Hospital admissions show glimmers of stability amid long-term decline

From Modern Healthcare:

Although inpatient admissions have ticked up over the last few months, they remain on a long-term downward trend, which has dented U.S. hospitals’ profitability.

Adjusted patient days were up 3.6% in May compared with the prior-year period, which helped boost operating margins 9.2% along with ongoing cost-cutting efforts, according to Kaufman Hall’s National Hospital Flash Report, which is based on data from more than 600 not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals. But on a rolling 12-month basis, inpatient volumes and emergency department admissions have been declining, said Erik Swanson, a vice president of Kaufman Hall.

“This month and over the last few we have seen some brighter points when it comes to inpatient and ED volumes,” he said. “But one or two points does not make a trend.”

Nonwhite patients get less pain relief in U.S. emergency rooms

From Reuters:

Black and Hispanic patients in U.S. emergency rooms are less likely to receive medication to ease acute pain than their white counterparts, a study suggests.

Researchers examined data from 14 previously published studies of pain management in American emergency rooms (ERs) that altogether included 7,070 white patients, 1,538 Hispanic patients, and 3,125 black patients.

Compared to white patients, black patients were 40% less likely to receive medication to ease acute pain and Hispanic patients were 25% less likely, the analysis found.

EmPath: Stopping the dehumanization of behavioral health patients in emergency departments

From STAT:

The most effective tools we can use are ones we already possess: empathy, kindness, and a mindset of treating people the way we would want to be treated. This is the essence of the EmPath model (short for emergency psychiatric assessment, treatment, and healing unit), which creates a safe space designed to calm and stabilize patients in behavioral health crises.

E-prescribing controlled substances: Here’s why the clicks add up

From the AMA (hat tip: Dr. Menadue):

Electronic prescribing has taken off, making it easier for physicians to get orders quickly and safely to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice. Yet while 70% of physicians e-prescribe, only 20% are able to electronically order controlled substances such as analgesic opioids.

The Association also advocates consistent and sufficient resources to support states in maintaining and improving their PDMPs, including dedicated funding streams to support the availability of grants and federally supported appropriations.