Most Clicked AHIP Solutions SmartBrief Stories

1. Oncologists join growing call for addressing rising drug prices

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 24, 2015

State bills, two U.S. senators, more than 100 oncologists writing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings and a union trust are among the forces calling for drugmakers to be more transparent about the costs and profits of developing and manufacturing high-cost pharmaceuticals. The editorial expresses opposition to the rising prices of cancer drugs in the U.S., calling for tighter control of patents and better oversight to prevent efforts that would delay the launch of generic drugs on the market, among other strategies. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (07/23) The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (07/23)

2. U.S. calorie consumption shows downward trend, data show

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015

Information from three large diet databases show calorie consumption by Americans has started to decline since peaking in 2003, and when combined with a flattening of the U.S. obesity rate, it has given public health experts hope that the changes will be meaningful. Eating changes have been seen in all demographic groups, but the biggest shifts are among households with children. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (07/24)

3. Anthem Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Cigna Corporation

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 24, 2015

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4. U.S. health care spending to grow 5.8% annually, CMS report finds

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 29, 2015

The CMS Office of the Actuary estimates that health care spending in the U.S. will rise an average of 5.8% each year from 2014 through 2024. The figure is higher than the projection of 5.7% made a year ago. Projected health care spending will increase to 6.2% per year on average from 2019 to 2024, while medical prices are projected to increase over 2% annually from 2016. The aging population, drug costs and rising costs for medical care are among the factors influencing cost growth. Reuters (07/28)

5. Generic drug combo may improve breast cancer outcomes

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 28, 2015

Aromatase inhibitors and bisphosphonates each appear to improve outcomes among postmenopausal women with breast cancer, according to two studies in The Lancet, and combination treatment with the two complementary drugs could be even more effective. One study found that postmenopausal women who took aromatase inhibitors have a 40% lower risk of dying within 10 years, and recurrence was 30% lower than in those treated with tamoxifen. In a separate study, bisphosphonates were linked to 18% lower mortality. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (07/27)

6. USPSTF calls for primary care practitioners to screen adults for depression

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 29, 2015

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended adults be screened for depression in a primary care setting, expanding a 2009 guideline that said the service should be provided if staff-assisted depression care is available. Panel co-vice chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo said the task force believes all clinical practices should have to ability to implement systems to screen adults for depression. Reuters (07/27)

7. Many hospitals miscalculate their compliance with stroke care guidelines

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 23, 2015

A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that just 29% of 141 hospitals correctly judged their promptness in administering crucial thrombolytic treatment to stroke patients. Nearly 57% of patients admitted to top-performing facilities received thrombolysis within the recommended first hour, while staff estimated the figure was 60%. Lower-performing facilities tended to estimate at least 20% of patients were treated promptly, yet none were. Reuters (07/22)

8. FirstCare Health Plans Names Two New Key Executives

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015

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9. Medical group uses best-practice library to improve care, reduce costs

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 27, 2015

Physician-owned Crystal Run Healthcare in New York created a best-practice library using clinical guidelines and expert opinion to improve patient care and reduce costs, according to this post. The practice's efforts to reduce variations in care began with a pilot program for diagnosing diabetes and then expanded to other departments, resulting in 15 additional diagnoses being chosen for the development of best-practice guidelines. Health Affairs Blog (07/23)

10. CT scans can cause DNA damage, cell death, study finds

AHIP Solutions SmartBrief | Jul 23, 2015

A study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging found that computed tomography scans are associated with DNA damage, although cells also initiate repair mechanisms, and sometimes cellular death. The findings come from 67 patients who had heart CT scans. The team found that scans using the lowest radiation dose did not adversely affect the cells of healthy patients, and they recommend practitioners minimize use of radiation when possible. HealthDay News (07/22)

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