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Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Use of Social Media Across US Hospitals: Descriptive Analysis of Adoption and Utilization
Source: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Background:
Use of social media has become widespread across the United States. Although businesses have invested in social media to engage consumers and promote products, less is known about the extent to which hospitals are using social media to interact with patients and promote health.

Objective:
The aim was to investigate the relationship between hospital social media extent of adoption and utilization relative to hospital characteristics.

Methods:
We conducted a cross-sectional review of hospital-related activity on 4 social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and Foursquare. All US hospitals were included that reported complete data for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. We reviewed hospital social media webpages to determine the extent of adoption relative to hospital characteristics, including geographic region, urban designation, bed size, ownership type, and teaching status. Social media utilization was estimated from user activity specific to each social media platform, including number of Facebook likes, Twitter followers, Foursquare check-ins, and Yelp reviews.

Results:
Adoption of social media varied across hospitals with 94.41% (3351/3371) having a Facebook page and 50.82% (1713/3371) having a Twitter account. A majority of hospitals had a Yelp page (99.14%, 3342/3371) and almost all hospitals had check-ins on Foursquare (99.41%, 3351/3371). Large, urban, private nonprofit, and teaching hospitals were more likely to have higher utilization of these accounts.

Conclusions:
Although most hospitals adopted at least one social media platform, utilization of social media varied according to several hospital characteristics. This preliminary investigation of social media adoption and utilization among US hospitals provides the framework for future studies investigating the effect of social media on patient outcomes, including links between social media use and the quality of hospital care and services.

Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association

During the past half century, the supply of inpatient psychiatric beds in the United States has largely vanished. In 1955, 560 000 patients were cared for in state psychiatric facilities; today there are fewer than one-tenth that number: 45 000. Given the doubling of the US population, this represents a 95% decline, bringing the per capita public psychiatric bed count to about the same as it was in 1850—14 per 100 000 people.1 A much smaller number of private psychiatric beds has fluctuated since the 1970s in response to policy and regulatory shifts that create varying financial incentives.

As a result, few high-quality, accessible long-term care options are available for a significant segment of the approximately 10 million US residents with serious mental illness. This population includes adults who are assessed as lacking insight and chronically psychotic, unable to care for themselves, and potentially dangerous to themselves and the public. These persons frequently have refractory schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The void is both ethically unacceptable and financially costly.

Improving Children’s Life Chances through Better Family Planning

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Improving Children’s Life Chances through Better Family Planning
Source: Brookings Institution

Non-marital childbearing is associated with many adverse outcomes for both the mother and the child. Most of these births are unintended. If we could reduce these unintended births it might improve children’s prospects by enabling their mothers to get more education, earn more, and wait to have children within marriage. In this brief, we trace the effects of reducing unintended childbearing on children’s success later in life by using the Social Genome Model (SGM) to simulate the effect on children’s life chances of aligning women’s fertility behavior with their intentions.

Though the impacts of improving women’s control over their fertility are small for the population as a whole, there are significant and important improvements in the lives of children who would have otherwise been “born too soon.” These findings suggest that increasing access to and awareness of high-quality, easy-to-use contraception and improving the educational and labor market prospects of low-income women are important steps in improving children’s life chances.

The Rise in Health Care Coverage and Affordability Since Health Reform Took Effect

January 29, 2015 Comments off

The Rise in Health Care Coverage and Affordability Since Health Reform Took Effect
Source: Commonwealth Fund

New results from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2014, indicate that the Affordable Care Act’s subsidized insurance options and consumer protections reduced the number of uninsured working-age adults from an estimated 37 million people, or 20 percent of the population, in 2010 to 29 million, or 16 percent, by the second half of 2014. Conducted from July to December 2014, for the first time since it began in 2001, the survey finds declines in the number of people who report cost-related access problems and medical-related financial difficulties. The number of adults who did not get needed health care because of cost declined from 80 million people, or 43 percent, in 2012 to 66 million, or 36 percent, in 2014. The number of adults who reported problems paying their medical bills declined from an estimated 75 million people in 2012 to 64 million people in 2014.

Bromelain (Pineapple Extract)

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Bromelain
Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

+ Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in the pineapple plant. Pineapple is native to the Americas but is now grown throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions. Historically, natives of Central and South America used pineapple for a variety of ailments, such as digestive disorders.

+ Currently, bromelain is used as a dietary supplement for nasal swelling and inflammation, osteoarthritis, cancer, poor digestion, and muscle soreness. Topical (applied to the skin) bromelain is used for wounds and burns.

+ Bromelain is obtained from the stem or fruit of the pineapple. It is sold in the form of a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, and it may be used alone or in combination with other ingredients.

Addressing the Global Health Crisis: Universal Health Protection Policies

January 29, 2015 Comments off

Addressing the Global Health Crisis: Universal Health Protection Policies
Source: International Labour Organization

This policy paper (i) examines the dimensions of the global health crisis based on severe deficits in health protection and limited access to needed health care; (ii) presents the extent of the health crisis at global, regional and national level as well as rural/urban divergences within countries and their root causes; (iii) suggests policy options to address the health protection crisis using the framework of national social protection floors by focusing on inclusive legislation and adequate financing as well as making quality services available and providing financial protection; (iv) concludes that progressing towards universal health protection is possible by developing a three step approach that yields highest rates of returns in terms of sustainability, economic growth and equity. The Annexes present global data on total health expenditure, health coverage and skilled health workers for 171 countries.

Hat tip: IWS Documented News Service

Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs

January 28, 2015 Comments off

Pricing in the Market for Anticancer Drugs
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research

Drugs like bevacizumab ($50,000 per treatment episode) and ipilimumab ($120,000 per episode) have fueled the perception that the launch prices of anticancer drugs are increasing over time. Using an original dataset of 58 anticancer drugs approved between 1995 and 2013, we find that launch prices, adjusted for inflation and drugs’ survival benefits, increased by 10%, or about $8,500, per year. Although physicians are not penalized for prescribing costly drugs, they may be reluctant to prescribe drugs with prices that exceed subjective standards of fairness. Manufacturers may set higher launch prices over time as standards evolve. Pricing trends may also reflect manufacturers’ response to expansions in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which requires manufacturers to provide steep discounts to eligible providers.

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