Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is hosting a free webinar on Using Health Information Technology for Chronic Disease Management.  Webinar is set for Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at 11:30 am EST. During the 90-minute conference, participants can watch and listen as presenters share their experiences, lessons learned, and insights into the potential of...
A study funded by AHRQ and published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Transmitting and processing electronic prescriptions: Experiences of physician practices and pharmacies, identifies both the benefits and challenges with electronic prescribing (eRx) practices. Authors believe that, as more physicians convert to electronic health record...
Electronic prescribing in the U.S. is becoming mainstream, with e-prescribing use by physicians quadrupling since 2008.  Medication adherence is increasing as a result of increased use of eRx. The National Progress Report on E-Prescribing and Interoperable Healthcare Year 2011, a report by Surescripts, provides interesting information on e-prescription use, adoption, and impact on...
Health care quality and patient safety have become increasingly important in recent years, particularly as part of efforts to prevent wasteful spending, hospital readmissions, and medical errors. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), health information technology (HIT), electronic health records (EHR), and new health plan reporting requirements are among the many...
Generic drugs have operated under a different set of rules than brand-name drugs since 1984, when Congress passed the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or Hatch-Waxman Act. Brand-name drug manufacturers must submit extensive evidence from clinical trials to get approval from the Food and...
The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent months have delivered grim statistics on military and veteran suicides. In a report earlier this year, the VA announced veterans committed suicide at a rate of 22 per day in 2010. Active-duty military suicides reached...
Poor quality of care and preventable medical errors are a major cause of high costs and patient suffering.  The opportunities for improvement are considerable. In addition, as states and health plans gear up for Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX), they will count quality and patient safety among their key considerations.  For...
Compounded drugs are a new hot issue in the pharmaceuticals industry and in Congress. There are little data about compounding pharmacies, but a new Congressional Research Service brief gives a comprehensive overview. Compounded Drugs Personalize Drug Treatments: Compounded drugs are created when a physician or pharmacist mixes or changes pharmaceuticals to...
Overuse and abuse of opioid drugs, particularly prescription pain killers, is a serious, costly problem, with a host of challenges for purchasers, payors, patients, physicians, pharmacists, regulators, public health, and drug manufacturers.  For 20 years, overuse of opioid drugs has steadily increased, as have inpatient hospitalizations for opioid overdoses.  Together, Medicaid and...
The practice of medicine in the age of generic pharmaceuticals is built upon the premise that these chemically identical medications have the same therapeutic effect as the brand-name ones. But do they? Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine by Jeremy A. Greene, MD, PhD, of John Hopkins University is...

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