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September 21, 2012
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Lingering pain is a problem for cancer patients, survey shows
    A survey of 3,000 cancer patients found almost two-thirds continued to have pain or were taking pain medications a month after oncology visits, according to a study in Journal of Clinical Oncology, writes Dr. Pauline Chen in this blog post. While physicians have focused more on pain in response to past findings that cancer patients don't get enough relief, underestimation of the complexity of pain management may remain an obstacle, researchers said. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Well blog (9/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • Byock: Team care focused on patient preferences is best
    The best care for seriously ill or dying patients comes from teams that focus on an individual's values and preferences and a family's need for support, Dr. Ira Byock, director of palliative medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said during a grand rounds lecture on palliative care. He noted the differences between palliative and hospice care and said advance directives are tools to use in counseling patients about their options. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (N.Y.) (9/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Study considers palliative care options for glioblastoma patients
    Physicians should consider quality of life when deciding whether to use surgery as a palliative treatment for recurrent glioblastoma, as survival rates are similar for patients who have only supportive care, researchers in Italy wrote in the journal Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. Close to half of patients who had surgery experienced a major morbidity, such as a motor deficit, altered consciousness or severe disability. MedWire News (U.K.) (9/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  Medical Research  
  • Oral metastatic prostate cancer drug offers palliative benefits
    The first oral medication approved for metastatic prostate cancer does not cure the disease but does extend survival by about four months compared with a placebo, international researchers reported in the journal Lancet Oncology. In a commentary, Dr. Guru Sonpavde wrote that abiraterone acetate should be considered "palliative in nature." Medscape (free registration) (9/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Senators criticize CMS for Sunshine Act delay
    The Senate Special Committee on Aging criticized the CMS for continuing to delay finalizing Sunshine Act regulations to disclose information about the payments and gifts doctors receive from the health care industry. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he has heard the law is waiting on approval by the White House Office of Management and Budget and will most likely not be finalized before the election. American Medical News (free content) (9/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • WebMD launches an app for people with chronic pain
    WebMD Pain Coach is a free iPhone application that helps people with chronic pain manage their condition and share information with their physicians. People can use the app to keep a journal of lifestyle behaviors that could trigger pain. eWeek (9/20) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • What are the keys to user-friendly EHRs?
    The industry is seeing an increased focus on the usability of EHRs, especially since the EHR certification measures for stage 2 meaningful use require usability testing for the systems. Health IT insiders have identified five factors that they say are key to user-friendly EHRs, starting with making data entry easier. Healthcare IT News (9/17) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Society & Ethics  
  • Inmates say being a hospice volunteer helps them, too
    Convicts in Maine who are hospice volunteers told a conference on the state's aging prison population that their training and service helps them as well as dying inmates. "When you teach people how to care for another human being, for some of us, it's the ultimate in rehabilitation," said Kandyce Powell of the Maine Hospice Council and Center for End-of-Life Care. Bangor Daily News (Maine) (free registration) (9/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • Pharmacomistakes in Hospice and Palliative Medicine
    What are the 10 most commonly occurring medication errors ("pharmacomistakes") seen in end-of-life care? How do you prevent them? How can you correct them? Learn the answers to these and other questions at an upcoming AAHPM webinar with Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • HPM FAST Prognostication
    What do you know of prognostication? Test your knowledge in this new edition that includes 25 questions. Great tool to prepare for the HPM board exam. CMEs are now available. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."
--Victor Kiam,
American businessman

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