IMDA eNews 022823

The latest news affecting you and your customers…

from the Independent Medical Specialty Dealers Association

New COPD screening tool

Millions of people with COPD are believed to go undiagnosed, according to the National Institutes of Health, particularly since primary care physicians often find it difficult to integrate spirometry into a brief office visit. A new tool, however – the COPD Assessment in Primary Care to Identify Undiagnosed Respiratory Disease & Exacerbation Risk (CAPTURE) – may help identify more adults with the disease. Developed with support from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), CAPTURE is designed to identify adults with COPD symptoms severe enough to treat, but who haven’t received a diagnosis. As part of CAPTURE screening, which is already being used by some physicians, patients answer five questions that assess their breathing and exposure to chemicals and air pollution. Researchers have said the technology gives doctors information to further assess patients with respiratory symptoms. 

Heart attack deaths on the decline

The United States has seen a significant decline in the overall
rate of heart attack-related deaths in the past 20 years, as well as a
reduction in racial disparities for heart attack deaths, according to a study
presented at the American College of
Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session
. The gap in the rate of heart
attack deaths between White people and African American/Black people has
narrowed by nearly half over a 22-year period, researchers report. The findings
indicate that age-adjusted rates of death attributed to acute myocardial
infarction have fallen by an average of over 4% per year across all racial
groups over the two-decade period. It is difficult to definitively determine
whether the decline is the result of fewer heart attacks occurring or better
rates of survival given newer diagnostic strategies and treatment options. 

Air pollution associated with more infant visits to the ER

An assessment on exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and emergency department visits during the first year of life has yielded a positive association between PM2.5 exposure and all-cause, infection-related and respiratory-related emergency department visits, according to HCPLive. The risk of emergency department visits appears to be elevated for both preterm and full-term infants, with the greatest odds of all-cause emergency department visits occurring during the fourth and fifth months of life. The investigation also evaluates the susceptibility of preterm infants to adverse events of PM2.5 exposure. The findings of this study are consistent with previous research linking air pollution to adverse health outcomes in infants and children, according to the lead researcher and investigators.

No rest for the weary – at least not in a hospital

Blood draws at the crack of dawn, the beeps and chimes of electronic monitors and loud conversations in hallways make sleep nearly impossible for many patients in U.S. hospitals, according to the Washington Post. Prolonged sleep deprivation remains pervasive at top hospitals. Fewer than half have sleep-friendly practices, such as reducing overnight vital sign monitoring, decreasing ambient light in the wards, adjusting lab and medication schedules, and implementing “quiet hours,” a study in August revealed. Still, the toll of poor sleep in hospitals gets little attention, say experts who focus on “post-hospital syndrome.” The term was coined by Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz to refer to the weakened immune systems, loss of body mass and other impairments that land many people back in a hospital soon after discharge.

Workforce shortages are hospitals’ prime concern

From nursing and physician shortages to a lack of technicians and other staff, healthcare organizations – including hospitals, clinics and physician practices – are facing serious workforce shortages, according to HealthLeaders. This marks the second year in a row that workforce or personnel challenges has been the top-ranked issue highlighted in the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey asking community hospital CEOs to rank their top 11 concerns. The survey was sent to over 1,300 community hospital CEOs and nearly 300 executives participated in the survey. The top 5 concerns identified by hospital CEOs were: 1) workforce challenges, such as personnel shortages, 2) financial challenges, 3) behavioral health and addiction issues, 4) patient safety and quality, and 5) government mandates.