Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End of the industry RFP?

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article "Drug firms' cash skews doctor classes":
Do your legs feel tingly? Do you suffer from mood swings before your period? Would you take a mind-altering drug to quit smoking?

If so, the pharmaceutical industry and the University of Wisconsin-Madison want to teach your doctor a lesson.

Drug companies have largely taken over the field of doctor education, in part by bankrolling physician education courses at medical schools.

Critics say the practice increases medical costs by encouraging doctors to write prescriptions for expensive brand-name drugs and by exaggerating the frequency and prevalence of rare conditions. It also promotes the use of drugs not approved for the ailments.

A Journal Sentinel investigation found that industry-funded doctor education courses offered at UW often present a slanted view by favoring prescription medications over non-drug therapies and by failing to mention important side effects.
Click here to access the MJS article. Click here to read Dr. Carlat's blog posting on this article. Hey, I just tell you what's out there in the news!

Joint Accreditation for the Provider of Continuing Education for the Healthcare Team Now Available

Click here for the news release. Click here for information on eligibility, accreditation criteria, accreditation processes and outcomes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

ACCME releases new Q&A on the Standards for Commercial Support of CME

Click here to access. Oh, if only it were this simple....there might be another consideration regarding the provision of skills training. What do y'all think?

ABMS announces new standards on physician life-long learning

From the ABMS news release:
The ABMS Board of Directors (BOD) approved the standards, proposed by the ABMS Committee on Oversight and Monitoring of Maintenance of Certification (COMMOC), at its March 16 meeting. This uniform set of standards outlines and sets timelines for officially adopting several new MOC program elements, including:

* Documentation that physicians are meeting continued medical education (CME) and self-assessment requirements
* Evidence of participation in practice-based assessment and quality improvement every two to five years
* Completion of a patient safety self-assessment program at least once during each MOC cycle .
* Assessment of communication skills as a standard for all physician diplomates with direct patient care - using a Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) patient survey (or other COMMOC-approved survey), and an approved peer survey
Click here to access the news release.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vitamin D3

Check out the Archives of Internal Medicine article on Vitamin D3. The authors' conclusion?
Nonvertebral fracture prevention with vitamin D is dose dependent, and a higher dose should reduce fractures by at least 20% for individuals aged 65 years or older.
Click here to access the article (sub.req.).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CDC statistics on non-fatal falls associated with dogs and cats

From the MMWR report:
Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries in the United States. In 2006, nearly 8 million persons were treated in emergency departments (EDs) for fall injuries (1). Pets might present a fall hazard (2), but few data are available to support this supposition. To assess the incidence of fall-related injuries associated with cats and dogs, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) for the period 2001--2006. This report describes the results of that analysis, which showed that an estimated average of 86,629 fall injuries each year were associated with cats and dogs, for an average annual injury rate of 29.7 per 100,000 population. Nearly 88% of injuries were associated with dogs, and among persons injured, females were 2.1 times more likely to be injured than males. Prevention strategies should focus on 1) increasing public awareness of pets and pet items as fall hazards and of situations that can lead to fall injuries and 2) reinforcing American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations emphasizing obedience training for dogs (3).
Click here to access the MMWR report. Bob (above) swears he's not responsible for any of those falls!

AARP's take on the top 125 hospitals

From the AARP The Magazine: article
But just because a particular hospital appears to be the most successful at treating your disorder doesn't mean you should go there. Deciding whether to travel for care can involve weighing difficult trade-offs. Travel costs money, even if insurance covers the cost of treatment...And it's impossible to put a price tag on the advantages of being in familiar surroundings, cocooned by family and friends who can stay by your side and ask questions.
Click here to access the AARP article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

APA just says no to satellite industry events at annual meeting

From the New York Times article:
Amid increasing Congressional scrutiny of ties between doctors and drug makers, the American Psychiatric Association announced on Wednesday that it would end industry-financed medical seminars at its annual meeting. The association, the field’s premier organization, said it would also phase out meals at the meeting paid for with industry money.
Industry-supported seminars are commonplace at annual meetings throughout medicine, as are payments to doctors and other financial arrangements. The psychiatric association said it had no plans to eliminate drug advertisements in its journals, commercial exhibits at meetings, or industry-sponsored fellowships for doctors.
Click here to access the NYT article.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuberculosis worldwide

The website GlobalHealthFacts.org has just posted the 2007 stats on TB. Click here to access. Remember that book The Coming Plaque? Well, the author, Laurie Garrett also wrote this book: Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health.

Monday, March 23, 2009

CACHE Open Access Library

The Open Access Library on the CACHE Web site (Canadian Association of Continuing Health Education) contains links to a large number of Open Access publications in continuing medical education. Courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey MLS, Reference Librarian at the CMCC Health Sciences Library, click here for a link to the full text of all the articles in the special March 2009 CME supplement of Chest (as well as links to the PubMed records for these articles). Additionally, you might also want to click here and visit CACHE's Web Resources section (includes an External Power Search engine that searches within many of the sites that CACHE links to). A BIG thanks to Anne!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Make your voice heard!

Do you want to email the President and let him know your thoughts on anything? If so, click here. Google your senators and representatives and email them as well.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dr. Hamburg to head FDA?

From the New York Times article:
President Obama intends to nominate Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, a former New York City health commissioner, to lead the Food and Drug Administration, sidestepping a battle between drug safety advocates and the drug industry, people briefed on the decision said.
The F.D.A. is arguably the most important public health agency in the country, but its budget has lagged far behind those of agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A growing list of scandals has led a bipartisan chorus on Capitol Hill to demand major changes and larger budgets, with some legislators advocating that the F.D.A. be split in two.
Click here to access the NYT article. Click here to access Dr. Hamburg's bio.

Mass. passes regs on pharma and med device companies

From the Boston Globe article:
State officials gave final approval yesterday to regulations banning pharmaceutical and medical device companies from providing gifts to physicians, limiting when companies can pay for doctors' meals, and requiring companies to publicly disclose payments to doctors over $50 for certain types of consulting and speaking engagements.
There are two substantive changes, however. Companies will have to disclose payments to doctors and hospitals for research designed to promote a particular product, sometimes called "seeding trials"; funding for research aimed at answering a scientific question will still not have to be disclosed.

Also, the department eliminated a provision allowing companies to provide financial assistance for medical residents and other trainees to attend conferences and education courses.
The regulations will take effect July 1, and the first public reporting by companies will be due by July 1, 2010.
Click here to access.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seton Hall Law School 's Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law & Policy Releases White Paper Recommending Reform of Drug & Device Promotion

The recommendations regarding industry support of CME:
• A paradigm shift to end commercial support for CME should be undertaken. This will require fundamental change in practice by industry and by organized medicine, which must design less costly, professionally-driven and controlled mechanisms for CME.

• In the interim, as CME makes this substantial transition, conflicts of interest in CME should be more fully disclosed and managed. Specifically, disclosure to CME providers and attendees by physicians and other speakers should identify the nature and magnitude of the speaker’s financial interests, with such interests defined broadly to include financial relationships and support for the speaker’s academic department.

• The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) should issue more specific guidelines that address financial disclosure, circumstances when safeguards such as independent review are required to manage a conflict of interest, and criteria to determine when conflicts should preclude participation by a presenter. A physician’s role promoting a product should preclude his or her participation as a speaker at an accredited CME event for that product.
Click here to access the white paper.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"Fraud Case Rocks Anesthesiology Community"

From the Anesthesiology News article:
In what experts are calling one of the largest known cases of academic misconduct, a leading anesthesiology researcher has been accused of falsifying data and other fraud in potentially dozens of published studies.
Click here to access the article.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Medical imaging quality gap?

From the New York Times article:
More than 95 million high-tech scans are done each year, and medical imaging, including CT, M.R.I. and PET scans, has ballooned into a $100-billion-a-year industry in the United States, with Medicare paying for $14 billion of that. But recent studies show that as many as 20 percent to 50 percent of the procedures should never have been done because their results did not help diagnose ailments or treat patients.

“The system is just totally, totally broken,” said Dr. Vijay Rao, the chairwoman of the radiology department at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, in Philadelphia.
Accrediting will be partly addressed by a little noticed aspect of a wide-ranging Medicare law passed last year. After it goes into effect in 2012, Medicare will pay only for scans done at accredited centers. But imaging experts say the law fixes only part of the problem. High-tech scanning is complicated, and there is no consensus on objective measures to ensure quality. Even with the new law, there is still little assurance that scans will be appropriately ordered and interpreted or that a scanner will be up to date.
Click here to access.

Sebelius nominated for HHS secretary

From the New York Times article:
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas was chosen as secretary of health and human services on Monday by President Obama, who hailed her as an ideal person to work with Republicans as well as Democrats to fix an ailing health care system.
But on matters of health policy, which she will oversee if her nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Sebelius’s efforts to forge bipartisan consensus have rarely succeeded. She recently observed that the greatest frustration of her six years in office had been her inability to persuade lawmakers to raise tobacco taxes for a modest expansion of government health coverage.

Now, with the backing of a Democratic Congress, Ms. Sebelius will have a chance to achieve in Washington what she failed to accomplish in Topeka, and then some. Mr. Obama is effectively making her the point person for what may become the largest expansion of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance in more than four decades.
Click here to access.