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DLPSS|HEALTHCARE NEWS|May 08, 2014 ▲ Healthcare News


Healthcare News

A Weekly Compilation of Clinical Laboratory and Related Information 
from The Division Of Laboratory Programs, Standards And Services


May 08, 2014


View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive


CMS Releases Final Rule Allowing for Alternatives Sanctions for PT Referral

On April 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule providing the agency with greater flexibility over its handling of cases involving intentional proficiency testing (PT) referral. The new rule provides the agency with discretion with regard to substituting intermediate sanctions in lieu of the 2-year prohibition on the owner and operator when a CLIA certificate is revoked due to intentional PT referral, and to consider imposing alternative sanctions in lieu of revocation as well. 


Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV): The Bottom Line for Clinicians

MERS-CoV was first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. In a press release issued May 2, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 401 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries, with all reported cases originating in the Arabian Peninsula. Most patients developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and 93 patients have died. The case fatality rate in symptomatic patients is 30%.
On May 2, 2014, the first confirmed case of MERS-CoV was reported in the United States.  For clinicians practicing in the United States who may have questions, here is the latest guidance, directly from the CDC and the WHO, on MERS-CoV. (Be sure to check the links provided for the most recent information, because this guidance may change rapidly.) 


FDA Pushes for Higher Standards on Blood Glucose Meters

Agency Outlines Separate Tracks for Lay and Professional Use Devices
For the first time, FDA is proposing two separate standards for lay-use blood glucose meters and for those used in the hospital. The latter has been under the most scrutiny by laboratorians, many of whom feel that FDA has overreached. The draft guidance for professional-use meters would require manufacturers to demonstrate that 99% of all values are within ±10% of the reference method for glucose concentrations >70 mg/dL. The current FDA standard is 95% of results within ±20%.


Lucrative Biopsies Spur Fight by Pathologists

For most people, a biopsy is a fast and simple procedure — a sliver or patch of skin or a few drops of fluid are extracted in a doctor’s office and sent to a laboratory for examination. It’s also potentially lifesaving. Biopsies such as Pap smears and the analysis of polyps, tumors and skin anomalies are crucial in detecting certain cancers. But how much a biopsy costs and who pays for it can be complex. For example, a skin biopsy may cost $40 from a discount lab, but a dermatologist may mark up the price and bill the patient two, three or four times the lab rate.


CAP Publishes 2014 Laboratory Accreditation Program Checklists

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) Laboratory Accreditation Program has released the 2014 edition of checklists that are used in the accreditation inspection process to help laboratories meet Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements. The CAP accredits more than 7,600 medical laboratories in 50 countries. CAP inspection teams use the checklists as a guide to assess a laboratory’s overall management and operation. In the 2014 edition, the CAP made modifications to all of its 21 checklists. The greatest number of changes was made in Laboratory General, Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Biochemical Genetics, and Point-of-Care Testing


Pre-Analytical Errors: Their Impact and How to Minimize Them

The clinical laboratory plays an increasingly important role in the patient-centered approach to the delivery of healthcare services. Physicians rely on accurate laboratory test results for proper disease diagnosis and for guiding therapy. Clinical laboratory errors directly lead to increased healthcare costs and decreased patient satisfaction. Pre-analytical errors damage an institution’s reputation, diminish confidence in healthcare services, and contribute to a significant increase in the total operating costs, both for the hospital and laboratory. More than one-fourth of all pre-analytical errors are estimated to result in unnecessary investigation or inappropriate patient care, thus resulting in additional financial burden on healthcare system. Healthcare economists have developed a model to quantify hospital costs related to laboratory error and inefficiencies due to poor blood specimen quality


Are Pap Smears on the Way Out?

Women who want to be screened for cervical cancer have just received a new option — and a new quandary. The venerable Pap smear, which has been the only screening tool to look for cancer in asymptomatic women for many decades, now has a rival, a genetic test that looks for the viruses implicated in causing cervical cancer. HPV testing has some advantages over Pap tests. The Roche study showed that it was better able to detect precancerous lesions and a better predictor of whether a woman who tested negative would remain free of lesions for the next three years. The HPV test is also more objective than Pap tests, which rely on the judgment of health professionals viewing slides under a microscope. However, a coalition of 17 consumer, women’s and health groups opposed the approval on grounds that the new test had not been adequately tested, will create confusion and might lead to expensive, invasive, potentially harmful follow-up procedures. The HPV test can cost twice as much as a $40 Pap smear.


75% of Docs Think Peers Order Unnecessary Tests and Procedures

Asked to rank the top reasons they themselves had ordered extraneous tests or procedures, 52 percent said malpractice concerns, 36 percent said they had ordered them just to be extra-cautious, 30 percent said to get more information to reassure themselves, 28 percent had patients who insisted on the unnecessary procedure, 13 percent wanted to leave the final decision up to their patients, and 5 percent were motivated by the fee-for-service system.


Old-Fashioned Microscopy Outperforms Automation for Urine Analysis

The human eye still beats automation when it comes to analyzing urine samples for signs of kidney damage, new research presented at the National Kidney Foundation's 2014 Spring Clinical Meetings shows. An automated urine analysis system missed signs of kidney damage that were identified by a person looking through a microscope at the sample, Dr. Natasha Sharda of the University of Arizona and her colleagues found. Dr. Sharda and her team investigated how well each approach was able to identify granular and muddy brown casts, tiny tube-like structures made of protein secreted by the kidney. Casts in the setting of kidney damage can help identify the underlying problem such as inflammation or infection, Dr. Sharda explained, and counting them and identifying their characteristics and composition can provide important diagnostic and prognostic information.


New Study Shows Routine Blood Glucose Measurements Can Accurately Estimate Hemoglobin A1c in Diabetes

Hemoglobin A1c is the standard measurement for assessing glycemic control over time in people with diabetes. Blood levels of A1c are typically measured every few months in a laboratory, but now researchers have developed a data-based model that accurately estimates A1c using self-monitored blood glucose (SMBG) readings, as described in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (DTT), a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The authors propose that estimation of real-time A1c could increase individuals' motivation to improve diabetes control.


Suicide Biomarkers Getting Closer to the Clinic

Predicting suicidal behavior is coming closer to the clinic as neuroimaging and genetic studies begin to identify structural and functional brain correlates of suicidal behavior that could help identify those most at risk, a comprehensive literature review suggests. "We still don't know why some people take their own lives when confronted with difficult life situations while others who experience the same problems don't even think about suicide," Kees van Heeringen, PhD, Ghent University, Belgium, told Medscape Medical News.


Dipstick Test Effective Initial Screen for UTI in Infants

A dipstick test alone may be the best initial screen to test for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in febrile infants, the authors of a study published online April 28 in Pediatrics conclude. Previous studies have demonstrated that dipstick tests work well for children aged 2 years and older. Unlike microscopic analysis, they require neither special training nor a certified laboratory. Moreover, some studies have questioned the added benefit of microscopic analysis, but those studies included few infants.


More STD Screening on Horizon for Women?

A federal task force is poised to advise doctors to regularly screen all sexually active American women and girls up to age 24 for the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia and gonorrhea, which often don't have outward symptoms. The influential group of experts also appears ready to recommend screening for older women at risk of the diseases and provide intensive counseling to people of all ages at extra risk of STDs. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force hasn't made final decisions about the recommendations it will put forward to the nation's physicians. But the draft guidelines released represent a significant expansion of routine screening for STDs.


MIT Researchers Detect Cancer From Urine Specimens by Combining Synthetic Biomarkers With Paper-based Diagnostics

There is now a technology that combines synthetic biomarkers with a paper-based urine test that can detect colorectal cancer and thrombosis in just a few minutes. Medical laboratory tests incorporating this diagnostic technology would be accurate, cheap, and simple enough to perform in developing countries. The new technique uses exogenous agents injected into the patient. These agents bind with tumor proteins. A paper strip test then easily detects the synthetic biomarkers in the patient’s urine. The molecular detection system brings a number of existing technologies together in a new way, reported a story published at The result is a new method of cancer signal amplification.


Alere Starts Urgent Recall of Some Blood Clot Test Strips

Alere Inc said it initiated a voluntary recall of certain blood clot test strips in the United States following reports of nine serious adverse events that included bleeding related to the death of three patients. The test strip, PN 99008G2, measures how long it takes blood to clot in patients taking blood thinner warfarin and is used with Alere's INRatio2 PT/INR monitor. The health diagnostics and services company said the adverse events were due to significantly different test results between the strip and the local laboratory plasma test.


BioMerieux's GI Panel Cleared by FDA

The 22-target panel is for diagnosing infectious diarrhea and includes bacteria, viruses, and parasites in one test. According to BioMérieux, the test is the most comprehensive gastrointestinal panel to be cleared by FDA and contains several pathogens that have received FDA clearance for the first time. The panel runs on the FilmArray system, a closed system that integrates sample preparation, amplification, and detection, and is performed directly from stool in Cary Blair transport media. It takes two minutes to set up and about one hour to produce results, BioMérieux said.


CLSI Releases New Hematology Standards on RBC Diagnostic and Lupus Anticoagulant Testing

The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) has published an updated version of H52-A2—Red Blood Cell Diagnostic Testing Using Flow Cytometry; Approved Guideline—Second Edition. This standard addresses the diagnostic red blood cell (RBC) assays performed as fluorescence-based assays on a flow cytometry platform, including testing procedures for fetomaternal hemorrhage detection, paroxysmal nocturnal hematuria screening, membrane defect anemia testing for hereditary spherocytosis, and nucleated RBC counting. Points of validation and quality control and caveats of interpretation are also discussed.


Despite Childhood Obesity Epidemic, Few Kids Tested for Cholesterol

Even though rising obesity rates are contributing to higher cholesterol levels among young Americans, less than 4 percent of U.S. children had their cholesterol levels checked between 1995 and 2010, new research shows. According to a team led by Dr. Samuel Vinci of Boston Children's Hospital, abnormal blood cholesterol reading are thought to occur in roughly a fifth of American children and adolescents. The concern is that -- if left untreated -- problematic cholesterol levels among youth could translate into heart disease in adulthood.


Vitamin D Deficiency May be Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Vitamin D deficiency was an indicator of aggressive prostate cancer and spread of the disease in European-American and African-American men who underwent their first prostate biopsy after abnormal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and/or digital rectal examination (DRE) test results, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research.


Scientists Make Bone Marrow-on-a-chip

The latest organ-on-a-chip from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering reproduces the structure, functions and cellular make-up of bone marrow, a complex tissue that until now could only be studied intact in living animals, Institute researchers report in Nature Methods. The device, dubbed "bone marrow-on-a-chip," gives scientists a much-needed new tool to test the effects of new drugs and toxic agents on whole bone marrow.


Immune Cells Outsmart Bacteria by Dying

A new study led by scientists at the Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine has painted a clearer picture of the delicate arms race between the human immune system and a pathogen that seeks to infect and kill human cells. The research explores the strategies by which the bacterial pathogen Yersinia, responsible for causing plague and gastrointestinal infections, tries to outsmart immune cell responses and looks at the tactics used by the immune system to fight back. The senior author of the paper, which appears online in PNAS, is Igor Brodsky, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet.


Harvard Neuroscientists Have Made a Discovery That Turns 160 Years of Neuroanatomy on Its Head

Myelin, the electrical insulating material long known to be essential for the fast transmission of impulses along the axons of nerve cells, is not as ubiquitous as thought, according to a new work lead by Professor Paola Arlotta of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and the University's Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, in collaboration with Professor Jeff Lichtman, of Harvard's Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. [The] new research shows that despite myelin essential roles in the brain, "some of the most evolved, most complex neurons of the nervous system have less myelin than older, more ancestral ones" Arlotta, co-director of the HSCI neuroscience program, says. What this means, Arlotta says, is that the higher in the cerebral cortex one looks - the closer to the top of the brain, which is its most evolved region - the less myelin one finds. Not only that, but "neurons in this part of the brain display a brand new way of positioning myelin along their axons that has not been previously seen. They have 'intermittent myelin' with long axon tracts that lack myelin interspersed among myelin-rich segments.


Healthy Blood Cells of 115-Year-Old Woman Show Hundreds of Mutations

In 2005, a 115-year old woman died and became the oldest person ever to donate her body to science. Now, researchers who analyzed the healthy blood cells in her body say they have identified over 400 genetic mutations, suggesting such lesions are mostly harmless in our bodies over a lifetime. The researchers, led by Dr. Henne Holstege of VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands, publish their findings in the journal Genome Research. Dr. Holstege says as a result of this finding, they "speculate that most hematopoietic stem cells may have died from 'stem cell exhaustion,' reaching the upper limit of stem cell divisions." However, she adds that future studies need to investigate whether stem cell exhaustion is a likely cause of death at very old ages.


New Blood 'Recharges old brain', Mouse Study Suggests

Researchers in the US say they might have discovered how to combat and even reverse some effects of ageing, at least in mice. Injecting the blood of young mice into older rodents boosted their brainpower, a study found. The scientists now want to carry out trials in people in the hope that new treatments for dementia can be developed. A UK dementia research charity said the human significance was unknown.


Mass Memory and Reasoning Tests 'Track Dementia Risk'

A third of a million adults in the UK are to be invited to take part in the world's biggest study of cognitive function. The aim of the trial, funded by the Medical Research Council, is to try to predict what factors may increase the risk of developing dementia. All the participants will be part of UK Biobank, and previously gave DNA samples and lifestyle information. They will be asked to do a series of memory and reasoning tests online. When they were enrolled in UK Biobank over the past decade, volunteers gave blood and urine samples, underwent a fitness test and answered questions on their health and diet. 


Stem Cells Used to Repair Animal Hearts and Human Muscle

Two new studies out show both the incredible promise of stem cell research and its current limitations. In one, published in the journal Nature, researchers showed that they could repair damaged hearts by injecting these versatile stem cells into macaque monkeys. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and if the same process can work in people, it could benefit hundreds of thousands a year. In the other study, published in Science Translational Medicine, five men were able to regrow leg muscles destroyed by accidents or military service. The researchers, from the University of Pittsburgh, inserted into the men's muscles a "scaffold" of muscle tissue from a pig. Through aggressive physical therapy right after the surgery, the men's own stem cells were encouraged to populate the scaffold and substantially rebuild their leg muscles.


Heavy Alcohol Use Impairs Cells’ Ability to Regenerate, Repair

Muscle weakness from long-term alcoholism may stem from an inability of mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, to self-repair, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. In research conducted with rats, scientists found evidence that chronic heavy alcohol use affects a gene involved in mitochondrial repair and muscle regeneration. "The finding gives insight into why chronic heavy drinking often saps muscle strength and it could also lead to new targets for medication development," said Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the NIH institute that funded the study.


Nanoparticles to Replace Surgical Threads for an Improved Hold

Stapling and suturing are routine parts of surgical procedures, but they’ve always had downsides. In many situations it may be difficult to get a stapler to a site or to have enough room to insert sutures. Moreover, suturing and stapling can damage fragile soft tissue. A team of French scientists have now used silicon dioxide and iron oxide nanoparticles as a glue to bind soft, wet tissues together, in many cases better than using sutures or staples. The aqueous nanoparticle solution allowed the creation of “nanobridges” that bind tissues firmly against each other without leaving anything at the junction.


Human Fat Could Help in Treating Brain Cancer

Researchers have claimed that they have used stem cells derived from human body fat to treat brain cancer in mice. Scientists from Johns Hopkins University said that their biological treatment procedure using mesenchymal stem cells, which were harvested from human fat tissue, was able to successfully treat mice with the most common and aggressive form of brain tumor, significantly extending their lives. According to the study, the technique could work in people after surgical removal of brain cancers called glioblastomas to find and destroy any remaining cancer cells in difficult-to-reach areas of the brain.


Low-Risk Thyroid Cancer Doesn't Need Total Thyroidectomy

A new study from Japan lends support to the argument that most low-risk papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients don't need a total thyroidectomy and will do just as well with more conservative surgery. Moreover, because there is no difference in survival, patients can be educated about the risks and benefits of both procedures and offered the choice, surgical resident Aya Ebina, MD, from the division of head and neck, Cancer Institute Hospital, Tokyo, Japan, said at the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) 2014 Annual Meeting.


A Goal to Combat Malaria With the Help of a Robot

In its effort to develop a unique malaria vaccine, the American company Sanaria wants to build a robot that will do what now requires a line of trained humans with microscopes: dissecting half-frozen mosquitoes with tiny needles to extract their salivary glands. Inside the glands are malaria parasites, the key ingredient of Sanaria’s vaccine. The insects have been allowed to drink blood teeming with parasites, then dosed with enough radiation to weaken but not kill those parasites. The enfeebled parasites are then extracted for injection into people, where they can create an immune reaction but cannot reproduce quickly enough to create disease.


Drug Pair Cuts Children’s Urinary Infections up to 80 Percent

Long-term use of a drug combination reduces the risk of recurrent urinary tract infection by up to 80 percent in children with the urinary condition vesicoureteral compared to placebo, according to research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Results were published online May 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine to coincide with presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.


New Virus Related to Smallpox is Found in Republic of Georgia

Two herdsmen in the country of Georgia have been infected with a brand-new virus, scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The newly identified virus is a second cousin to smallpox. And, like smallpox, it causes painful blisters on the hands and arms‎. Other symptoms include a fever, swollen lymph nodes and overall weakness, CDC scientists reported at a meeting in Atlanta. "We consider this family of viruses very important because smallpox could be used as a bioterrorism agent," says disease detective Neil Vora, who led the team that made the discovery. The virus doesn't yet have a name, Vora says, because so little is known about it.


Mysterious Kidney Disease Slays Farmworkers in Central America

In Central America, a form of kidney disease is attacking men in the prime of their lives. Researchers are struggling to explain what's causing it. The condition appears to be concentrated among male agricultural workers, particularly sugar cane cutters, along the Pacific coast. The town of Chichigalpa has been hard hit. It's surrounded by the cane fields of El Ingenio San Antonio, one of the oldest and largest sugar estates in Central America. The estate produces raw sugar that's shipped to the U.S. and elsewhere. It also refines ethanol to make a popular rum marketed globally under the name Flor de Cana. Tejarino's doctor says hundreds of men in Chichigalpa are suffering from this mysterious kind of chronic kidney failure. It's not related to diabetes or other well-known kidney diseases.


WHI: Millions Spent, but Billions Gained

The $260 million Women's Health Initiative (WHI) was one of the most expensive studies ever funded by the NIH, but the trial's unexpected outcome led to a net return that amounted to billions of dollars, a modeling study found. Using disease-simulation modeling, researchers determined that the WHI caused 4.3 million fewer women than would have been expected to use estrogen plus progestin hormone therapy over the last decade, resulting in 126,000 fewer breast cancers, 76,000 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease, and 80,000 fewer cases of venous thromboembolism, but 263,000 more fractures. This translated into 140,000 more quality-adjusted life years and a net economic return of $37.1 billion in the past decade ($140 per dollar invested in the trial), reported Joshua A. Roth, PhD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues, in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


CDC: Lifespan More to do With Geography Than Genetics

There is a huge range in the death rates across American states, driven by public policy, regional habits and socioeconomics, Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said. "Your longevity and health are more determined by your ZIP code than they are by your genetic code," he said. The death rate from the five major causes varies at least twofold between the healthiest states – such as Colorado, Utah and Vermont – and the least healthy, most of which are found in the Southeast, Frieden said, citing a new CDC study. "These deaths are not random. They are clustered by geography," he said. "That's a reflection of the huge impact that healthier policies can have."


CDC Official Protests Federal Medical Response Cuts

More than half a decade of reductions to spending on state and local public-health agencies has already been "extremely damaging" to capabilities across the country for responding to unconventional attacks and other disasters, Dr. Ali Khan, director of the Public Health Preparedness and Response Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Global Security Newswire in an interview.


CMS Issues Proposed Hospital Inpatient Regulation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would update fiscal year (FY) 2015 Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient stays at general acute care and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs). The rule’s most significant changes are payment provisions intended to improve the quality of hospital care that reduce payment for readmissions, and hospital acquired conditions (HACs). The rule also includes proposed changes to the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program. The rule also describes how hospitals can comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements to disclose charges for their services online or in response to a request, supporting price transparency for patients and the public. 


CMS Should Not Pay for Regular CT Screenings for Heavy Smokers, Panel Says

A Medicare panel determined that there is not enough evidence to justify annual CT scans to detect early lung cancer in heavy smokers. The CMS's nine-member Medicare Evidence Development and Coverage Advisory Committee voted against paying for the screening tool. The unexpected decision on the nonbinding recommendation runs counter to a December 2013 recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that current or past heavy smokers ages 55 to 80 should get the scans. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the task force's recommendation means that private insurers are required to cover the screening with no out-of-pocket obligation for their non-Medicare members. The test typically costs $300 to $400. The members of the Medicare committee, which advises CMS on coverage determinations, indicated that they had little confidence that the benefits of subjecting Medicare beneficiaries to regular scans outweighed the risks of the psychological trauma or unnecessary surgeries that could result from false positives.


Physician Anxieties Linger as CMS Sets Oct. 1, 2015 Conversion Date for ICD-10

The countdown has restarted toward the compliance deadline with the federally mandated conversion to the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes. The new ICD-10 start date is Oct. 1, 2015, according to a terse statement from the CMS.  But many of the problems and anxieties that led to last month's congressional pushback of the ICD-10 start date are still unresolved, several experts said. HHS “expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning Oct. 1, 2015,” the CMS statement said. “The rule will also require HIPAA-covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through Sept. 30, 2015.”


NYS’ Blue Button Initiative

This year, New York is going to be the first state in the nation to make that health data available to consumers with the launch of a patient portal. The portal is being designed by Mana Health, a New York City-based health IT start-up, with help from the New York eHealth Collaborative. The portal will integrate data from a variety of sources including the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) and the state’s All Payer Database. The SHIN-NY is a secure network that shares clinical patient data across New York State, while the All Payer Database houses claims data from all the payers in the state, both public and private. Best of all, the data will be interoperable, meaning that a patient whose records are on one doctor’s health IT system can still be integrated with those from another doctor using a different system.


Patients Want More Access to Their Health Data, Survey Finds

For all the talk about patient-centeredness in healthcare, there's a dissonance between patients' desires to access and control their healthcare information and the lack of connectivity and control that today's healthcare system is affording them, according to data from a recent survey of U.S. adults by the healthcare arm of the consulting firm Accenture. Better than two thirds (69%) of survey participants indicate they believe they have a right to access all of their healthcare data.


EHR Certification Criteria Under Fire

The hits keep on coming as two industry groups spoke out against voluntary 2015 EHR certification under meaningful use. First it was the EHR Association claiming the criteria are neither necessary nor workable. And then the American Medical Association and Telecommunications Industry Association joined the cause. In a letter to National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD the AMA said its constituents are concerned that the meaningful use program requirements are “overly rigid,” and that the certification process “is not focused on ensuring interoperable and usable systems.”


How SNOMED-CT Fits Into the ICD-10 Transition

Physicians are going to use SNOMED to communicate with EHRs to comply with Meaningful Use. 
What is SNOMED-CT?
First let's understand SNOMED-CT.
  • The Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine — Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT) is a medical terminology created by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
  • It is now owned, maintained and distributed by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO).
  • SNOMED-CT is a terminology designed for input into electronic health records (EHRs).
  • SNOMED-CT is not a flat list of numbers and corresponding terms. It's a database.
  • The SNOMED-CT database is a complex relationship of concepts. The 96-page User Guide explains how it's organized.
Why not use SNOMED-CT instead of ICD-10 coding?
  • SNOMED-CT is a terminology designed for input into EHRs. The terms are too granular to be used for reporting.
  • ICD-10 is a classification designed for output or reports. Each ICD code aggregates the details input into the medical records.


Polio’s Return After Near Eradication Prompts a Global Health Warning

Alarmed by the spread of polio to several fragile countries, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency for only the second time since regulations permitting it to do so were adopted in 2007. Just two years ago — after a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children — the paralyzing virus was near eradication; now health officials say that goal could evaporate if swift action is not taken.


Antibiotic Resistance Now 'Global threat', WHO Warns

Resistance to antibiotics poses a "major global threat" to public health, says a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). It analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now "in every region of the world". It described a "post-antibiotic era", where people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades. There were likely to be "devastating" implications unless "significant" action was taken urgently, it added. The report focused on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and blood infections. It suggested two key antibiotics no longer work in more than half of people being treated in some countries.

Disclaimer- The information provided in this news digest is intended only to be general summary information. It does not represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is not intended to take the place of applicable laws or regulations.

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