Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? An Answer With Many Questions

From the November 28 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association 

In the outpatient setting, between 8% and 26% of abnormal test results, including those suspicious for malignancy, are not followed up in a timely manner.1​,2Despite the use of electronic health records (EHRs) to facilitate communication of test results, follow-up remains a significant safety challenge. In an effort to mitigate delays, some systems have adopted a time-delayed direct notification of test results to patients (ie, releasing them after 3 to 7 days to allow physicians to review them).3​,4

On September 14, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services jointly with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office for Civil Rights5 proposed a rule allowing patients to access test results directly from the laboratory by request (paper or electronic). …

Read the entire commentary

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S

From the abstract

The United States ranks first among developed nations in rates of both teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In an effort to reduce these rates, the U.S. government has funded abstinence-only sex education programs for more than a decade. However, a public controversy remains over whether this investment has been successful and whether these programs should be continued. Using the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates. This trend remains significant after accounting for socioeconomic status, teen educational attainment, ethnic composition of the teen population, and availability of Medicaid waivers for family planning services in each state. These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. In alignment with the new evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and thePrecaution Adoption Process Model advocated by the National Institutes of Health, we propose the integration of comprehensive sex and STD education into the biology curriculum in middle and high school science classes and a parallel social studies curriculum that addresses risk-aversion behaviors and planning for the future.

Read the entire peer reviewed article here

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , | Leave a comment

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption
by D. Mark Anderson, Daniel I. Rees
(November 2011)

Abstract:
To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.
Text: See Discussion Paper No. 6112  

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

A complete guide to planning a social media presence for healthcare

by  , the complete Dec 2011 article is at KevinMD.com

The world of healthcare is inherently siloed,  tethered,  fragmented and prone to poor communication and collaboration.  Today, healthcare workers solve their problems via traditional methods that are often costly, inefficient, nor timely.  Increasingly, more savvy healthcare workers are looking outside the system to digital media and communities for answers, but are challenged with uncertainty over concepts of usefulness, practicality, bandwidth issues, “ROI” and privacy concerns.

Establishing a digital presence is rapidly becoming a necessity for healthcare professionals, medical practices, and institutions.  Many have recognized this fact, yet many more have not.

At its heart, digital media is about people, it is about relationships, and it is about communication.  A social media presence is about educating, engaging and growing your audience, improving outcomes, compliance and potentially the bottom line of your practice….

The medium long article includes summaries of overall use of social media, how to plan for and engage in social media and online reputation tips.

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Medicine and Social Media Links from Science Roll

The Web site Science Roll is published by ” Bertalan Meskó,MD. He  graduated from the University of Debrecen, Medical School and Health Science Center in 2009 and started PhD in the field of personalized genomics. He is the founder of Webicina.com, a free service curating medical social media resources in 17 languages. He thinks medical education and communication between physicians and patients will be revolutionized with the tools and services of web 2.0.”

The Medicine and Social Media page includes links in the following areas

 

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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