News in Brief: Week of July 9-13

July 11, 2012 05:15 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

CMS Announces 89 New ACOs Up and Running

On July 9, CMS announced that 89 new accountable care organizations (ACOs) were on board and operational as of July 1. CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner noted in a news release( that the Medicare ACO program "opened for business in January" and that more than 2.4 million beneficiaries now were receiving care from participating physicians and other health care professionals.

Physician involvement in ACOs is voluntary, but the federal government is counting on ACOs and other shared savings initiatives to save as much as $940 million Medicare dollars in four years.

Summary descriptions of the new ACOs are included in a CMS fact sheet (
also released July 9.

Study Highlights Alert Fatigue in Deployment of Clinical Trial Alerts

Findings from a recently published study suggest that physicians suffer "alert fatigue" when it comes to clinical trial alerts received via an electronic health record (EHR) system.

The study, "Evaluating alert fatigue over time to EHR-based clinical trial alerts: Findings from a randomized controlled study(," was published in the June issue of Journal of the American Informatics Association.

During a 36-week study period, researchers documented response patterns of 178 physicians who received clinical trial alerts for an ongoing trial. The authors noted a significant downward trend, with response rates decreasing by 2.7 percent for each advancing time period, and, after 36 weeks, physician response rates remained only in the 30 percent to 40 percent range.

The authors said their findings suggest that at some point during a clinical trial, the deployment of alerts might not be worth the disruption they cause.

New Resources Available to International Medical Graduates

The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) recently announced the launch of a new program designed to support physicians who receive their medical degrees from outside the United States and Canada.

The new program, dubbed the ECFMG Certificate Holders Office (ECHO)(, was announced in a July 5 press release(

ECHO provides international medical graduates with free resources aimed at guiding them through the process of entering the U.S. health care system, including how to apply to U.S. graduate medical education programs, obtain a U.S. medical license and choose nonclinical careers.

JAMA Network's Archives Journals to Get New Names, Print Redesigns

The group of scientific publications that includes JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association and the Archives specialty journals continues an evolution that began in April with the launch of The JAMA Network, a new editorial/publishing system that interconnects JAMA and the nine Archives journals. In May, the new JAMA Network website went live, and The JAMA Network smartphone/tablet application is scheduled to become available soon.

According to a joint announcement( from the journals' editors published in the July 4 issues of JAMA and each of the Archives journals, effective Jan. 1, 2013, all nine of the Archives journals will be officially renamed as the following:

JAMA Dermatology,
JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery,
JAMA Internal Medicine,
JAMA Neurology,
JAMA Ophthalmology,
JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery,
JAMA Pediatrics,
JAMA Psychiatry, and
JAMA Surgery.

The announcement further notes that the change to the new journal names will coincide with the first major print redesign of The JAMA Network journals in more than two decades.