News in Brief: Week of March 10-14

March 12, 2014 03:30 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

NCQA Set to Release New 2014 PCMH Recognition Standards

The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recently announced that it will launch new standards for its 2014 patient-centered medical home recognition program(www.ncqa.org) on March 24.

Changes coming in the new standards include

  • alignment with electronic health record stage two meaningful use regulations;
  • added emphasis on team-based care;
  • focused attention on care management for high-need patient populations;
  • alignment of quality improvement in all three domains of the "triple aim," defined as patient experience, cost and clinical quality; and
  • integration of behavioral health into the medical home.

According to the NCQA, medical homes use teamwork and technology to improve quality and the patient experience and to reduce costs.

Insulin-related Hypoglycemia and Errors Send Patients to ERs

A new CDC study(archinte.jamanetwork.com) estimates that more than 97,000 patients with diabetes who take insulin end up in ERs for insulin-related hypoglycemia and errors each year.

Patients 80 years or older who were treated with insulin were more than twice as likely to visit the ER and more than five times as likely to be hospitalized due to insulin-related errors than patients 45-64 years old, according to the report.

Severe neurological conditions (e.g., shock, loss of consciousness, seizure, or a hypoglycemia-related fall or injury) were documented in 60.6 percent of cases. The most common factors that led to these ER visits were related to food intake (e.g., not eating after taking a rapid-acting insulin) and insulin product-mix ups (e.g., confusion between short- and long-acting insulin).

Primary Care Physicians Need More Functionality From Their EHRs

Authors of an article recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association note that electronic health record (EHR) systems are useful and necessary tools for primary care physicians, even though many physicians are dissatisfied with their systems.

According to an abstract of the article "Electronic health record functionality needed to better support primary care,"(www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) physicians would benefit from enhanced EHR functions, including expanded use of patient portals, seamless integration with external applications, and advancement of national infrastructure and policies.

Authors call for broader use of EHRs and a move beyond documentation to interpretation and tracking of information, support of team-based care, and creation of population-management tools as a way to reduce time-consuming documentation tasks.

CDC Announces New Twitter Account for Immunization Providers

The CDC recently announced the introduction of a new Twitter account, @CDCizlearn(twitter.com), it will use to regularly post information on immunization-related education and training, as well as practice resources for health care professionals, academics, public health professionals and others interested in the administration and delivery of vaccines.

According to the Immunization Action Coalition IAC Express e-newsletter, @CDCizlearn will highlight the CDC's immunization educational programs and practice information for health care professionals. If you have any questions about this new CDC Twitter account, the CDC asks that you direct them to izlearn@cdc.gov.


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