Seattle Children’s hospital and Mayo Medical Laboratories are creating a partnership to develop ways for children’s hospitals around the country to decrease costs and errors that come from unnecessary lab testing.
From WBUR’s CommonHealth:
A new Brigham and Women’s Hospital study finds that we may not need quite as much genetic counseling as we’d thought. Particularly on relatively cut-and-dried findings, like test results on a common gene that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Listen to WBUR host Anthony Brooks speak with Dr. Robert C. Green:
Workers with Service Employees International Union Healthcare 1199NW say they’re worried they lack training in the proper procedures for cleaning rooms to manage Ebola patients.
Nurses and housekeepers at some hospitals say this reduces front-line defense against infectious diseases.
By Stephanie Stephens,
Health Behavior News Service
As many as half to two-thirds of women who’ve undergone hysterectomies or are older than 65 years in the United States report receiving Pap tests for cervical cancer.
This prevalence is surprising in light of the 2003 U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce guidelines recommending that women discontinue Pap testing if they have received a total hysterectomy without a history of cervical cancer and if they are over age 65 years with ongoing and recent normal Pap test results.
Performing these unnecessary tests can result in stress for the patient, increased costs, and inefficient use of both provider and patient time, concludes a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“During this time of health care reform, we could probably use our resources more wisely,” said corresponding author Deanna Kepka, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the University of Utah’s College of Nursing and Huntsman Cancer Institute. Continue reading
By Sharyn Alden
Health Behavior News Service
A study in American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that only half of adults in the U.S. were screened for diabetes within the last three years, less than what is recommended by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
As the rates of obesity have increased, so does the incidence of type 2 diabetes, which also increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
Up to one-third of people with diabetes are undiagnosed, note the researchers. Continue reading
Actress’ impact on genetic testing for breast, ovarian cancer is ‘global and long lasting’
By Mary Engel / Fred Hutch News Service
Sept. 18, 2014
The so-called Angelina Jolie effect not only is real but has been “global and long lasting,” leading to a twofold increase in the number of women getting genetic testing to help determine their risk for hereditary breast cancer, according to new studies from the United Kingdom and Canada.
The number of women found to have a genetic mutation that increased their risk also has doubled.
And contrary to concerns that women at low risk for hereditary breast cancer would flood testing centers, researchers said that those being tested are women like Jolie who have a family history of breast cancer or who have personal risk factors such as ethnicity.
Certain ethnic groups, including Ashkenazi Jews, have a higher prevalence of BCRA mutations, which significantly increase breast cancer risk.
Women got the correct message
“What surprised us was that we didn’t get the worried well,” said Dr. Andrea Eisen, head of preventive oncology for breast cancer care at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto and an author of the Canadian study, in a phone interview. “We got women who got the correct message. That was gratifying.”
Jolie disclosed in a May 2013 op-ed in The New York Times that she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy after finding that she carries the rare BRCA1 gene mutation, which dramatically raises her risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Continue reading
When Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield became embroiled in a contract dispute with Exeter Hospital in N.H. in 2010, its negotiators came to the table armed with a new weapon: public data showing the hospital was one of the most expensive in the state for some services.
Local media covering the dispute also spotlighted the hospital’s higher costs, using public data from a state website.
When the dust settled, the insurer had extracted $10 million in concessions from Exeter. The hospital “had to step back and change their behavior,” said health policy researcher Ha Tu, who studied the state’s efforts to make health care prices transparent.
New Hampshire is among 14 states that require insurers to report the rates they pay different health care providers —and one of just a handful that makes those prices available to consumers.
The theory is that if consumers know what different providers charge for medical services, they will become better shoppers and collectively save billions.
In most places, though, it’s difficult, if not impossible to find out how much you will be charged for medical care. And with more people enrolled in high-deductible insurance plans, there is a growing demand for accurate price information. Continue reading
In 1864, the year before the Civil War ended, a massive study was launched to quantify the bodies of Union soldiers. One key finding in what would become a 613-page report was that soldiers classified as “White” had a higher lung capacity than those labeled “Full Blacks” or “Mulattoes.” The study relied on the spirometer—a medical instrument that measures lung capacity.
By Roni Caryn Rabin
One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.
For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.
The wide disparity in hospitals’ listed charges for routine blood tests at California hospitals was revealed in a study published in the August issue of BMJ Open. The study examined the listed charges for routine blood tests performed in 2011. Continue reading
From the Office of Research on Women’s Health
Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries. Your blood pressure allows the blood to reach all of the body’s organs. Continue reading
By Ankita Rao
February 4, 2014 – Calling your doctor to get lab results might be a thing of the past: a new federal rule will allow patients to have direct access to their completed laboratory reports.
From the Washington State Department of Health
Olympia, January 21, 2014 – Washington residents now have a new online map to check and see if their neighborhood has a geological risk for the cancer-causing gas, radon, using a new state app. The new app is offered by the state Department of Health’s Washington Tracking Network.
Some areas of the state, such as Spokane and Clark counties, are well-known for having higher levels of radon, but the new online map shows that there are some areas around the Puget Sound such as Pierce and King counties that might come as a surprise. Continue reading
By Michelle Andrews
The new health-care law encourages people to get the preventive services they need by requiring that most health plans cover cancer screenings, contraceptives and vaccines, among other things, without charging patients anything out of pocket.
Some patients, however, are running up against coverage exceptions and extra costs when they try to get those services. Continue reading