News in Brief: Week of March 25-29

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

Consumer Reports, AFP Offer Choosing Wisely Documents

A patient handout(consumerhealthchoices.org) outlining the AAFP and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Choosing Wisely induction of labor statement is now available from Consumer Reports. The handout explains the evidence behind the recommendation against scheduling early delivery and outlines why a full-term birth is better for the child.

In addition, American Family Physician (AFP) is providing a PDF listing the Choosing Wisely recommendations that apply most directly to primary care, as well as a brief editorial by AFP editor Jay Siwek, M.D.

Study Ties Population Health to Number of Primary Care Physicians

The healthiest counties in the United States have the highest numbers of primary care physicians, according to the 2013 County Health Rankings(www.countyhealthrankings.org), a joint effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health institute.

The data, based on 25 health-related factors, including preventable hospital stays, smoking and adult obesity rates, found that the healthiest counties in the United States had one primary care physician for every 1,491 residents, while the least healthy counties had one primary care physician for every 2,129 residents. Other counties that did not fall into the healthiest or nonhealthiest counties had 1,978 people per primary care physician.

According to the study, the least healthy counties had the highest rates of preventable hospital stays, smoking and adult obesity rates. Moreover, the least healthy counties had 82.8 preventable hospital stays per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, while the healthiest counties experienced 57.2 per 1,000 preventable hospital stays.

New Graphic Outlines Key PCMH Components

The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative has developed a new infographic that explains key components of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH).

The graphic, titled Why the Medical Home Works: A Framework(www.pcpcc.net), is organized according to five key components of the PCMH: patient-centeredness, comprehensiveness, coordinated care, accessibility, and a commitment to quality and safety. It provides a definition of each component, sample strategies for implementing the components and the collective effect of the components on the health care system.

Daily News E-mail Focuses on Family Medicine

The AAFP in encouraging members to sign up to receive a daily newsletter focused on family medicine news. SmartBrief, a company that produces industry e-mail newsletters, now is offering AAFP members a daily AAFP SmartBrief that contains a quick roundup of daily news stories of interest to family physicians.

The daily AAFP SmartBrief is a free service for Academy members and other health care professionals who can choose to opt in(www.smartbrief.com) to receive the newsletter Monday-Friday in their e-mail inbox.

Articles in the AAFP SmartBrief are chosen from thousands of news websites, blogs and other sources and then are summarized into a brief overview paragraph by SmartBrief's staff of professional writers and editors. Links to each original article also are provided if readers want to read the entire article.

Study Documents Economic Toll of Growing Diabetes Cases

The total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States increased by 41 percent between 2001 and 2012, jumping from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012, according to a recent report commissioned by the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

The report, "Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2012," addresses the increased financial burden of diabetes and looks at health care resources expended as a result of the disease and lost productivity associated with diabetes, according to a release from the ADA(www.diabetes.org). The study includes a breakdown of costs along gender, racial and ethnic lines and an analysis of costs on a state-by-state basis. The full report will not be published until next month, but ADA has released some of the report's findings.

The study found that

  • medical expenditures for people with diabetes are 2.3 times higher than for those without diabetes,
  • the primary driver of increased costs is the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. population, and
  • antidiabetic agents and diabetes supplies accounted for 12 percent of medical expenditures in both 2007 and 2012.

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