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January 4, 2013
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News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

  Top Story 
  • Provide better end-of-life care, even if it is not cheaper
    Hospital costs for dying patients vary widely and some savings may be possible, but studies have not identified specific changes that would significantly reduce spending on end-of-life care, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in this New York Times opinion piece. Still, he says, there are good reasons for improving end-of-life care, and that requires better training for physicians and nurses and it means every hospital must offer inpatient and outpatient palliative care. Also, hospice eligibility should be based on patients' needs, not an unreliable estimate of how close they are to the end of life. The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Opinionator blog (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Palliative & Hospice Care Update  
  • HF patients confuse palliative care, hospice, study shows
    Interviews with late-stage heart failure patients showed some were not aware of available palliative care services and confused palliative care with hospice, University of Rochester researchers reported in the journal Heart and Lung. Nearly every patient who did work with a palliative care team said it had a positive impact. MedWire News (U.K.) (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report lists ways to manage dementia without drugs
    Johns Hopkins University researchers identified six ways to manage behavioral issues in dementia patients without using drugs. The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association includes screening for and describing problematic behaviors, identifying underlying causes, developing a treatment plan that targets modifiable triggers, assessing the effectiveness of nondrug interventions, and monitoring the development of new issues. Medscape (free registration) (12/27) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Patient & Family Perspective  
  • PREPARE is launched to guide people in end-of-life care planning
    The new interactive website PREPARE gives people the skills to have successful end-of-life care discussions, Dr. Rebecca Sudore of the University of California, San Francisco, writes. PREPARE uses videos to show not only the "what" but the "how" of advance planning, and it is appropriate for people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. She said more Americans are open to talking about important life issues in medical care but they "just need a road map." GeriPal blog (1/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Training gives family caregivers confidence to help loved ones
    Caregiver training was a "comforting experience" for Jane Settembre of Green Tree, Pa., who helped care for her dying father. "We were struggling and (the class) put it all into place for us," she said. Maryanne Fello, director of the West Penn Allegheny Health System's Forbes Hospice, said the training is valuable. "The goal is to help families not be afraid and to help them see what's ahead," Fello said. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (1/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Medical Research  
  Health Policy & Practice  
  • Idaho hospice settles with HHS in HIPAA security case
    A settlement agreement of $50,000 was reached between Hospice of North Idaho and HHS' Office for Civil Rights involving the HIPAA security rule for smaller data breaches. The incident occurred when a laptop computer was lost in 2010. "This action sends a strong message to the health care industry that, regardless of size, covered entities must take action and will be held accountable for safeguarding their patients' health information," HHS official Leon Rodriguez said. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Does greater spending lead to better outcomes?
    An analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed 21 of the 61 studies reviewed found a connection between higher health care spending and better patient outcomes. However, researchers noted that 18 studies linked higher spending on care to worse outcomes, while 22 studies were unable to document a clear relationship between spending and quality. Reuters (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Generic opioids gain momentum against brand-name drugmakers
    Brand-name drugmakers behind the narcotic painkillers Opana and OxyContin are losing their bid to prevent the introduction of the drugs' cheaper generic versions. Most of the bills that would prohibit pharmacists from dispensing generics that aren't tamper-resistant when a tamper-resistant form is prescribed have failed partly because they are opposed by pharmacists. "We understand the value in developing appropriate abuse-resistant technology and we want to find a way of incentivizing that," FDA official Dr. Douglas Throckmorton said. "But we also understand the value of generics for patients." The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Trends & Technology  
  • 2013 will see more HIEs gaining ground, experts say
    The increased focus on improving care quality at lower costs will drive the development of health information exchanges this year, particularly in areas where the need for data sharing previously was not apparent. The new year also will usher in more standardization and a greater focus on breaking down silos and proving the clinical and business value of HIEs, experts say. Government Health IT online (1/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  AAHPM News  
  • How can you stay inspired and up to date on the latest advances in hospice and palliative care?
    Join the more than 2,400 hospice and palliative care professionals who meet once each year to gain knowledge directly from leaders in the field at the 2013 AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly. Learn the latest scientific advances. Share best practices. Build long-lasting relationships. Learn more. 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, Prognostication and many more. Learn more. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Editor's Note 
Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience."
--Georges-Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon,
French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist and encyclopedia author

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