Some of the news stories that caught our eye at AffirmHealth for the week of March 18th:
March 19, 2018
Bedside Quantitative Sensory Testing May Reliably Assess Sensory Profiles in Neuropathic Pain
Clinical Pain Advisor
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: The investigators suggest that the development of a “standardized, validated, easy-to-administer, bedside sensory testing battery that could be used in a variety of settings to assess patients' sensory profiles” may be helpful for patients with neuropathic pain.
According to study coordinator Alexandra Buliteanu, of the Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, “The availability of validated bedside QST that uses inexpensive, easily handled, and portable equipment may facilitate research to a wider variety of patient population and therefore progress research in chronic neuropathic pain.”
Find the full article here: Neuropathic Pain Sensory Profiles Assessment With Bedside Quantitative Sensory Testing
March 19, 2018
Why Process Is U.S. Health Care’s Biggest Problem
Harvard Business Review
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: Health care technology is very effective when it is used to support a well-designed care process. The design of new standard care processes need to be owned and driven by the people doing the work, not by some outside consulting firm that brings a 100-page playbook as the answer. As the frontline workers create new designs, they need certain systems that can help them deliver the improved care. Examples of these systems include electronic alerts for medication interactions and reminders to ensure all steps in the care process for the pneumonia patient are followed.
Find the full article here: Why Process is U.S. Health Care's Biggest Problem
Holding Drugmakers Accountable for the Opioid Crisis
March 18, 2018
AffirmHealth Key Take Away: Hundreds of communities in the U.S. are suing the makers and distributors of opioid painkillers, arguing that the companies should help pay the enormous costs of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history. Since 2000, more than 340,000 Americans have died from overdoses of opioids, which include prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. The financial toll has been estimated at $500 billion in 2015, according to the latest White House figures, which include deaths, health care, lost productivity and criminal justice costs. But can the drug industry be legally compelled to help pay for the damage?Rebecca Haffajee, a lawyer and professor of public health at the University of Michigan, answered questions about past cases against opioid drugmakers and the latest lawsuits.
Find the full article here: Q & A: Holding Drugmakers For The Accountable Opioid Crisis
HEALTH & SCIENCE
States: Federal Money For Opioid Crisis A Small Step Forward
March 25, 2018
The Washington Post
AffirmHealth Key Take Aways: The federal government will spend a record $4.6 billion this year to fight the nation’s deepening opioid crisis, which killed 42,000 Americans in 2016. But some advocates say the funding included in the spending plan the president signed Friday is not nearly enough to establish the kind of treatment system needed to reverse the crisis. A White House report last fall put the cost to the country of the overdose epidemic at more than $500 billion a year. Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat who served on President Donald Trump’s opioid commission last year, said there are clear solutions but that Congress needs to devote more money to them.
Find the full story here: States: Federal Money For Opioid Crisis A Small Step Forward
The Overdoes Prevention and Patient Safety7 Act: What’s The Story?
March 24, 2018
American Council on Science and Health
AffirmHealth Key Take Aways: In 1975 Congress became concerned about the confidentiality of patient records concerning alcohol and drug abuse and instituted regulatory safeguards. Congress’s initial legislation, the Public Health Service Act, attempted to ensure that a patient receiving treatment for a substance use disorder is not made more vulnerable than an individual with a substance use disorder who does not seek treatment; by separating substance abuse records from our health records; and requiring a separate written consent from the patient to access them. While the regulation has been amended over time (most extensively in 1987) to enhance confidentiality, the use of electronic medical records, the increasing use of performance metrics and the pressing need for coordinated care made the current safeguards a barrier in providing care for patients and guiding policy.
H.R. 3545, the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act amends these regulations and is being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The changes proposed clarify the definitions used in the current protections, alter the written consent process and further extend the protection of patient confidentiality in criminal proceedings.
Find the full article here: Overdose Prevention And Patient Safety Act: What’s The Story?
Opioid Painkiller Is Top Prescription in 11 States
March 22, 2018
U.S. News & World Report
AffirmHealth Key Take Aways: Though opioid prescriptions appear to be on the decline, Vicodin and Norco remain popular, especially in the South. In Tennessee, however, Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid addiction, is even more popular. Oddly, Adderall and generic versions of the medicine for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder are the most prescribed drugs in South Carolina.
Find the full article here: Opioid Painkiller Is Top Prescription In 11 States