Practice Management

A study published in the February issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found cancer patients who are dually diagnosed with heart disease face a disproportionately high financial burden—something that might improve with a more streamlined and collaborative approach to cardio-oncology.

By modifying the appropriate use criteria (AUC) for transthoracic echocardiograms (TTEs) and educating physicians on which tests should be performed in an inpatient versus outpatient setting, researchers at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut reduced their inpatient echo order volume by 11.1 percent and boosted the efficiency of their department.

A simple educational initiative designed to show cardiac surgeons how often they used blood transfusions—and how much they cost—helped one heart center significantly cut its rate of blood utilization and save a projected $500,000 each year.

A Smyrna, Tennessee, cardiologist who was indicted on six charges of sexual battery against a patient early this year was found to still be practicing medicine more than a month later, according to local outlet the Daily News Journal.

Though many physicians are reluctant to change the status quo, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine Feb. 4 suggests automated office blood pressure measurement (AOBP) is the way to go when recording a patient’s BP, since the approach bypasses the so-called “white coat effect” triggered by more traditional methods.

A review of American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association guidelines from 2008 and 2018 found that, despite an overall increase in the number of clinical guidelines issued over the past decade, the majority of new recommendations are highly variable and based on low-quality evidence.

“Rather than bringing in many additional statin candidates, this testing should serve as a decision aid to ‘de-risk’ certain patients and distinguish those who may benefit from preventive pharmacologic therapies," Johns Hopkins researchers wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Increasing physicians’ bonus sizes was linked to significantly improved quality of care for their patients, according to a study from a single health system published Feb. 8 in JAMA Network Open. However, adding the behavioral economic principles of social pressure and loss aversion failed to further improve providers’ effectiveness.

Nearly a quarter of adults living with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) are prescribed at least one pharmaceutical that could exacerbate their condition, according to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology Feb. 10.

An internal review by Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital uncovered 13 cases in which heart surgery patients were harmed by medical care from 2015 to 2018 but that went unreported until recently. Florida law requires such incidents to be reported within 15 days, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Hospitals participating in the second phase of a quality improvement program through the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association reduced their median door-to-needle times for acute ischemic stroke patients from 66 minutes to 51 minutes. And the program is now setting its goals even higher. 

Nearly a quarter of physicians who develop, draft and author clinical guidelines could have potentially relevant undisclosed ties to pharmaceutical companies, a team of Australian researchers reported Feb. 5 in BMJ Open.