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January 10, 2013
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Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out

  First Focus 
  • Report: Hospital observation units could reduce HF admissions
    Observation units or two-level emergency department patient evaluations could help hospitals reduce admissions of heart failure patients from the ED, according to physicians writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The authors said up to half of heart failure patients could be safely discharged from the ED after a brief observation period. One physician commented in an accompanying editorial that observations are exempt from Medicare penalties for high 30-day readmission rates. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Practice Management 
  • Doctor groups vary in Medicare quality reporting compliance
    Medicare data show just 23.7% of radiologists and 16.3% of other specialists overall met Medicare quality reporting requirements that would exempt them from penalties scheduled to begin in 2015, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. Researchers at the Neiman Health Policy Institute said some specialties did better than others, including cardiologists who had a 28.6% compliance rate and emergency medicine physicians, who were at 56.4%. MedPage Today (free registration) (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Doctor visits dropped during Great Recession in U.S.
    Americans visited their doctors' offices less often and filled fewer prescriptions when the Great Recession was in full swing in 2008 and 2009 compared with before the economic downturn, a study showed. Following the recession, blacks had fewer hospital stays than before, while hospitalization rates remained flat for Latinos and whites. The findings, based on data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, appear in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Booster Shots blog (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  E-Health Watch 
  • How to refine medical error reporting
    The U.S. health system spends about $17.29 billion in avoidable expenses each year because of medical errors, many of which go unreported. This article offers three steps to enhance the way medical errors are reported: integrating medical error reporting into EHR systems, adopting mobile technologies that include ways to capture and report medical error data, and using data analytics. Government Health IT online (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • High-intensity EHR help may boost physician quality measures
    Physicians in small-practice settings and underserved areas who received high-intensity technical assistance with EHR adoption attained better scores on selected quality measures than those who did not get the assistance, a study in Health Affairs found. The findings may aid federal regional extension centers that help providers adopt EHRs in choosing where and how to spend their resources, the study's lead author said. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (1/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ICU study shows many physicians copy and paste into EHRs
    A Case Western Reserve University study that included 2,068 electronic patient progress reports from residents and attending physicians at a Cleveland hospital ICU showed many copied and pasted old and possibly out-of-date information into electronic health records. The study in Critical Care Medicine said how often notes were copied was not related to patient characteristics, reason for ICU admission or illness severity. Reuters (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Products & Innovation 
  • New packaging, labeling might improve Rx adherence
    Blister packaging labeled with the days of the week, pill bottle caps that send alerts and sound alarms when they are not opened on time, and clearer patient instructions are among the methods intended to increase prescription adherence. Patients who don't take their medications as prescribed are at higher risk for complications and expensive hospitalizations, and CMS reimbursement to health plans depends in part on refill rates for cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes drugs. The Wall Street Journal (1/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Policy & Reform Spotlight 
  • 5 options for states to build foundation for ACOs, medical homes
    Almost every state is exploring policy frameworks aimed at addressing care access, coverage, quality, cost control and delivery system transformation, says John Colmers of Johns Hopkins Medicine. To help lay the groundwork for accountable care organizations and medical homes, Colmers recommends that states assume the roles of regulators, data holders, purchasers, market enablers and conveners. Government Health IT online (1/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report suggests how U.S. could save $2 trillion in health costs
    A Commonwealth Fund report said the U.S. health care system could save about $2 trillion over a decade by adopting annual spending targets and getting government programs and private insurers to increase efforts to provide cost-effective care. Commonwealth Fund president Dr. David Blumenthal said the idea could gain traction in deficit-reduction negotiations as an alternative to cutting entitlement programs. Reuters (1/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ACC News 
  • 68-year-old male with multiple CAD risk factors to be discussed during next Complex Coronary Case
    The next Complex Coronary Cases LIVE demo from Mt. Sinai Medical Center will broadcast live on Tue., Jan. 15, at 8 a.m. and will focus on a 68-year-old male with multiple CAD risk factors, CCS Class III angina and low risk MPI who was initially presented on Dec. 28, 2012. A catheterization was conducted that revealed three vessel, left main disease and hyperkinetic LV function (SYNTAX score 33). The patient was provided with a heart team consultation and CABG was strongly recommended; however the patient declined. Join Samin K. Sharma, MD, FACC, Annapoorna S. Kini, MD, FACC, and Sameer K. Mehta, MD, FACC as they perform a complex high-risk PCI of unprotected left main bifurcation. Watch the live case on Jan. 15! LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • CCCOA awarded grant for proposal to increase FIT participation in geriatric cardiology
    The Association of Specialty Professors has awarded the American College of Cardiology’s Council on Cardiovascular Care of Older Adults with a $25,000 grant to host a retreat in geriatric cardiology for FITs during ACC.13. The retreat will provide Fellows with additional insights, skills, support, and career and professional development in an attempt to cultivate future investigators and leaders in the field of geriatric cardiology. Six sessions will take place at ACC.13 that will focus on different areas of geriatric cardiology. In addition, the grant will establish a Fellows Working Group to foster the development of leadership skills, engage FITs directly in the activities of the Geriatric Cardiology Member Sections on an ongoing basis, and promote liaisons with other section working groups. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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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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