News in Brief: Week of Nov. 14-18

November 16, 2011 06:05 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

GE Healthcare Alerts Customers About Technical Problems

GE Healthcare recently sent a letter( to Centricity Practice Solution and Centricity Electronic Medical Record product users alerting them about inaccuracies in system reports that could affect customers who have attested -- or who are planning to attest -- to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

In the letter, GE Vice President and General Manager Michael Friguletto asked customers who had not yet attested to meaningful use to delay doing so until the end of November, at which time he expected a resolution to current problems(

Users who have already attested in 2011 are urged to run their reports again after corrective system updates are made.

YouTube Video Coaches Patients on Appropriate Antibiotic Use

For family physicians who struggle to educate their patients on the dangers of antibiotic overuse, the FDA recently released a two-minute consumer health video( on YouTube that is designed to teach consumers about the appropriate use of antibiotics.

In the video, FDA expert Joseph Toerner, M.D., M.P.H., explains in lay-person terms how antibiotics play an important role in combating bacterial infections, such as strep throat and skin infections, and why the medications are not effective against viral infections, such as colds and influenza.

The video stresses that misuse of antibiotics has contributed to an alarming rise of antibiotic resistance worldwide. Toerner urges patients to take antibiotics as directed. He advises viewers not to share or save an antibiotic prescription or pressure their doctor to prescribe an unnecessary antibiotic.

Workforce Fact Sheets Provide Information on Primary Care Workforce

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or AHRQ, recently published two one-page fact sheets on the primary care workforce developed by the AAFP’s Robert Graham Center.

The first fact sheet( provides statistics on the number of primary care physicians in the United States. According to AHRQ, there were approximately 209,000 practicing primary care physicians in the United States in 2010. The sheet also provides statistics on visits to office-based physicians, as well as statistics on patient visits to various types of primary care physicians.

The second fact sheet( looks at the number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants practicing primary care in the United States. According to AHRQ, there were about 56,000 nurse practitioners and 30,000 physician assistants in the United States in 2010. The fact sheet also looks at the number of nurse practitioners and physician assistants based on specialty.

These two fact sheets are the first in a series based on a comprehensive primary care workforce analysis AHRQ's Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships asked the AAFP's Graham Center to conduct.

Academy Awards AIM-HI Grants

The AAFP is awarding nine residency programs grants as part of its Americans In Motion-Healthy Interventions, or AIM-HI, initiative. The grants will help each program develop a one-year, family-centered, community project based on AIM-HI fundamentals and designed to reduce childhood obesity and promote fitness.

The grantees are:

  • Drexel University College of Medicine/Hahnemann University Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Philadelphia;
  • IU Health - Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind.;
  • Loma Linda University Family and Preventive Medicine Residency Program in California;
  • Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency in Virginia;
  • Northridge Family Medicine Residency Program in California;
  • Underwood Memorial Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Woodbury, N.J.;
  • University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore;
  • Waco Family Medicine Residency Program in Texas; and
  • York Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program in Pennsylvania.

The $10,000 to $30,000 grants will the help the residencies with issues such as decreasing the number of children who are obese, educating families on how to make better fitness and eating choices, improving self-image, and increasing physical activity in selected communities.