viernes, 15 de agosto de 2014



Healthcare News

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


August 14, 2014

  • 2014 Ebola Virus Emergency Use Authorization
  • Guidelines for Evaluation of US Patients Suspected of Having Ebola Virus Disease
  • Direct Access to Lab Results: Laboratorians and Providers Should be Ready to Assist Patients with Interpretation of Test Results.
  • New Rules for Proficiency Testing Referral
  • Recommendations for Lab-based Screening Tests for Adult Women
  • New Methods May Make CJD Testing Easier
  • Bioengineers Create Functional 3D Brain-like Tissue
  • University of Minnesota Research Finds Key Piece to Cancer Cell Survival Puzzle
  • Risk of Diabetes Doubles as Disease Rises Sharply in U.S.
  • Regardless of Location, Concussions Serious: Study
  • OIG: Certified EHRs Aren't so Secure
  • Health IT 'Underdeveloped' to Manage Complex Care Patients


View Previous Issues - Healthcare News Archive


Leading News

2014 Ebola Virus Emergency Use Authorization
On August 5, 2014, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to authorize the emergency use of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) EZ1 Real-time RT-PCR Assay for the presumptive detection of Ebola Zaire virus (detected in the West Africa outbreak in 2014) in Trizol-inactivated whole blood or Trizol-inactivated plasma specimens from individuals in affected areas with signs and symptoms of Ebola virus infection or who are at risk for exposure or may have been exposed to the Ebola Zaire virus (detected in the West Africa outbreak in 2014) in conjunction with epidemiological risk factors. This authorization is limited to the use of the authorized EZ1 rRT-PCR Assay on specified instruments by laboratories designated by DoD.

Guidelines for Evaluation of US Patients Suspected of Having Ebola Virus Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners to better understand and manage the public health risks posed by Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). To date, no cases have been reported in the United States. The purpose of this health update is 1) to provide updated guidance to healthcare providers and state and local health departments regarding who should be suspected of having EVD, 2) to clarify which specimens should be obtained and how to submit for diagnostic testing, and 3) to provide hospital infection control guidelines. U.S. hospitals can safely manage a patient with EVD by following recommended isolation and infection control procedures. 

Ebola outbreak in West Africa: Meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee
The first meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) regarding the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in West Africa was held by teleconference on 6-7 August 2014. The Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment and on 8 August 2014 declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Read the statementExternal Web Site Icon 

Direct Access to Lab Results: Laboratorians and Providers Should Be Ready to Assist Patients With Interpretation of Test Results
Following a landmark February 2014 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruling that gives patients direct access to their laboratory results, much has been said about the rule’s implications on patients and providers. Michael J. Young, MPhil, of Harvard Medical School, wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association that “timely and tactful communication with patients will be essential to mitigate possible detrimental effects of incorrectly interpreted test results” as a result of this new rule. Young went on to suggest that patients be counseled before tests are ordered so as to minimize the rule’s uncertainty and maximize its efficacy. Patient education and counseling should continue once lab results become available, he added. The new ruling, which took effect April 7, 2014, gives labs until October 6, 2014, to comply.

Prostate Cancer Screening Still Not Recommended for All 
A major European study has shown that blood test screening for prostate cancer saves lives, but doubts remain about whether the benefit is large enough to offset the harms caused by unnecessary biopsies and treatments that can render men incontinent and impotent. The study, published in The Lancet, found that midlife screening with the prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, screening test lowers a man’s risk of dying of the disease by 21 percent. The relative benefit sounds sizable, but it is not particularly meaningful to the average middle-age man, whose risk of dying of prostate cancer without screening is about 3 percent. Based on the benefit shown in the study, routine PSA testing would lower his lifetime cancer risk to about 2.4 percent. Despite the fact that some men —one out of every 781 men in the screening group — were helped by PSA testing in the European study, the study authors say the finding does not support the use of widespread screening. Instead, cancer experts say, the focus should be on screening men at high risk and working to identify nonaggressive cancers so men will not be unnecessarily treated for the disease.
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Laboratory Testing / Diagnostics

New Rules for Proficiency Testing Referral
Treat a proficiency testing (PT) sample just like a patient sample. But don't. That has been the message labs have struggled with and in some cases lost their CLIA certificates over. Now, a new regulation from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does a better job of explaining exactly what labs can and cannot do with PT samples, according to experts. The regulation also lays out a three-tiered system of penalties for those that break the rules—all the way from mandated education and fines, to shutting down labs. The regulation is focused on what CMS considers the worst kind of PT offense—referring a PT specimen to another lab.  CMS wrote the regulation in response to the Taking Essential Steps for Testing (TEST) Act of 2012, which aimed to give the agency greater latitude in punishing labs that did not blatantly try to cheat on their PT challenges. The language in the new regulation should help labs understand better what actually counts as cheating, according to R. Bruce Williams, MD, chair of the council of scientific affairs at the College of American Pathologists.

Recommendations for Lab-based Screening Tests for Adult Women
Health screening tests have a great impact on the public's health because they involve testing asymptomatic populations for specific diseases or health conditions for secondary prevention when interventions may halt or diminish disease progression before appearance of clinical signs and symptoms. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is widely considered to be the leading independent panel of experts in recommendations about disease prevention and in primary and secondary interventions. In this article, the recommendations of the USPSTF for all laboratory-based screening tests for or relevant to adult women are presented, along with a brief rationale based on evaluation of the balance of health benefits and harms. Some of these recommendations apply to both men and women, and they are also included. Recommendations for laboratory screening tests for risk of coronary heart disease; endocrine and metabolic disorders, and during pregnancy; infectious diseases; neoplastic diseases; and substance abuse are presented and discussed.

Updated HIV Testing Guidelines: CDC, APHL Together Offer Recommendations for HIV Testing, Based on the Best Available Scientific Evidence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its recommendations for HIV testing, based on information reviewed by both CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “The recommended algorithm is a sequence of tests used in combination to improve the accuracy of the laboratory diagnosis of HIV based on testing of serum or plasma specimens,” according to the CDC. “In brief, testing begins with a combination immunoassay that detects HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies and HIV-1 p24 antigen. All specimens reactive on this initial assay undergo supplemental testing with an immunoassay that differentiates HIV-1 from HIV-2 antibodies. Specimens that are reactive on the initial immunoassay and nonreactive or indeterminate on the antibody differentiation assay proceed to HIV-1 nucleic acid testing for resolution.”The new guidelines incorporate HIV tests that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved as of December 2012, as well as expert opinion, scientific evidence, laboratory experience, and expert opinion gathered between 2007 and December 2013. However, the new recommendations don’t incorporate the rapid HIV-1/HIV-2 antigen/antibody combination test, which was approved by the FDA in August 2013, because “evidence of performance in the algorithm was insufficient,” and it also doesn’t include the HIV-2 nucleic acid tests, which are not FDA-approved. In addition, “because none of the assays in the recommended algorithm are FDA-approved for use with oral fluid or dried blood spot specimens, these updated recommendations do not supersede previous recommendations for testing of dried blood spots or oral fluid for HIV-1 using the FDA-approved immunoassay and HIV-1 Western blot for these specimen types.”

New Methods May Make CJD Testing Easier
Amplification procedures for abnormally folded prion proteins enabled accurate diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) from nasal brushings and urine samples, results of two small pilot trials indicated. In one trial that included 43 non-CJD controls, the amplification of prion proteins in nasal samples allowed the identification of 31 patients with definite or probable sporadic disease, or an inherited CJD form, with 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Researchers leading the second study took on the much harder challenge of distinguishing variant CJD -- the kind that develops from exposure to animal prions such as those associated with "mad cow disease" -- from sporadic CJD as well as from other neurodegenerative disorders, with urine samples. Their method detected abnormal prions in 13 of 14 samples from variant CJD patients versus none of 224 samples from controls -- including 68 with sporadic CJD -- for a sensitivity of 92.9% and specificity of 100%. Both studies appeared in the Aug. 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Because of the small numbers of patients, in both cases the 95% confidence intervals were relatively wide, especially for the sensitivity values.

New Molecular Test Kit Predicts Cancer Patient's Survival and Drug Response
Researchers and doctors at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN), Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) have co-developed the first molecular test kit that can predict treatment and survival outcomes in kidney cancer patients. This breakthrough was recently reported in European Urology, the world's top urology journal. According to IBN Executive Director Professor Jackie Y. Ying, "By combining our expertise in molecular diagnostics and cancer research, we have developed the first genetic test to help doctors prescribe the appropriate treatment for kidney cancer patients based on their tumor profile." The study was conducted retrospectively with tissue samples collected from close to 280 clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) patients who underwent surgery at SGH between 1999 and 2012. 

A Potential Blood Test for Alzheimer’s: Researchers Identify 10 Proteins That Can Help Predict Who Will Develop This Condition
A new study suggests that proteins in the blood could help predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease before its onset. Specifically, researchers identified 10 proteins that predicted progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved three multicenter cohorts including elderly adults who were cognitively healthy, or had MCI or Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers initially identified 16 proteins that correlated with disease severity and cognitive decline, but then found the strongest association in the group with MCI, “with a panel of 10 proteins predicting progression to AD (accuracy 87%, sensitivity 85%, and specificity 88%),” reports the study, which was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

The New Science of Food Allergy Diagnostics
Specific-IgE in vitro blood testing has emerged as a valuable diagnostic tool for allergic conditions when interpreted in the context of a patient’s history and clinical symptoms. Such testing is accurate, well standardized, and supported by National Institutes of Health guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of food allergy. Both blood testing and skin prick testing rely on whole allergen extracts that contain a multitude of potential allergenic proteins. Detectible amounts of specific IgE indicate sensitization, but not necessarily clinically relevant allergy. A patient may be sensitized to an allergen, meaning specific IgE is produced, but not allergic, meaning clinical symptoms are not associated with the presence of specific IgE. Similarly, a patient may experience clinical symptoms but have relatively low levels of specific IgE to the source. In the case of peanut, one study showed that 77.6% of sensitized patients may not be at risk for a systemic reaction. Now a groundbreaking new development called component-resolved diagnostics (CRD) is refining our understanding of allergic sensitization to individual proteins in an allergen source, to better help clinicians assess the risk of clinically significant reactions or the chances of developing tolerance in their sensitized patients. 

Gut Bacteria May Aid Testing for Colon Cancer
Analysis of gut bacteria in stool samples improved detection of colon cancer or precancerous polyps by five times compared with a standard fecal occult blood test (FOBT) and risk factors, investigators reported. A test based on a small panel of bacteria (microbiota) increased the likelihood of polyp detection by 4.5 times and cancer detection by 5.4 times versus standard testing and risk factors. As compared with FOBT, the bacteria-based analysis improved test performance by more than 50% as compared with FOBT alone. Use of the test in the general population might increase the likelihood of adenoma or cancer detection by 50-fold, as reported online in Cancer Prevention Research. The bacteria test takes advantage of the recognition that people with adenomas or colon cancer have substantial depletion of specific normal gut bacteria, which can distinguish them from people with normal colonic mucosa, they added.

A2LA Updates CMS-Approved Clinical Laboratory Accreditation Program
On August 7, 2014, CMS approved A2LA's [American Association for Laboratory Accreditation] updated approach to accrediting laboratories that perform waived testing. Such testing will now be held to the CLIA waived testing requirements. A2LA has also chosen to adopt as requirements the guidelines published by the CDC (CS242576-A) related to waived testing. Although A2LA does not accredit laboratories that perform waived testing exclusively, those laboratories that perform non-waived testing in addition to waived testing are eligible for A2LA accreditation.
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Research and Development

Bioengineers Create Functional 3D Brain-like Tissue
Bioengineers have created three-dimensional brain-like tissue that functions like and has structural features similar to tissue in the rat brain and that can be kept alive in the lab for more than two months. As a first demonstration of its potential, researchers used the brain-like tissue to study chemical and electrical changes that occur immediately following traumatic brain injury and, in a separate experiment, changes that occur in response to a drug. The tissue could provide a superior model for studying normal brain function as well as injury and disease, and could assist in the development of new treatments for brain dysfunction. The brain-like tissue was developed at the Tissue Engineering Resource Center at Tufts University, Boston, which is funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to establish innovative biomaterials and tissue engineering models.  David Kaplan, Ph.D., Stern Family Professor of Engineering at Tufts University is director of the center and led the research efforts to develop the tissue.

University of Minnesota Research Finds Key Piece to Cancer Cell Survival Puzzle
An international team led by Eric A. Hendrickson of the University of Minnesota and Duncan Baird of Cardiff University has solved a key mystery in cancer research: What allows some malignant cells to circumvent the normal process of cell death that occurs when chromosomes get too old to maintain themselves properly? Researchers have long known that chromosomal defects that occur as cells repeatedly divide over time are linked to the onset of cancer. Now, Hendrickson, Baird and colleagues have identified a specific gene that human cells require in order to survive these types of defects. “We have identified a gene that, as cells age, seems to regulate whether the cells become cancerous or not,” said Hendrickson, a professor in the U of M's College of Biological Sciences and a researcher in the Masonic Cancer Center, Minnesota. “This gene has never been identified before in this role, so this makes it a potentially very important therapeutic target.” The current research, published in the August 7 issue of the journal Cell Reports, identifies an essential component that allows older cells to evade death. 

Researchers Say Vitamin D Deficiency Raises Alzheimer’s Risk
People with moderate-to-severe vitamin D deficiencies are significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia than those who have an adequate supply of the vitamin in their body, a new study has found. Researchers, led by David J. Llewellyn at the University of Exeter Medical School, found that adults who suffered from a moderate deficiency of vitamin D had a 53 percent higher risk of some form of dementia, while the risk increased 125 percent in those with severe deficiencies. People moderately deficient in vitamin D were 69 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s-caused dementia, while those severely deficient raised the risk to 122 percent. The team discovered what appear to be clear threshold levels for brain health using standard medical measurements of concentration in the blood. The risk of dementia appears to rise for people with vitamin D blood levels below 25 nanomoles per liter, while vitamin D levels above 50 nanomoles appear to be good levels for brain health.

Smart Bacteria Help Each Other Survive
The body's assailants are cleverer than previously thought. New research from Lund University in Sweden shows for the first time how bacteria in the airways can help each other replenish vital iron. The bacteria thereby increase their chances of survival, which can happen at the expense of the person's health. The bacteria Haemophilus influenzae is a type of bacteria in the respiratory tract that can cause ear infections and worsen the prognosis for COPD patients. In rare cases, it can also lead to meningitis and septicaemia. "By accepting help from a specific protein, the Haemophilus bacteria can feed each other with iron and thus favour their survival in the human body. This interaction between the bacteria is a new discovery that has an impact on future research and on the development of vaccines and treatments", said Kristian Riesbeck, senior consultant and professor at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University.

NIH Awards $14.5 Million to Research Groups Studying Newest DNA Sequencing Techniques
A number of micro-sized technologies — such as nanopores and microfluidics — are among the approaches researchers will use to develop high quality, low cost DNA sequencing technology through new grants from the National Institutes of Health. The grants, which total approximately $14.5 million to eight research teams over two to four years as funds become available, are the last to be awarded by the Advanced DNA Sequencing Technology program of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a part of NIH.  The new group of awards — which total more than $4.5 million in the first year — is wide-ranging, and includes several research projects directed at improving the use of nanopores in DNA sequencing or creating nanopore arrays to enable large-scale DNA sequencing efforts.

Fruit Flies Help Researchers Unlock Mysteries of Human Diabetes
For the first time, the tiny fruit fly can be used to study how mutations associated with the development of diabetes affect the production and secretion of the vital hormone insulin. The advance is due to a new technique devised by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine that allows scientists to measure insulin levels in the insects with extremely high sensitivity and reproducibility. The experimental model is likely to transform the field of diabetes research by bringing the staggering power of fruit fly genetics, honed over 100 years of research, to bear on the devastating condition that affects millions of Americans. Until now, scientists wishing to study the effect of specific mutations on insulin had to rely on the laborious, lengthy and expensive genetic engineering of laboratory mice or other mammals.

'Stem Cells Show Promise in Stroke Recovery'
Infusing stem cells into the brain may help boost recovery after a stroke, according to a pilot study by Imperial College London.  Scientists believe the cells encourage new blood vessels to grow in damaged areas of the brain. They found most patients were able to walk and look after themselves independently by the end of the trial, despite having suffered severe strokes. Larger studies are needed to evaluate whether this could be used more widely.

'Scans Chart How Quickly Babies' Brains Grow'
Human brains grow most rapidly just after birth and reach half their adult size within three months, according to a study in JAMA Neurology. Using advanced scanning techniques, researchers found male brains grew more quickly than those of female infants. Areas involved in movement developed at the fastest pace. Those associated with memory grew more slowly. Scientists say collating this data may help them identify early signs of developmental disorders such as autism.
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Public Health and Patient Safety

Risk of Diabetes Doubles as Disease Rises Sharply in U.S.
Forty percent of Americans born from 2000 to 2011 will develop diabetes, double the risk of those born a decade earlier, signaling a sharp increase in the disease’s prevalence, researchers found. Doctors are diagnosing more patients who are living longer with their diabetes, according to a study published today in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. As the number of patients increases, so will the burden on the U.S. health-care system, said Edward Gregg, the study’s lead author and an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Regardless of Location, Concussions Serious: Study
Concussions in high school football players are equally serious no matter where on the head the hit occurred, according to a new study. Regardless of where on the head the players were hit, their symptoms were similar, as were the length of time symptoms lasted and how long players stayed off the field, researchers found. “We were actually a little bit surprised,” Dawn Comstock told Reuters Health. “Based on some of our prior research, we expected to see some differences.”

Daily Aspirin 'Risky' for Healthy
Healthy people should not take aspirin to ward off heart attacks and cancer, according to the most comprehensive review of the risks and benefits. There has been growing debate about whether all people over 50 should take a daily, low dose aspirin. But the review, conducted by the research arm of the NHS, said it was a "fine balance" due to the dangers of bleeding in the brain and stomach. Overall it warned against taking the drug, until there was more evidence.

3 Homeless Dead in Atlanta TB Outbreak
Three homeless people have died in the TB outbreak involving Atlanta shelters, public health officials say. The latest TB death occurred at Grady Memorial Hospital, Nancy Nydam, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health, said. The number of TB cases this year involving Fulton County homeless shelters, meanwhile, has increased to 28, including two shelter volunteers. That’s up from a total of 16 cases reported in May by the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. The Department of Public Health sent a letter to churches whose volunteers serve in homeless shelters, urging that the volunteers be screened for TB. This TB strain is resistant to the drug isoniazid, but is curable with other anti-TB medications. 

HCV Recommendations Updated to Include Patients With Limited Resources
The HCV treatment recommendations website,, launched a new section to aid clinicians in treatment of specific patient populations. The guidelines are a collaborative effort by the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), along with the International Antiviral Society-USA (IAS-USA). The section is called, “When and in Whom to Initiate HCV Therapy,” and is designed to help the clinical community prioritize treatment for patients who will derive the most benefit, according to a joint statement from IDSA and AASLD. It also contains information on who to treat to most effectively limit further transmission of HCV.

FDA Warns Home Tattoo Kits May Cause Infection
The Food and Drug Administration is warning that in-home tattoo kits may leave more than just some ink on your skin. The FDA says some in-home tattoo kits are contaminated with bacteria and have left people with skin infections. These kits are used both by people who want to ink themselves, and professional tattoo artists. Tattoo company White and Blue Lion recalled many of these devices last month, but the FDA is warning that other tattoo kits may also be contaminated.

Ebola Outbreak Flagged by Online Tool Before Formal WHO Announcement
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is focusing a spotlight on an online tool run by experts in Boston that flagged a "mystery hemorrhagic fever" in forested areas of southeastern Guinea nine days before the World Health Organization formally announced the epidemic. HealthMap uses algorithms to scour tens of thousands of social media sites, local news, government websites, infectious-disease physicians' social networks and other sources to detect and track disease outbreaks. Sophisticated software filters irrelevant data, classifies the relevant information, identifies diseases and maps their locations with the help of experts.
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Health IT

OIG: Certified EHRs Aren't so Secure 
It turns out, ONC's electronic health record certification process has some serious shortcomings -- chief among them security practices that are wholly insufficient to adequately protect patient health information, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. The report sheds light on the EHR certification procedure in its current form, which involves oversight from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, the group responsible for developing these standards for testing and certification bodies to use.

Health IT 'Underdeveloped' to Manage Complex Care Patients 
When it comes to management of patients with complex, high-cost conditions, health IT and analytics efforts are "underdeveloped," according to researchers from Boston-based Partners HealthCare and the Commonwealth Fund. In a perspective article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Clemens Hong, M.D., and Timothy Ferris, M.D., of Partners, and Melinda Abrams of the Commonwealth Fund say that, for instance, better algorithms could be created to pinpoint patients whose care today could lead to lower output costs tomorrow. They also say that population management tools are in need of improvement.

Apple May Work With Hospitals for iPhone's New 'Healthkit'
Apple Inc has been discussing how its "HealthKit" service will work with health providers at Mount Sinai, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins as well as with Allscripts. While the talks may not amount to anything concrete, they underscore how Apple is intent on making health data, such as blood pressure, pulse and weight, available for consumers and health providers to view in one place. Currently, this data is being collected by thousands of third-party health care software applications and medical devices, but it isn't centrally stored. Apple also hopes physicians will use this data to better monitor patients between visits – with the patient's consent — so the doctors can make better diagnostic and treatment decisions.  Apple has not divulged much specific detail on HealthKit, which is expected to be incorporated into the iPhone 6 come September. But Apple intends HealthKit to become a lynchpin in a broader push into mobile healthcare -- a fertile field that rivals Google and Samsung are also exploring.
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Other News

Why We Should Know the Price of Medical Tests
One of the common arguments against mandating or providing upfront prices for medical tests and procedures is that American patients are not very skilled consumers of health care and will assume high prices mean high quality. A study released in the journal Health Affairs suggests we are smarter than that. The insurer WellPoint provided members who had scheduled an appointment for an elective magnetic resonance imaging test with a list of other scanners in their area that could do the test at a lower price. The alternative providers had been vetted for quality, and patients were asked if they wanted help rescheduling the test somewhere that delivered “better value.” Fifteen percent of patients agreed to change their test to a cheaper center. “We shined a light on costs,” said Dr. Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint’s chief medical officer. “We acted as a concierge and engaged consumers giving them information about cost and quality.”

Gains From Pay-for-performance Don't Last
Pay-for-performance programs, despite initial improvements, may not improve patient mortality rates in the long term, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers, led by Søren Rud Kristensen, Ph.D., of the Institute of Population Health at the Manchester Centre for Health Economics in England, analyzed 30-day in-hospital mortality rates at 161 English hospitals. Researchers analyzed pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure rates first for an 18-month period and then for 24 additional months.

Get Ready to Say Goodbye to Using Reading Glasses on Computers, Tablets, Smartphones 
A team of researchers from UC Berkeley, MIT, and Microsoft have proposed a method of using light field displays to correct images before they reach the reader’s eyes. The technology relies on using algorithms to pre-process an image that the screen will display. The team has so far created simulations and built a basic prototype device, but the researchers believe that this technology may be practical for “higher-order aberrations that are difficult to be corrected with glasses,” according to the study they recently released.
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