Busy provider looking for healthcare news? Check out The Rundown.
We’d like to start by wishing all nurses a happy National Nurses Week! To celebrate, take our #NationalNursesWeek QUIZ:
A) There are roughly as many nurses in America as residents of Los Angeles
B) Florence Nightingale is not just the mother of modern nursing, but also a pioneer of infographics
C) The average nurse walks 4–5 miles per shift
D) Florence “Nightingale” received her nickname from her laugh which “chirped like a birdsong”
Scroll down to see if you answer correctly!
Fitbit and Google Partner to Help Patients
Fitbit stocks skyrocketed 10 percent after the wearable-technology company announced a partnership with Google last week. Google’s Cloud Healthcare API aims to connect the devices’ data with electronic health records to create a more robust, detailed, and informative summary of patients’ health. “Together, we have the opportunity to deliver up-to-date information to providers, enhancing their ability to follow and manage the health of their patients and guide their treatment,” said Dr. Gregory Moore, vice president of healthcare at Google Cloud. Fitbit recently acquired Twine Health, which offers health coaching for chronic conditions, and announced a software update that adds features for female customers, diabetes management, and local outbreaks of sickness. In related wearable-tech news, doctors credited an Apple Watch for saving a man’s life after the device detected an irregular heartbeat.
>>Read More: Fitbit Stock Soars After Announcement of Collaboration with Google
Venture Capital Investors Take Note of Palliative Care
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that providing a palliative -care consultation within three days of hospital admission saved patients an average of $3,237. The meta-analysis pooled data from six studies totaling 133,118 patients admitted between 2001 and 2015. Co-author Peter May of the Centre for Health Policy and Management at Trinity College Dublin said, “The news that palliative care can significantly improve patient experience by reducing unnecessary, unwanted, and burdensome procedures while ensuring that patients are cared for in the setting of their choice, is highly encouraging.” Moreover, venture capitalists are watching the palliative-care market more closely to hedge their bets on technology. This trend toward investments that deliver value to patients is reflected in two recent mega-deals: Humana’s recent acquisition of hospice operator Curo for $1.4 billion and ProMedica Health’s $7 billion acquisition of post-acute care provider HCR ManorCare and nursing-home chain Arden Courts.
>>Read More: Where Acute Care Hospitals Can Find Cost-savings in Palliative Care
The Upside of the Loneliness Epidemic
There’s a silver lining to the “loneliness epidemic”: lonely people are more likely to visit a physician. Granted, they’re also more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, stroke, and inflammation, a precursor to many ailments. Some studies have placed the effects of chronic loneliness on par with smoking 15 cigarettes a day or obesity. To combat these grim outcomes, companies like CareMore have created “togetherness programs,” which provides care to more than 150,000 individuals. The company follows the model of initiatives in Australia and the U.K., whose prime minister Theresa May appointed a minister for loneliness in January. Inside CareMore facilities, one finds puzzles, games, and social spaces to encourage socializing, build connections, and stave off disease.
>>Read More: The Goal: Longer Life With Less Loneliness
Insect-borne Illnesses on the Rise (And What You Need to Do About It)
Since 2004, nine newly introduced diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, or fleas have been discovered. The culprit? Warmer weather. However, the study diverted blame to increased air travel, reforestation, and lack of vaccines rather than climate change. In 2016 alone, there were 96,000 cases of insect-borne illnesses, although the numbers were likely much higher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are around 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in America every year, though only 35,000 diagnoses are reported. What’s most frightening is that, according to the CDC, more than 80 percent of vector-control organizations failed at least one of five core competencies, such as testing for pesticide resistance training. What steps can you take? Use an EPA-registered insect repellent; control ticks on your pets with products like Frontline™; install screens over windows and doors; drain and clean receptacles of stagnant water; and many more.
>>Read More: Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly, C.D.C. Finds
New Veterans Affairs Legislation Leans into Telehealth
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs (VA) recently introduced legislation to extend funding for the VA Choice program, which may run out of funds as early as June. The VA MISSION Act of 2018 includes $5.2 billion in funds to prolong the program, which matches veterans with local, private-sector physicians outside VA facilities. According to the White House Press Secretary, the proposed legislation is “a key step to transforming the VA into a 21st century healthcare system that improves veterans’ access to timely and high-quality care.” One modernizing measure is a prioritization of telehealth, especially in mental health counseling. Studies indicate that only 50 percent of veterans who require mental-health treatment will receive it. This leads to increased rates of substance abuse, homelessness, and suicide among veteran. Telehealth allows veterans to skirt societal stigmas and logistical barriers that stand in the way and allows doctors to provide care. Veterans are receptive to this new approach, a trend reflected in the general public; according to an Accenture report, 70 percent of consumers are interested in virtual healthcare.
>>Read More: Revived VA Choice Bill Leans on Telehealth, Makes Community Care Program Permanent