South Dakota’s Avera Will Acquire Physician-Owned Clinic in Iowa

From Becker’s Hospital Review:

Family Medicine Clinic of Sibley, Iowa, will join Avera Medical Group network and be owned by Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, both in Sioux Falls, S.D., according to an Avera news release.

The transaction is effective Jan. 1. The new name of the clinic will be Avera Medical Group, Sibley. The clinic, which is owned by two physicians and employs another physician, provides primary care, family practice and obstetrical services.

Read the release on Avera’s acquisition of Family Medicine Clinic of Sibley.

Rural teens more likely to abuse prescription drugs than their urban, suburban counterparts

From Modern Medicine:

Adolescents living in rural areas are significantly more likely to abuse prescription drugs than their counterparts in urban areas, according to a study published online in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, HealthDay News reported.

Jennifer R. Havens, PhD, of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data on 17,872 adolescents from the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Researchers compared the prevalence of nonmedical prescription drug use, including pain relievers, sedatives, stimulants, and tranquilizers, among adolescents (aged 12 to 17) living in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

Researchers found that adolescents living in rural areas were 26% more likely than those in urban areas to have used prescription drugs nonmedically. In comparison, suburban adolescents were 4% more likely to have used prescription drugs nonmedically than those in urban areas.

However, it was also found that among rural adolescents, school enrollment and living in a 2-parent household were factors that protected them against nonmedical use of prescription drugs.

Study: Electronic Medical Records Don’t Boost Hospital Quality Measures

From the WSJ Health Blog:

Standard measures of hospital quality aren’t improved much by the use of electronic medical records, according to a recently published study by Rand Corp. researchers.

The study compared data on hospital EMR capability from 2003 and 2006 and publicly reported hospital quality data for 2004 and 2007, looking specifically at care for pneumonia, heart failure and heart attack.

During the period studied, the quality of care for those three conditions was “broadly improving,” the authors wrote, and quality scores for heart failure improved significantly more among hospitals that used a basic EMR system throughout the study period.

But the same relationship wasn’t seen between basic EMRs and pneumonia or heart-attack quality scores. And quality improvements at hospitals with advanced EMR systems were actually smaller than those seen at hospitals with no EMR system at all.

Quality improvements at hospitals that started using an EMR system for the first time during the study period or upgraded to a more advanced system also mostly lagged those at hospitals that made no change to their EMR capability. The study was published online by the American Journal of Managed Care.

Spencer Jones, first author of the study and an associate information scientist at Rand, tells the Health Blog that trying to introduce an EMR system to an already complex health-care workplace can cause “a myriad of unintended consequences” in terms of workflow and communication. That’s especially true with the full-bells-and-whistles systems, which include things such as computerized physician order entry system.  “The complex systems are more difficult to implement and use,” he says.

It’s also “tough to do two things at once” by simultaneously introducing EMRs and also trying to improve standard quality measures, says Jones.