News in Brief: Week of Jan. 28-Feb. 1

January 30, 2013 04:00 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

FDA Warns of Doxycycline Shortage

The FDA reported a shortage of doxycycline( on Jan. 18 that the agency said was caused by increased demand and manufacturing delays. Given that doxycycline is the recommended therapy for a number of sexually transmitted infections and syndromes, such as chlamydia, nongonococcal urethritis, epididymitis and pelvic inflammatory disease, as well as an alternative treatment for syphilis in patients with a penicillin allergy, a shortage of the drug could affect family physicians and their patients significantly.

Tablets and capsules of the antibiotic currently are available, but only in limited supply. One manufacturer of doxycycline, West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, has indicated that a voluntary suspension of oral solids manufacturing at its Eatontown, N.J., facility will disrupt availability of its capsules until mid-February or later. For additional availability information, visit the FDA's drug shortages Web page(

The FDA provides a list of recommended and alternative STD treatment regimens in its release and includes a link to the CDC's 2010 STD Treatment Guidelines(

Accuracy Varies in Electronic Reporting of Quality Measures, Study Finds

A recent study( (abstract) in the Annals of Internal Medicine compared the accuracy of electronic reporting of 12 health care quality measures with that of a manual review of the same measures.

Researchers found wide measure-by-measure variation in accuracy between the two methods and noted that their findings call into question the validity of electronic reporting that is a requirement of the federal government's Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded the study as part of its ongoing efforts to improve quality measurement facilitated by electronic methods. Those efforts are outlined in a brief video( developed by AHRQ.

PCMH Increases Access to Transitional Services for Youth With Special Needs

Youth with special needs who receive care in patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) are more likely to receive services to help them transition to adult care, according to a recent one-pager( from the AAFP's Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care.

Only 40 percent of youth with special needs participate in health care transitioning counseling, according to the 2009-10 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs( conducted by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. But those who obtain care from a PCMH are nearly three times more likely to receive transition services than those who receive care in a non-PCMH setting, says the one-pager.

More than 90 percent of youth with special needs will survive into adulthood as a result of recent advancements in the treatment of chronic conditions. Thus, millions of these patients will transition from more family-centered childhood models of care to adult models of care, and, accordingly, HHS' Healthy People 2020 initiative has identified the need to orchestrate this transition as an objective.

According to the one-pager, widespread adoption of the PCMH likely will be critical to ensure these youth successfully transition to adult care. Therefore, the document notes, "Training programs that focus on PCMH transformation and legislation for reimbursement of care coordination are key to increasing the number of these youth who receive this valuable care planning."

Study Examines Role of 'Chart Biopsy' in Improving Patient Care

A study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality AHRQ examined "chart biopsies" as a tool available to clinicians at some hospitals that can help them gain a better understanding of a patient's condition and course of care prior to a patient handoff.

Details of the study( (abstract) are discussed in an article titled "Chart Biopsy: An Emerging Medical Practice Enabled by Electronic Health Records and Its Impacts on Emergency Department-Inpatient Admission Handoffs," which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Three specific functions of chart biopsy are identified in the article:

  • obtaining an overview of the patient,
  • preparing for handoff and subsequent care, and
  • defending against potential biases.

"Chart biopsy has the potential to enrich collaboration and to enable the hospital to act safely, efficiently and effectively," the study authors conclude.

Interested in Global Health? Join Like-minded Colleagues at Wonca 2013 Conference

Family physicians with a passion for promoting family medicine in other parts of the world, take notice: The 20th world conference of the World Organization of Family Doctors( (Wonca) is scheduled for June 25-29 in Prague, Czech Republic. The theme of this year's conference, "Care for Generations," spotlights the full scope of family medicine practice throughout the lifespan.

Educational sessions will cover a wide range of clinical, practice management and health policy topics, such as infectious diseases, maternal and child health, practice organization, cross-cultural medicine, and primary care policy and financing. In addition, Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, is among featured keynote speakers for the event.

The conference has been reviewed and is eligible for up to 20.25 AAFP Prescribed credits. Wonca direct members who register for the conference by Feb. 19 save $90.

Trainees and "junior" general practitioners (GPs) and family physicians (i.e., those who have held a medical degree for no more than five years) are invited to attend the World Preconference( June 24-25 in Prague to gain insight into being a GP or FP in a global context and to exchange experiences and visions. The registration fee for the preconference is $80; only 100 seats are available.