News & Commentary

Briefly Noted October 2014

Frank Diamond

Having electronic health records (EHRs) does not necessarily mean that doctors will use them enough or well, but providing financial incentives and education will certainly help, according to a study in the journal Medical Care. Researchers looked at 143 physician practices and found that performance improved significantly for those who were given incentives to use EHRs.

If you want your disease management program to work, let nurses help to define the protocols, implies a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Nurse-led efforts produced impressive gains in HbA1c, blood pressure, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Diabetes rates will soar in the next few decades, with 40% of Americans expected to develop type 2 diabetes during their adult lives, according data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Expect higher incidents for some minorities, with 50% projected for black women and Hispanic men and women, says a study published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology

Enrollees with chronic conditions who also have mental health problems account for a huge portion of Florida’s Medicaid costs, Kaiser Health News reports. The state is the first to design a Medicaid benefits package exclusively for mental health.

Here’s proof that there’s more to patient care than medicine and treatment: Context means a lot as well. Sixty percent of the elderly treated in emergency departments are malnourished or at risk of being malnourished, according to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Patients undergoing hip surgery are more likely to have shorter stays if they are given regional, rather than general, anesthesia, according to a study in JAMA. Researchers looked at about 57,000 patients who underwent the surgery between July 2004 and December 2011. There was no difference in the 30-day mortality rate between the two groups.

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