The past year gave primary care physicians much to consider.
From Zika virus fears to rising costs of prescription drugs to the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, 2016 has certainly set the stage for a New Year many believe will be filled with ups, downs, starts, stops and ultimately, hope.
Here’s a look at three things that are coming in 2017 for primary care physicians:
Remember when the primary care physicians had to worry about getting patients comfortable with the idea (much less the implementation) of electronic medical records? How quickly things change!
These days, patients are pushing primary care physicians to make better use of technology.
According to DMR, a website that specializes in curating statistics, there are more than 20 million registered Fitbit users in the United States–and that number is growing. Fitbits, are the wearable devices that allow users to track everything from number of steps taken to calories consumed to hours of quality sleep achieved each night.
Wearable devices are giving patients more information about their overall health–and now patients want to share that information with their primary care physicians through interactive websites, mobile apps and other emerging technologies.
This year, look for more patients to expect to engage with you through wireless technology, which is known as mHealth and is growing by leaps and bounds. Other technology that will lead to large-scale transformations in the way primary care physicians treat patients are sure to emerge–and they could include concierge health, virtual health and video games as a means to promoting health an wellness.
There may not be a lot of money to be made by individual physicians through mHealth or wearable devices, but telemedicine is proving to be a money-making machine–and that’s why your “webside manner” may matter an awful lot.
Telemedicine continued to grow in 2016, thanks in large part to a paradigm shift that is moving more healthcare resources away from treating illness and towards proactively keeping people healthy.
This trend is expected to continue in 2017, meaning you might be using teleconferencing tools to interact with patients in their homes, other clinics or other hospitals.
Virtual visits require physicians to be empathetic and compassionate without physically examining patients or reading their body language.
Your webside manner matters–both for your patients and for your finances. According to an article on Modern Health Care’s website that cited a study that showed doctor-patient interactions can have a statistically significant effect on a patient’s health. In addition, the story also quoted a survey that said 71 percent of employers will offer telemedicine consults through health plans in 2017.
After the recent Presidential election, there’s only one thing that seems certain: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will get a second opinion.
Before becoming President-elect, Donald Trump made it clear that he was no fan of the ACA and it became the general understanding that it would be repealed during his term.
Whether or not he will actually goes so far as to repeal the ACA remains to be seen. But one thing seems certain: Obamacare is going to get a second look, and it could lead to changes in the way primary care physicians treat patients.
*The ideas related to the election noted within this blog are observations only and do not reflect a political position of any kind on behalf of Elliot Health System or any of its staff.
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Thanks to the presidential election, it has been a while since the medical industry has been “above the fold,” as they say in the journalism world. But, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any news about medical research, trends or treatments.
In fact, there have been some pretty important stories written about the medical industry over the past month. Here’s a look at five of the most fascinating medical news stories you may have missed while the world was preoccupied with the race for the White House:
Researchers may soon have a new tool in the effort to learn more about respiratory disease, which is responsible for nearly one in five deaths around the world. Scientists at the University of Michigan have successfully transplanted lab-grown mini lungs into mice, according to a story in Science Daily.
The 3-D models of lungs were created from stem cells and transplanted into immunosuppressed mice, where the structures not only survived, but also grew and matured.
Researchers say the transplanted mini-lungs were virtually indistinguishable from human adult tissue, which is important because it will allow scientists to test and screen drugs, gain a better understanding of gene function and possibly generate transplantable tissue.
Read more about the mini-lung breakthrough on the University of Michigan website.
The Zika virus isn’t making headlines like it did last summer, but researchers are still busy looking for ways to combat the illness’s devastating effects–and they may have made an important breakthrough.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Washing University School of Medicine in St. Louis say they have isolated a human monoclonal antibody that “markedly reduced” Zika virus infection in a mouse model.
According to researchers, an antibody called ZIKV-117 protected the fetus in pregnant mice that were infected with Zika.
The breakthrough offers hope to the thousands of people in the United States (including at least 11 in New Hampshire) who have been infected with the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Read more about the study in the journal, Nature.
In one of the most fascinating and inspiring medical news stories of the year, doctors at Children’s Hospital in Houston successfully removed a fetus from the womb, performed emergency surgery and placed the baby back inside her mother for another 20 weeks.
And it worked.
CNN recently published a story about the baby who was “born twice.” The baby was diagnosed with Sacrococcygeal teratoma when her mother was 16 weeks into the pregnancy. While the condition, which causes a tumor to develop and grow from the baby’s coccyx prior to birth, is fairly common and often treatable after the baby is born, this case presented with complications. The fetus had blood-flow problems that could have led to heart failure.
Physicians made the difficult decision to remove the fetus from her mother and perform the surgery. After placing the fetus back inside the womb, the baby grew normally and was successfully brought into the world at 36 weeks.
That’s the type of inspiring medical news that reminds physicians why they chose a career in medicine–and reminds the world of the value of innovative health care and doctors committed to innovating.
Read more about the baby “born twice” on CNN.com.
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Nurse practitioners play an important role in hospitals. They’re involved in everything from diagnosing, treating and managing acute and chronic illnesses.
That makes for a fast-paced work environment where decisions have to quickly and sometimes with only partial information. One way for nurse practitioners to be more efficient and effective in delivering care is to stay up-to-date with the latest medical news about their work, societal trends affecting their patients and new treatment options.
Here’s a look at some of the latest medical news for nurse practitioners:
Nurse practitioners may soon be able to care for Medicare patients outside of hospitals. As part of an effort to address the nation’s shortage of doctors and improve the quality of care elderly patients receive, President Obama’s administration has put forward a proposal to allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to deliver primary care services in patients’ homes.
According to a story published on DailyNurse.com, the administration–along with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services–believe that expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants could lead to lower healthcare costs, shorter hospital stays and better care for patients who otherwise might not be treated.
Nurses are on the front lines when it comes to helping people live long lives. But, at some point, there comes a time when end-of-life care is necessary. These cases can be trying for nurse practitioners, who are trained to help keep people healthy.
Thankfully, there are resources to help nurse practitioners help patients who are candidates for hospice care. In what might be one of the most important pieces of the latest medical news, the Advance Healthcare Network published “The Role of the Nurse Practitioner in Hospice Care.”
It’s a must-read for anyone who works with the elderly or people suffering from chronic and often fatal diseases.
In what is a becoming more common in the healthcare industry, a group of nurse practitioners have opened a medical practice in Washington Heights, New York.
The nurse practitioners, all of whom were educated at Columbia University School of Nursing, will be staff and manage the practice. The goal is to expand healthcare options for people who live in the area and train advanced practice nurses to deliver complex care to people who are living with chronic diseases.
This is the second such medical practice opened by Columbia University and just might be an indication of the expanding role nurse practitioners will have in the future.
Would you like to learn about nurse practitioner opportunities within Elliot Health System? If so, check out our open provider positions.
The health care industry is an ever-changing world or policy, protocols and people. Even on your days off, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest medical news that pertains specifically to physician assistants like yourself.
Here, to help you stay abreast of important information that could help advance your career and deliver exceptional patient care, is the latest medical news for physician assistants:
According to a recent story published on DailyNurse.com, President Obama’s administration has proposed a lift on the current ban that prevents physician assistants and nurse practitioners from providing direct care to Medicare patients in their homes.
If accepted, the proposed change could have a significant impact on both elderly patients and physician assistants.
Right now, physician assistants are only allowed to provide direct care to Medicare patients in nursing facilities and other inpatient care centers. These limitations on patient access can make it difficult for some elderly Medicare patients to get the care they need–especially in areas of the country where physicians are in short supply.
For physician assistants, a rule change could lead to greater career opportunities and advancement, more job prospects and the ability to expand their skill set by monitoring patients remotely and providing care for chronic and other conditions in patients’ homes.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when physician assistants were viewed as exclusively primary care professionals. Those days are gone.
In what might be the most exciting of all the latest medical news stories about physicians assistants, Forbes has reported that more than 70 percent of all physicians assistants are now working in specialty areas of medicine such as surgery and emergency medicine.
According to the Forbes report, the role change for physician assistants is due in large part to doctor shortages, which are only expected to grow between now and 2025, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
What does this mean for physicians assistants? In the short term, it means more opportunities to expand your skill set. In the long run, it could lead to increased pay and job security.
It is quite possible that there has never been a better time to be a physician assistant. Government officials and hospital administrators want to increase their roles and responsibilities–which leads typically leads to increased pay–and hospitals and clinics across the country can’t hire them fast enough.
In September, websites, newspapers and industry journals reported that the fastest growing field in medicine is that of the physician assistant.
According to the reports, the demand for physician assistants is being driven by two main factors: a shortage of physicians and an increased reliance on team practicing team medicine. Whatever the reason, being in high-demand is good news for anyone who is considering making a job switch or just entering the profession.
It’s no secret that opioid addiction is an epidemic that has touched every community across the country. Local and national leaders have been looking for a way to address the problem, and now Congress is calling on physician assistants to help.
The American Academy of Physician Assistants reports that Congress passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 in July. In doing so, lawmakers made it possible for physician assistants to prescribe buprenorphine to people suffering from opioid addiction.
Buprenorphine is widely used to treat opioid addiction and is often preferred over other drugs because it has a lower potential for misuse and overt abuse.
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It’s possible that no industry generates as much news as healthcare. Primary care physicians have to stay abreast of it all to ensure that they are able to deliver the best possible care and options to their patients, who present with conditions ranging from routine to rare.
Here is a look at important news that every primary care physician needs to know about.
For years, physicians have been warned of the dangers of statins. Physicians were told that the cholesterol-lowering drugs taken by an estimated 25 million Americans could cause serious liver injury, cognitive impairment, raised blood sugar levels and muscle damage.
Not so fast.
A new large-scale review published in The Lancet indicates that the risks have been significantly overstated, and that the benefits of statin therapy by far outweigh the risks.
That’s good news for every primary care physician who prescribes the drugs as well as the patients who take them.
It wasn’t that long ago that local and national media outlets hailed nasal spray as a safe and effective alternative to shots for delivering the flu vaccine.
It was effective, it didn’t hurt, it only took a few seconds to administer and families would be more likely to have their children vaccinated if the process didn’t include needles, the reports said.
They were 75 percent correct–but the 25 percent they whiffed on matters the most.
While nearly every primary care physician across the country was deluged by families wanting the spray flu vaccine for their children, there was a major problem with the product: it was not effective.
This is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control. Both made their recommendations after analyzing data gathered from the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network that revealed that the spray vaccine offered just a 3 percent protection rate against any flu virus for children aged 2-17 during the 2015-16 flu season.
Every primary care physician has likely prescribed antibiotics to children. At the same time, every primary care physician has likely heard about the potential risks of over-prescribing antibiotics to young people, drug-resistant germs being chief among them.
Now there’s another possible adverse side effect: food allergies.
New research conducted at the University of South Carolina shows that early antibiotic exposure could increase a child’s risk of food allergies, a condition that has increased by 50 percent among children in recent years.
According to the study, children who were prescribed antibiotics in the first year of life were more likely to later be diagnosed with a food allergy compared to children where received no antibiotics.
If you are primary care physician who is treating a pregnant patient who suffers from hearing loss, you are going to want to be aware of a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that show that your hearing-impaired patient is more likely to give birth prematurely or have a low-birth-rate baby.
To make matters worse, the study found women with hearing loss were less likely to have private insurance than those without hearing loss.
The study results led researchers to develop a perinatal health framework that identifies a number of individual and mediating risk factors for poor birth outcomes among patients living with physical disabilities, including those living with hearing loss.
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From a new tool for measuring life-threatening liver disease to why family medicine physicians might misdiagnose heart disease in patients who exercise regularly, there is no shortage of family medicine news.
Here is a look at three recent stories that every family medicine physician should be aware of:
Physicians at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital have identified a simple way to detect biliary atresia and other neonatal liver diseases in newborns. The blood test is a game changer for physicians, who up until now have not had an easy way to screen for the hard-to-detect biliary atresia, which is a condition in infants that results in bile ducts inside or outside the liver not having normal openings.
The new blood test allows physicians to diagnose and treat the diseases earlier, which could result in fewer infants needing liver transplants.
The physicians’ research was published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers note that the study, which took place over a 15-month period at four Houston-area hospitals, needs to be confirmed in larger studies. But, they add, if it is confirmed, it could mean that every infant could now be easily screen for biliary artresia the same way they are screen for other diseases.
Family medicine physicians across the county frequently encourage their patients to exercise on a regular basis. Now a study conducted in the journal, Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging reveals that those same physicians need to be aware of a common side effect to regular exercise–or they might misdiagnose their patients with heart disease.
Researchers with the British Heart Foundation, Imperial College London and Imperial College’s National Heart and Lung Institute conducted a study that showed that regular exercise can thicken heart muscle and increase the volume of heart chambers, particularly the right ventricle. Both are perfectly normal and healthy bodily responses to exercise–they are also symptoms of heart disease.
The researchers made their study available via several medical news outlets to make family medicine physicians aware that when thickness and volume occur in tandem, it is likely that it is not the result of heart disease, which occur in isolation.
With concussion rates on the rise–especially among adolescents–physicians are looking for new tools to help them assess cognitive skills after head injuries. They soon may have it.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that the agency has permitted marketing of two new computerized devices that help physicians assess a patient’s cognitive functions immediately following a suspected brain injury or concussion.
The tests, called Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric, are the first medical devices that have received permission from the FDA to begin marketing themselves to family medicine physicians.
According to Carlos Pena, Ph.D., M.S., who is director of the division of the division of neurological and physical medicine devices with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, the devices provide a “useful new tool to aid in the evaluation of patients experiencing possible sings of a concussion.” But, Pena adds, physicians should not rely exclusively on the tests to diagnose a concussion or determine when a patient can return to physical activity.
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For emergency medicine physicians, ambiguity is the only guarantee. No two cases are ever exactly alike. Important decisions must be made, often without critical pieces of information. Schedules change from days to midnights, midnights to days.
All of this can make it difficult to stay current with the latest emergency medicine news, which can help physicians improve treatments, make better decisions and feel more connected to their profession.
Here is a look at three important and recent news stories that are sure to be of interest to emergency medical physicians:
A study published online March 26th in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence revealed a new and effective way to reduce the misuse of prescription opioids, a problem that has been becoming more common in emergency departments across the country.
According to the study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, motivational interviews conducted by emergency medical physicians with patients in emergency departments resulted in reduced abuse of prescription opioids as well as behaviors that commonly lead to overdose.
The study was the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of this type of behavioral intervention in reducing the risk of overdose. While motivational interviews have proven successful in helping patients reduce their use and abuse of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, this is the first time it has been tested and proven successful in helping patients reduce their desire to abuse opioids.
Read more about the study and what it means to you and your patients on MDLinx.com.
As adolescents across the country begin preparing for another football season, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California San Francisco shows that they continue to be at risk of concussions.
The findings of the study were published in the August 16th edition of the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine. It shows that concussion cases have been increasing dramatically over the past few years, with most of the cases involving adolescents between the ages of 10 to 19.
Researchers found that 56 percent of concussions were diagnosed in emergency departments and another 29 percent diagnosed in outpatient clinics. Researchers say physicians, whether practicing emergency medicine or otherwise need to emphasize education and prevention among adolescents and their parents, guardians and coaches to help protect young people from suffering head injuries while participating in sports.
Read more about the rise in concussion rates among adolescents and what it means to you on MDLinx.com.
Emergency Medicine News highlights how one group of emergency medicine physicians used ECMO in the ED to help a patient in cardiac arrest.
While Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Extracorporeal is commonly used before and after cardiac surgery, the devices are not common in emergency departments, but perhaps they should be.
As a last resort, emergency physicians at Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego used ECMO on a patient who had suffered a massive out-of-hospital heart attack. They partnered with the hospital’s cross-trained ECMO team and a cardiologist to set up the ECMO circuit. While the first attempt to get the machine running did not go well, a subsequent effort resulted in the patient being transferred to the ICU, regaining brain activity and pulses–and eventually being discharged from the hospital with no neurological impairments.
Since the success, the emergency medicine physicians have been presenting the case and their subsequent efforts to create ED protocols for using ECMO at conferences across the country.
Read more about using ECMO in the emergency department on Emergency Medicine News.
Are you an emergency medicine provider who is looking for a new opportunity? Consider Elliot Health System!
Physicians are at the forefront of many types of battles on an ongoing basis, but not enough credit is given to them. Here are three uplifting and inspirational physician news stories to brighten your day.
As if it weren’t enough of an accomplishment for a woman to raise herself out of poverty to become a physician in Argentina, Dr. Paula Pareto just won a gold medal for championship judoka at the 2016 Summer Olympics. When she was studying to become a physician, Dr. Pareto had to travel three hours on a bus each way from her hometown to La Plata, the location of her training. The diminutive physician worked while going to school, which delayed her graduation, but she never lost sight of her dream to become a doctor. Now, with a gold medal under her belt, there’s no telling what her next goal will be, but chances are she will make it happen.
Dr. Wayne Herdy of the Australian Indigenous Doctor’s Association has always been a beloved physician, dedicating his practice to the needs of Aboriginal communities. Now, he is opening up a center in a new location, but with a different slant. He plans to make it less like a cold, sterile environment, and more like a place where the community can come and enjoy coffee and conversation along with their medical care. As he sees it, it will be a friendly refuge from the often harsh environment of the outback.
Grateful surfer Ryan Boarman and his father, Dr. Boarman, tell the story of how a skilled orthopaedic surgeon saved Ryan’s arm after he was attacked by a shark in the waters off Bali. The Singaporean surgeon, Dr. Kim Yeow Wai, took over after Ryan was transported to the Singapore’s Raffles Hospital. The injury was incredibly severe. The laceration from the shark bite encompassed a 360-degree measurement around the elbow. The shark bit multiple times, tearing and pulling away eight muscles and tendons, as well as injuring a nerve and a ligament. Dr. Wai’s surgery was so effective, it’s not expected that Ryan will need anymore surgeries on the arm.
These physician news stories are certainly inspirational, but there are many more untold stories that happen in ERs and clinics around the world. Start your own inspirational journey with Elliot Health System today.