Archive for October, 2011

Federal Grants Help with Oregon Electronic Records

31 Oct

There is some good news for Oregon hospitals and health care providers who serve Medicaid patients: there are federal grants available to support their efforts in implementing electronic health records.

On September 26, 2011, Oregon hospitals and eligible health care providers became eligible for these new grants. Those health care providers eligible for the program can receive up to $63,750 over a period of six-years. There will be various factors that determine the value of the grants.

Oregon’s Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is administered by the Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Health Information Technology, and moving forward, is set to help with better care and lower costs on behalf of Oregonians.

The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is a part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which encourages states to make the switch to electronic health records. It’s not only intended to help hospitals and healthcare providers make the switch to secure EHR systems, but empower doctors and patients to work together to manage their private and up-to-date health records, increasing efficiency, and avoid redundant procedures.

Healthcare providers can apply now. There are a number of qualifying points, but if you are a provider with less than 90 percent of your services provided in a hospital, you may qualify for the program. For more information on the criteria for qualifying, go to the Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Program website.


Anesthesiologists and Pharmacists Should Team Up

19 Oct

In an effort to improve patient safety, anesthesiologists should partner up with pharmacists to better the outcomes in operating rooms and improve the hospital’s bottom line. At least that was the conclusion of some attendees at last summer’s meeting of the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists.

Michael Chappell, RPh, operations supervisor at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, said he was having a difficult time reconciling what anesthesiologists say they were using and what they were actually using. So, he and his colleagues got proactive with the anesthesiology and surgery departments at his medical center, creating a universal anesthesia kit that would cover 95 percent of their surgery patients. It included various dosages of fentanyl, hydromorphone, midazolam and morphine.

“We put everything in one place,” said Mr. Chappell, lead researcher (poster 3-M), noting that anesthesia providers, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians each had clear responsibilities. “The kits would come back to us from the provider along with the anesthesia record,” he added, “so pharmacists could look at them and see what they used, what they put on the record and then reconcile any waste.” Technicians would then validate and refill the kits’ contents.

After implementation, they found that tracking medications became much more accurate. In fact, the discrepancy rate dropped from 6.8 percent to 2.7 percent. The team linked most of the discrepancies to drug waste due to mislabeling of waste syringes or lack of documentation.


Anesthesiologists Call for Drug Shortage Investigation

05 Oct

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, its urging for a serious investigation into the drug shortage problem is paying off as the U.S. government is going to heed its call.
The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on September 23 referred to as “Examining the Increase in Drug Shortages.” Members of the Drug Shortage Summit Legislative and Regulatory Work Group were among those testifying before a Congressional panel. The group, which formed November of 2010, functions as a coalition to advance drug shortage solutions.

On September 26, the Food and Drug Administration held a workshop open to the public on drug shortages. ASA Vice President for Scientific Affairs, Arnold Berry, M.D. presented a report on the impact drug shortages are having on anesthesiologists and their patients.

In April, the ASA took a survey to keep anesthesiologists and the public abreast on what  is going on with drug shortages and how it’s impacting doctors and patients. Here are some of the highlights:

– 90.4 percent of respondents say they are currently experiencing a shortage of at least one anesthesia drug.

– 98.1 percent of respondents say they have had a shortage of at least one anesthesia drug in the last year.
– The anesthesia drugs with the highest frequency of reported current shortage are Neostigmine (56.9%), Thiopental (54.7%), Succinylcholine (47.6%), and Propofol (40.3%)

– The anesthesia drugs with the highest frequency of reported shortage over the last year are Propofol (89.3%), Succinylcholine (80.4%), and Thiopental (60.2%)

How has the shortage effected patients? According to the survey:

– 49.2 percent of patients did not experience an optimal outcome, which meant post-op nausea and vomiting.

– 49.1 percent of patients experienced longer OR or recovery times
Respondents said that drug shortages had the following impacts on their practice:

– 91.8 percent had to use alternative drugs
– 51.1 percent had to change the procedure in some way
– 6 percent had to postpone cases
– 4.1 percent had to cancel cases