Are Virtual Doctor Visits Really Cost-Effective? Not So Much, Study Says

From California Healthline:

Consultations with doctors by phone or video conference appear to be catching on, with well over a million virtual visits reported in 2015.

The convenience of “telehealth” appeals to patients, and the notion that it costs less than an in-office visit would make it attractive to employers and health plans.

But a new study suggests that while telehealth services may boost access to a physician, they don’t necessarily reduce health care spending, contrary to assertions by telehealth companies.

Emergency Department visits by patients undergoing cancer treatment may be preventable

From Cancer Network:

A substantial portion of emergency department (ED) visits by patients undergoing cancer treatment may be preventable, and those potentially preventable visits account for a high percentage of the ED visit costs, according to a new analysis.

“Roughly 44% of oncology patients visit the ED in the year after treatment initiation,” said Laura E. Panattoni, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2017 Quality Care Symposium, held March 3–4 in Orlando, Florida. “I think there is growing awareness that many of these ED visits are due to poorly controlled disease or treatment-related symptoms such as pain, nausea, and dehydration, and they could be potentially preventable with better outpatient management.”

Brain activity recorded as much as 10 minutes after death

From Boing Boing:

University of Western Ontario researchers examined the electrical activity in several patients before and after their life support was turned off and they were declared clinically dead, when the heart had stopped beating. In one patient, brain waves, in the form of single delta wave bursts, continued for minutes after death.