The Pros and Cons of Utilizing Med Students in the ED

From MedPage Today:

Having students and residents rotate through the ED can add a new energy to the department and be personally rewarding for the attendings and other supervising staff. It can also enhance recruiting efforts and, if nothing else, help build relationships with other non-ED physicians. On the other hand, there can be a negative impact on flow metrics and patient satisfaction, so as the department leader, you need to be prepared to minimize that impact. Having the right liaison in place who is committed to education is critical.

Cigna reports 12 percent cut in opioid use among U.S. customers

From Reuters:

As the epidemic of opioid abuse continues to take its toll on the U.S. healthcare system, health insurer Cigna Corp on Thursday reported a nearly 12 percent drop prescription opioid use among its customers in the past twelve months.

Last May, Cigna pledged to cut its customers’ prescriptions for opioid treatments by 25 percent by 2019, as part of its effort to arrest the wave of abuse.

Cigna also sends doctors information from its own claims databases to detect opioid use patterns that suggest possible misuse by individuals and alerts physicians if their prescription patterns are not consistent with CDC guidelines.

This Tricorder-Like Device Can Tell if Your Brain Is Bleeding

From Gizmodo:

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Following a head injury, patients typically undergo a CT scan to rule out brain bleeding. A new head worn device that scans the brain’s electrical patterns has shown tremendous promise in clinical trials, presenting an inexpensive way for physicians to make a potentially life-saving diagnosis.

The device, called AHEAD 300, was developed by BrainScope, a med-tech firm based out of Bethesda, Maryland. The tricorder-like contraption, which consists of a headset that beams data into a hand-held device, can assess the likelihood that a patient has more than one milliliter of bleeding in the brain, signaling the need for a more thorough evaluation by medical personnel. In a recent clinical trial involving 11 hospitals and 720 participants, AHEAD 300 was able to correctly detect brain bleeding in 97 percent of patients. These results now appear in the science journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

For Telehealth, The ROI Is Where You Plan For It

From Open Minds:

Like most technologies in the health and human service space, return-on-investment (ROI) depends on the stakeholder and the situation. The recent ROI studies of telehealth are a great example. On the plus side of the ledger, rural health care, transportation costs, and readmissions cost offsets. On the negative side of the equation, increased costs due to increased access to care. The data is interesting.