Industry Voices—From pagers and fax machines, healthcare moves slowly to modern communications

From Fierce Healthcare:

Communication is happening everywhere in healthcare—at every handoff and patient interaction, information is being exchanged.

Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals are using less than ideal tools for said communication. An estimated 85% of hospitals still rely on pagers, while fax machines account for about 75% of all medical communication.

Finding a Solution for High-Frequency Users of 911 and the ER

From Government Technology:

Nearly 300 people in Dayton have called 911 for medical reasons at least 10 times in the last two years, and some called far more frequently than that, including one woman who requested assistance 66 times.

Combined, this relatively small group of patients was responsible for 4,684 medical contacts, which required ambulance runs and regularly resulted in emergency room visits, according to the city.

The city of Dayton and Premier Health have teamed up to try to find alternative ways to serve and provide care to some high-frequency users of 911 and hospital emergency departments.

Changing emergency doctors’ behaviors to promote wider use of medication for opioid use disorder

From STAT:

One of the barriers to prescribing medication for opioid use disorder is that physicians aren’t allowed to prescribe buprenorphine unless they complete an eight-hour training course and get a special license (called a waiver) from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. One of us (A.M.) created the Get Waivered program to help emergency physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital get this certification.

Yet one study found that only 47% of all physicians who obtained this DEA waiver ever prescribed buprenorphine to patients. You might wonder: Why would someone who went through an eight-hour training course to prescribe an effective medication not follow through and prescribe it?

When waiting feels immoral: Fairness in the emergency department calls for empathy from all of us

From STAT:

There are situations when waiting feels immoral to me, not merely inconvenient. Being an emergency doctor means shouldering burdens for perceived injustices that we have little, if any, control over. Most of the beds were locked up with patients boarding in the ED, which means they are waiting for an inpatient bed to become available in the hospital.

Study On Patient Data Through Emergency Department Information System Market with Key Features and Benefits

From Medscape:

The ED or emergency department is a vital part of the ability of the hospital to care for injured and critically ill patients. It also acts as the bridge that connects the inpatient and outpatient worlds. In fact, a good number of admissions to hospitals today come through emergency departments. There has been a rise in the visits to emergency departments lately, which is predicted to keep rising. Emergency medicine providers these days have been tasked to handle a massive rise in patient load along with ensuring that every patient that is admitted has a smooth transition in the hospital. The EDIS (emergency department information system) is a vital part of their capacity to manage such tasks. Efficiency and patient throughput are more crucial than ever, and an emergency department information system can break or make the workflow of a clinician.

Chinese surgeons use straws to drain man’s bladder in mid-flight medical emergency

From the China Southern Post:

Two Chinese surgeons rigged straws, a syringe needle and tubing from an oxygen mask together with tape to perform a life-saving emergency procedure on a flight from southern China to New York on Tuesday, according to mainland media reports.

The surgeons inserted the needle to release the urine but it was not big enough to ease the pressure on its own.

Zhang then siphoned off the urine himself, drawing out most of the fluid over the next half an hour or so.

He said this was the best way they had to control the flow.

“It was an emergency situation. I couldn’t figure out another way,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

States ranked by shortage of primary care providers

From Becker’s:

The ranking is based on a quarterly summary of designated Health Professional Shortage Area statistics published Sep. 30 by HHS, the Bureau of Health Workforce and the Health Resources and Services Administration. The HPSA designation is given to areas where the population-to-provider ratio for primary care is at least 3,500 to 1.

In total, there are 7,578 areas with an HPSA designation in the U.S.

3. Missouri — 344
7. Illinois — 249
14. Kansas — 190
18. Iowa — 152 (tie)
18. Minnesota — 152 (tie)

Premiums and Deductibles Account for 11.5% of Median Income

From HealthLeaders Media:

Middle class families spent 11.5% of their income on premiums and deductible costs in 2018, according to a Commonwealth Fund study released Thursday morning.

Additionally, health insurance payments grew at an average annual rate exceeding 4% between 2008 and 2018, well above wage growth over the same period.

Hospitals’ uncompensated care continues to rise

From Modern Healthcare:

Hospitals’ uncompensated care and unreimbursed costs increased from 2015 to 2018, albeit at a slower rate since 2016, according to new data.

Total uncompensated care and reimbursement shortfalls, which include free and discounted care for low-income patients plus bills that went unpaid as well as unreimbursed costs from Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance programs, averaged $12.8 million in 2018, up from $11.2 million in 2015, according to Definitive Healthcare’s analysis of 3,855 hospitals. After an 8% increase from 2015 to 2016, the total uncompensated growth rate slowed to about 3% a year.

“A lot has to do with high-deductible health plans and co-insurance,” said Kevin Holloran, senior director with Fitch Ratings. “Hospital CFOs I talk with say a $5,000 health plan is $5,000 in bad debt—most don’t have the capacity to pay that back.”

National Rural Health Day



The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health sets aside the third Thursday of every November to celebrate National Rural Health Day. National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to “Celebrate the Power of Rural” by honoring the selfless, community-minded, “can do” spirit that prevails in rural America, gives us a chance to bring to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face, and showcase the efforts of rural healthcare providers, State Offices of Rural Health and other rural stakeholders to address those challenges. #powerofrural