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December 20, 2012
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Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out

  First Focus 
  • Report: Most states unprepared for health emergencies
    Only five states met eight of the 10 key measures for public emergency preparedness, according to an annual report released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Researchers found that 35 states, along with Washington, D.C., got a score of six or lower, with Kansas and Montana each receiving the lowest score of three. HealthDay News (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • 2012's innovations in health care quality
    Improved bedside manner among physicians, faster heart attack treatments and better emergency department monitoring are among recent changes in medical care improving patients' health and experience, according to this report. Patient access to physicians' notes and tools to cut hospital infection risk were also cited. The Wall Street Journal (12/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Practice Management 
  • Study emphasizes patient-centered approach, health IT in ACOs
    Data from a Commonwealth Fund report showed that the hospital-based organizations researchers examined were "modestly" prepared to move to accountable care, with patient-centered organizations and those well versed in health IT deployment showing the greatest success in the ACO transition. Researchers also stressed the importance of health IT tools that allow "integration of disparate data, analysis of data across a patient population, stratification of financial and clinical risk in the population, and measurement of the impact of targeted interventions." Healthcare Informatics online (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Patient-centered programs may boost doctor-patient communication
    Health care providers and patients who took part in patient-centered programs attained improvements in patient satisfaction, health status and the medical consultation process, according to a review in The Cochrane Library. The results suggest providers "can acquire skills to enhance their communication with patients about their concerns and treatment options," said Drs. Francesca Dwamena and Robert Smith, the review authors. Health Behavior News Service (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  E-Health Watch 
  Products & Innovation 
  • Care coordination services provider unveils patient discharge tool
    Clarity Health has unveiled an online tool, dubbed Emergency Department Discharge Notification, that will inform case managers and physicians when their patients are being discharged from the hospital. The tool, which is intended to boost patient outcomes, will also enable doctors to monitor the care of patients after their hospitalization. eWeek (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Policy & Reform Spotlight 
  • Obama administration calls for resolution to SGR problem
    The Obama administration is calling for a permanent solution for Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula, along with $400 billion in health care cuts, sources said. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the White House proposed a plan with $1.3 trillion in new revenues and $850 billion in net spending cuts. Boehner, however, said a permanent fix to the SGR formula may not be imminent. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (12/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ACC News 
  • Working together to understand and fix the flawed payment system
    In a recent blog post, chair-elect of the Interventional Scientific Council Stephen R. Ramee, MD, FACC, talks about “the 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which continues the CMS' campaign to reduce payments for complex procedures and diagnostic tests in order to redirect resources to other services. Congress’s inability to fix the Sustainable Growth Rate has meant a decline in real terms in the resources our nation devotes to paying for the physician services Medicare patients need and deserve.” Read more about how this is affecting cardiologists on the ACC in Touch Blog. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Keep your patients heart-healthy this holiday season
    Check out the ACC’s CardioSmart Facebook page for heart-healthy tips this holiday season. Don’t miss patient fact sheets on the benefits of exercise in improving heart health; healthy meal guides for children and adults; and more. Also, don’t miss the info-graphic which contains tips and tools to help keep your patients on track into the New Year and beyond. In addition, the CardioSmartTXT “QUIT” program is a great resource for patients trying to quit smoking in the New Year. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."
--Nathaniel Hawthorne,
American author

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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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