Better Access to Medical Records Means Better Care

The growing adoption of electronic health records has not only helped health care providers better care for patients, but patients themselves are becoming more engaged with their health thanks to hospital investment in health information technology. A report by the American Hospital Association found 92 percent of hospitals offered the ability to view medical records in 2015, compared to 43 percent in 2013. Similarly, 84 percent of hospitals allowed patients to download information from their medical record, a 54 percent increase from 2013. “Information technology is a tool for greater patient engagement and these numbers show that hospitals are moving the needle in the right direction,” says Chantal Worzala, vice president, health IT and policy operations, AHA.

Pain 'Refugees' Seek Solace in L.A.

WR_MontanaRefugeesStrict regulation of opioids in Montana might be having an ill effect on some pain patients in Big Sky Country. NPR reports that the state’s isolated, rural location, combined with a crackdown on overprescribing, has made it much more difficult for those with chronic pain to get their pills. The piece takes a closer look at three Montanans who make a 1,200-mile trip every 90 days to Los Angeles to procure painkillers and treat their conditions. One of the “pain refugees,” as they dub themselves, Gary Snook, has suffered from debilitating pain following spine surgery 14 years ago. Snook’s pain is so severe that he believes he likely would have committed suicide if unable to procure pills in California, NPR reports. 

Can You Rephrase That With Emojis?

WR_Teen_SexI haven’t been a teenager for a while now, but apparently talking in emojis is how to reach teens, at least that’s what New York Public Hospitals are banking on with their new campaign, The New York Times reports. In an effort to reach younger people on sex education, NYC Health & Hospitals are launching a social media campaign that will put eggplant and peach emojis alongside the question: “Need to talk to someone about ‘it’?” Messages will pop up in Facebook feeds of people ages 12 to 21 to inform them of free confidential care for sexual and reproductive health across 20 YouthHealth centers in New York’s five boroughs. Teens in a focus group seemed to like the idea, said Richard Zapata, outreach and education manager for population health, NYC Health & Hospitals, to the Times. “They were like, ‘This is it,’” he said. “’This is the way we’re talking.’”

Dream Job or Nightmare?

WR_NFL_CMOWorking for the NFL normally would appeal to loads of football fans, and now physicians across the country have that opportunity. But this particular job – as chief medical officer – may not carry the shine it would have a few years ago. The NFL is looking to hire a full-time chief medical officer, says NFL.com, a job that is going to presumably be heavily focused on concussions and the conditions that can result from the injury. Nonetheless, that challenge is likely to appeal to the problem-solving nature of members of the profession, and one would imagine the position might involve improved access to the games. Are you ready for some football?