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Practice Transformation

More needs to be done to optimize medications for older patients, say representatives from the Lown Institute and Kaiser Permanente. They describe a “medication checkup” that focuses on de-prescribing. It has been shown to improve quality of life, reduce inappropriate medication use and reduce the risk of medication-related falls. But it takes work. “Making sure that clinicians—especially pharmacist—can bill for their time discussing medications with patients is key. Improving the usability and accuracy of [EHRs] and making them interoperable across health systems would simplify the creation of a comprehensive medication list.” (HealthAffairs Blog)
U.S. biopharmaceutical companies averaged $1 billion for each new drug brought to market between 2009 and 2018, according to a new analysis published in JAMA last week. The analysis takes into account therapeutics that failed in clinical development. It aligns with several previously published estimates, but it contradicts a recent finding that put each drug’s cost at nearly $3 billion; that research used confidential data provided by drug makers. (Biopharma Dive; JAMA)

Evidence & Innovation

Thanks to machine learning, scientists have found a novel antibiotic that kills drug-resistant bacteria in mice. Now, artificial intelligence is giving scientists a reason to dramatically expand their search into databases of molecules that don’t resemble current antibiotics. The computer model, which can screen more than a hundred million chemical compounds in a matter of days, is designed to pick out potential antibiotics that kill bacteria using different mechanisms than those existing drugs use. Researchers believe the model could also be used to design new drugs. (MIT News; STAT News)
Lisa Woods, Walmart’s senior director, U.S. Strategy & Design of Benefits, helped build programs focused on payment reform, reducing waste and ensuring appropriateness of care for employees. In a recent interview she said the future of health care depends on access to quality, affordable care. “Walmart has made strides through programs like the Centers of Excellence and telehealth visits, she says, but “to really raise the bar across the industry, we need a shift in the way health care is delivered nationwide. We can’t do it alone.” (Thrive Global)

Policy Solutions

In a recent blog post, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) discussed its involvement in the Precision Medicine Initiative, a federal effort to spur research by rethinking access, aggregation, storage and analysis of many kinds of health-related data. Specifically, the ONC will support pilot projects and standards to improve health IT interoperability for research; adopt policies and standards to support privacy and security of participant data; and advance standards that support participants’ decisions to share their data with researchers. (Health IT Buzz)
Learn how your organization can best prepare for the coronavirus at a webinar sponsored by NonProfit WebAdvisor. It will take place March 18 at 1 p.m. EDT. Nonprofit attorney Zachary Kester will collect and synthesize the latest guidance from WHO, the CDC, OSHA and others. (details and registration)
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