News & Commentary

Briefly Noted July/August 2019


The Baltimore score (B score), a novel machine-learning model developed by researchers at the University of Maryland Medical System, may help hospitals better predict which discharged patients are likely to be readmitted. Using the new predictive score, researchers analyzed the data of more than 14,000 patients from three hospitals to determine their likelihood of being readmitted. The research, published in JAMA Network Open, may help to improve patient care and reduce the number of hospital readmissions. Almost 20% of U.S. patients are readmitted to the hospital, increasing the risk for harm—such as infections, falls, and delirium—as well as increasing expenses.

Allison Yarrow makes it clear: It’s not the woman’s fault. Lay the blame for the rising rates of cesarean sections at the foot of hospitals and doctors, Yarrow wrote in an opinion piece in the New York Times. Yarrow, an author currently at work on a book about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, writes that “it isn’t women’s choices that have driven the high rate” of C-sections. (In the United States, 32% of live births are by C-section; it should be between 10% and 15%.) One problem is that many hospitals and doctors still use the Friedman Curve, created in the ’50s and which has since been disproven. “According to Dr. Friedman’s study, active labor began sooner, and took less time, than it actually does today,” writes Yarrow.

Physicians treating cancer patients who desperately need experimental drugs will now have an FDA hot line to call to try to facilitate that process, the Wall Street Journal reports. Project Facilitate will review requests to allow the use of medications that the FDA has not approved for marketing.

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