Best read of the week


New ransomware strain targeting health care

Healthcare IT News: What makes Defray stand out are its lures: These are custom crafted to appeal to intended victims. Of the emails found by Proofpoint, the infected attachments go as far as to include the hospital’s logo and write to the user as the director of information management and technology from the hospital.


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


Main Line Health News

Collegeville Mother Claims Daughter Died Of ‘Acute Altitude Sickness’

KYW Newsradio: “The only cure for mountain sickness, unless you happen to be carrying a hyperbaric chamber behind you like they do at Mount Everest, is to descend,” said Doctor Ben Usatch of Lankenau Hospital.


Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Present Investigational Eliquis® (apixaban) Data for Patients with Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation (NVAF) Undergoing Cardioversion

Morningstar: “The current standard of care for reducing the risk of stroke in the setting of cardioversion is heparin and warfarin, which require monitoring and potential dose adjustment. This can delay performing cardioversion,” said Michael D. Ezekowitz, MB, ChB, DPhil, Professor of Medicine in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia and Lankenau Medical Center and Bryn Mawr Hospital. “The EMANATE study points to apixaban as a potential alternative approach. Further research is merited to confirm these findings.”


60+ hospital and health system CNOs to know | 2017

Becker’s Hospital Review: Barbara Wadsworth, Senior Vice President of Patient Services and CNO of Main Line Health, is responsible for 3,000 nurses across the health system and oversees major performance initiatives. She is also president of the Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania and past president of the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders.


Rehab Reviews: Mirmont Treatment Center

The Fix: With its focus on treating trauma, Mirmont Treatment Center offers comprehensive care for both those with dual diagnoses and first responders.


Are cough and cold medications safe for kids?

Philadelphia Inquirer: Article by Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, MD, Chief of Pediatric Emergency Services at Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital, reports on research published in the journal Pediatrics and concludes that cough and cold medication for young children is relatively safe, but cautions, “Make sure you store it somewhere safe so that [the child] does not accidentally take it when you’re not looking.”


Using Systems Science to Inform Population Health Strategies in Local Health Departments: A Case Study in San Antonio, Texas

Population Health Reports: Manuscript co-authored by Norma Padron, PhD, associate director of MLH Center for Population Health Research (CPHR), states that the use of systems science and evidence-based decision making helped public health officials working in chronic disease prevention and management to estimate health program effectiveness and costs; calculate return on investment; and develop a business case for adopting programs.


The Wellness Farm at Lankenau Hospital: A New Twist on Patient Care

The Town Dish: According to hospital administrator and farm enthusiast Chinwe Onyekere, “We saw a need to address food insecurity within the community.” Onyekere also spoke about the evidence that patients with lifestyle-related diseases (like diabetes and heart disease) were getting less than two servings of fresh foods a day, where the norm is five servings per day.



Regional Health Care News

Penn Medicine First In State To Perform Innovative Spinal Repair Procedure

CBS3: Dr. Neil Malhotra, a neurosurgeon at Penn Medicine, devised the new spinal laminectomy surgery, which removes fragments of bone and disc material to relieve pressure on the nerve. Traditionally, the surgery is performed on the back of the spine but now Dr. Malhorta is able to access the disc through the side of the spine.


No joke: Montco hospital turns to laughing gas to help moms in the delivery room

Philadelphia Business Journal: The Holy Redeemer medical center is giving pregnant woman another pain- and stress-relieving option. (Subscription required; contact MLH campus Medical Library for full text.)


Health system mega-merger to combine Cooper, Lourdes and St. Francis

Philadelphia Business Journal: The president and CEO of Cooper University Health Care said the transaction “allows us to keep their hospitals open, invest more than a hundred million dollars in improvements to the hospital campuses, and welcome all the Lourdes and St. Francis employees to our team.”



Patient Care News…

Measuring the ‘Ow!’ & the “Meow!’ — Startup developing a way to quantify pain

Philadelphia Business Journal: Deb Dullen, BioTraceIT’s co-founder and CEO, said, “Our device is like taking your temperature for pain.” (Subscription required; contact MLH campus Medical Library for full text.)


‘Exoskeletons’ May Help Kids With Cerebral Palsy Walk

HealthDay News: A robotic exoskeleton attached to the lower leg may someday help kids with cerebral palsy maintain the ability to walk.


Artificial intelligence experiencing record deals in healthcare

Healthcare Dive: CB Insights defined artificial intelligence in the space as “startups leveraging machine learning algorithms to reduce drug discovery times, provide virtual assistance to patients or improve the accuracy of medical imaging and diagnostic procedures, among other applications.”



Too few patients follow the adage: You better shop around

Kaiser Health News: In a survey of nearly 3,000 adults younger than 65, about half of the roughly 1,900 who said they spent money on medical care in the previous year reported that they knew in advance what their costs would be.


As heroin overdoses soar, so do hospital ICU costs

Philadelphia Inquirer: Hospital costs for some of the most expensive treatments following an overdose are rising swiftly, researchers report, as intensive-care unit doctors struggle to save patients who arrive in increasingly dire straits. Overdose-related ICU admissions in Pennsylvania nearly doubled between 2009 and 2015.


Holistic Therapy Programs May Help Pain Sufferers Ditch Opioids

NPR: Mayo’s program is one of a few around the country to address the emotional, social and psychological aspects of pain and reduce patients’ reliance on addictive medicines.


Hospitals ramping up round-the-clock staffing for pregnancy emergencies Increasingly, hospitals are taking different approaches to ensure adequate, immediate medical staffing. Some hospitals schedule OB-GYNs for 24/7 coverage. Others are turning to specialists known as OB-GYN hospitalists. And some U.S. medical centers are launching separate, hybrid units, known as obstetric emergency departments, or OBEDs. [ Editor’s note from Joseph Gobern, MD, MLH Chair, OB/GYN: “Main Line Health has dedicated providers available 24/7 in each Maternity care unit assigned to respond immediately to obstetric emergencies.  Additionally, we have implemented an emergency response ‘Condition O’ which activates a multidisciplinary team to respond immediately to obstetrical emergencies throughout each of these hospitals.”]


Tiny cameras to help AHN doctors evaluate damaged knees

Tribune-Review: Highmark Health and Allegheny Health Network are exploring handheld diagnostic technology that could one day reduce the need for MRI in diagnosing some knee injuries, such as meniscal tears.


Study: Reminder Devices Don’t Always Lead to Medication Adherence

HealthLeaders Media: The study concluded there was no statistically significant difference in adherence between the control group and participants using a particular low-cost reminder device. The study suggested medication adherence may be more effective when coupled with interventions.


The Impact Of Telemedicine On Patients With Parkinson’s Disease

KYW Newsradio: According to new study in the Journal Neurology, a virtual house call from a neurologist may be just as effective as having a patient seen in the office when it comes to maintaining quality of care for patients with Parkinson’s disease.


This miniature robot arm could be the future of keyhole surgery

Digital Trends: U.K. engineers have developed a miniature keyhole surgery robot arm, which is able to carry out a range of minimally invasive laparoscopic operations including hernia repairs, colorectal operations, prostate surgery, and more. While robots are already used for keyhole surgery, the Versius is a third the size of the robots which are currently used — and significantly cheaper, too.



Quality and Safety News…

Aetna mailing breached HIV privacy of members

Philadelphia Inquirer:  The envelope had a plastic window that in some cases showed not just the customer’s name and address, but also the names of medications, exposing some recipients’ HIV status.


Providers call for transparent quality standards

FierceHealthcare: Given the absence of current standards and the difficulty involved in applying quality metrics to primary care practices, the authors propose a process similar to the one in place for reporting financial information, where “hospitals and physicians might self-attest as to whether they meet a set of standards and whether they conduct an independent audit of their quality measures.”


Putting Patient Safety Culture Into Practice

Hospitals & Health Networks: Penn Health is trying to develop a generation of safety culture-conscious professionals by making a concerted effort to give residents and medical students training and encouragement to report events and near misses. The Philadelphia-based system is also expanding efforts to include patients in the safety feedback loop.



Health Care Business News…

Study: Medicaid expansion did not cause PCP shortage

Becker’s Hospital Review: Researchers found a 20 percentage point increase in appointment availability for Medicaid patients in Illinois, an 8.1 percentage point increase in Iowa and a 7.2 percentage point increase in Pennsylvania.


Stanford’s Lloyd Minor: EHRs need a ‘major revamp’ to solve physician burnout

FierceHealthcare: The dean of Stanford University’s School of Medicine views an EHR overhaul as a national priority and he wants to see more involvement from doctors to develop new systems that integrate technology like voice recognition to simplify the physician’s job rather than make it more difficult.


Harvey Puts More Hospitals Out of Commission

Wall Street Journal, NPR and Fox Business: Beyond the 27 hospitals that have closed or evacuated some patients, another 25 hospitals have reported storm-related problems that may leave them unable to accept new patients, said Darrell Pile, chief executive officer of the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council, which is coordinating disaster response across counties hit by the storm. An estimated 1,500 patients along the Gulf Coast have been evacuated from hospitals as a result of Harvey.


Researchers find ‘major weaknesses’ in current guidelines on emailing with patients

FierceHealthcare: An analysis of 11 guidelines covering eletronic communication between physicians and patients found “major weaknesses,” including outdated recommendations, a lack of evidence to support the guidelines and almost no focus on how to use new tools to communicate with patients effectively.


Medicare shared-savings ACOs cut $1 billion in costs over three years

Modern Healthcare: The majority of the ACOs—82%—also improved the quality of care they provided, based on data from the CMS on 33 individual quality measures.


EHR vendors, provider groups want more details on the definition of information blocking

FierceHealthcare IT: Led by Health IT Now, the group of 13 stakeholders, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and several prominent EHR vendors, recommended that the Department of Health and Human Services clarify its definition of information blocking, which is prohibited under the 21st Century Cures Act.


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