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Practice Transformation

Physicians want to know what works and what doesn’t, but it’s not easy to get to the data to inform true precision medicine. A patient with both heart failure and lupus, for example, may need different treatment than a patient with just one of those conditions, but there aren’t clinical studies for treating the combination. Artificial intelligence is beginning to sort through reams of data in electronic health records to find tailored solutions, but it’s “shockingly hard to achieve,” says one physician in the field. The ideal—an AI-assisted custom study to match a patient profile with a custom treatment—may be a decade away. (Healthcare Finance)
Perhaps the best way to prevent opioid overuse is to give patients pain relief alternatives during a hospital stay. New research shows patients given an opioid prescription as an inpatient were twice as likely to continue using opioids after discharge three months out, compared to those who were given a different inpatient analgesic such as ibuprofen. The data comes from a study of patients at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who had not used opioids 12 months prior to their hospitalization. (MedPage Today)

Evidence & Innovation

Researchers have successfully injected cancer tumors with immune system stimulants that “teach” the patient’s own system to destroy cancer cells. It’s a method that essentially turns the tumor into the patient’s own cancer vaccine factory, the study’s lead author says. The tests were on patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which doesn’t respond to traditional immunotherapy. What’s more, the approach is simple, cost-effective and has minimal side effects. (MedPage Today)
The genetic information from half a million Intermountain Healthcare patients is undergoing analysis by deCODE, a subsidiary of Amgen, to improve precision medicine. The massive study is expected to produce new treatments and medication tailored to an individual patient. (Healthcare IT News)

Policy Solutions

In last week’s Senate hearings about surprise medical billing, witnesses say it will take better access and flow of information for consumers and providers to make informed decisions based on both cost and quality of care. The legislation, expected to come to a committee vote this week, bans “gag” clauses that prevent providers, health plan members and payers from seeing provider cost and quality data. (HealthDataManagement)
There are only about 2 claims of injury for every million doses of a childhood vaccines or flu shot in the U.S., and about 70% of claims that are paid are without evidence that the vaccine was at fault, according to analysis of data from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. In the past 20 years, vaccines have prevented more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children. The data overwhelmingly supports the safety and efficacy of vaccines. (The New York Times)
What will it take to expand the use of comprehensive medication management? This issue brief from Health2 Resources explores the need for education and training for all members of the team to achieve true integration of CMM—and the clinical pharmacist—into the care team. Featuring the voices of Terry McInnis, MD, MPH, president and co-founder, Get the Medications Right Institute and Foundation; president, founder, Blue Thorn Inc.; and Jan Hirsch, BS Pharm, Ph.D., director and founding dean, Pharmaceutical Sciences University of California, Irvine. (read the issue brief)
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