The Department of Veterans Affairs commemorated Research Week from April 23-27. Several national and local events took place to recognize the key role that VA research plays in advancing health and health care: http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2304.
Archive for April, 2012
A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard School of Public Health and Mathematica Policy Research presents new data on electronic health records (EHR) adoption. According to the report, “Physicians reporting use of any EHR reached 57 percent in 2011, a substantial increase from 17 percent in 2002, while adoption of at least a basic system grew from 12 percent to 34 percent over the same time period. The rate of adoption of at least a basic EHR system increased more quickly among primary care physicians, younger physicians, practices of three or more physicians, and those in the Northeast region of the United States”: http://www.rwjf.org/qualityequality/product.jsp?id=74262.
The National Journal, popular in policy circles, has been running a series on the public’s distrust of institutions. On Thursday they posted an article on “Why We Trust Doctors.” The article reports, “At its core, medicine is a personal business. Even as health care has become more technological (surgical robots, electronic medical records) and physicians have become more squeezed for time, nearly every medical encounter involves a face-to-face interaction between a doctor and a patient…Pollsters and scholars of medical ethics say that this personal interaction is a key to doctor-patient trust.”
The article also noted, “A doctor is rarely seen as the agent of a big institution or, like a member of Congress, as a well-liked but distant individual. Your doctor is the person who sits in a room with you and helps to solve your problems…The structure of medicine may also account for some of the lingering trust. The insurance system places an intermediary between care and payment, which makes it harder for patients to see doctors as profiteers”: http://nationaljournal.com/features/restoration-calls/why-we-trust-doctors-20120419?page=1.
The Institute of Medicine on Friday posted a new ‘discussion paper’ titled, “Developing a Robust Clinical Trials Workforce,” authored by Drs. Ann Bonham (AAMC’s Chief Scientific Officer), Robert Califf, Elaine Gallin, and Michael Lauer. Also posted is a related commentary by Dr. Sherine E. Gabriel, “Educating the Workforce for a Transformed Clinical Research Enterprise.” All the authors are participants in the activities of the IOM Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and participated in the Forum’s November 2011 workshop to envision a transformed U.S. clinical trials enterprise.
The Department of Commerce has issued an interesting report concerning intellectual property and innovation. The report employs U.S. Patent and Trademark Office administrative data to identify the industries that most intensively use the protection offered by patents and trademarks. ‘Pharmaceuticals & medicines’ and ‘medical devices & supplies’ industries are among the most intensive users of patents. Data is presented showing that the pharmaceuticals & medicines sector has 46.8 patents per 1,000 employees, which while high, is significantly lower than the computer and peripheral equipment sector’s ratio of 277.7 patents/1,000 jobs and the communications sector (264.8): http://www.esa.doc.gov/sites/default/files/reports/documents/ipandtheuseconomyindustriesinfocus.pdf.
The Wall Street Journal last week ran a special section on innovations in health care. Among the articles was a discussion of the use of simulators in medical education. The collection also featured a discussion with Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps on the wireless revolution that is coming “as the digitication of health care meets the smartphone.”
HHS posted online an updated National Action Plan to eliminate healthcare-associated infections for public comment. According to HHS, “The update confirms progress in the effort to make healthcare safer and less costly by reducing preventable complications of care, including healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).” A new state-by-state breakdown by the CDC reports that HAIs in hospitals have been declining since HHS first introduced its National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections: Roadmap to Elimination in 2009. The CDC report “…also pinpoints specific medical procedures that require stronger infection prevention efforts to maximize patient safety.”
The Institute of Medicine has announced a workshop in July on “Assessing the Economics of Genomic Medicine.” The session will be held July 17-18 at the NAS building in DC: http://tinyurl.com/89f9lfd.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a new report stating that its postmarket drug safety program has been strengthened and modernized and has resulted in a substantial improvement in the FDA’s oversight of drugs once they reach the American public. The report, “Advances in FDA’s Safety Program for Marketed Drugs,” describes new scientific tools and enhanced capabilities that give the same priority to postmarket drug safety monitoring as to premarket drug review. It was issued by the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER): http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm301165.htm?source=govdelivery.
NSF and NIH will be hosting a webinar for people interested in applying for the recent NSF-NIH BIGDATA initiative entitled “Core Techniques and Technologies for Advancing Big Data Science and Engineering (BIGDATA)”: http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=CISE. The link also provides access to the solicitation itself and to NIH-specific information.