September 13, 2017

Today’s Top Story
Study: Some physicians spend more than one-half of their workday on EHR tasks.
Data from a study published online in the journal Annals of Family Medicine suggest that clinicians may spend 5.9 hours a day interacting with electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems. The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of 142 family practitioners in a single system in Wisconsin and found that they spent an average of 4.5 hours during clinic hours and 1.4 hours after clinic hours working with the EHR each day. They also found that clerical and administrative tasks accounted for 44.2 percent of total EHR time, while inbox management accounted for 23.7 percent.
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Read the complete study…

Other News
Study: Concentrated insurance markets may affect provider reimbursement.
According to a study published in the September issue of Health Affairs, concentrated insurance markets may have a negative effect on physician reimbursement. Members of the research team reviewed data on hospital admissions and visits across five physician specialties to assess how provider and insurer market concentration correlated with prices. They found that in insurance markets considered to be moderately concentrated, based on U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Federal Trade Commission definitions, insurers had the bargaining power to reduce provider prices in highly concentrated provider markets. Compared to less concentrated insurance markets, the researchers found that hospital admission prices were 5 percent lower. Within the physician specialties, cardiologist prices were 4 percent lower, radiologist prices were 7 percent lower, and hematologist/oncologist prices were 19 percent lower. However, the research team did not find evidence that high insurer concentration reduced visit prices for orthopaedists or primary care physicians.
Read the abstract…

Study: What complications are associated with ankle arthrodesis and ankle arthroplasty?
A study published in the Sept. 6 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery compares rates of in-hospital complications among patients who undergo either ankle arthrodesis or total ankle arthroplasty (TAA). The researchers conducted a matched cohort study of 3,148 patients. They found that a major, in-hospital complication occurred in 8.5 percent (n = 134) of patients in the ankle arthrodesis group and 5.3 percent (n = 84) of patients in the TAA group, while minor complications were more likely in the TAA group than in the ankle arthrodesis group. After adjustment for case mix, they found that major complication was 1.8 times more likely and minor complication was 29 percent less likely in the ankle arthrodesis cohort compared to the TAA cohort.
Read the abstract…

Senators urge presidential action on opioids.
The Hill reports that a group of Democratic members of the U.S. Senate has sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to take action to combat the opioid epidemic. In August, the White House issued a statement, based on recommendations from a presidential commission, affirming that the administration would “use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.” The senators request the president to “take action immediately to expand treatment capacity, increase prevention efforts (including prescriber education initiatives), improve data sharing, and support detection and interdiction efforts” to address the supply side of the epidemic.
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Read the White House statement…
Read the letter (PDF)…

Provider groups cite concerns with CMS efforts to include reviews on Medicare Physician Compare website.
An article from Bloomberg BNA looks at efforts by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to add beneficiary reviews of healthcare providers to the Medicare Physician Compare website. The writer states that some physicians groups have opposed the proposal, noting that such reviews could unfairly damage the reputations of some medical practices and arguing that it may be premature to initiate such an effort on a national scale without more testing and explicit information on how the data would be used. In addition, the Medical Group Management Association has noted that such reviews could be used to adjust physician payment under the CMS Merit-based Incentive Payment System. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is developing a series of narrative questions to assist patients with reviews and plans to conduct field testing. CMS states that it will review results of the field testing before proposing changes to Medicare physician quality rules.
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North Carolina.
According to The Charlotte Observer, three female physicians have filed suit against a North Carolina-based healthcare system, alleging that the system has a “pattern and practice of paying female physicians less than similarly situated or even less qualified, male physicians.” A 2017 survey of primary care providers found that male physicians are often paid more than female physicians with similar qualifications.
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Last call: Resident Bowl Question Workgroup.
Sept. 15 is the last day to submit your application for a position on the AAOS Resident Bowl Question Workgroup (15 member openings). The Resident Bowl is an opportunity for residents to compete against one another in a quiz-bowl setting during the AAOS Annual Meeting. Applicants for this position must be active members, emeritus fellows, or candidate members with an interest in residents and resident issues as well as a facility for writing interesting and varied questions.
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)

 

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