Manuscript Submissions For Publication
Manuscripts are now being accepted for the ACC’s first open-access journal, JACC: Basic Translational Research. Led by Editor-in-Chief Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC, the new journal will focus on the best original research and review articles pertaining to basic, translational science. Submissions of original research and state-of-the-art reviews that span all areas of cardiology are encouraged. Experimental and pre-clinical work that directly relates to diagnostic or therapeutic interventions is encouraged. Cardiovascular research representing new and novel approaches from the first and second phases of translational research is of particular interest. Manuscripts accepted between now and March 2015 will receive 20% off the article processing charge. Don’t miss the first issue. Pre-register now to receive the JACC: Basic Translational Research e-Table of Contents when it is published later this year. Learn more at
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To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
-- Joseph Chilton Pearce,
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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to ACC members and partners interested in quality health care topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of the health care professionals who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in ACC Quality First SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American College of Cardiology. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the ACC and its policies, positions, or relationships. For clarification on ACC positions and policies, we refer you to
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