Google Health Activates PHR Sharing

From Medgadget:

For doctors and family members who are not yet online, we’ve also made it easier to share a hard copy of your information via our new printing feature. The wallet format prints a wallet-sized card that includes a user’s medications, and allergies; the PDF format prints a letter-sized copy of a user’s profile, including medications, allergies, conditions, and treatments.

Finally, we’ve launched a new graphing feature that helps patients visualize their medical test information. This is great for, say, someone who has high cholesterol. They can use Google Health to enter their lab results on a monthly basis and see the trend over time.

Survey finds doc use of IT up; money still key issue

From Modern Healthcare:

Compared with a similar survey five years ago, information technology use has almost doubled among members of the American College of Physician Executives, but money remains the primary reason why some have not implemented an IT system.

About 1,000 of the Tampa, Fla.-based organization’s 10,000 members participated in the survey that was posted online in November and December of last year, and 64.5% said that they have an electronic medical record system in place—compared with 33.1% five years ago. Almost 10% in this year’s survey said they were testing a system, compared with 14% in the 2004 survey. Only 5.9% said they haven’t started planning for EMR implementation, vs. 15.1% five years ago.

Neagitive Margins for Hospitals in 4Q 2008

From Modern Healthcare:

Fewer patients visited hospitals in the fourth quarter of 2008, and those who did seek care had a harder time paying for it, driving profit margins from patient income further into negative territory, according to a survey released by the American Hospital Association.

As has been reported by other recent studies, more than half of all hospitals were posting overall negative margins. The AHA Databank statistics, which are based on information from 658 hospitals in 28 states, show that 53% of respondents posted overall losses in the fourth quarter. Taking the data from all those hospitals in a single pool, the overall profit margin for the quarter was -7.8%, compared to a positive 4.6% from the fourth quarter in 2007

“Why free antiobiotics are a terrible idea”

From Kevin MD:

Apparently, it’s a nationwide promotion, with multiple chains using antibiotics as a “loss leader” to bring people into their stores.

Well, it has now gotten the attention of both the CDC and the Infectious Diseases Society of America, with latter organization writing, “If you give antibiotics away, it sort of implies that we should use them rather freely.”

Especially during cold and flu season, such promotions only reinforce the false notion that antibiotics are necessary in all upper respiratory infection cases, when, in fact, they only serve to worsen microbial resistance to these drugs.

If pharmacies and grocery stores really wanted to promote better health, they should promote free flu shots, diabetic glucometer strips, or anti-hypertensive medications instead.