Penn State is helping sexual assault victims in rural areas

From Becker’s:

One-third of women and one-sixth of men in the U.S. experience at least one incident of sexual violence during their lifetime, according to an April 2017 report out of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. These victims often need specialized medical attention, especially if they plan to move forward with a criminal investigation.

However, accessing this care often proves challenging — particularly for those in underserved, rural areas. A research team at Pennsylvania State University hopes to improve this disparity through a telehealth project called the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination and Training — or SAFE-T — Center.

How NASA Uses Telemedicine to Care for Astronauts in Space

From the Harvard Business Review:

Telemedicine is a key component of medical care on ISS. While doctors have always communicated with the crews of short missions, largely to guide them through acute spaceflight-specific health issues, today’s long-duration and exploration missions require space medicine to fulfill a much wider-ranging mandate and extend beyond minor illness and urgent care. Telemedicine enables preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic care during many months in space, and ideally allows for seamless continuity of care before and after missions. But our experience shows that achieving this requires planning and training prior to launch, as well as good communication and rapid learning in space. These factors are important for realizing the potential of telemedicine to improve care in other remote, extreme, or otherwise resource-constrained environments.

Can an Algorithm Diagnose Heart Disease Better Than a Person?

From Gizmodo:

On Thursday, researchers at Stanford University introduced the latest thing in AI diagnostics: an algorithm that can sift through hours of heart rhythm data gathered by wearable monitors to determine whether a patient has an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. The algorithm, the researchers say, is not only as good as a cardiologist at correctly diagnosing a condition, but often better.

Opioid prescriptions dropped but remain high, CDC says

From CNN:

Opioids continue to be prescribed at high rates, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds, even as drug overdoses remain the leading cause of accidental death in the country, killing more people than guns or car accidents.

The report foundthat opioid prescriptions overall decreased 18% from 2010 to 2015. However, the number of prescriptions in 2015 was three times higher than in 1999 and four times higher than opioid prescription rates in Europe.

Behavioral Health Emergencies in the Emergency Department

From Urgent Matters:

The lack of consensus regarding all aspects of this issue is astounding, but ultimately it comes down to two things: time and money. If patients complaining of new onset psychiatric complaints, with no other previous medical history, are evaluated the same as patients with a history of psychiatric complaints, substance abuse, or extensive co-morbidities, is it necessary to be “treated” in the ED? In my humble opinion, our healthcare system should develop a standardized protocol, which can compromise between both sides of this argument. If a patient presents with psychiatric symptoms, they should be examined as any other patient with a routine physical exam and obtaining a detailed medical history. If the patient has stable vitals, normal physical exam, no substance abuse (altered mental status) and no other complaints- the complaint could potentially be evaluated directly by psychiatrists or within a psychiatric-focused ED, as many hospitals have this already. For patients deemed a higher risk, such as elderly patients, patients with new onset psychiatric symptoms and patients with altered mental status, testing should be determined based on each patient’s presentation and medical necessity, and by the treating ED physician.

Drop in cancer deaths in rural America slower than urban areas: CDC

From Reuters:

Cancer deaths in America’s rural areas are not falling as much as they are in urban areas even though the total deaths from the disease are dropping across the country, a U.S health agency report showed, emphasizing the gap in access to healthcare.

Cancer accounted for 180 deaths per 100,000 persons in rural areas annually compared with 158 deaths in urban areas, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Thursday.

Rural areas, however, reported fewer new cancer cases at 442 per 100,000 persons compared with 457 cases in urban areas.

America still prescribes three times as many opioids as Europe

From Axios:

The CDC says American doctors have curbed their opioid prescription rate by 18% from 2010 to 2015, but are still prescribing three times as many opioids as their European counterparts, per NPR.

“We are still massively overprescribing,” Andrew Kolodny, an addiction specialist at Brandeis University, told NPR. And the average length of prescriptions has risen from 13 to 18 days between 2010 and 2015. Longer periods of use increase chances of addiction.