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Oversleeping Doesn’t Fix Chronic Undersleeping
A study published in Current Biology suggests that oversleeping, even to combat accumulated weekly “sleep debt,” may cause health issues and weight gain. Researchers investigated how ad libitum sleeping — sleeping as much as one wants — affects “circadian timing, energy intake, body weight, and insulin sensitivity during recurrent insufficient sleep following ad libitum weekend recovery sleep.” The study analyzed the sleep patterns of 36 young adults divided into three groups, two of which underslept for the study’s duration, over 10 days. The findings indicate that among the low-sleep groups, “Energy intake from after-dinner snacks and body weight were increased, and insulin sensitivity was reduced during recurrent insufficient sleep.” Overall, the study demonstrated that sleeping extra on the weekends doesn’t offset the tolls of chronic sleep deprivation.
Ineffective Use of EHRs May Harm Patients
A report in PLOS One found ineffective electronic health records (EHRs) jeopardize patients’ care and safety. Researchers analyzed care teams’ morning rounds routines, interviews, and workflow patterns to reach their findings. Physicians showed high levels of variation in EHR usage and different methods and “workarounds at critical points of care.” Furthermore, providers rarely used their EHR for team communication or to “support care team workflow[s].” The findings suggest these “issues pose a threat to patient safety and quality of care.” Improving EHR design, training care teams on standard EHR usage, and changing the setting to foster communication are possible solutions that can improve patient safety.
#MeToo Comes to Healthcare
“Time’s Up,” a movement confronting sexual harassment in the workplace, has come to healthcare. The focus coincides with the beginning of Women’s Health Month. A 2018 Medscape survey found that 10 percent of female physicians and 4 percent of male physicians were harassed within the past three years. Furthermore, nearly half of these harassments were from a fellow physician, and more than half were downplayed or trivialized by leadership. The group’s mission page states seven goals for the movement:
- Unite healthcare workers across fields
- Improve care for targets of harassment and inequity
- Raise awareness and knowledge
- Support healthcare organizations in making this issue central and visible
- Provide a link to the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
- Advocate for meaningful standards
- Advance research on harassment and inequity
>> Read More: TIME’S UP: Healthcare
Paying Patients Lowers Costs for Employers and Insurers
A study in Health Affairs demonstrates that paying patients to visit less expensive providers may lower costs for employers and insurers. Researchers analyzed a rewards program that measured costs of 131 elective services from nearly 270,000 employees and dependents from 29 employers. The patients who were incentivized to visit a “designated lower-price provider received a check ranging from $25 to $500, depending on the provider’s price and service.” In the first year of the program, researchers identified a 2.1 percent reduction, which resulted in a total annual savings of $2.3 million, approximately $8 per participant. The greatest savings came from MRI scans and ultrasounds with little to no price reduction in surgeries.
Vaccine Not Linked to Autism
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine does not increase a child’s risk of autism. Researchers conducted the study on more than 650,000 Danish children born between 1999 and 2010 and followed them through August 2013, noting any autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses. Other factors considered include the age of parents, sibling diagnoses, premature birth, and low birthweight. While 6,517 children were diagnosed with ASD, researchers concluded: “MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.” The research adds to the large body of evidence supporting “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the “Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019” by the World Health Organization.