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December 12, 2012
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  Top Story 
  • Study examines ways to improve vaccination rates
    Allowing nonphysician staff to administer vaccinations is one quality improvement strategy to increase vaccination rates for influenza and pneumonia, Canadian researchers reported in the Annals of Family Medicine. The study found clinician reminders and patient education, in particular, led to increases in pneumococcal vaccinations while audit and feedback were better for raising influenza vaccination rates. AAFP News Now (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Clinical News 
  • U.S. life expectancy increases, but so does chronic illness
    Data from the United Health Foundation's 2012 America's Health Rankings showed that Americans' life expectancy increased by about 1.7 years between 2000 and 2009, while the number of premature deaths and deaths from cardiovascular disease and cancer declined since 1990. However, researchers found that the country has an adult obesity rate of 28%, a diabetes rate of almost 10% and a hypertension rate higher than 30%. Reuters (12/11) , USA Today (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Even light smoking raises sudden cardiac death risk among women
    Light-to-moderate cigarette smoking was associated with nearly double the risk of sudden cardiac death among women, with long-term smokers at greater risk, data from the Nurses' Health Study revealed. However, smoking cessation helped women with heart disease lower their risk of sudden cardiac death to mirror that of a nonsmoker within 20 years, researchers reported in Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. (12/11) , WebMD (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Rise in vision impairment coincides with more diabetes cases
    A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found a 20% increase in the number of vision loss cases in the U.S. in less than a decade, coinciding with an increase in the number of people who have had diabetes for at least 10 years. While the study didn't show a causal relationship, other risk factors for nonrefractive vision loss became less prevalent over the study period. Reuters (12/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Long-term management of sickle cell disease needs improvement
    Young sickle cell disease patients become more dependent on emergency care services for acute conditions linked to the disease as they enter adulthood, researchers found. Hospitalization rates were higher among sickle cell patients than the general population, and they faced substantially greater overall costs. The findings were presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • Study: Primary care docs provide better diabetes care
    Diabetes patients who visited a primary care physician were more likely to receive medication intensification and lifestyle counseling compared with those who saw other medical providers in a primary care practice, according to a study in Diabetes Care. "With growing focus on a team-based approach to practicing medicine, this finding should help guide the development of new models of primary care, especially in the care of diabetes patients," said study senior author Dr. Alexander Turchin. HealthDay News (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Utah health system uses online tool to measure patient satisfaction
    University of Utah Health Care is using a Web-based tool for patients to rate their satisfaction with their doctors by answering nine questions. "It’s clear patients and consumers making health care decisions want online access to trusted reviews from their peers. The ratings give visitors a powerful tool to make informed decisions about our physicians and providers," said Dr. Thomas Miller, the system's chief medical officer. Healthcare Informatics online (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Legislation 
  • Industry, patient advocates oppose more Medicare rebates
    The federal government should not require drugmakers to extend more rebates for low-income Medicare enrollees, a group of more than 350 business, drug industry and patient groups said in a letter to members of Congress. Some research has found that Medicare premiums would rise if more rebates are required. "In a Medicare system that is fraught with inefficiencies, Part D has set the standard for delivering better value at a lower cost," the letter said. Healthcare Finance News (12/12) , (subscription required)/HealthBeat (12/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Professional Issues & Trends 
  • Neb. faces physician shortage, aging doctors, growing demand
    Nebraska must deal with a shortage of primary care providers in rural areas, an aging patient and physician population, and the possibility that expanding Medicaid coverage could overwhelm the health care system with new patients, according to physicians, policy experts and lawmakers. State programs to attract physicians to rural areas only add a few new primary care doctors each year. Kearney Hub (Neb.)/The Associated Press (12/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Inside the AAFP 
  • CME, MC-FP Deadlines Approaching
    The Dec. 31 deadline to earn and report CME credits required for AAFP membership re-election is fast approaching. In addition, some family physicians are facing the deadline to complete the American Board of Family Medicine's (ABFM's) Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) program. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Learn more about AAFP ->Home Page  |  AAFP News Now  |  AAFP CareerLink  |  AAFP CME Center  |  Connect to the AAFP

Thinking is like loving and dying. Each of us must do it for himself."
--Josiah Royce,
American philosopher

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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to AAFP members and other health care professionals about family medicine topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of family physicians who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in AAFP SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American Academy of Family Physicians. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the AAFP and its policies, positions or relationships. For clarification on AAFP positions and policies, we refer you to

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