Doc buying binge rolls on as systems learn from past deals

From Modern Healthcare:

Hospitals continue to add physicians at a brisk pace, defying predictions that the practice acquisition binge would end in a fiscal fiasco.

Unlike the 1990s, when system purchases of physician practices led to losses and an unwinding of many deals, hospital systems this time around appear to have found a way to absorb the costs associated with employing physicians, which usually include a steep overhead tab and the higher salaries and benefits paid for office-based specialties. Experts point to the welcome influx of paying patients from healthcare reform, efficiencies associated with hospital consolidation and the continued improvement in the overall economy as factors offsetting those higher costs and cushioning hospitals’ bottom lines, at least for the moment.

But just as significantly, hospitals have taken a number of steps to hold down costs related to their physician-practice acquisitions. They include leveraging their heavy investment in health information technology, focusing their acquisition strategy on primary-care practices and moving quickly to standardize physician activities at the newly acquired practices.

Research: Patient-controlled analgesia in the ED is effective

From Medical XPress:

Patients who arrive at the emergency department (ED) in moderate or severe pain are often given intravenous morphine, administered by a nurse. This is safe and works in the short term but is demanding of nursing time, particularly when repeated doses of painkillers are necessary.

Two randomised controlled trials carried out by NIHR-funded research teams from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust and Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, and managed by the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit at Plymouth University, have for the first time addressed this ‘evidence gap’ by assessing patient controlled analgesia in the ED and following admission in two clinical circumstances – patients with pain from traumatic injury and patients with non-traumatic abdominal pain. The studies were conducted in five NHS hospitals in England, and were supported by funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit programme.

The results of the trials, published today, 22 June 2015, on-line in the BMJ, show that patient controlled analgesia is statistically and clinically superior for patients with non-traumatic abdominal pain when compared with standard methods of pain relief delivery. In patients with pain from traumatic injury, the results were more equivocal and it remains uncertain whether PCA offers any advantages to this group.

Smart Gloves Use Bacteria-Sensing Silk to Warn of Risky Exposure

From Gizmodo:

The gloves have been developed by a team from Tufts University as a proof-of-concpet of a new type of silk compound. The team has been able to develop a way to lace molecules of the super material that is silk with enzymes, antibiotics, antibodies and nanoparticles to imbue them with new features. In this case, they’ve been doped with a compound that changes color—from blue to red—when in the presence of E. coli.