Healthcare In-the-News - April, 2011

April 20

Future of Nursing Campaign Names 10 New RACs

The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action named Colorado, Florida and eight other states as new Regional Action Coalitions, which will help advance healthcare work-related concerns at the local, state and national levels. The goals of RACs include promoting inter-professional collaboration, bolstering nurse education as well as training/encouraging nurses to be more active as leaders.

EMR Market Grew 13.6% in 2010

Despite confusion over vendor qualifications and Federal guidelines that define meaningful use, the growth of electronic medical record systems in the healthcare sector grew an estimated 13.6% in 2010, according to a study from research firm Kalorama Information. That increase bettered a 10% increase in 2009 and Kalorama expects EMR adoption to jump 18% to 20% during the next two years. HealthLeaders Media

Hospital Job Growth Up Slightly in February

Hospital payroll additions grew by 2,100 in February, a relatively flat rate when compared with historic trends but a significant increase from the 700 hospital payroll additions reported in January, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, the healthcare sector added 34,300 payroll jobs during the month. HealthLeaders Media

Moody's Gives For-profit Hospitals 'Stable' Outlook

For-profit hospital revenues will continue to be stressed over the next 12 to 18 months, but profitability should remain healthy due to cost containment efforts, Moody's Investors Service says. HealthLeaders

Primary Care Gaining Popularity in Residency Matches

The number of U.S. medical school students who will enter family medicine residency positions rose 11% over 2010, the second year of increase in a row, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges. HealthLeaders Media

Nurses are Key Players in Creating a Culture of Safety

The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio encourages nurses and other staff to report errors, uses an interdisciplinary approach in rounding and promotes effective communication to create a culture of safety. The Clinic also relies on nurses' views and insights for its safety policies and training because they are on the front lines of ensuring patient safety, a hospital official said.

Med Schools Focus on Primary Care to Thwart Physician Shortage

Medical schools are beefing up their primary-care offerings to deter a looming shortage of primary-care physicians. The shortage is expected to reach more than 39,000 by 2020, notes U.S. News and World Report. To attract more students to this less lucrative specialty--which includes family medicine, internal medicine and general pediatrics--medical schools are creating exclusive centers and programs tailored to it. For example, last year Texas Tech developed a "fast-track" program that compresses four years of schooling into three for students who choose to practice primary care. The University of Connecticut School of Medicine and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center plan to establish a program that will provide additional clinical experiences, as well as mentors to guide students through their primary-care training. States also are helping to expand the pool of primary-care doctors by offering loan repayment and forgiveness to primary-care practitioners, notes U.S. News. For example, primary-care doctors practicing in underserved areas in Massachusetts and Virginia can slash up to $50,000 from their debt in exchange for two years of service. Med schools hope this increased investment will help primary care keep up with patient demand. Currently, fewer than 10% of medical school grads choose to practice family medicine. However, the tide may already be changing as more medical students entered family medicine residencies this year.

Study Underscores Need for Nurses to Speak Up on Safety Issues

A 6,500-participant study found 58% of nurses who had encountered a patient safety warning did not report the problem. With regard to events that almost or actually harmed patients, only 17% of nurses who had seen a dangerous shortcut and 11% of those who had encountered an incompetent colleague reported the case, according to the study. The researchers said the culture of silence in many hospitals can undermine the effectiveness of medicalerror prevention efforts. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News

More U.S. Schools Offer Training in Primary Care

Medical and nursing schools across the U.S. are increasingly investing in primary care training to address a looming shortage of providers, which is expected to reach 39,000 or more by 2020. A report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found enrollment in master's degree programs for nurse practitioners increased from 21,000 in 2004 to 38,000 in 2010. U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay News

Nursing Staff Increase Can Improve Outcomes, Study Shows

In non-safety net hospitals, higher nurse staffing rates were associated with fewer deaths, life-threatening situations, and rates of infection, one study shows. HealthLeaders Media

Non-safety Net Hospitals Have Better Outcomes with More Nurses

A review of data from the University HealthSystem Consortium found more nurses and higher nurse staffing rates correlated with better patient outcomes, including fewer heart failure-related deaths and lower infection rates, at non-safety net hospitals. Researchers found safetynet hospitals had worse patient outcomes than other hospitals despite similar staffing levels.

Survey: Clinicians Want More Training to Reduce Readmissions

More than 70% of clinicians say their facility's procedures for reducing readmissions among high-risk patients are not effective, according to a survey by the Society of Hospital Medicine and QuantiaMD. More than half blamed the problem on a lack of training and education, specifically for condition-specific interventions, post-discharge follow-up care and discharge communications.

Nurse Implements Aviation Background in Healthcare

Gary Sculli, a nurse and former pilot, uses principles from aviation's Crew Resource Management ? including team building, effective communication and checklists ? to improve patient safety. One project Sculli has undertaken to reduce medication errors on his unit uses a "do not distract" principle to allow nurses to focus during medication administration. HealthLeaders Media

Thomson Reuters Names Top 100 Hospitals

A Thomson Reuters study has named this year's Top 100 Hospitals based on 10 performance measures such as patient safety, patient satisfaction and compliance with clinical care standards. Six hospitals received the Everest Award, which recognizes facilities that demonstrated the greatest improvement rate in a five-year period. Healthcare IT News

Healthcare Job Postings Outnumber Seekers

Even with March's tepid growth in job postings, there were three job listings for every healthcare technician and practitioner job seeker, The Conference Board reports. HealthLeaders Media

4 'Value-Driving Elements' of ACOs Identified

Enhanced access and care coordination are among the four cornerstones of accountable care organizations, but require urgent overhaul to maximize health outcomes at lower costs, a report by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative says. HealthLeaders Media

Lawsuits May Not Affect Nursing Home Care Quality, Study Suggests

Data on 4,716 lawsuits filed against 1,465 nursing homes from 1998 to 2006 found nursing homes that scored in the top 10% of quality measures had a 40% chance of being sued, usually for fall-related injuries or bedsores, compared with a 47% chance among those in the bottom 10%. Nursing homes with the highest nurse aide staffing levels had a 45% chance of being sued compared with 41% of those with the lowest levels, researchers found. HealthDay News

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