Obesity prevalent in health care

Health care support workers, such as nursing aides and medical assistants, are among the occupations with the highest percentage of obese workers, according to a study of national survey data in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. With 34.8 percent of support staff workers classified as obese, the health care support category lagged behind just two others, protective services, and community and social services workers. Health care practitioners and technical workers, such as physicians and technicians, fared better, with 22 percent estimated to be obese. The broader industry category of health care and social assistance had the highest number of obese workers in the country, 5.7 million, which is 32 percent of the category and as a percentage lagged only three of the 22 groupings.

Physician practices can benefit from mid-level assistance

Physician practices are employing more non-physician providers such as physician assistants and nurse anesthetists, and that is likely a good thing, according to a report from the Medical Group Management Association. Employing nonphysician providers allows practices to care for more patients and free physicians to provide care only they can, according to the authors of the report, called "Non-physician Provider Utilization in the Future of U.S. Healthcare." Plus, since the mid-level providers can meet for patients longer, they can enhance physician satisfaction, the authors wrote.

Elevating staffing levels and RN tenure reduce length of stay

Higher staffing levels and increased tenure reduce patient length of stay, according to a study of 900,000 admissions at Veterans Administration hospitals published in the American Economics Journal: Applied Economics. The authors found that a one-hour increase in staffing per patient bed day by RNs results in a 3.4 percent decrease in residual length of stay. In addition, a one-year increase in the average tenure of RNs on a unit was associated with a 1.3 percent decrease in length of stay.