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Monthly Archives: July 2016

KLAS: ICD-10 procrastination a lingering issue for providers

Despite an October 2013 deadline, now is the time for providers to begin ramping up preparations for the ICD-10 switch, a new report from healthcare research firm KLAS stresses. The report determines that less than 10 percent of providers have crossed the halfway point for the switch in terms of readiness, but a more alarming trend, according to report author Graham Triggs, is the lack of understanding by those providers about the financial repercussions involved.

“I think that, quite frankly, if a provider does nothing and is not prepared to cut over on Oct. 1, 2013, they will not be able to get a bill out the door and be reimbursed for it,” Triggs tells FierceHealthIT. “A lot of providers don’t really understand just how much this is going to cost. If you’re banking on [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] not pushing this out and you’re gambling, you’re playing with fire.”

Triggs says that KLAS isn’t trying to be alarmist with its report, but calls the consequences for further delay “devastating.” The report itself calls ICD-10 “much more than a one-time technology change,” emphasizing that multiple departments and systems will be affected in terms of workflow.

The main issue concerning providers, according to the report, is training, followed by physician/nurse readiness. According to Triggs, the best thing that hospital officials behind the 8-ball can do is to start by getting organized.

“They need to at least sit down now, if they haven’t already, and develop a multidisciplinary steering committee with a proper governance structure,” Triggs says. “Then, they should develop a roadmap and a budget, to address all of the issues that are going to show up in their periphery.”

Additionally, providers with the financial bandwidth would be wise to reach out to third-party firms–like Deloitte or PwC–for assistance with that initial push, Triggs says. According to the report, close to two-thirds of the 163 providers interviewed plan to call on such companies to help them fill in the gaps.

“I’m not out schilling for third-party consulting firms … but some providers don’t know what they need to do” or where they should begin in terms of creating a roadmap, Triggs says. “These third parties will be able to help them at least chart a course, which I think will be extremely successful in helping them achieve the milestones they need to complete before the deadline.”

Time, however, is of the essence, Triggs adds.

“I think that all of these resources are going to become scarce later on,” he says. “The longer you wait, the more likely it is you’ll be paying a premium down the road.”

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Lack of Sleep May Be Linked to Childhood Obesity

MONDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) — Infants and preschoolers who don’t get enough sleep at night are at increased risk for later childhood obesity, a new study suggests.

The researchers also found that daytime naps are not an adequate substitute for lost nighttime sleep in terms of preventing obesity.

At the follow-up, 33 percent of the younger children and 36 percent of the older children were overweight or obese. Among the younger children, lack of sufficient nighttime sleep at baseline was associated with increased risk for later overweight or obesity.

Among the older children, the amount of sleep at baseline was not associated with weight at follow-up. However, a lack of nighttime sleep at follow-up was associated with increased risk of a shift from normal weight to overweight and from overweight to obesity, the study found.

The findings “suggest that there is a critical window prior to age 5 years when nighttime sleep may be important for subsequent obesity status,” wrote Janice F. Bell of the University of Washington in Seattle, and Frederick J. Zimmerman of the University of California, Los Angeles.

“Sleep duration is a modifiable risk factor with potentially important implications for obesity prevention and treatment,” the authors concluded. “Insufficient nighttime sleep among infants and preschool-aged children appears to be a lasting risk factor for subsequent obesity, while contemporaneous sleep appears to be important to weight status in adolescents. Napping had no effects on the development of obesity and is not a substitute for sufficient nighttime sleep,” they added.

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Cancer-Fighting Benefits of Green Tea

Recent studies suggest green tea may kill cancer cells. With this information, its hoped the tea can slow and even destroy the growth of cancer. If found to be fully effective, this could lower cancer mortality rates.

Green tea is known for the many natural health benefits it produces when consumed regularly. Another natural benefit can now be added to the list: aiding in the treatment of cancer. Recent studies concluded green tea may kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. This amazing breakthrough could produce drastic and positive results for many cancer patients. Not only does green tea appear to fight cancer, but it may prevent cancer as well.

Recently, a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that the phytochemicals found in green tea kill cancerous cells without producing the dangerous side effects radiation and chemotherapy produce. The tea slows the growth of the cancer and appears to even destroy the cancerous cells. The green tea components destroy the cancerous cells by inhibiting the enzyme required for cancer growth, not only decreasing the growth but killing the cells in the process. Even while destroying the cancerous cells, the healthy cells remain unharmed. The green tea essentially starves the cancerous cells, eliminating the survival of the cancer. The study was prompted by the 1970s epidemiological study, which found regions of the world where green tea was consumed regularly had far fewer cancer cases than other regions of the world.

During the study, laboratory cell cultures were used; they contained the green tea components and leukemia cells. The green tea killed the leukemia cells by hindering the communication signals the cancer cells needed to survive. With these findings, patients with B-cell leukemia (CLL) were used to see if the same results were produced. During the study, the leukemia cells died in 8 out of the 10 patient samples used. This is an amazing discovery because there currently isn’t a cure for this form of leukemia, even with chemotherapy. This breakthrough could result in a slower progression of the cancer, and possibly even a lower mortality rate.

The study was led by Neil E. Kay, M.D., who states, “Were continuing to look for therapeutic agents that are nontoxic to the patient but kill cancer cells, and this finding with EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is an excellent start. Understanding this mechanism and getting these positive early results gives us a lot to work with in terms of offering patients with this disease more effective, easily tolerated therapies earlier.”

This new, nontoxic treatment offers a new ray of hope for patients with this form of leukemia. Patients with CLL often undergo a treatment that involves watching and waiting. Some patients live with the cancer for decades and never require treatment. However, for others the cancer can spread rapidly, and death can occur in only months. Even with chemotherapy, patients with CLL are never rid of the cancer and chemotherapy isn’t a safe treatment option for everyone, especially the elderly. This amazing breakthrough opens a new door of possibilities for patients with CLL.

Tait D. Shanafelt, M.D, a Mayo Clinic researcher, is encouraged by the results of the study, stating “Our research goal is to identify new treatments for CLL that have a favorable side effect profile and can be used in patients with early stage disease to prevent progression. I think were getting there.”

With the knowledge that green tea may kill cancer cells, there’s now the issue of marketing the green tea as cancer treatment option should it be found to be an effective treatment. It’s believed pharmaceutical companies will try to recreate the components found in the tea to market a new drug. Although this doesn’t sound like a bad idea, should the pharmaceutical companies try to take over the treatment option, it’s likely to be more difficult for patients to acquire. In reality, all cancer patients would need to do is pick up a cup of the tea regularly. Green tea has been a natural part of Western medicine for decades due to the health benefits it produces. Waiting on the marketing of the components in the tea could halt how quickly the treatment option is released to the general public.

Until there’s conclusive proof green tea actually kills cancer, there’s no harm in drinking the tea right now. Green tea produces a wide range of benefits, including cancer prevention. Drinking the tea won’t harm you, but will give your body a health boost in other ways even if it isn’t fighting the cancer. In the meantime, further studies are being conducted to try to develop an actual cancer drug from the tea extract.

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Working Night Shifts May Raise Diabetes Risk for Women

MONDAY, June 27 Women who often work at night may face higher odds of developing type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

The study, which focused only on women, found that the effect got stronger as the number of years spent in shift work rose, and remained even after researchers accounted for obesity.

“Our results suggest that women have a modestly increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus after extended period of shift work, and this association appears to be largely mediated through BMI [weight],” concluded a team led by An Pan, a researcher in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

His team was slated to present its findings Sunday in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association.

Prior studies have suggested that working nights disrupts circadian (day/night) rhythms, and such work has long been associated with obesity, the cluster of cardiovascular risk factors known as the “metabolic syndrome,” and dysregulation of blood sugar.

In the new study, researchers looked at data on more than 69,000 U.S. women tracked from 1988 to 2008 as part of the Nurses Health Study. Almost 6,200 women developed type 2 diabetes over the course of the study.

Beginning at their entry into the study, women were asked how long they had worked rotating night shifts (including at least three nights of work per month).

The researchers found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes rose with increasing duration of shift work. After adjusting for obesity, women who’d worked night shifts regularly for three to nine years faced a 6 percent rise in risk, while women who had done so for 10 to 19 years saw their risk rise by 9 percent, and those who had worked such shifts for 20 years or more faced a 20 percent increase in risk.

Weight gain accounted for some, but not all, of the night shift-linked rise in diabetes risk, the team noted.

Experts note that research presented at meetings is typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Alternative Treatment Options for Bone Cancer

Standard treatments for bone cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Alternative bone cancer treatment includes nutrition therapy, pain management, mind-body therapies, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture and spiritual support. Often people use both approaches.

There are three types of bone cancer: Osteosarcoma begins in the osteoid bone tissue; Chondrosarcoma originates in cartilage tissue; and the Ewing Sarcoma family of tumors occurs in bone or soft tissues. Pain is a notable symptom of bone cancer, though not all bone cancers cause symptoms. A number of people may follow traditional treatment for bone cancer and partake of alternative medicine to alleviate symptoms. Check with your physician before trying any alternative treatment. Some can interfere with conventional treatments success and should be avoided.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, or CTCA, hospitals offering both conventional and alternative bone cancer treatment, the belief is that nutrition is an integral part of treatment. Because standard treatments for bone cancer may deplete the body of essential nutrients, these must be replaced. Both appetite and digestion can also be negatively affected by medical treatments. To develop an individualized plan, CTCA assesses your nutritional needs by using blood tests, medical history, diet profile and nutrition anthropometrics. They encourage healthy eating in the form of poultry, fish, legumes, low-fat yogurt, fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals. In the way of supplements, the following plus others could be recommended: beta carotene, selenium, vitamin C and EPA. Dietitians and reading materials on nutrition are also available to you during treatment.

The Yin Yang House Acupuncture and Wellness Center is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and offers a number of complementary medicine practices, including herbal help and acupuncture. An herbal formula listed for help with bone cancer is Kang Zhong Pian, also called TumoclearTM.

Tong Ren (TR) therapy is an untested energy therapy developed by Master Tom Tam, well-known acupuncturist and healer in the Boston area. Because there have been so many positive testimonials from cancer patients as well as other conditions receiving this therapy, a pilot investigation of the Tong Ren method is now underway by professor Amy Sullivan, EdD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in conjunction with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Approximately 300 people will take part in the study.

The Yin Yang House website reports on a small pilot study done with advanced cancer patients and acupuncture. Reported in the June, 2010 issue of “Integrative Cancer Therapies,” the 32 people participating in the pilot showed improvement in anxiety, fatigue, pain, depression, life satisfaction and mood states after receiving eight weeks of acupuncture. These results held up at 12 weeks. Conclusions were that an eight-week program in acupuncture was feasible for advanced cancer patients and more clinical trials were recommended.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America acknowledge that cancer treatment can cause physical and emotional issues that need to be managed. Mind-body medicine is based on the field of psychoneuroimmunology, a relatively new field that connects thought and feelings, the brain and the immune system. Types of mind-body assistance offered at CTCA include individual, couples and family counseling; stress management, guided imagery and relaxation training, individual and family support groups, laughter/humor therapy and energy therapies.

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Proper Training for Marathon Run Takes Time, Experts Say

Attempting a marathon is a challenge that can bring a great feeling of accomplishment but runners need to be careful to avoid training injuries and other health problems, experts advise.

Common types of injuries in marathon runners include shin splints, muscle strains, stress fractures, patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain in and around the knee) and iliotibial band syndrome (pain on the outside of the knee and hip).

“These injuries often result from overtraining or increasing mileage too quickly. That is why it is important to build up mileage slowly and take rest days,” Dr. Haemi Choi, a sports medicine specialist at Loyola University Health System, said in a university news release.

Other health issues can arise if athletes burn more calories than they consume.

“Energy requirements increase as the amount of distance you run increases, so proper nutrition during marathon training season and the race is essential. Consuming small, balanced meals every three to four hours ensures energy levels support training needs,” Dr. Jim Winger, another sports medicine specialist at Loyola, said in the news release.

In general, a marathon training diet should consist of 65 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent protein and 10 percent fat, but this will vary depending on a person’s energy requirements. He or she should eat 30 to 45 calories per kilogram of weight daily and adjust this amount based on exertion levels, the experts advise.

“Endurance athletes should consume a small snack or meal at least one to two hours prior to exercising, consisting of carbohydrates with a low to moderate glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods such as bananas and apples are preferable, because they enter the bloodstream slowly and provide sustained energy for longer periods of time,” Choi said.

Other important considerations for marathoners include proper hydration, clothes that wick away sweat from the skin, adequate sleep, and stretching after running.

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