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January 3, 2013
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Transforming Health Care from the Inside Out

  First Focus 
  • Study: Most ambulatory services remain overused
    Most services in the ambulatory environment, including complete blood count and electrocardiogram testing in general exams, remain overused, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study reviewed data on tests from 1999 to 2009. The study, however, found improvement in several underuse measures, including antithrombotic therapy for atrial fibrillation and the use of aspirin. Modern Medicine/Medical Economics (12/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Practice Management 
  • PI CME model focuses on quality improvement
    As the nation moves to a pay-for-performance health care system, experts say demand will grow for Performance Improvement Continuing Medical Education, which allows doctors to compare patient outcomes with national benchmarks and make measurable improvements to care. "For a patient whose physician is engaging in PI CME, it ensures more systematic, evidence-based care," said Mindi McKenna, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians' CME division. American Medical News (free content) (12/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • More docs are likely to leave Medicare in 2013
    Many frustrated physicians are likely to abandon Medicare this year over its unpredictable funding despite the decision to delay for one year a cut in Medicare payments for doctors, according to medical associations and physicians. "The Medicare program has become unreliable and its instability undermines efforts by physicians to implement new health care delivery models that stand to improve value for seniors and other beneficiaries through better care coordination, chronic disease management, and keeping patients healthy," the American Medical Association told doctors. Forbes (1/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Doctor-patient communication plays role in drug adherence
    Doctors who establish a good, trusting relationship with patients may be able to help improve adherence to prescriptions, a study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests. Data on 9,377 patients using blood glucose, blood pressure or cholesterol drugs showed 30% may not have been following prescribed directions for medication use, but that number fell to 4% to 6% among patients who reported having better communication with their physicians. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (12/31) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  E-Health Watch 
  Products & Innovation 
  • HIT firm designs patient simulator to help medical students
    An interactive simulator for medical students, dubbed i-Human Patient Simulator, was unveiled by health IT firm i-Human Patients. Students can use the tool to evaluate a simulated patient's condition by working from a series of questions and getting further information based on the responses, as well as offer a series of tests. The interactive program will also help students read X-rays easily. (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Orion Health launches HIE app, mobile tool to boost patient care
    Orion Health has launched an application and platform that can be used by providers to boost patient care. Physicians can use the Orion Health Mobile application to access health information exchanges and see patients' historical data, while hospitals can use the Mobile Enablement Platform to create and modify apps to help them deliver improved clinical care. eWeek (12/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Policy & Reform Spotlight 
  • Medicare should adopt private-sector incentive strategies, GAO says
    CMS should reward doctors for improving performance and meeting quality goals and should adjust payment more quickly in an effort to move Medicare from a fee-for-service system to one based on outcomes, a Government Accountability Office report suggests. The GAO recommends rewarding performance improvement based on nationally recognized standards rather than penalizing low quality. MedPage Today (free registration) (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  ACC News 
  • Congress averts fiscal cliff; physician payments stabilized through 2013
    After months of watching to see how Congress would navigate the so-called "fiscal cliff," the wait is finally over. After lengthy negotiations, the House on Jan. 1 passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, averting tax increases and spending cuts from simultaneously going into effect. The Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of the bill earlier in the day in a vote of 89-8. The overall outcome of the package is positive for medicine and includes a one-year patch of the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula used to calculate Medicare physician payment. Provisions to qualify registry programs to meet Physician Quality Reporting System reporting requirements and enhance the quality of data needed for new delivery and payment models were also included in the legislation – both of with the ACC was instrumental in developing in conjunction with other medical associations. Get the details. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ACC in Touch Blog highlights College’s top 10 successes in 2012
    ACC President William Zoghbi, MD, FACC, highlights what he believes were the College’s top 10 successes of 2012 in his latest ACC in Touch Blog post. Among the accomplishments: ACC’s launch of a new Lifelong Learning Portfolio, progress toward a collegewide digital strategy, partnerships on patient-focused campaigns like Mended Hearts and Choosing Wisely to help ensure quality CV care, and more. “The past year has been a busy one for the College,” Zoghbi writes, “and I’ve been honored to serve as President.” Read the complete Top 10. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Editor's Note 
Well done is better than well said."
--Benjamin Franklin,
American inventor and statesman

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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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