GO FIGURE: POVERTY, EDUCATION LEVEL CAN INCREASE ODDS OF REHOSPITALIZATION. Some readmissions are bound to occur regardless of hospital quality of care. Reuters reports on a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in which researchers found that when patients are admitted more than once in the same month, it can have more to do with income and education than the quality of care they receive. Reuters said the study indicates that Medicare patients “have higher odds of returning soon after discharge if they lack a high school diploma, have limited income and assets or have health benefits from Medicaid.” Study authors Michael Barnett, M.D., and Michael McWilliams, M.D., both from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said the data suggest that the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare penalties around readmissions “in some instances mete out punishments for outcomes that are beyond doctors’ control.”
CAPTAIN OBVIOUS HAS BEEN COMMISSIONING RESEARCH. The 2015 Ig Nobel prizes came out Sept. 17 and some questionable health care research was among the winners. Two separate studies regarding intense kissing — one by a Japanese author, one by a Slovak team — took the Medicine Prize. The former study suggests that intense kissing may improve allergic skin reactions. The latter confirmed that DNA from a male does persist in the mouth of women. The researchers note that this research could have real-life implications in the gathering of evidence in cases of sexual assault. The Diagnostic Medicine Prize went to a U.K. study that found a patient’s pain associated with going over speed bumps can be a useful, somewhat accurate, indicator of acute appendicitis. Researchers said that asking patients whether their pain increased as they traveled over speed bumps could help make the diagnosis. Researches did not suggest throwing the patient in a car and driving them around the emergency department parking lot to see how they react to speed bumps. The awards are given by Improbable Research which collects real research it deems “improbable.”
YOU MIGHT NEED A BIGGER DATA PLAN. A new report found there are at least 165,000 mobile health apps available for your phone. The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that most of these apps focus on general wellness information, but that broader applications such as data collection linked to sensors and wearables and apps that facilitate chronic disease management are burgeoning. In fact, one in 10 apps has the capacity to connect to a device or sensor. While 165,000 is an overwhelming number, the study found that just 12 percent of those mobile health apps account for more than 90 percent of consumer downloads. Nearly half of all downloads are generated by just 36 apps. The IMS Institute also conducted interviews with health care technology thought leaders and executives on the role and status of health care apps. Providers emphasized that mHealth data integrated with electronic health care records is critical to better clinical decision-making and patient communication. The report can also be downloaded as an app via iTunes. So, I guess there are 165,001.
YOU COULD CALL IT TODAY IN WEEKLY WATCHING. It’s another video based on that song from Frozen. No matter how you feel about the theme from Disney’s Frozen (overplayed) and the Denver Broncos (overrated, at least according to this bedraggled Bears fan), you should love “Broncos Go,” the parody of “Let It Go” written by a Children’s Hospital Colorado patient, Daniel, who won the hospital’s parody contest. The Broncos have posted the video on their site. The video, produced at the hospital, included the lip-sync talents of several patients and the vast majority of the hospital staff. It’s well worth a watch.
DIABETES NUMBERS DISSECTED. Some 12 to 14 percent of Americans have diabetes, depending on the definition used, and perhaps a third of them don’t even know they have it, according to the National Institutes of Health. An analysis of 2011–2012 data by NIH found that the rate of undiagnosed diabetes was closer to 50 percent among both Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. In addition, 36–38 percent of all Americans had pre-diabetes, in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. “The large proportion of people with undiagnosed diabetes points to both a greater need to test for type 2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for type 2 diabetes, especially since populations such as Asian Americans may develop type 2 at a lower body mass than other groups,” said NIH researcher Catherine Cowie.
WELCOMING THE HOLY FATHER. Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., dedicated the Pope Francis Emergency Care Center Sept. 18 in honor of the pontiff’s historic visit to the United States this week. Pope Francis began his visit with a three-day stay in D.C. where he visited President Obama at the White House and addressed Congress. The District's Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Mayor Muriel Bowser and major hospital donor Judi Teske were on hand for the dedication. The pontiff then moves on to Philadelphia and New York City.