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April 17, 2015   Download print version

Could taking Acetaminophen dull your happiness?

Reminder: Leadership Development and Succession announced as key topic in 2015 Survey of Healthcare Supply Chain Executives

Xenex Germ-Zapping robots arrive in Spain

Divorce is bad for the heart, could increase heart attack risk

U.S. Marshals seize unapproved drugs from Florida distributor

New guidance on contact precautions for hospital visitors

Doctors see benefits and risks in Medicare changes

If you thought CPR was too hard, start humming ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and read this

 

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April 2015

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Could taking Acetaminophen dull your happiness?

Acetaminophen, the painkiller best known to Americans as Tylenol, may do more than simply dull pain -- it may also dull happy or sad emotions, new research finds.

The new, small study is the first to suggest that acetaminophen ratchets down a patient's emotional response to positive, upbeat stimulation. But the study builds on prior research into negative emotions, explained study lead author Geoffrey Durso.

"Recent research in psychology has found that acetaminophen blunts the extent to which individuals experience negative events beyond physical pain," said Durso, a doctoral student in social psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus. "Our study was inspired by asking why this might be the case."

The new study, published online recently in Psychological Science, involved two experiments, each enlisting about 80 college students. In the first experiment, half of the participants took a 1000-milligram dose of acetaminophen, while the other half took a dummy pill. An hour later, all were shown 40 photographs designed to provoke emotional responses that ranged from positive (pictures of children playing with cute pets) to negative (photos of sickly, underfed children). Participants ranked each photo's emotional content, and then indicated how each image made them feel.

The result: those who took acetaminophen offered more muted responses to both the negative and the positive images.

A follow-up study was structured exactly the same way, but also asked participants to indicate how much of the color blue they saw in each image. The goal was to see whether acetaminophen only affected emotions, or if it also affected the ability to cast accurate judgments overall. The results found that acetaminophen had no impact on color assessment -- suggesting that only emotions were affected.

Overall, Durso said the study found a "reliable but relatively subtle" association between acetaminophen and a blunting of emotions. Just how the drug might do this remains elusive, however. But Durso stressed that acetaminophen's effect on emotions may not be unique -- other painkillers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, might have similar effects, although that's not yet been tested.

Visit WebMd for the study.

 

 

Reminder: Leadership Development and Succession announced as key topic in 2015 Survey of Healthcare Supply Chain Executives

For the first time in the Annual Survey of Healthcare Supply Chain Executives conducted by Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting, LLC, the key topic of exploration will be something new and too infrequently discussed among healthcare provider organizations: Supply Chain Leadership Development and Succession Planning.

"This change in focus is driven by a continuing challenge to the healthcare provider supply chain profession and industry that to date is not being addressed - the upcoming retirement of very experienced and talented Supply Chain leaders," said Jamie Kowalski, supply chain industry veteran consultant and survey author. "That puts provider organizations for whom those supply chain leaders work at notable risk.”

Kowalski conducted personal interviews with nearly 60 Supply Chain Leaders and learned that most healthcare supply chain professionals recognize that they themselves and many-to-most of their peers are approaching retirement age. In fact, Kowalski hinted that considerable change may be imminent with the associated timeframe varying, but may be within the next two years.  

"These vacancies will likely be devastating to the providers that are not well prepared for this eventuality," he added. "What exacerbates the situation is that these same Supply Chain leaders virtually and universally express strong concern for the lack of an adequate pool of qualified candidates to fill the vacancies and/or a channel through which these candidates can be accessed or become qualified," Kowalski said. "And they admit to having done little or nothing to prepare qualified in-house candidates."  

In order to help the industry shed light on the issue and identify some solutions to the challenge, Kowalski revised his survey, which historically focused on supply chain performance and C-suite evaluation, to ask confidentially such questions as: Should it be entirely your decision, do you expect to be retiring from the profession in the next 1, 2, 3, 5 years (select one)? Do you currently have an identified heir apparent to replace you when you retire? Is your heir apparent currently fully qualified to take on your responsibility and authority? If not, what additional qualifications must she/he develop before taking over (skill sets, experience, and knowledge, all of these)? From what source(s) will the heir apparent obtain what they need to fill their gaps? 

Kowalski will be distributing the survey exclusively to selected Supply Chain Executives at about 200 integrated delivery networks and not randomly to provider C-suite and Supply Chain Leaders as in the past. Those that meet the selection criteria should expect their invitation (via email) in mid-late March, he said. Those not receiving an invitation, but who wish to participate, can contact Jamie C. Kowalskifor for consideration via email at jckcllc@att.net. The Survey will be open for invited responders by mid-March and will be closed April 22.

Presenting Sponsor: Amerinet, a leading national healthcare solutions and Group Purchasing Organization, that helps members lower costs, raise revenue and champion quality. 

 

Sponsors:

  • Novus Informatics, Inc., a Data Cleansing, Item Master and Spend Management Technology Solution for healthcare providers

  • Data Trans, Inc, a E-commerce Technology Solution for healthcare providers and their vendors.

The 2015 Survey of Healthcare Supply Chain Executives is being produced in collaboration with Bellwether League Inc., the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership.  

The 2015 Survey results will be presented at various venues in the second half of 2015 and beyond. Participants who fully complete the Survey will receive a copy of the results.

Visit Jamie C. KowalskiConsulting, LLC for more information.

 

 

Xenex Germ-Zapping robots arrive in Spain

Xenex Disinfection Services announced that Clece, Spain’s leading healthcare provider of cleaning, maintenance, catering and social services, has chosen Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots for room disinfection at hospitals in Spain and Portugal.

Clece has deployed Xenex robots at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, where they will be used to supplement the hospital’s cleaning and disinfection procedures. Clece will also implement Xenex robots at Ramón y Cajal in Madrid.

Xenex’s robots work by using pulsed xenon, an environmentally-friendly inert gas, to create full spectrum, high intensity ultraviolet (UV) light that quickly destroys infectious germs.

The Xenex robot is designed for speed, effectiveness and ease of use, which allows Clece’s cleaning staff to operate the robot without disrupting hospital operations. With a proven five-minute disinfection cycle, the robot can disinfect 30-62 hospital rooms per day (according to Xenex customers), including patient rooms, operating rooms, equipment rooms, emergency rooms, intensive care units and public areas.

Visit Xenex for the announcement.

 

 

Divorce is bad for the heart, could increase heart attack risk

Many women underestimate their risk for heart problems because of the misconception that cardiovascular disease primarily affects men. The truth is that nearly twice as many women die from heart disease than from all forms of cancer combined. The findings are based on 15,827 U.S. adults aged 45 to 80, who were followed from 1992 to 2010. At the outset, all were either married, widowed, or had gone through at least one divorce.

The study determined that men who remarried “fared better” than women, putting their risk of heart attack about the same as men who had been continuously married to one person.

“Divorced women suffer heart attacks at higher rates than women who are continuously married,” Duke Medicine Global reported.

Men or women who have went through a divorce have higher chances of suffering from a heart attack, than people who remain together. The lead author of the study, Matthew E. Dupre from the Duke Clinical Research from Durham, North Carolina stated that science has long been aware of the devastating consequences a divorce can have on the human body. And once men remarried, that increase disappeared.

Heart disease claims the life of one in four women in the United States, while breast cancer claims one in 30.

Professor George explains that divorced women often experience a deeper “psychological burden” than men. Apart from ending one of the most significant relationships of life, other adjustments such as property disputes, custody of the children, financial stability and insurances also cause great distress to women especially if they are dependent financially on their husband.

Visit Rapid News Network for the study.

 

 

U.S. Marshals seize unapproved drugs from Florida distributor

At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, U.S. Marshals have seized unapproved prescription drug products valued at over $1,500,000 from Stratus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., of Miami, Florida. Stratus Pharmaceuticals marketed and distributed unapproved prescription drug products that were manufactured by Sonar Products, Inc., of Carlstadt, New Jersey.

The seized products include:

·         a solution used to treat excessive sweating;

·         an antibiotic cleanser for treatment of skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea and seborrhea;

·         a topical ointment used to treat wounds;

·         a topical cream and gel to treat psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions

·         analgesic ear drops used to treat ear pain.

These products have not been proven safe and effective for their intended uses. The FDA recommends that consumers who believe they have drugs marketed by Stratus Pharmaceuticals consult a health care professional or pharmacist about discontinuing the use of these products and identifying an alternative treatment option.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a complaint on behalf of the FDA in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging that the products are unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  

The complaint follows an FDA inspection conducted in November and December 2014 that revealed the company was marketing these drug products without FDA-approved drug applications. The new drug approval process plays an essential role in ensuring all drugs are safe and effective for their intended uses. Unapproved drugs have not been shown to be safe and effective, may be of uncertain quality and do not have FDA-approved labeling. As a result, these drugs may pose risks to patients. 

Visit the FDA For the story.

 

 

New guidance on contact precautions for hospital visitors

Leading infectious diseases experts have released new guidance for healthcare facilities looking to establish precautions for visitors of patients with infectious diseases. The guidance looks to reduce the potential for healthcare visitors in spreading dangerous bacteria within the healthcare facility and community. The recommendations are published online in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA).

“Visitors have initiated or been involved in healthcare-associated infection outbreaks, but it is unknown to what extent this occurs in the transmission of bacteria in healthcare facilities,” said L. Silvia Munoz-Price, MD, PhD, a lead author of the guidance. “The guidance is intended to strike a balance between visitor and patient safety, the potential for pathogen spread in hospitals, the psychosocial implications of isolation and the feasibility of enforcement.”

The SHEA Guidelines Committee, comprised of experts in infection control and prevention, developed the recommendations based on available evidence, theoretical rationale, practical considerations, a survey of SHEA members, author opinion and consideration of potential harm where applicable.

Since not all pathogens present the same risk of transmission to and via visitors, the guidance reflects the protections that should be taken for distinct pathogens. The authors caution that visitor precautions should only be implemented by hospitals if they can be realistically enforced and regularly evaluated for compliance. Healthcare facilities should use the guidance as a framework for developing facility policies.

Recommendations include:

·         Hand hygiene performed prior to entering and immediately after leaving a patient room.

·         In areas where they are endemic, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci(VRE) do not require contact isolation precautions for visitors given their prevalence in the community. However, special considerations should be made for immunocompromised visitors or those unable to practice good hand hygiene.

·         Visitors of patients with gram-negative organisms, such as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Klebsiella pnemoniae carbapenemase (KPC), should follow contact precautions to help prevent transference of pathogens to guests.

·         Intestinal pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile and norovirus, are potentially harmful to visitors and have low prevalence in the community so contact isolation precautions should be in place.

·         Visitors to rooms with droplet (i.e., pertussis) or airborne precautions (i.e., tuberculosis) should use surgical masks.

·         For visitors with extended stays, like parents and guardians, isolation precautions are likely not practical and the benefit of wearing personal protective equipment like gowns and gloves is unclear except if assisting in care delivery. In many cases, these visitors may have had extensive exposure to the patient prior to hospitalization and could be immune to the pathogen or in an incubation period.

A survey of SHEA members showed that the majority of their healthcare facilities have policies for visitation of inpatient isolation rooms and many of these policies mirror healthcare personnel policies. However, most healthcare facilities did not monitor visitors’ compliance with policies.

Visit SHEA for the guidance.

 

 

Doctors see benefits and risks in Medicare changes

Dr. Robert Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, made little effort to contain his glee Wednesday over the news that Congress had voted to end a reviled payment system for doctors, simultaneously averting a 21 percent physician pay cut and overhauling the way Medicare will pay doctors in the future.

President Obama has signaled that he will sign the bill, resolving an issue that frustrated lawmakers in both parties for more than a decade because it repeatedly required Congress to step in to avert cuts to doctor fees. Doctors and health policy experts have begun to take stock of the practical implications of the legislation, which seeks to move away from paying doctors solely on the volume of their services and toward reimbursing them based on the quality and value of the care they provide. Many said the legislation was short on details about how such quality will be measured, and others expressed apprehension about whether the system will be fair.

Under the new legislation, Medicare will increase the amount it reimburses doctors by 0.5 percent for the next five years. Doctors will earn a 5 percent bonus if they participate in newer payment models that seek to better coordinate care. One example is the so-called medical home, in which a medical team coordinates a patient’s care. They could also work in groups, called accountable care organizations that receive a set fee to take care of a patient while still meeting quality standards.

Some standards are straightforward, such as measuring a patient’s blood pressure or a diabetic’s blood sugar. But Meredith Rosenthal, a health economist at Harvard University, said there was no clear agreement on how best to measure the quality of other kinds of doctors, like radiologists or a dermatologist in solo practice.

Doctors are also relieved that there is now more certainty over how they will be paid, with both Medicare and private insurers moving toward a system that rewards them for delivering higher-quality care. Doctors had complained of being paid under the old volume-based system even as they were trying to meet the demands of new models.

Visit the New York Times for the story.

 

 

If you thought CPR was too hard, start humming ‘Stayin’ Alive’ and read this

You need only two things to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation and possibly save a life: a willingness to press hard on someone’s chest and familiarity with the Bee Gees’ disco hit “Stayin’ Alive.”

Yes, CPR has changed. The American Heart Association and other organizations, including the American Red Cross, are promoting instruction in an easier, hands-only version of CPR that drops the difficult mouth-to-mouth maneuver they had long been teaching. You press down hard and fast in the center of the chest until the ambulance or someone with an automatic defibrillator arrives to take over.

And the Bee Gees? The beat of their song — featured on the soundtrack of 1977’s “Saturday Night Fever” — just about matches the optimum CPR rhythm of 100 chest compressions per minute.

The AHA and other groups are trying to make CPR more accessible, and they’re spreading the word through flash mobs, classes at fire stations and shopping malls, and even online training videos. The guidelines say it’s appropriate to start CPR if you see a person collapse who is not breathing or is gasping.

Cardiac arrest is difficult to survive, no matter the circumstances. Even in the hospital, only about 24 percent of adults do so, according to AHA data from 2012, the most recent available. But about 80 percent of cardiac arrests occur in non-hospital settings, often at home, with fewer than 10 percent of victims surviving, according to the AHA. Basic CPR can sometimes be enough to keep a person alive until first responders arrive.

The AHA updated its guidelines in 2010 to promote hands-only chest compressions, citing studies showing that “for most adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, bystander CPR with chest compression only appears to achieve outcomes similar to those of conventional CPR.”

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in addition to chest compressions is still recommended for children, teenagers and seniors because they may have a breathing obstruction rather than cardiac arrest, and trained responders are still taught the older method and use it regularly.

Just one minute of video training for bystanders may help save lives, according to a small study whose results were presented at an AHA conference in November 2013. In the study, 48 adults watched the CPR training video, while 47 sat idle for one minute. All were then asked to do “what they thought best” on a mannequin that had been positioned to simulate a person in cardiac arrest. The participants who had seen the video were more likely to opt to call 911, initiated chest compression sooner, had an increased chest compression rate and a decreased hands-off interval than did those who hadn’t watched the video.

Visit the Washington Post for the article.