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November 30, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Palliative approach reduces ICU services, study shows
    A comprehensive palliative care approach using a multidisciplinary team and clinician feedback reduced the use of ICU services for terminally ill cancer patients, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported. Lead author Dr. Allen Ray Sing Chen said more patients decided against resuscitation and fewer died after prolonged ventilation. Medscape (free registration) (11/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Parkinson's patients need more palliative care, study finds
    Research from King's College London suggests patients with late-stage Parkinson's disease and other motor disorders do not get adequate palliative care services. The study published in PLoS ONE found these patients suffer symptoms of physical and psychological distress similar to late-stage cancer patients and need similar types of palliative services. MedWire News (U.K.) (11/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Hospice study finds many patients OK with exams by students
    A small study of 42 hospice patients in the U.K. found 76% believed it was very or mostly acceptable to be examined by a medical student and 95% said it was OK for students to interview them. The report in BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care showed 17% of patients said it would be fairly difficult for them to decline a request that a medical student provide an exam and 10% said they would feel obliged to consent to it. MedWire News (U.K.) (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Palliative experts say caring for terminally ill takes a toll
    Palliative care experts say physicians who care for terminally ill patients often suffer as well, with frustration and feelings of helplessness because they cannot make people well again. Dr. Michael K. Kearney of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, who told a conference that physicians can develop burnout and compassion fatigue, suggests doctors practice "mindfulness meditation" to help relieve their stress and refocus on their patients. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  Medical Research  
  • Study raises concerns about atypical antipsychotic use
    Four atypical antipsychotic drugs often prescribed off-label to older adults may not be safe or effective, according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego. The study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry looked at the drugs aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine and risperidone and found a high discontinuation rate and no significant improvements. Study authors said the use of these drugs in older patients is a "major clinical dilemma." Medscape (free registration) (11/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Digoxin raises mortality risk in A-fib patients, study finds
    Atrial fibrillation patients who took digoxin had a 41% higher risk of death from all causes than those who didn't take the drug, according to a study of more than 4,000 patients. In addition, digoxin users were 35% more likely to die from cardiovascular causes and 61% more likely to die from arrhythmias than non-users. The findings were published online in the European Heart Journal. HealthDay News (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Study: Medicare's plan to simplify payments boosts spending
    Medicare simplified its fee schedule in 2010 and ended up paying about $40 more per beneficiary, by increasing payments to primary care providers and cutting reimbursements for specialist consultations, researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The goal was to make family physicians and specialists charge for office visits instead of costlier consults, and data show about $6 of every $10 extra that Medicare spent when to family physicians and the rest to specialists. Reuters (11/28) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • Microsoft, NextGen design medication adherence app
    A medication management mobile application called MedicineCabinet was created by Microsoft and NextGen Healthcare Information Systems to allow users to make and update a medications list that incorporates schedule and dosing guidelines. The data stored through the app, which was developed for the Windows 8 operating system and Windows RT tablets, can be exchanged among doctors to boost medication adherence and determine possible drug interactions and inappropriate treatments. Health Data Management (11/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Are you following best practices in your billing and coding?
    Participate in this webinar, sponsored by the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, and learn the best practices in billing and coding for providers in hospice and palliative care, as well as what triggers a billing audit, the difference between billing by time versus complexity, the basics of billing and coding and common pitfalls, and the importance of having a compliance program. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AAHPM webinar recordings
    Learn specific strategies and cutting edge solutions to your most pressing issues, in only an hour. Topics include: Top Ten Pharmacomistakes at End of Life, Regulatory and Compliance Issues, Methadone: A Love/Hate Relationship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, rognostication and many more. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  SmartQuote  
The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief."
--William Shakespeare,
British playwright


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