Fascinating Data Life Expectancy and Health Expenditure of USA v Developed Countries

And this stunning graph that should raise a few eyebrows. (What are Americans spending their tax revenues on?)

Firstly, all countries in this graph have followed an upward trajectory (life expectancy increased as health expenditure increased), but the U.S. stands out as an exception following a much flatter trajectory; gains in life expectancy from additional health spending in the U.S. were much smaller than in the other high-income countries, particularly since the mid-1980s. And secondly, the gains for all countries (except for the U.S.) were not diminishing, as in the previous graph. This suggests that there are many other factors affecting life expectancy, that are not determined by healthcare spending. Indeed, as we have pointed out before, healthcare is just one of many inputs to produce health.

Source: Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser, Financing Healthcare, 2017. Published online at OurWorldInData.org.

Additional insight on this data and more http://www.moneyandbanking.com/commentary/2017/3/12/improving-us-healthcare-and-coverage

And some another article on negative side of upcoming Republican healthcare plan. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2017/03/13/Why-Republican-Health-Care-Plan-Destined-Fail

Part 2 – Identities Revealed – You are what you eat

Which products are the perpetrators on the crowded shelf? The most questionable claims and safety involve weight loss products, products to improve sexual performance, and body building products. Many of these so called natural supplements have been found to contain prescription drugs or steroids. Liver and kidney function, blood pressure can be adversely affected as well as the possibility of heart attack or stroke have been linked to the use of these supplements.

Other dietary supplements have been found to contain contaminants such as pesticides, or heavy metals. FDA rules do not extend to the companies that provide the herbs or other materials that are manufactured in the US. The fine print on bottles of supplements can sometimes come with a disclaimer that the FDA has not verified the manufacturer’s claim.

Protein drinks are a billion dollar product. Claims they advance are weight loss, energy boost, building muscle, and delay of aging.

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Caveat Emptor: To Eat or Not to Eat – dietary supplements

Let’s start this article with a riddle. What do more than 50% of Americans spend billions of dollars on yearly, and is the most popular alternative health therapy in the nation? If you answered dietary supplements instead of Disney World you are correct.

What goes on behind the shelves and shelves of products with 1000 new ones being introduced annually? As you stand there deciding you need to know who and what is involved in the behind the scenes action. Often obscured by cryptic acronyms this article will reveal their true identity and purpose.

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It‘s Not Just Old Age – Depression in the Elderly

The following scenario is played out with increasing regularity in the nation: An elderly person, let’s call her Edith is living alone because she has lost her husband. Due to one or more chronic conditions she has decreased independence. Maybe she can’t drive any more and needs to use a walker or wheelchair. Her condition requires a regime of prescription medications. The chronic condition causes pain. If Edith has family that can visit her they are likely very busy or may not live close enough to visit regularly. Consequently she spends a lot of time alone, and may possibly feel a loss of significance. In this scenario it would not be easy to maintain a positive outlook of the future and life itself.

Depression in the elderly is often unrecognized and undiagnosed. Yet there is a growing awareness that many life factors that the elderly must cope with in fact contribute to the likelihood of depression. Also age affects the structure of the brain. Mental and physical health affect each other. Many elderly suffer from one or more chronic conditions which can cause or worsen depression. Untreated depression can cause chronic conditions and the condition itself or it’s medical treatment can cause depression. Depression also affects treatment compliance or self management of physical conditions.

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Texting Patient Orders Still up in the air with Joint Commission

The new policy unraveled in May of this year put out by the Joint Commission would have opened the door for texting to be used as an effective communication tool to exchange patient orders.

Initially, the policy what is welcome news because it would’ve made sharing patient info easier. Summarized, it stated, along with some caution,

Eeffective immediately, The Joint Commission has revised its position on the transmission of orders for care, treatment, and services via text messaging for all accreditation programs. Licensed independent practitioners or other practitioners in accordance with professional standards of practice, law and regulation, and policies and procedures may text orders as long as a secure text messaging platform is used and the required components of an order are included.

Now it seems that policy change is on hold.

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The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare release Oro™ 2.0

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare has released Oro™ 2.0, an online assessment and resource library designed to assist hospital leaders with determining their organization’s level of maturity in multiple components of high reliability and striving for the goal of zero preventable harm.

Oro 2.0 is a Web-based assessment for hospital leadership that is accessible on the Center for Transforming Healthcare website. The assessment process guides the leadership team through a series of questions which allows for discussion and alignment on key strategic performance issues. Once an assessment is completed, a report is generated that identifies strengths and opportunities for improvement and directs the user to resources specific to their organization’s high-reliability maturity level. The content included in the Oro 2.0 Resource Libraryfocuses on the areas of leadership commitment, safety culture and performance improvement.

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Joint Commission launches Speak Up™ Antibiotics campaign

Speak Up™ is an Antibiotics campaign targeted to the public in an attempt to educate on the appropriate and safe use of antibiotics, as well as the risks associated with antibiotic overuse.

From JC:

Each year, an estimated 2 million people in the United States become infected with bacteria that antibiotics cannot treat because the bacteria is no longer responsive to antibiotics. Antibiotics also can kill good bacteria in the body, potentially leading to other problems such as diarrhea or yeast infections. As a result, antibiotic overuse has become a critical health and patient safety concern, especially in young children and seniors, who are at higher risk for illness.

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Hospitals Overcharging Consumers at 10X Cost

The problem with hospitals being owned by for-profit entities is that pricing can be arbitrary. IF you can get away with overcharging it doesn’t matter where you are, so long as people pay. Some hospitals gouge even further than the usual song and dance between healthcare provider and insurance. The largest offenders seem to be in Florida.

The researchers said other consumers who could face those high charges are patients whose hospitals are not in their insurance company’s preferred network of providers, patients using workers’ compensation and those covered by automobile insurance policies.

Generally, hospitals know they won’t be collecting on the money they invoice as only a fraction is covered by insurance, and even then some patients are not insured yet are provided services. That explains astronomical invoices for apparently mundane procedures. Profit maximizing hospitals don’t have any checks or balances for their pricing, so they’ll go as high as they can.

For more:


New Joint Commission Medical Imaging Standards

The Joint Commission has issued new standards around protocols, documentation and education that are designed to reduce unnecessary medical imaging and improve quality and safety.

The Joint Commission standards for diagnostic imaging are designed to help prevent duplicate and unnecessary medical imaging of patients, and reduce potentially harmful exposure to radiation when patients need CT scans, MRI or a combination of these and other diagnostic tests. The new protocols raise the bar for quality and safety at ambulatory imaging sites, critical access hospitals and accredited hospitals. The changes also impact the uncertainties around dosage radiation for patients.

Many have questioned whether the changes are enough.

The Joint Commission’s imaging standards were initially intended for release last year, but they were postponed due to lack of detail and clarity. Compliance to new protocols becomes difficult when a patient is seen by multiple healthcare providers – especially in different geographic regions – and when the patient’s journey spans different facilities, specialists and time zones as they strive to get well.

Healthcare provider education on the imaging equipment and diagnostic materials will be the main element to improve imaging standards and ultimate improve healthcare provision.