More health insurance firms are developing algorithms to help curb prescription drug misuse. The firms say they can assist doctors who have not been thoroughly educated on treating pain, but some physicians argue that insurers should not dictate treatment. Wall Street Journal.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance will use a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to evaluate a tool that uses electronic health record data to gauge how effectively health care providers are reducing the risk of future adverse events. FierceHealthIT et al.
In a new study, researchers used unstructured clinical notes from patients' electronic health records to detect early signs of adverse drug events. They note that the strategy is more effective than using coded discharge diagnoses and insurance claims information. Forbes, Medscape.
Researchers have developed an algorithm for finding software glitches in surgical robots. To devise the algorithm, researchers used differential dynamic logic and the KeYmaeraD tool, which can model and assess hybrid technologies. FierceHealthIT, Carnegie Mellon release.
The Joint Commission has published a Sentinel Event Alert urging hospitals to address "alarm fatigue," which can contribute to patient injury or death. The commission recommended that hospitals reduce unnecessary alarms, teach caregivers about safe alarm management and establish guidelines on tailoring alarm settings to individual patients. Boston Globe, Health Data Management.
The Health Resources and Services Administration has published a final rule that calls for HHS to cease the operations of the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank and transfer its information to the National Practitioner Data Bank. Health Data Management.
United Parcel Service has agreed to pay $40 million to settle a criminal investigation into its shipments on behalf of illegal online pharmacies. As part of the settlement, UPS also agreed to take steps to block such pharmacies from using its services in the future. The settlement is the latest move by the federal government to combat illegal online drug sales. Wall Street Journal et al.
FDA intends to hire a contractor to track the illegal online trade or marketing of FDA-regulated products, including cigarettes and prescription drugs. The contractor would sift through information posted to online chat rooms, social networking platforms and other websites. In addition, FDA likely will authorize the contractor to engage in straw purchases. InformationWeek, NextGov.
The Association of Health Care Journalists has launched a new database that gives the public access to federal hospital inspection reports. Such reports include the results of government investigations into complaints about acute-care and rural hospitals. In related news, AHCJ is pushing the Joint Commission to publicly release its hospital inspection information. HealthLeaders Media.
In a recent study, two experts identify ethical considerations for participant-led research that uses social networking websites. The authors recommend three categories of ethical oversight for such research based on the risk to participants. FierceHealthIT, Medical News Today.
California lawmakers are calling for the state medical board to mine data from a prescription drug database to identify physicians who overprescribe certain medications, rather than waiting for complaints about physicians' prescribing habits. Los Angeles Times et al.
Scientists from Microsoft, Columbia University and Stanford University have developed new software tools that scan Internet search data. The tools potentially could identify unreported prescription drug side effects before they are detected by FDA. New York Times, Medscape.
New research finds that about one-third of surveyed Department of Veterans Affairs physicians have missed or failed to follow up on electronic health record-based alerts about patient test results. The surveyed physicians reported receiving a median of 63 EHR alerts daily. Politico et al.
California lawmakers have introduced a bill to upgrade a state database that monitors physicians who overprescribe certain drugs. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are considering a bill to establish a database to identify prescription drug misuse. Los Angeles Times, Washington Observer-Reporter.
Some pharmaceutical companies are skirting Canadian law by using social media websites to advertise directly to consumers. The British Columbia Medical Association and other experts are calling for Canadian officials to crack down on such advertisements. Vancouver Sun.