April 26, 2013
By Ben Daniels*
Edited by Amy Kaufman
Decision-Support Alerts May Reduce Unnecessary CT Scans and Associated Costs
Modern Healthcare (4/22) reports that a Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine study found that use of decision-support alerts in computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system may contribute to a decrease in utilization of redundant computed tomography (CT) scans. The study was conducted at Brigham and Women's Hospital in 2010 by Harvard Medical School and the Center for Evidence-Based Imaging. The system provided physicians with a notice in the CPOE system when they ordered a CT scan for the same body part of a patient who had already undergone a scan within the previous 90 days on the same body part, providing the physician with links to the previous images and reports. Physicians were then given the choice to confirm or cancel the order. The study found physicians receiving the notices cancelled the orders roughly 6% of the time, resulting in cancellation of 1.7% of all CT scan orders. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
Boston Tops the List of NIH Funding (Again)
The Boston Globe (4/23) reports that 2012 marked the eighteenth year in a row that Boston tops the list in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, receiving $1.78 billion in grants. Some 3,700 grants went to the city's hospitals, research institutions, and universities, representing 8% of NIH's funding. The city has attracted more than $25 billion in NIH funding since 1995.
PCORI Moving Forward with Research Plans
The Washington Post's Wonkblog (4/23) reports that the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which was created under the Affordable Care Act, announced its intentions to move forward with the spending of $68 million to fund a clinical data research network of healthcare systems. The network anticipates tracking treatment of some 12 million patients, treatments that they receive, and outcomes to provide comprehensive best practice analysis. PCORI Executive Director Joe Shelby indicated that the vision of the ambitious project is to begin collecting data from routine care to contribute to industry knowledge. Patient advocacy groups expressed support, however they also noted challenges such as technical difficulties with sharing data among providers in the networks and patient participation.
Long Island College Hospital Broadens Search for a Suitor
The New York Daily News (4/24) reports that officials at Long Island College Hospital (LICH) have committed to double down on their efforts to find a new operator for the troubled hospital. The State University of New York (SUNY), which operates LICH, is in the midst of trying to close the facility in light of its estimated operating deficit of nearly $1 million per week. SUNY's plans for closure were hindered by the imposition of a temporary restraining order issued by the Brooklyn Supreme Court. The plan to find a suitor comes as an alternative to selling the estimated $1 billion in real estate associated with LICH. Some candidates, including Mt. Sinai and North Shore-LIJ Health System, have already passed on the opportunity. Advocates who wish for LICH's survival expressed optimism for SUNY's pledge to increase its efforts in finding a new operator.
Misdiagnosis Atop List of Most Dangerous Errors
Modern Healthcare (4/22) reports that a Johns Hopkins University study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal found that overlooked, inaccurate, or delayed diagnoses are the most costly and dangerous mistakes in the healthcare system. The study reviewed more than 350,000 malpractice claims that resulted in payouts over 25 years of data from the National Practitioner Data Bank. Researchers concluded that such improper or missed diagnoses could result in 40,000 to 80,000 patient deaths annually. The study estimated that diagnosis-related payments amounted to nearly $39 billion. Furthermore, researchers found the diagnostic errors resulted in death or permanent disability nearly twice as often as other error categories. (Note: registration is required to access this article.)
*We would like to thank Ben M. Daniels, Esquire (Foley & Lardner LLP, Boston, MA), for providing this week's update. We would also like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for coordinating and editing the update.