Madison woman dies after banging head in ambulance on way to hospice facility

From WTAQ:

An 85-year-old Madison woman has died, after she banged her head in an ambulance that slammed on the brakes while transporting her husband to a hospice facility.

Fitchburg Police said the ambulance driver suddenly hit the brakes to avoid hitting a vehicle that was stopped behind another vehicle that was waiting to make a “U”-turn.

Lieutenant Chad Brecklin said there was not a collision – but the impact of the braking forced Laurel Huibregtse to slide off her seat in the back of the ambulance and hit her head.

Clinical decision tools help emergency rooms reduce drug errors

From EHR Intelligence:

… computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) combined with clinical decision support tools, can aid in making potentially fatal mistakes a thing of the past.  Integrated with many EHR systems and generally paired with CPOE capabilities, clinical decision tools can recommend standard dosages, suggest routes of administration and frequency, and transmit orders directly to the pharmacy, skipping the transcription step where many mistakes occur.  Without the need to decipher messy handwriting, remember the difference between similar drug names, and judge all possible interactions with every other prescribed medication, CPOE eliminates many of the most common and most preventable mistakes.

HMA blasts 60 Minutes report on excess ER admissions

From Fierce Healthcare:

Despite two federal subpoenas into its emergency room and admissions practices, Health Management Associates (HMA) maintains it does not overly admit patients from the emergency department to gain Medicare reimbursements, as recent allegations have accused the Florida-based health system of.

Getting ahead of a forthcoming expose from 60 Minutes, set to air Dec. 2, HMA this morning released its admissions data to the media. HMA called the 60 Minutespiece a wrongful portrayal, the News-Press reported.

“Our data reflect no significant changes and is in line with industry norms,” Alan Levine, HMA senior vice president, said on a conference call.

From Modern Healthcare: HMA execs defend ER admissions rates

Health Management Associates executives defended admissions from the company’s emergency rooms as comparable with national averages and local competitors ahead of an expected “60 Minutes” story.

Alan Levine, HMA’s senior vice president and president of the company’s Florida group, who was interviewed in October by “60 Minutes,” said on a call with investors that the company does not know the specific content of the television news program. Levine said he would address potential subjects of the story based on questions during his October interview

Scanadu Aims to Turn Smartphones into Healthcare Helpers

From Time:

Scanadu is a Silicon Valley startup with a great tagline: “Sending your smartphone to med school.” It’s begun explaining what it means by showing off the products it’s working on: diagnostic gadgets which talk to phones, intended to let consumers monitor their health quickly, easily and maybe with fewer trips to the doctor’s office.

The company is developing SCOUT, a palm-sized gizmo it plans to sell for about $150. Hold it to your temple for a few seconds, and it will then send information such as your pulse, temperature and blood oxygen level to a companion phone app via Bluetooth. And if your healthcare provider’s office is properly equipped, it will also be able to transmit the data it collects on to your doctor.

DEA raid ends with ER doctor in trouble over crack cocaine

From The Buffalo News:

When U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided a Niagara County home this week, they said, they found a disheveled residence littered with needles, crack pipes and other signs of drug abuse.

According to the feds, they also found a local physician, Dr. Daniel Gillick, 62, of Youngstown, getting ready to torch up a crack cocaine pipe with a young, drug-addicted female companion.

Maine Firefighters Saving More Cardiac Arrest Patients

From Firehouse:

Improvements in technique and technology are helping Portland’s emergency medical personnel rescue significantly more heart attack victims by increasing the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, that they provide.

The survival rate for cardiac patients treated and transported by Portland Fire Department’s MEDCU workers jumped to 17 percent so far this year. Last year, 6 percent of the cardiac patients survived.

ER doctor charged with possession of crack cocaine

From WIVB:

Special agents with the DEA pulled over 27-year-old Christine Guilfoyle of Youngstown and say 62-year-old Dr. Daniel Gillick of Youngstown was in the car with her. Agents say Guilfoyle was in possession of crack cocaine and after her arrest told agents that she had purchased the drugs to smoke with Dr. Gillick later that night.

Are the Benefits of Mechanical CPR Worth the Interruption Time?

From JEMS:

Background: Quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a key determinant of outcome following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Recent evidence shows manual chest compressions are typically too shallow, interruptions are frequent and prolonged, and incomplete release between compressions is common. Mechanical chest compression systems have been developed as adjuncts for CPR but interruption of CPR during their use is not well documented.

Aim: Analyze interruptions of CPR during application and use of the LUCAS chest compression system.

Methods: 54 LUCAS 1 devices operated on compressed air, deployed in 3 major U.S. emergency medical services systems, were used to treat patients with OHCA. Electrocardiogram and transthoracic impedance data from defibrillator/monitors were analyzed to evaluate timing of CPR. Separately, providers estimated their CPR interruption time during application of LUCAS, for comparison to measured application time.

Results: In the 32 cases analyzed, compressions were paused a median of 32.5 s (IQR 25–61) to apply LUCAS. Providers’ estimates correlated poorly with measured pause length; pauses were often more than twice as long as estimated. The average device compression rate was 104/min (SD 4) and the average compression fraction (percent of time compressions were occurring) during mechanical CPR was 0.88 (SD 0.09).

Conclusions: Interruptions in chest compressions to apply LUCAS can be <20 s but are often much longer, and users do not perceive pause time accurately. Therefore, we recommend better training on application technique, and implementation of systems using impedance data to give users objective feedback on their mechanical chest compression device use.

Critics say free-standing ED stealing patients

From the Palm Beach Post:

Critics call it a case of patient stealing, but JFK Medical Center officials say it’s just good marketing.

The competition has been complaining since JFK, located 20 miles to the south, opened its free-standing, $9 million emergency room last month in Main Street at Midtown in Palm Beach Gardens.

JFK Chief Executive Officer Gina Melby isn’t surprised.

“Hospitals in north county don’t want us,” she said. “Well, welcome to the competitive world of emergency care. We’re staying. We’re not going anywhere.”

Patient satisfaction pressures may prompt unnecessary care

From Fierce Healthcare:

According to a 2011 report from Philadelphia-based consultancy, the Hay Group,59 percent of hospitals offered annual incentive plans for their physicians last year.

Such financial pressures mean providers must balance appropriate care with pain management–one of the HCAHPS questions–which might put physicians in a sticky situation when they consider, for instance, prescribing antibiotics for a cold or ordering imaging tests for uncomplicated low-back pain, amednews noted.