Although concerns about privacy and professionalism have in the past limited physicians' use of social media to reach patients, that is starting to change. Health care providers, public health officials and researchers increasingly see Facebook as a useful tool for disseminating information, tracking disease and more, says Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.
Blister packaging labeled with the days of the week, pill bottle caps that send alerts and sound alarms when they are not opened on time, and clearer patient instructions are among the methods intended to increase prescription adherence. Patients who don't take their medications as prescribed are at higher risk for complications and expensive hospitalizations, and CMS reimbursement to health plans depends in part on refill rates for cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes drugs.
Pharmacists can help reduce health care spending by monitoring and adjusting patients' prescription regimens, ordering tests, and helping patients take their medications properly, pilot projects and studies have found. Making expanded pharmacy services an essential benefit would help bring down the nation's health care spending, writes R. Pete Vanderveen, dean of the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy.
The American Society of Echocardiography and the European Association for Echocardiography have released guidelines for maximizing the use of 3D echocardiography. The joint guidelines, published in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography, offer best practices for using 3D echo imaging to collect data and assess and view heart structures.
A test of the level of muscle tissue protein troponin I could make heart attack diagnosis faster and more accurate, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. German researchers found that patients with higher levels of troponin appeared to be at increased risk of having a heart attack while changes in troponin levels can help diagnose and determine the severity of myocardial infarction.