The latest news on chronic, acute, and preventive care across the health care landscape
Chronic: Electronic Prescriptions Reduce Risk of Hospitalization for Diabetes-Related Adverse Drug Events
Patients with diabetes who use electronic prescriptions have a lower risk of hospitalization or emergency department (ED) visits for diabetes-related adverse drug events. In a study published inMedical Care, investigators examined 3.1 million Medicare fee-for-service, Part D—enrolled beneficiaries with diabetes who were older than 66 years and had at least 90 days of antidiabetic medications. The study results showed that individuals with diabetes who had more than 75% of their medications prescribed electronically had 21 adverse events per 1000 Medicare Part D beneficiaries. “We found a robust association between the greater use of electronic prescriptions in the outpatient setting and the lower risk of an inpatient or ED visit for an adverse drug among Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes in our adjusted analysis,” the authors wrote. “At the e-prescribing threshold of 75% and above, significant reductions in adverse drug event risk can be seen.”
Acute: Handheld Test Could Help Stop Food Poisoning
A simple, handheld test can detect the presence of many water- or food-borne pathogens and may help reduce the number of food poisoning cases. In a study published inAnalytical Chemistry, investigators targeted fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), which cause the highest number of hospitalizations and deaths from food poisoning. The investigators developed 2 types of tests that detect an enzyme associated with the FIB. The first is a small strip of paper treated with a substrate molecule that changes color when it comes in contact with the bacterial enzyme. The second test is electrochemical and consists of screen-printed carbon electrodes on transparent sheets, which indicated the same bacteria when inserted into a reader, according to the study. Tests were also conducted on contaminated water from a nearby lagoon and water contaminated withEscherichia coliandEnterococcus faecalisthat was used to wash alfalfa sprouts. Within 4 to 12 hours, both tests detected the harmful bacteria. The next step will be to build a mobile computing platform for the tests. The investigators are currently working on a Raspberry Pi-based system that could perform kinetic measurements to detect changes in the bacteria levels over time and automatically transmit the data to a cloud platform.
Prevention: Patients More Likely to Get Flu Shot When Appointments Made for Them
Patients are 3 times more likely to get a vaccination if their appointment is scheduled by their physician than by themselves. In a study published inBehavioral Science and Policy, 886 patients who would receive a flu shot at a medical practice were divided into 3 groups. The study results showed that 16% of patients who had appointments made for them showed up for the vaccination, whereas only 5% of individuals did so when invited to make their own appointments. Only 2% of patients who had not received any instructions showed up for vaccinations. The authors concluded that physicians should offer scheduling for patients to help reduce the risk of influenza and increase the number of individuals who get vaccinated.