Best read of the week

Mayo Clinic’s Unusual Challenge: Overhaul a Business That’s Working

Wall Street Journal: The overhaul, called the Mayo Clinic 2020 Initiative, is well past the halfway point, and officials are seeing results of more than 400 projects aimed at squeezing costs and improving quality in services ranging from heart surgery to emergency-room waiting time. (Subscription required; contact MLH Medical Library for full text.)

Additional news media reports on MLH physicians and the health care industry, excerpted from MLH’s daily Morning News Report:

Main Line Health News…

Jefferson, Main Line take ownership stake in Montco surgical hospital

Philadelphia Business Journal: Main Line Health and Jefferson Health are teaming up to take an ownership stake in Physicians Care Surgical Hospital, a 12-bed specialty medical center in western Montgomery County owned by Rothman Institute and Kansas-based NueHealth.

Main Line Health profit margins still strong, but at five-year low

Philadelphia Inquirer: Fitch Ratings said Main Line Health had identified ways to increase revenue and reduce expenses by fiscal 2020 under a program called Performance Excellence 2020. The system’s budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 is expected to include $21 million in benefits from the effort.

Is Rain Keeping You Down? Experts Discuss Ways You Can Cope

KYW Newsradio: Liz Bland, director of The Women’s Emotional Wellness Center at Main Line health suggests moving around. “Work in some exercise, even if it’s just a short period. We know the benefits of exercise,” she said. “Doing some mindful yoga, or making it to the gym if you can, or taking the steps at work as opposed to the steps, just getting some exercise in can be helpful.”

Main Line Banter: Doctors Bernstein following in father’s footsteps

Main Line Suburban Life:  David Bernstein has just resigned after 16 years as system chief of Main Line Health’s Department of Podiatry in order to give more time to his role as director of MLH’s Podiatry Residency Program, a post he also has held for the past 16 years.

Musicians on call

CBS3: WXPN’s Musicians on Call program arrived at Bryn Mawr Hospital, providing the healing powers of music. “It’s great to have the auditorium full of beautiful music,” said BMH President Andi Gilbert. “It creates a more healing environment; the power of music is awesome.” Musicians visit patient rooms, enabling patients to reconnect with the more healthy parts of their bodies.

Dr. Michael Joseph Ryan Jr.

Main Line Media News: Dr. Ryan passed away in the Neuro Cardio Intensive Care unit, under the excellent care of beloved doctors and nurses with whom he worked over his 40 year career as a Cardiologist at Bryn Mawr Hospital. 


Regional Health Care News…

N.J., Pa. sharing prescription data

Philadelphia Inquirer: Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are now fully reciprocal, allowing physicians and pharmacists to check whether patients are doctor-shopping for painkiller prescriptions or picking them up at multiple pharmacies. 


Patient Care News…

Dancing can help sharpen memory for seniors

WHYY: According to a recent study, older participants who danced saw a short-term improvement in the health of their brains’ white matter.

Supervised exercise therapy gets a big boost from Medicare

The Advisory Board: CMS last week announced that Medicare would begin covering supervised exercise therapy for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), citing research showing that such treatment eases leg pain and other symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Gay and Transgender Patients to Doctors: We’ll Tell. Just Ask.

New York Times:  In several studies, doctors and nurses have said they feel uneasy about asking because they don’t want to make patients uncomfortable.

A wrenching choice: Fight cancer or heart problems?

The Advisory Board: Many cancer patients face an unexpected dilemma during treatment: take cancer medication that could possibly damage their heart—or stop taking the medication and run the risk that the cancer will spread.

WHO’s new list of Essential Medicines is out—and it takes aim at antibiotic resistance

The Advisory Board: WHO said it focused its work on 39 essential antibiotics and how they are used to treat 21 of the most common general infections.


Quality and Safety News…

Medical device security: How hospitals must tackle threats

Healthcare Business & Technology: According to a study, most device makers (67%) and healthcare facilities (56%) believe attacks on at least one of their medical devices is likely to occur in the near future.

‘Super Prescribers’ targeted by insurance firm to lower opioid use

LancasterOnline: Aetna identified nearly 1,000 doctors and more than 700 dentists and oral surgeons in 2016 who were prescribing opioids at much higher levels than their peers and sent them letters explaining their practices, calling these medical professionals “super prescribers.”

HHS task force: Healthcare cybersecurity in ‘critical condition’

Healthcare Dive: A recent Carbon Black survey found nearly 70% of consumers would consider leaving their healthcare provider if it was attacked by ransomware.

Legionnaires’ Hiding in Hospital, Nursing Home Plumbing Systems: CDC

HealthDay:  Despite the CDC’s efforts to get health care facilities to develop effective water management programs, more is needed to protect patients from this deadly bacteria, CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said.

Study: Most dementia apps lack a privacy policy

FierceHealthcare: Researchers with Harvard Medical School reviewed 125 iPhone apps built for dementia patients and found that 72 collected user data. Of those apps that collected data, just 33 had an available privacy policy, according to results published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.


Health Care Business News…

APRNs Improve Quality Outcomes, Cost of Care

HealthLeaders Media: A systemic review of 71 studies published from 1990 to 2009 found that clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners produced quality, financial, and clinical outcomes that were equal to or better than physicians.

Demand for nurse practitioners eclipses most doctors

Healthcare Dive: Fueling demand for nurse practitioners and physician assistant are the move to value-based care and population health, as well as the rise of retail clinics and consumer demand for more convenient, lower-cost care. 

How a baking soda shortage became a health-care crisis

USA Today: The crisis is directly connected to troubles at a supplier of pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer, but it has rippled through the medical sector, which relies on it to treat various conditions including drug overdoses and acidosis. The shortages also could affect patients facing severe renal disease, diabetes, severe dehydration and cardiac arrest.

For first time, most physicians don’t own a stake in their practice, AMA says

The Advisory Board: AMA found 47.1 percent of patient care physicians reported having a membership stake in their main practices. AMA data show that percentage has steadily declined in recent years, falling from 53.2 percent in 2012 to 50.8 percent in 2014.

4 strategies for providers to collect on outstanding patient balances

Healthcare Dive: As deductibles are rising, patients are taking on more financial responsibility for their medical care. Providers need to recognize how to collect outstanding balances as this trend continues.

4 steps to more satisfying clinician onboarding

HealthLeaders Media: When it comes to clinician retention and the hefty cost of recruiting a new provider, the onboarding process offers a one-time opportunity to establish rapport, linking a clinician and his or her family to not just the healthcare organization but also to the community.

Primary Care Compensation on the Rise; Family Physicians Up 17%

HealthLeaders Media: A Merritt Hawkins salary survey suggest that family physicians and other primary care specialists are finally cashing in on more than a decade of high demand. 

Study finds huge ED markups for uninsured patients—but ED docs say, not so fast

The Advisory Board: According to Reuters, hospitals often charge uninsured patients more than Medicare beneficiaries for providing the same care. However, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) critiqued the study findings, with ACEP President Rebecca Parker saying Medicare is not an accurate benchmark for establishing fair market value.

TMF: Patient portals can reduce phone calls

Healthcare Dive: The paper outlines potential ways to optimize portal use, including bidirectional communications such as enabling direct communication with providers via secure web messaging. 

‘I am the other side of the opiate crisis’

Philadelphia Inquirer: A person with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy writes, “Our pain medicine is being taken from us. We have been treated without compassion, humiliated, stripped of dignity. People don’t understand that we are not abusers but simply seek temporary relief from our endless pain.”

FDA tells Endo Pharmaceuticals to remove opioid painkiller from market

Philadelphia Inquirer: The decision came after an FDA advisory panel voted 18-8 in March that the benefits of Opana ER no longer outweigh the risks. Post-marketing data showed a significant shift in the route of abuse from nasal to injection, the FDA said.

Adjusting to two new identities: mother and cancer survivor

WHYY: Leyh found comfort in the fact that her doctors had a plan to tackle her cancer. She had a timeline and a schedule full of appointments. They were taking steps to handle the situation.



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