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November 20, 2012
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Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out

  First Focus 
  • Many post-op complications occur within 30 days of discharge
    An analysis of data on more than 550,000 U.S. surgery patients revealed that 41.5% of all postoperative complications happened within 30 days after hospital discharge. Stanford University researchers reported in the Archives of Surgery that reoperation and mortality rates were higher among patients with post-discharge problems than those without such complications. HealthDay News (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Care coordination important in Medicare bundled pay project
    The amount hospitals spend on post-acute care varies but those that coordinate efforts with primary care physicians and other partners stand to do the best in Medicare's Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors say readmissions are a big part of the variations and highlight the opportunity for post-discharge patient outreach that ensures people schedule timely primary care visits, take their medications and create plans to address problems. MedPage Today (free registration) (11/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Joint Commission names 3 comprehensive stroke centers
    The Joint Commission has awarded its "comprehensive" stroke center designation to three hospitals: Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto, Calif., OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill., and Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa. The designation, which indicates that the centers are capable of handling the most complex cases, could lead to new paramedic protocols that divert some stroke patients from other hospitals. HealthLeaders Media (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Practice Management 
  • Physicians weigh in on ethical dilemmas
    A Medscape survey sheds lights on doctors' views on ethical issues including prescribing a placebo to patients who do not need but are determined to receive treatment: 34% of responding physicians said that practice is acceptable. Forty-eight percent disagreed and 18% said “it depends.” Researchers also found 32% of physicians said they would dismiss a nonadherent patient or one who overuses resources, while 33% said they would not. Modern Physician (free registration) (11/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  E-Health Watch 
  • Poll finds 50% increase in EMR use among U.S. physicians
    A Health Affairs survey showed a 50% increase in EMR adoption among primary care doctors in the U.S., although use is outpaced by that of some other countries where EMR use is nearly universal. Researchers also found the capability for electronic sharing of patient data is mostly found in bigger practices and ones that are part of integrated health systems. (11/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AHRQ offers 10 recommendations for developing consumer health IT
    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, recognizing the rising interest among patients in health IT, has issued a report outlining 10 ways for developers to improve the usability of those technologies. These include ensuring that members of the HIT design team have relevant skill sets, researching customers and markets, and taking HIT-related privacy and safety issues into account. Government Health IT online (11/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Products & Innovation 
  • Epocrates unveils iPad drug data app
    Epocrates recently unveiled an iPad version of its iPhone drug data application that enables doctors to effectively search the firm's drug database, examine drug interactions and compare different drugs at the same time. Future versions of the app might be capable of backing customized dashboards for users in various health specialties, said Epocrates CEO Andy Hurd. (11/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Policy & Reform Spotlight 
  • Shortages remain despite regulatory, industry actions
    Drug shortages have prompted a presidential order, congressional hearings and promises of improved communication from makers of generic drugs. About 150 new shortages have been prevented, according to the FDA. "We're seeing real change in the number of shortages that we're able to recognize early," FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said. However, the shortages are not going away because a drug tends to remain scarce once it becomes scarce, said Erin Fox, who tracks drug supplies at the University of Utah. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ACC News 
  • New clinical documents on SIHD and Troponin
    On Nov. 19, the ACC Foundation, in partnership with several other medical specialty societies, released comprehensive guidelines for Stable Ischemic Heart Disease. The guidelines present an extensive assessment of the evidence and key issues involved in the diagnosis, risk assessment, treatment and follow up of known or suspected SIHD and recommend a patient-centered approach to the diagnosis and management of SIHD. In addition, last week the ACCF released the first Expert Consensus Document on Practical Clinical Considerations in the Interpretation of Troponin Elevations. Developed in collaboration with other leading professional societies, it is the first comprehensive consensus document outlining clinical considerations for ordering and interpreting tests for troponin. Visit for more information about each of the new documents. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ACC efforts lead to passage of landmark global NCD targets by WHO
    The World Health Organization recently established nine health targets designed to combat non-communicable diseases worldwide. These targets include salt intake, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, physical inactivity, diabetes/obesity, blood pressure control, and improvements on drug therapy to prevent heart disease and stroke. The passage of these targets follows the declaration of the need for global control and prevention of NCDs at the first ever United Nations Summit on NCDs last September. The ACC has played a pivotal role in the development of a plan for the global campaign to combat NCDs. Learn more about the targets and the ACC’s efforts. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
  • SmartBrief will not publish Thursday
    In observance of Thanksgiving in the U.S., SmartBrief will not be published Thursday, Nov. 22. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
A good man with a good conscience doesn't walk so fast."
--Georg Büchner,
German writer

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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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