February 15, 2013
By Ben Daniels*
Limiting Gifts to Medical Students May Affect Future Prescribing
Boston.com's White Coat Notes (2/6) reports that a study conducted by researchers from Yale University found that physicians "who attended medical schools that limited gifts to students from pharmaceutical companies—sponsored lunches, for example—may be less susceptible to drug marketing." The study tracked prescribing patterns of two popular psychotropic drugs, leading the researchers to conclude that physicians who attended schools with policies prohibiting or restricting gifts and on-campus interactions were less likely to prescribe the drugs than doctors who attended the same medical schools prior to the adoption of such policies. Researchers also found that the counter-effect on prescribing patterns was greater at schools with stricter policies.
Healthcare is Slower to the Cloud
Modern Healthcare (2/13) reports that a survey of information technology (IT) professionals across a wide array of industries found that the switch to cloud computing in the healthcare industry is moving slowly when compared with adoption of the cloud in other business and government sectors. The apparent "lag" in the healthcare sector does not come as a surprise in light of similar findings in other surveys conducted previously, and current data shows that just 35% of healthcare respondents are using a cloud system compared with 44% and 42% in large and small businesses, respectively. A majority (51%) of the surveyed IT professionals cited data security and patient privacy as factors impeding adoption of cloud computing. (Note: registration is required to view this article.)
iPads Linked to Improved Performance Among Recent Medical School Grads
MobiHealthNews (2/13) reports that UC Irvine's medical school class of 2014, the first class at the school to receive an Apple iPad when they started in 2010, "scored an average of 23 percent higher on national exams than previous classes" with similar incoming GPAs and MCAT scores. Each student was given an iPad equipped with electronic textbooks, podcasts of lectures, and class management systems. Students are also reported to be using their iPads to supplement their learning beyond these tools, by seeking out additional mobile health applications and opportunities for healthcare innovation, even partnering with students in the university's School of Information and Computer Science to create health-focused applications for the mobile devices.
Survey Suggests that New York is Short on Physicians
Becker's Hospital Review (2/14) reports that a survey recently conducted by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) identified downward trends in New York's physician population. The HANYS report concluded that the state needed more than 1,200 physicians, including 374 primary care physicians. The shortage is unlikely to be resolved soon due to the persistent issues in primary care physician recruitment statewide, which 56% of survey respondents cited as difficult or very difficult. The report also noted that this trend is not confined to New York, citing a prediction by the Association of American Medical Colleges that the nation will face an estimated shortage of 46,000 primary care physicians by 2020.
University of Maryland St. Joseph is Losing Out as It Awaits Medicare Certification
Becker's Hospital Review (2/13) reports that after a failed Medicare inspection by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) last November, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center is having difficulty obtaining a new Medicare provider agreement, costing the hospital millions in reimbursements. University of Maryland Medical System acquired the hospital in November 2012, following the hospital's difficulties faced after a former cardiologist was accused of implanting hundreds of unnecessary stents at the hospital. The hospital is continuing to see and treat Medicare patients and underwent a follow-up inspection just last month, but the results are still pending. Regardless of the outcome, the hospital will not receive retroactive payments from CMS since the facility remains uncertified.
*We would like to thank Ben M. Daniels, Esquire (Foley & Lardner LLP, Boston, MA), for providing this week's update.