The Rundown | Week of 2.18.2019

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Primary Care Associated with Longer Life Expectancy

A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that a higher geographic density of primary care providers is linked to increased life expectancy. Researchers discovered an increase of 10 specialists per 100,000 people increased regional life expectancy 19.2 days. However, increasing the proportional number of primary care providers led to a 41.5-day increase in life expectancy. This 116 percent increase in life expectancy was especially pronounced among “cardiovascular, cancer, and respiratory mortality.” The study’s authors noted the decline of per capita primary care supply from 2005 to 2015 as well as the potential population health benefits of primary care.
>> Read More: Association of Primary Care Physician Supply With Population Mortality in the United States, 2005-2015

Study: Patient-Consumers Are Seeking Innovative, “Nontraditional” Care

A new survey from Accenture indicates healthcare consumers of all ages — but especially younger generations — are increasingly frustrated with healthcare’s status quo and are willing to experiment with nontraditional services (e.g. retail clinics, telehealth appointments, digital therapeutics). Having a relationship with a primary care provider is inversely related to age and willingness to try novel healthcare delivery services. Researchers found Gen Z (born after 1996) are eight times more likely to feel dissatisfied with the “effectiveness of the treatment” than baby boomers. Furthermore, younger patient-consumers are more likely to pursue non-Western treatments such as yoga and acupuncture. Researchers also found that patients with complex health needs have a greater interest in virtual care
>> Read More: Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey (U.S. Results)

Healthcare Data Breaches Skyrocketed in 2018

More than 15 million patient records were compromised in 2018, according to data in the latest Breach Barometer by Protenus. While the number of breaches rose by only 24 percent between 2017 and 2018, the number of affected patient records nearly tripled from the previous year. The largest breach of 2018 involved Atrium Health, which was hacked by a business associate who gained access to 2.65 million patient records. A press release for Protenus noted: “The data also shows that 51 percent of violations are repeat offenses, indicating health systems accumulate risk that compounds over time if proper reporting, educations, and discipline do not occur. Business associates and third parties remain a major source of health data breaches.”
>> Read More: Data breaches compromised 15.1M patient records last year

Heart Health Month: The Risks of Artificially Sweetened Beverages

A study in Stroke by researchers from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Stroke Association (ASA) found women who consume two or more artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) per day have a significantly higher risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality. The multicenter, longitudinal study analyzed the consumption patterns and medical history of 81,714 post-menopausal women. The 5.1 percent of participants who consumed two or more ASBs per day and had no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes were twice as likely to experience “small artery occlusion ischemic stroke,” with even greater risks for obese participants.
>> Read More: Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative

Heart Health Month: Push-Ups Can Indicate Longevity

Researchers looking to establish a “no-cost, fast, and simple measure” to evaluate male patients’ risk for cardiovascular disease discovered “push-up capacity” was a “useful and objective clinical assessment tool.” The longitudinal cohort study of 1,104 active adult men revealed participants “able to complete more than 40 push-ups were associated with a significant reduction in incident cardiovascular disease event risk compared with those completing fewer than 10 push-ups” over a 10-year period. While further study is needed, researchers concluded push-up capacity is an effective “office-based” assessment of “fitness and cardiovascular disease risk.”
>> Read More: Association Between Push-up Exercise Capacity and Future Cardiovascular Events Among Active Adult Men

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