Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Planning for an Aging Nation: New Estimates to Inform Policy Analysis for Senior Health

Hillary Clinton Health care elderly

Hillary Clinton Health care elderly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the excerpt at Full Text reports (with link to report)

This dissertation contains three papers on the health and welfare of the elderly population. Overall, these papers provide insights into the costs and challenges of providing health care to the elderly population. These papers help us understand the effects of obesity on longevity and health care, as well as better understand the benefits of social insurance. The first paper uses a micro-simulation model to estimate the longevity effects of poor health trends among younger Americans, and finds that difference in these trends can explain 92% of the difference between US and European longevity. The second paper estimates the welfare effects of Medicare Part-D from gains in market efficiency and dynamic incentives for pharmaceutical companies. It finds that these gains alone nearly cover the welfare cost of funding Medicare Part-D. The last paper presents and estimates a structural model of health, exercise, and restaurant consumption. It provides estimates for future welfare analyses of programs targeting obesity through restaurants and exercise in the elderly population. It also estimates the long run effects of making policies which make restaurant food healthier. It finds only minor effects of restaurant policies on health for the elderly. Overall, these papers further our understanding of the challenging objective of improving senior health while containing costs.

 

April 20, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

American Geriatrics Society Updated Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et...

Tablets and Patches of Clonidine, Comprimés et patch transdermique de clonidine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the  April 2012 Full Text Report summary (with link to report)

Potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) continue to be prescribed and used as first-line treatment for the most vulnerable of older adults, despite evidence of poor outcomes from the use of PIMs in older adults. PIMs now form an integral part of policy and practice and are incorporated into several quality measures. The specific aim of this project was to update the previous Beers Criteria using a comprehensive, systematic review and grading of the evidence on drug-related problems and adverse drug events (ADEs) in older adults. This was accomplished through the support of The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the work of an interdisciplinary panel of 11 experts in geriatric care and pharmacotherapy who applied a modi- fied Delphi method to the systematic review and grading to reach consensus on the updated 2012 AGS Beers Criteria. Fifty-three medications or medication classes encompass the final updated Criteria, which are divided into three categories: potentially inappropriate medications and classes to avoid in older adults, potentially inappropriate medications and classes to avoid in older adults with certain diseases and syndromes that the drugs listed can exacerbate, and finally medications to be used with caution in older adults. This update has much strength, including the use of an evidence-based approach using the Institute of Medicine standards and the development of a partnership to regularly update the Criteria. Thoughtful application of the Criteria will allow for (a) closer monitoring of drug use, (b) application of real-time e-prescribing and interventions to decrease ADEs in older adults, and (c) better patient outcomes.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How can doctors curb digital distractions?

icon for smartphone (smart phone) related content

icon for smartphone (smart phone) related content (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There may be some advice here for the rest of us!

From the 19 April 2012 blog post at KevinMD.com

While most early reports on the perils of social media concerned inappropriate postings by physicians, a new hazard has emerged recently: digital distraction. On WebM&M, the AHRQ-sponsored online patient safety journal that I edit, we recently presented a case in which a resident was asked by her attending to discontinue a patient’s Coumadin. As she turned to her smart phone to enter the order, she was pinged with an invitation to a party. By the time she had RSVPed, she had forgotten about the blood thinner – and neglected to stop it. The patient suffered a near-fatal pericardial hemorrhage.

In a commentary accompanying the case, the impossibly energetic John Halamka, ED doctor and Harvard Med School’s Chief Information Officer, described all of the things that his hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is considering to address this issue….

 

April 20, 2012 Posted by | health care | , | Leave a comment

Social Factors May Affect Lifespan More Than Race, Location

Study finds work, education have greater impact, By Robert Preidt in the  Tuesday, April 17, 2012 article at HealthDay

A group of socioeconomic factors such as education, income and work are better indicators of your chances of living to age 70 than race or geography, a new study shows.

The findings challenge the long-held belief that race or the region of the country where you reside are the best markers of how long you may live, according to researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif.

Previous research has found large differences in life expectancy in various regions of the United States. For example, people tend to die younger in large urban areas and in the South. A study published last year found that men in five counties in Mississippi lived an average of 66.5 years, several years less than the national average of 75.4 years for men.

Racial disparities also are a well-established factor in life expectancy. For example, a recent study found that white men live an average of about seven years longer than black men, and white women live about five years longer than black women, according to a Stanford University news release.

In the new study, the researchers examined data on the probability of survival to age 70 for people in counties across the United States. The data was initially categorized according to sex and race, but the researchers then considered how other factors affect life expectancy.

The analysis showed that when factors related to local social conditions — such as education, income, and job and marital status — are included, health differences based on race and region virtually disappear….

 

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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