The Rundown | Week of 4.8.2019

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Vitamins from Food, Not Supplements, Beneficial

A recent study by researchers at Tufts University found that a proper intake of vitamins and minerals can lower mortality risk, but aren’t as effective when ingested as supplements as opposed to part of one’s diet. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the prospective cohort study analyzed dietary supplement responses from 30,899 American adults older than 20. Furthermore, researchers measured outcomes such as all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer during a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Diets — rather than supplements — that included adequate vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, and copper were associated with reduced all-cause or CVD mortality. Researchers also noted excessive “intake of calcium was associated with increased risk for cancer death.”
>> Read More: Association Among Dietary Supplement Use, Nutrient Intake, and Mortality Among U.S. Adults: A Cohort Study

Expanded Telehealth Coverage for Medicare Advantage

A recently finalized rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) added telehealth services as a base service to Medicare-aged individuals beginning in 2020. The change was introduced in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said: “With these new telehealth benefits, Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to access the latest technology and have greater access to telehealth. By providing greater flexibility to Medicare Advantage plans, beneficiaries can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality.” The ruling accompanies revisions to discourage opioid use, adjustments to payment rates, and flexibility for social determinants of health.
>> Read More: CMS Finalizes Policies to Bring Innovative Telehealth Benefit to Medicare Advantage

Cigna to Cap Out-of-Pocket Insulin Costs

Cigna and Express Scripts will reduce the out-of-pocket cost of insulin for some patients. The companies, which merged in December, will cap costs at $25 for a month’s supply for commercially insured patients whose employers opt into the program. The life-saving hormone is under fire for runaway costs, which nearly doubled between 2012 and 2016. In related news, the House Ways and Means Committee met recently to discuss drug transparency and amendments to H.R. 2113, “Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability, and Reporting (STAR) Act of 2019.”
>> Read More: Cigna and Express Scripts Introduce Patient Assurance Program to Cap Out of Pocket Costs at $25 Per 30-Day Insulin Prescription

EHR Usability Tied to Positive Workflows

A recent study in JAMA Network Open analyzed the relationship between the usability of electronic health records (EHRs) and physician cognitive workload and performance. Physicians were asked to access abnormal, critical, hypothetical test results Researchers concluded, “Relatively basic usability enhancements to the EHR system appear to be associated with better physician cognitive workload and performance.” One potential solution is the removal of non-necessary EHR interactions, which may lead to workarounds or “suboptimal workflows.” A separate study also found that doctors are more likely to prescribe preventive therapy when prompted by EHR add-on.
>> Read More: Association of the Usability of Electronic Health Records With Cognitive Workload and Performance Levels Among Physicians

Study: Screen Time Doesn’t Affect Teens’ Mental Health

A recent study published in Psychological Science found “little clear-cut evidence that screen time decreases adolescent well-being.” The conclusions run contrary to popular belief and other studies that correlate minors’ mental health with time spent on digital devices. Researchers noted flaws in such studies, namely the reliance on “inaccurate but popular self-report measures of digital-screen engagement” and limited geographical variance. This study comprised large-scale data from Ireland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Researchers imposed “time-use-diary measures of digital-screen engagement” as well as “both exploratory and confirmatory study designs.” In related news, a recent study in JAMA Pediatrics found teen and adolescent emergency department visits for suicidal ideation or attempts doubled between 2007 and 2015.
>> Read More: Screens, Teens, and Psychological Well-Being: Evidence From Three Time-Use-Diary Studies

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