News in Brief: Week of Jan. 13-17

January 15, 2014 04:00 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

Screen Pregnant Women for Gestational Diabetes After 24 Weeks, Says AAFP

The AAFP has revised its 2008 clinical recommendation regarding screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), now recommending that all asymptomatic pregnant women be screened for the disorder after 24 weeks of gestation. The Academy's grade "B" recommendation is in line with a final recommendation(www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org) on screening for GDM issued last month by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Both groups agree "that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for GDM in asymptomatic pregnant women before 24 weeks of gestation."

The positive recommendation is based on adequate evidence that primary care clinicians can accurately detect GDM in asymptomatic pregnant women after 24 weeks of gestation using the most common U.S. screening test: the 50-g oral glucose challenge test. Other screening methods include the fasting plasma glucose test and screening based on risk factors. However, evidence regarding these alternative screening approaches is limited and does not permit a comparison of the effectiveness of different screening tests or thresholds for a positive screen result.

FDA: Cease Prescribing, Dispensing Drugs With More Than 325 mg Acetaminophen

Following up on its January 2011 call for manufacturers of prescription acetaminophen-containing medications to limit the amount of the drug in their products to no more than 325 mg per dosage unit (e.g., tablet, capsule), the FDA this week is asking clinicians and pharmacists to stop prescribing and dispensing all medications that exceed that limit.

More than half of affected manufacturers already have voluntarily complied with the FDA's 2011 request. However, some prescription combination medications that contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dosage unit remain on the market, and the FDA said it intends to institute proceedings to withdraw approval of these products in the near future.

OTC medications that contain acetaminophen are not affected by this latest FDA announcement; the agency said it plans to address OTC acetaminophen products in another regulatory action.

Questions may be directed to the FDA's Division of Drug Information at (888) INFO.FDA ([888] 463-6332) or druginfo@fda.hhs.gov.

Nominate a Colleague for CDC's Childhood Immunization Champion Award

The annual CDC Childhood Immunization Champion Award recognizes individuals who make a significant contribution toward improving public health through their work in childhood immunization.

Each year, the CDC chooses as many as one champion for each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia. Parents; physicians, nurses and other health care professionals; and other immunization leaders who meet the award criteria are eligible to receive the award. More information about the awards(www.cdc.gov) is available from the CDC website.

The suggested due date is February 14, but states may select a unique deadline. Please contact your state immunization program to confirm your state's deadline. Awardees will be announced during National Infant Immunization Week, April 26-May 3.

ONC Releases Guides to Ensure Safe Use of Health IT

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT has released a series of safety guides that combine evidence-based guidelines with practical advice to help physicians use their health information technology products more safely.

Dubbed the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) guides(www.healthit.gov), the package of resources is made up of nine SAFER guides that are designed to help physicians and other health care delivery entities assess their use of recommended health IT, and electronic health record (EHR) safety practices.

According to a related blog posted on Jan. 15(www.healthit.gov) by Jacob Reider, M.D., chief medical officer at the ONC, SAFER guide topics include high priority practices, organizational responsibilities, patient identification, clinical communication and contingency planning. The goal, wrote Reider, is to use "health IT to make patient care safer."

Successful Use of Telemonitoring Requires Resources, Support

Researchers testing the use of home telemonitoring of blood pressure and blood glucose levels of patients with diabetes in six primary care practices found that results differed from those observed during research trials that were equipped with extra resources and underwent rigid protocols.

The research was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

According to an abstract of the study(www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov), researchers noted that physicians interested in telemonitoring of patients needed to understand the limitations of the technology and the willingness of patients to engage in the process.

Furthermore, physicians experimenting with telemonitoring would need instruction on how to use the technology and should "understand the workflow, flow of information and human factors needed to optimize use of the technology."

AHRQ Database on Children Moved to New Site

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently announced that its children's electronic health record (EHR) format has been moved to a new online location and now can be accessed through the United States Health Information Knowledgebase(ushik.ahrq.gov).

According to AHRQ, the knowledgebase is an online and publicly accessible registry and repository of health care-related data, metadata and standards.

The children's EHR format(ushik.ahrq.gov) details information about data elements and other requirements that need to be present in an EHR system to address health care needs specific to the care of children and especially those enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.


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