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March 2014 Briefing - Otolaryngology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Otolaryngology for March 2014. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

NCHS Estimates Health Insurance Coverage for 2013

THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In the first nine months of 2013, 6.7 percent of children and 20.5 percent of adults were uninsured, according to a study published online March 27 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

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1 in 25 Inpatients Has Health Care-Associated Infection Daily

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There were an estimated 648,000 patients with 721,800 health care-associated infections in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2011, according to research published in the March 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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White House Extends Affordable Care Act Enrollment Deadline

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Americans who've started applying for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act but can't complete the process by the March 31 enrollment deadline will be given an extension.

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Americans Seem Unprepared for Health Insurance Exchanges

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals in the United States seem not to be sufficiently informed about the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study published online March 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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AMA Introduces Medical Education Initiative

WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association's (AMA) Accelerating Change in Education initiative is being introduced in 11 medical schools in an effort to shift the focus of education toward real-world practice and competency assessment, according to an AMA report.

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Patient Request Impacts Doc Prescribing Behavior

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients requesting specific medications are more likely to be prescribed those medications, according to research published in the April issue of Medical Care.

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Oropharyngeal Cancer Symptoms May Differ Based on HPV-Status

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Initial symptom presentation seems to differ for human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive versus HPV-negative patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), according to a study published online March 20 in JAMA Otololaryngology.

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Human Nose Can Distinguish One Trillion Odor Combos

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Humans can discriminate an estimated one trillion olfactory stimuli, according to a study published in the March 21 issue of Science.

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Practices Can Take Steps to Improve Care Transitions

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Implementation of a rigorous process can improve transitions of care, according to an article published March 10 in Medical Economics.

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Phenylephrine + Acetaminophen Ups Plasma Phenylephrine

FRIDAY, March 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The combination of phenylephrine and acetaminophen results in a pharmacokinetic interaction triggering increased plasma phenylephrine levels, according to a letter to the editor published in the March 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Electrolarynx Allows Speech in Orally Intubated Patients

THURSDAY, March 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An electrolarynx can be used successfully in orally intubated patients receiving mechanical ventilation, according to a letter to the editor published in the March 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA: Implanted Hearing Device Approved

THURSDAY, March 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The first implantable device for adults with a severe or profound form of a condition called "sensorineural hearing loss" has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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Insurers Must Offer Same-Sex Couples Spousal Benefits

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Health plans that offer benefits for heterosexual couples must do the same for same-sex married couples, the Obama administration says.

Other Health Highlights: March 17, 2014

Rx Expenditures Expected to Rise in 2014

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Drug costs are projected to rise 3 to 5 percent across all care settings in 2014, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

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Chronic Hyperglycemia Tied to Worse Surgical Outcomes

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic hyperglycemia (A1C >8 percent) is associated with poor surgical outcomes, as measured by an increased hospital length of stay (LOS), according to a study published in the March issue of Diabetes Care.

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Improving EHR Interoperability Is a National Priority: HHS

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems is a national priority of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to an article published March 4 in Medical Economics.

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AMA: CMS Wants Physician Input on Practice Transformation

WEDNESDAY, March 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians are being given the opportunity to describe what resources they need in order to transition to value-based models of care, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

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White House: More Than Four Million Have Signed Up for ACA

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- More than four million Americans have signed up for health coverage through state and federal insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.

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Medicare Drug Plan Changes Withdrawn by White House

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Proposed changes to the Medicare prescription drug program have been withdrawn by the Obama administration after strong opposition from patient groups.

Other Health Highlights: March 11, 2014

Discrepancies ID'd in Studies on ClinicalTrials.gov, Journals

TUESDAY, March 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly all clinical trials reported on ClinicalTrials.gov and published in high-impact journals report at least one discrepancy in cohort, intervention, or results, according to a research letter published in the March 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Hearing Impairment in Adults Linked to Depression

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing impairment (HI) is associated with depression, especially for older women, according to a study published online March 6 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

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Keeping Salaries Secret Harms Worker Performance

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Keeping salaries secret hurts worker performance and increases turnover of top talent, according to a study published online Jan. 13 in the Academy of Management Journal.

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Consultant Offers Tips for Evaluating Staff Pay

MONDAY, March 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Setting salaries and dealing with raises for a practice's staff can be tricky, according to an article published Feb. 24 in Medical Economics.

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Outpatient Abx Culprit in Most Childhood C. Difficile Cases

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Antibiotics prescribed in doctors' offices are linked with a majority of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection cases in children, according to a new study published online March 3 in the Pediatrics.

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CDC Press Release

AMA Grants Curriculum Efforts to Address Health Disparities

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Medical schools are beginning to change their curriculum to address ways to eliminate health disparities, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

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Gender Gap Exists in Domestic Duties of Working Physicians

FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Gender differences exist in domestic activities among career-oriented academic physicians with children, according to a study published online March 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Relative Value Units Useful In Evaluating Practice Finances

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Relative Value Unit (RVU) is a useful tool for managing practice finances, according to an article published Feb. 25 in Medical Economics.

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Drop in Compensation Gap for Primary Care Docs, Specialists

THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- From 2012 to 2013, there was a 5.7 percent increase in the median total cash compensation for primary care physicians, with a smaller gap seen for medical and surgical specialists, according to the results of a recent survey from SullivanCotter.

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Value-Based Insurance Plans Can Up Rx Adherence

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Value-based insurance design (VBID) plans with certain features aside from solely lowering cost sharing can increase medication adherence, according to a study published in the March issue of Health Affairs.

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WHO Program Improves U.S. Medical Facility Hand Hygiene

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For U.S. health care facilities, participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) global campaign to improve hand hygiene practices is associated with improved hand hygiene, according to a study published in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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Gap in Regulatory Coverage Affects 5 to 16 Percent of Trials

WEDNESDAY, March 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Human subjects protections (HSP) policies do not provide regulatory coverage for all clinical trials, while up to about a quarter of trials are considered overlap trials, according to a research letter published in the March 5 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Sleep Machines May Exceed Safe Noise Levels for Infants

TUESDAY, March 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Infant sleep machines (ISMs) have maximum sound levels that may damage infant hearing and auditory development, according to research published online March 3 in Pediatrics.

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Women-Specific Research Is Still Inadequate

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Women are still underrepresented in medical science and research, and sex differences are often ignored, according to a report published March 3 by the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

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CMS: No More Delays to ICD-10 Implementation Deadline

MONDAY, March 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- There will be no more delays to the Oct. 1, 2014, deadline for implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), according to an article published Feb. 27 in Medical Economics.

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