What’s new in health care, April 17



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Here’s some health care updates for you and wishing you a sunny mid-April weekend.

What’s confusing?

Confusing Heparin Labels Can Lead to Errors
Remember the heparin mix-up that endangered the lives of the twin babies of Dennis Quaid? There was question as to who to sue, the hospital or the pharmaceutical company who used confusing labelling? The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has recently declared that “multiple dose heparin vials have potentially confusing labels that could lead to dangerous overdoses.”

What’s disappointing?

Use of Electronic Health Records in U.S. Hospitals
In the April 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a study looked into how far and how fast the US health care system is adopting the use of electronic health records, also known as electronic medical records. The study concluded: The very low levels of adoption of electronic health records in U.S. hospitals suggest that policymakers face substantial obstacles to the achievement of health care performance goals that depend on health information technology. A policy strategy focused on financial support, interoperability, and training of technical support staff may be necessary to spur adoption of electronic-records systems in U.S. hospitals.

What’s been updated?

US Releases Updated Clinical Guidelines for HIV-Associated Opportunistic Infections
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the updated clinical guidelines for the prevention and treatment of HIV-associated opportunistic infections. The guidelines were compiled by a working group of more than 140 medical experts and concern 29 infectious diseases. HIV cripples the immune systems of its human hosts, leaving them more vulnerable than the general population to numerous other infectious diseases. These HIV-associated opportunistic infections are a leading cause of hospitalization and death among HIV-infected individuals in the United States.

What’s worth listening to?

Consumer Guide Compares Type 2 Diabetes Treatments
This radio podcast of the Healthcare 411 news series of the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) gives summary of the evidence behind a guide which compare the “the effectiveness, safety of premixed insulin analogues with other insulin preparations and oral drugs for type 2 diabetes.” Log on and listen!

What’s improving?

Healthy outlook
It is not only the US which is taking steps towards health care reforms. China is doing it as well. The most recent issue of the journal Nature reports how China announced on April 7 its new national health care plan. The ultimate aim is to provide health care to the Chinese population by 2020. Among the concrete plans are setting up more medical centers at country and village systems, capping drug prices, and introduction of an electronic medical record keeping system.

Photo credit: stock.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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