Study links long-term use of mobile phones to glioma risk | WHO weighs how to test experimental Ebola meds in Africa | HRSA grant to address EHR staffing shortage in rural care facilities
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November 14, 2014
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Top Stories
Study links long-term use of mobile phones to glioma risk
A study reported in Pathophysiology found long-term use of a mobile or cordless phone was associated with three times the risk of glioma, the most common type of brain tumor. Risk was also elevated among those who were younger than 20 years old when they first started using a mobile or cordless phone. Study author Lennart Hardell recommends precautions such using the speaker phone feature. Medscape (free registration) (11/13)
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WHO weighs how to test experimental Ebola meds in Africa
The World Health Organization is hosting a meeting of medical experts in Geneva to consider how investigational Ebola drugs should be tested in Africa. The experts are attempting to design tests that produce fast and reliable answers while reducing the need for study participants who do not receive experimental treatments. National Public Radio/Goats and Soda blog (11/11)
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Providers & Suppliers
HRSA grant to address EHR staffing shortage in rural care facilities
The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded a $900,000 grant to the Indiana Rural Health Information Education Technology Network and its partners, the HealthLINC health information exchange and Ivy Tech Community College, to conduct a health IT certification program that will train employees and ultimately improve EHR use at rural hospitals in the state. To earn health IT certification, students must complete 10 hours of coursework every week that will be facilitated by Ivy Tech and complete a meaningful use apprenticeship at a rural care facility. EHR Intelligence (11/12)
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Medical Update
Diabetes linked to odds of kidney cancer death
Diabetes was tied to a 55% increased risk of cancer-specific mortality and a 32% higher risk of all-cause mortality in patients with clear-cell renal cell carcinoma, a study in The Journal of Urology indicated. Renal and Urology News (11/12)
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Emerging Trends
No longevity gene found in genome study of long-lived individuals
Scientists have sequenced the genomes of 17 people between the ages of 110 and 116 to find out if there is a genetic reason for their extreme longevity, but they weren't able to find a common genetic characteristic, according to a study published in PLOS ONE. "Our hope was that we would find a longevity gene. We were pretty disappointed," said study author Stuart Kim of Stanford University. The findings support the idea that a number of factors are responsible for a person to live to an extreme old age. Reuters (11/12)
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Researchers tap the nexus between neuroscience and wearable technology
Pioneering engineers are looking to apply the principles of neurosignaling to emerging wearable technology to create devices that can alter the wearer's mood by stimulating certain areas of the brain. Researchers with wearables startup Thync are creating a smartphone-connected device that uses transcranial direct current stimulation to deliver to the brain an electrical current that, among other things, can energize the wearer. (11/12)
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Integra announces U.S. release of expandable interbody device
Integra LifeSciences said its first expandable interbody device, the FDA-cleared Integra Expandable Interbody System, is now available in the U.S. under a controlled market release. The device, which is used to treat degenerative disc disease, requires minimal implant insertion forces and allows for a customized fit. (11/13)
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Health Insurance Plan Company News
Solutions Provider News
Pharma News
Study ties reduced competition to soaring generic drug prices
A Pembroke Consulting analysis found that almost 10% of generic drugs saw a more than twofold increase in price in 2013. "Everybody just assumes generic prices are low but generic prices are low because there's competition. And so once that competition goes away, you no longer have low prices and you have very expensive generic drugs," author Dr. Aaron Kesselheim said. A hearing on the price hikes will be held by a Senate subcommittee led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. CBS News (11/12), HealthDay News (11/12)
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FDA fast-tracks sarcoma drug candidate from Threshold, Merck KGaA
The FDA has granted fast-track designation to Threshold Pharmaceuticals and Merck KGaA's experimental hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 as a treatment for soft tissue sarcomas. The drug is being tested in Phase III trials against this indication and pancreatic cancer. It also is in earlier-stage trials against other types of solid tumors and blood malignancies. PharmaTimes (U.K.) (11/11)
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The Buzz
McKesson will share VBR tech insights at AHIP Ops & Tech Forum. Attend the November 18 event to learn how to diagnose your organization's needs to help simplify and help automate the processes of building networks, developing value-based contracts. Learn more.
Policy Watch
Audits find some eligible hospitals failed to satisfy MU standards
According to HHS data, 4.7% of eligible hospitals have been ordered to return EHR incentives after post-payment audits found they failed to satisfy meaningful use requirements. The overall amount proposed for return is nearly $33 million. Individual hospitals face the loss of anywhere from $280,414 to nearly $3.5 million. (11/12)
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Webinar: Building "Skills for Life": A New Approach to Digital Health Coaching
Behavioral science and motivational design help consumers engage in their health care and form habits that keep them fit, healthy and happy. In a webinar on Tuesday, Dec. 2, from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EST, hear from Wellness + Prevention, Inc. about their new digital health coaching programs and the importance of behavior change. Register now.
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Health plans are driving high-value health care for consumers
While helping consumers choose the right coverage, health plans also are working to make coverage as affordable as possible by driving health care delivery reforms. Take a look at few health plan innovations that are successfully promoting affordability and quality. Read more on the AHIP Coverage blog.
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Reducing disparities in health care
The National Health Plan Collaborative is celebrating 10 years of advancing health care equity. This partnership of health plans continues to support racially and ethnically diverse populations through model programs, cultural training and groundbreaking research. Learn more or get involved today.
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In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us."
-- Flora Edwards,
American author
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