CAN WE JUDGE A HOSPITAL’S REPUTATION IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS? Boston Children’s Hospital researchers have examined what they could learn about patients’care experiences from searchable, public tweets on the social media site Twitter. Their data, published this week in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, showed a weak connection between positive-sounding, hospital-specific tweets and hospitals that had relatively lower readmission rates, per Medicare’s Hospital Compare website. However, the Twitter posts studied were from 2012 and very few hospitals had a significant number of patient-experience tweets directed toward them. Still, the study points to a possible way to supplement data like the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys, said Sara Toomey, M.D., managing director of the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement at Boston Children’s. Toomey was not involved in the study. "There's been a steady decline in survey response rates, so people involved in quality measurement are actively seeking ways of augmenting the standard approach with other collection methods,”Toomey said.
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU POINT THAT GLOVE.A study published in JAMA Internal Medicineshows that health care workers often contaminate their skin and clothing when removing gloves and gowns. Researchers found that when they tested workers using fluorescent lotion, 46 percent of glove and gown removal simulations resulted in some contamination. Removal of gloves resulted in more instances of contamination than gowns. And although incorrect removal technique resulted in a higher frequency, even with correct technique, contamination occurred 30 percent of the time. The solution? Of course, training helps a lot. There were remarkable improvements when workers had training intervention, and the reduction of contamination was sustained over three months in the study.
AUTISM APP MIGHT FIND THE FIRST BENEFIT OF SELFIES.A team of Duke Medical Center professionals have developed an app that can aid parents in spotting possible symptoms of autism in their children, according to an article @vox.com. The Autism & Beyond app plays 20-minute videos of lights, sounds or storytellers on an iPhone or iPad, while the device’s camera takes “selfies” that scan a child viewer’s facial expressions and analyze his or her reactions to indicate a potential risk of autism. In addition to helping physicians prioritize patients to bring in for diagnosis. The app is one of several that became available via Apple’s ResearchKit platformthis week. Duke researchers hope to analyze the data and images captured by Autism & Beyond to make new discoveries about the nature of autism in children.
HOW BAD IS HEALTH CARE’S DATA SECURITY PROBLEM?Depends on who you talk to. Trustwave, a Chicago-based cybersecurity company, surveyed nearly 400 health care employees, roughly half in IT and half outside the IT department, and found predictable differences in how the different segments view the risk of cyber attack. Ninety-one percent of technical employees believe criminals are increasingly targeting health care organizations, while only 77 percent of their non-tech co-workers do. The technician’s response fell in line with a May 2015 survey by the Ponemon Institute, which suggested that 91 percent of health care companies have been breached in the last two years. Those surveyed were more optimistic about their own organizations’ vulnerabilities, with 74 percent of technical employees concerned about getting breached and just over half of non-technical employees worried about a breach. Although industry studies find the likelihood that health care organizations have been breached very high, the majority of those surveyed did not think their organization had suffered a breach. Seventy-seven percent of technical employees did not believe they had experienced a data breach and 86 percent of non-technical employees felt they’d been spared a breach.
WHICH MAJOR CITY IS USING PEDESTRIAN-FRIENDLY CIVIL ENGINEERINGto spur a weight-loss revolution? Oklahoma City, of course. The Atlantic reports how this spread-out city of rugged individualists got behind its Republican mayor’s call for residents to lose, collectively, a million pounds and exercise more, and even approved a tax hike to redesign the capital so that people could walk, not drive. It all began several years ago when Mayor Mick Cornettread an article in a fitness magazine claiming Oklahoma City had the worst eating habits in the nation. Chagrined at his own weight, and the shape of his city, he decided a change was needed. If only all politicians took note of what magazines were saying about them…