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January 17, 2013
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Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out

  First Focus 
  • UnitedHealth, Mayo partner in new research initiative
    UnitedHealth Group and Mayo Clinic are partners in a research initiative called Optum Labs that will analyze data from millions of health insurance claims and medical records for insights on best outcomes in health care. Initial projects include improving how hepatitis C is diagnosed and studying the cost-effectiveness of certain medical devices. Data will be shared with other health care organizations. The Wall Street Journal (1/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Checklists benefit operating room teams in emergencies
    Using a surgery checklist in operating rooms during emergencies resulted in a 74% lower risk of not performing life-saving steps, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The failure rate when surgical teams used checklists for life-saving measures was 6% compared with 23% without the lists, study author Atul Gawande said. HealthDay News (1/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
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  Practice Management 
  • Docs spend substantial time with unresolved malpractice cases
    The average physician spends more than 10% of his or her career practicing with at least one open medical malpractice claim, according to research in the journal Health Affairs. Neurosurgeons and cardiothoracic surgeons spend the most time with open claims, at 27% and 20%, respectively, with cardiologists coming in just above average at 11%. "Claims that did not result in payment accounted for more than 70 percent of the time physicians spend with open claims," the researchers wrote. (1/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Facilitators, care managers may help improve primary care quality
    A report in the Annals of Family Medicine stressed that facilitators and care managers may help primary care teams advance their quality improvement efforts. Facilitators may oversee QI activities, provide staff with data management training and increase capacity for QI, while care managers may help evaluate patients' needs, provide information and promote self-management, researchers noted. (1/16) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study assesses opinions on appropriate social media use for docs
    A survey of medical board directors showed 81% of respondents agreed that presenting misleading data about clinical outcomes online warranted investigation, while 79% said use of patient images without consent was worthy of investigation. There was less agreement about investigation of scenarios such as showing use of alcohol without intoxication (40%) and use of derogatory speech toward patients (46%). The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, highlight the need for more education about social media use, researchers wrote. Modern Physician (free registration) (1/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  E-Health Watch 
  • Patients more likely to get antibiotics with e-visit, study says
    Patients with sinus or urinary tract infections were more likely to be prescribed antibiotics during an online e-visit than during an in-person office visit, according to a study that compared the two treatment models at four primary care practices. The report in JAMA Internal Medicine estimated that treating UTI patients costs an average of $74 for an e-visit, compared with $93 for an office visit. Reuters (1/15) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Products & Innovation 
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  Policy & Reform Spotlight 
  • Feds indicate flexibility on exchange deadlines
    The White House has given states more time to demonstrate readiness if they are setting up their own insurance exchanges or partnering with the federal government under the Affordable Care Act. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was initially scheduled to determine whether states were ready to establish exchanges at the start of the year, but said she would extend or waive the deadline for any states that indicated interest in establishing an exchange or regulating policies sold through a federally run marketplace. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ACC News 
  • Recent ACC in Touch blog post sets the facts straight on the guideline development process
    In a recent ACC in Touch Blog post, Jeffrey L. Anderson, MD, FACC, chair, Jonathan L. Halperin, MD, FACC, chair-elect and Alice K. Jacobs, MD, FACC, immediate past chair of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, address recent questions of whether clinical guidelines meet new standards set by the Institute of Medicine for developing trustworthy practice guidelines. They note that the ACCF/AHA Guideline Methodology Summit report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in December summarizes changes to the ACCF/AHA guideline development process, which are designed to facilitate development of timely clinical practice guidelines that meet the new standards. Read more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Are you navigating 2013 coding changes correctly?
    The final 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule included significant changes to cardiovascular coding, especially for percutaneous coronary intervention, pacemaker and ablation codes. Additionally, new codes were created for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, percutaneous ventricular assist devices and carotid angiography. Finally, several codes were bundled for payment. For a complete overview of 2013 coding changes, visit Stay on top of these changes and efficiently and accurately report cardiovascular services and procedures with the updated 2013 CPT® Reference Guide for Cardiovascular Coding. Co-published by the American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation, this all-inclusive coding and reimbursement resource is designed to help cardiovascular professionals select the appropriate codes for diagnostic and therapeutic radiological and cardiovascular procedures. It also provides a complete overview of the heart structures, vessels and conduction system, including cardiovascular basics and common ailments. Visit or call the ACC Resource Center at 800-2534636, ext. 5603 to order your copy. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Admiration is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object; unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries, and kept alive by a perpetual succession of miracles rising into view."
--Joseph Addison,
British writer and politician

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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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