THE WING OF CHANGE. Take the elevator up to the 11th floor of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and you’ll see a new 21-bed unit dedicated to treating neurological patients while serving as a way to test different methods of providing care and preparing patients to return home. According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, nurses have tested a theory of getting critically ill patients out of bed and moving around sooner than normal to prevent weakness and an increased susceptibility to complications. The results showed a reduction in the average length of stay at the hospital by one day for those patients. Another initiative will seek to educate patients sooner about what they can expect, with the thought that patient stress will decrease and a better outcome will be more likely. “Health systems need to start questioning which steps add value and which ones don’t,” said Jay Want, M.D., and chief medical officer at the Center for Improving Value in Health Care in Denver.
STAYING AHEAD OF THE GAME. A study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, found that clinical decision support applications that effectively use natural language processing to identify heart failure patients and calculate readmission risk helped to reduce 30-day mortality while improving discharge rates. A large mouthful, but essentially software (natural language processing) analyzed dictated reports from physicians to identify hospitalized patients with heart failure sooner. A second app utilized an Intermountain Healthcare-developed predictive score to determine heart failure patients' risk for 30-day hospital readmission and 30-day mortality. All the information was included in a report evaluated by the 354-bed hospital. Nearly one in four patients are readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge because of heart failure. So, embracing new technologies to stay ahead of the game is something many hospitals should consider.
HAVE ANOTHER CUP, OR TWO of coffee that is. Yahoo recently reported that drinking more coffee may help to reduce the kind of liver damage associated with overindulging in food and alcohol. Nine previously published studies, totaling more than 430,000 participants, were given another look by researchers who found drinking two additional cups of coffee a day was linked to a 44 percent lower risk of developing cirrhosis. This liver disease kills more than 1 million each year worldwide and has no known cure. But before going out and loading up on vanilla latte frappés, patients shouldn’t take the findings as a remedy to counteract lifestyle choices that may severely damage the liver. “Unfortunately … drinking a few cups of coffee a day cannot undo the systematic damage that is the result of being overweight or obese, sedentary, excessive alcohol consumption or drastically mitigate an unhealthy diet,” said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MY BLESSING. While Pope Francis didn’t completely endorse using birth control to prevent the Zika infection in unborn children, he did display openness to its use, referring to contraception as the “lesser of two evils,” the ultimate “evil” being abortion, according to CRUX. When talking with reporters on board the papal plane from Mexico to Rome yesterday, Pope Francis referred to a decision by Pope Paul VI in the 1960s to allow Catholic nuns in the Congo to take contraceptives to avoid pregnancy due to rape. And as Zika continues to spread across the Americas, Pope Francis did make an appeal for doctors to find a vaccine for the virus.