December 6, 2010U.S. broadens list of peanut foods to avoidThe federal government is advising consumers to avoid cookies, cakes, ice cream and crackers made with peanut butter or peanut pastewhile it continues to investigate an outbreak of salmonella illness that is believed to have killed six people and sickened at least 485 othersacross the country.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has linked the salmonella outbreak to products made with peanut paste and peanut buttermanufactured after July 1 in a Georgia factory owned by Peanut Corp. of America. The company, which is based in Virginia, supplies peanutbutter and paste to long-term-care and other institutions, food service companies and private-label manufacturers that use the products incookies, cakes, crackers and other foods. None of the company’s peanut products are sold directly to consumers. It has paused allproduction in its Georgia facility.Several of the nation’s largest retailers and manufacturers are voluntarily recalling products that may contain the contaminated peanut butteror paste. Among the retailers are Safeway, Kroger and Meijer, and products include Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies, Keebler Cheese& Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and Little Debbie Peanut Butter Toasty crackers. A list of recalled products is being kept and updated bythe government at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall.The salmonella outbreak follows a string of food safety scares in recent years that has shaken consumer confidence and raised alarms aboutwhether the federal government is adequately protecting the nation’s food supply. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which representsfood manufacturers and retailers, has asked the Obama administration to significantly increase funding for federal food safety programs inthe hope that a robust inspection program will reduce contamination outbreaks and restore consumer confidence.Major-label peanut butter is not suspected to be contaminated with salmonella and is considered safe to eat, according to the U.S. Food andDrug Administration. (Washington Post) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/20/AR2009012003654.htmlNew tool could prevent needless stents and save money, Stanford cardiologist saysDoctors may be implanting too many artery-opening stents and could improve patient outcomes — and ultimately save lives — if they didmore in-depth measurements of blood flow in the vessels to the heart. That’s the finding of a study, published Jan. 15 in the New EnglandJournal of Medicine that evaluated the benefits of a new diagnostic tool to measure blood flow and determine whether stenting was the bestoption.“Not only were the outcomes better, the cost was less,” said William Fearon, MD, co-principal investigator of the multicenter internationalstudy called FAME and assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.The study suggests that doctors should go one step beyond the traditional method of relying solely on X-rays from a coronary angiogram todetermine which arteries should be stented for patients with coronary artery disease. In many cases, cardiologists will routinely prop openwith a stent any arteries that look significantly narrowed on the angiogram, said Fearon.By using a method called “fractional flow reserve,” or FFR, which involves inserting a coronary pressure guidewire into the artery, doctorscan measure whether blood flow is actually reduced to a dangerous level beyond any apparent narrowing. In certain cases, medication maybe a better option to stenting.The study was funded by Radi Medical Systems Inc. based in Sweden, one of two companies that make the pressure wires used in thestudy to measure blood flow inside arteries. Radi was recently acquired by U.S.-based St. Jude Medical. It included about 1,000 patients inthe United States and Europe. Twenty hospitals participated in the study, six from the United States.
Patients included in the study either suffered from chest pains or were recovering from mild heart attacks. All patients had multiple coronaryarteries with narrowings. About half the patients were treated with the traditional method of using an angiogram to decide which narrowingsto stent. The other half of the patients underwent the angiogram with the additional pressure wire technique.“The pressure wire is a thin wire with a sensor near the tip that can measure the pressure of blood flow,” Fearon explained. “If the narrowingis truly significant it will cause a drop in blood pressure beyond the narrowing. If the pressure was 80 percent or less than the pressure infront of the narrowing (an FFR value of .80 or less), a stent was implanted.”Researchers found that patients who received the additional blood flow test received one-third fewer stents than the group examined onlywith an angiogram. Those patients received 2.7 stents on average. The other half, who had their blood flow measured in each artery,received only 1.9 stents on average. After one year, follow-up statistics showed that within the traditional group, 18.4 percent of the patientshad died, suffered a heart attack or needed a bypass surgery or repeat stent procedure, compared with 13.2 percent among those whoreceived the additional pressure wire test.In addition, the new procedure didn’t require any extra procedural time and resulted in decreased medical costs. “Each stent on averagecosts roughly $2,000,” Fearon said. “The pressure wire test runs an additional $700.” Using fewer stents also results in using a decreasedamount of contrast dye that can cause kidney failure. http://mednews.stanford.edu.U.S. heart attacks becoming less severeFirst-time heart attacks in the United States aren’t as deadly now as they have been in past decades, a long-running study finds.“We know that deaths from heart disease are going down,” said Dr. Merle Meyerson, director of the cardiovascular disease preventionprogram at Columbia Universitys St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, and lead author of a report in the Jan. 20 issue of Circulation. “One reasonwhy is that heart attacks are less severe. People are not coming in with these massive heart attacks that are killing them.”The study, with data on more than 10,000 first heart attacks that occurred in four widely separated U.S. areas, found only a marginaldecrease in the heart attack death rate – from 5.3 percent in 1987 to 3.8 percent in 2002. That is of only “borderline statistical significance,”Meyerson said.But analysis of 20 indicators of severity – such as the damage-indicating changes seen in electrocardiograms, or biomarker moleculesreleased by damaged heart tissue – show a clear trend toward lowered severity, she said. For example, heart attacks with elevations in theST-designated portion of the ECG, an indicator of severe damage, were seen in 27.7 percent of attacks in 1987 and 20.9 percent in 2002, anaverage reduction of 1.9 percent per year.The percentage of cases of cardiogenic shock, in which the heart is so damaged that it cannot pump blood to the body, decreased by 5.7percent per year, while the percentage of cases with abnormal biomarkers such as creatine kinase or troponin decreased by a modest, butstatistically significant, 0.7 percent a year.“It could be better preventive measures, reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure and obesity, or it could be better treatment in thehospitals,” said Meyerson.One factor that does not seem to have improved is public awareness of the symptoms of a heart attack and the need to call for medical helpquickly, Meyerson said. “The time to get to the hospital after symptoms begin has not improved,” she said. There was no significant changein the percentage of people who arrived at a hospital less than two hours after the onset of symptoms – about one in every three cases. “Ifyou are having chest pain with exertion, chest pain that comes and goes, with shortness of breath, it is always best to call for help or go tothe hospital if you are near one,” she added. (HealthDay News) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/19/AR2009011902063.htmlRisk found in newer antipsychotic drugsThe popular drugs known as atypical antipsychotics, prescribed for an array of conditions, including schizophrenia, autism and dementia,double patients’ risk of dying from sudden heart failure, a study has found. The finding is the latest in a succession of recent reportscontradicting the long-held assumption that the new drugs, which include Risperdal, Zyprexa and Seroquel, are safer than the older andmuch less expensive medications that they replaced.
The risk of death from the drugs is not high, on average about 3 percent in a person being treated at least 10 years, according to the study,published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Nor was the risk different from that of the older antipsychotic drugs. But it was significantenough that an accompanying editorial urged doctors to limit their prescribing of antipsychotic drugs, especially to children and elderlypatients, who can be highly susceptible to the drugs’ side effects, including rapid weight gain.After an analysis of study data, the Food and Drug Administration required that all antipsychotics’ labels contain a warning that the drugswere associated with a heightened risk of heart failure in elderly patients. The new study, an analysis of more than 250,000 Medicaidrecords, is the first to rigorously document that risk for the newer drugs in adults over 30 without previous heart problems.In the study, researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center analyzed Tennessee Medicaid recordsfor 276,907 people ages 30 to 74. About a third of them began taking an antipsychotic medication in the period studied, from 1990 to 2005,either a newer atypical or an older drug. They found 478 sudden cardiac deaths among those taking the drugs, about twice the rate of thecontrol group. The risk — equivalent to 3 deaths for every 1,000 patients taking the drugs for a year — was about the same whether peopletook the newer or older medications. (NY Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/health/research/15psych.html?ref=healthUniversity HealthSystem Consortium selects AeroScout and Ekahau to provide real-time locator systemsUniversity HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) announced that after a competitive bid process it has awarded a 3-year agreement, with optionsto extend, to AeroScout Inc., a provider of Wi-Fi active radio frequency identification (RFID) healthcare solutions. In addition, Ekahau Inc., aprovider of Wi-Fi-based Real Time Location Systems (RTLS), announced that it was also awarded a three-year agreement with options toextend, to provide the Ekahau RTLS solution to UHC member hospitals.AeroScout provides a broad range of solutions: Asset Management; Equipment Maintenance; Condition Monitoring (temperature, humidity);Patient and Staff Safety; Workflow and Resource Management. AeroScout solutions enable members to leverage their existing Wi-Finetworks.Ekahau RTLS can locate objects using a hospital’s existing Wi-Fi network, regardless of vendor or generation of the infrastructure. TheEkahau Wi-Fi-based system is capable of providing room-level accuracy using Wi-Fi without deploying proprietary chokepoints or readers,which can cause interference with medical equipment.For more information about AeroScout, visit www.aeroscout.com.For more information about Ekahau, visit www.ekahau.com.IntelliDOT announces fast, cost-effective solution to comply with new NDC rule for CMS outpatient claimsIntelliDOT Corporation, a provider of handheld, barcode point-of-care (BPOC) solutions to hospitals, today announced that IntelliDOTBedside Medication Administration (IntelliDOT BMA) now enables hospitals to comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) requirement to report National Drug Code (NDC) numbers for drugs administered in outpatient settings.“Any CMS 1500 claims for medications administered in outpatient settings will be denied if they do not include the NDC and HealthcareCommon Procedure Coding System code,” said David Swenson, RPh and Chief Clinical Officer at IntelliDOT. The rule went into effect afterJune 30, 2008 (April 1, 2009 for California).By implementing IntelliDOT BMA in outpatient areas like ER or Radiology, hospitals can achieve 100 percent NDC billing compliance. Uponadmittance, each patient is issued a wristband with a unique identifying barcode. All drug packages are also barcoded and those barcodesand corresponding NDCs are stored in the IntelliDOT System drug master file. Before medication is administered, the nurse simply scans thepatient’s wristband with one of IntelliDOT’s wireless handheld devices and then scans the medication.The scan of the medication barcode identifies the exact brand of the medication and the amount being given. The patient information andbarcode are sent wirelessly to the IntelliDOT server. The server looks up the barcode;s associated NDC number and includes it in the HL7DFT billing message sent to the pharmacy information system (or any other system that handles the hospital;s medication billing). Anautomatic update feature included in IntelliDOT BMA ensures that NDCs are kept up-to-date in the drug master database. For moreinformation visit www.intellidotcorp.com.Last 16 Days! ANAE Healthcare Equipment Planner & Architect Conference
The Association of National Account Executives is hosting its First Annual Equipment Planner and Architect Conference, February 5th and6th at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX. Visit http://www.anae.us/equ_planner.html for info, agenda & registration.ANAE wants to thank MedAssets for sponsorship in the upcoming Healthcare Equipment Planning & Architect Conference.ANAE talked with Skytron’s Randy Tomaszewski, Vice President of Marketing and he had this to say about the upcoming Conference. “ThisEquipment Planner and Architect Conference is an amazing networking opportunity. Skytron is pleased to participate in ANAE’s 1st AnnualHealthcare Equipment Planning and Architect Conference as a capital equipment supplier. The noteworthy list of Equipment Planner &Healthcare Architect attendees and the opportunity for professional networking discussions to identify project needs and provide our productsolutions and services first hand regarding scheduled projects, timetables, contacts and bid dates is a huge plus! We wouldn’t miss it!”Medline signs medical supply cost management agreement with Provena HealthWith healthcare providers looking for cost-savings solutions in the current economy, Provena Health, a Catholic health system operatingin Illinois and Indiana, and Medline Industries Inc. have signed a major cost management agreement in which Medline will serve as thegroup’s primary distributor providing medical and surgical products and services. The agreement will focus on driving savings for Provena’ssix hospitals on a multitude of medical and surgical products and services, including distribution of Medline and non-Medline brand products.Additional highlights of the agreement include: Savings on distribution of non-Medline products through lower fees and more efficientprocesses; savings and efficiencies through product standardization and utilization efforts in collaboration with Medline’s product specialistsand on-staff clinical team; savings by converting to Medline manufactured products delivered direct to the facilities; and enhanced reportingcapabilities. Medline will also offer comprehensive product utilization and education programs to help the facility control costs and achievemaximum efficiency. Medline has an extensive clinical team and educational programs in conjunction with its prime vendor programs. Formore information, visit www.medline.com.