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January 2013 Briefing - Rheumatology

Last Updated: February 01, 2013.

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Rheumatology for January 2013. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

PhysioDirect Equal to Usual Care for Musculoskeletal Issues

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with musculoskeletal problems, PhysioDirect, a service which invites patients to telephone a physical therapist for initial assessment and advice, followed by face-to-face physical therapy if necessary, is similarly effective to usual care, but is associated with slightly lower patient satisfaction, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in BMJ.

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Physicians Commonly Report Unsafe Hospital Workloads

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians say they often face unsafe hospital workloads, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Brain Scans Show Doctors Empathize With Patients

TUESDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians who empathize with a patient in pain and feel relief when the patient receives effective treatment show activity in brain regions associated with pain relief and reward, according to a study published online Jan. 29 in Molecular Psychiatry.

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FDA Panel Votes for Tougher Restrictions on Hydrocodone

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel met Thursday and Friday to discuss the fate of certain painkillers that contain the opioid known as hydrocodone, concluding in a vote in favor of moving hydrocodone combination products into the more restrictive Schedule II category of controlled substances.

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Tofacitinib Slows Joint Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis

FRIDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Tofacitinib slows the progression of joint damage and improves disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published online Jan. 24 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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ACPE Survey Finds Skepticism Relating to Online Doc Ratings

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians are skeptical of online ratings, and believe that few patients use them, according to a survey published by the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE).

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Physician Education Ups Communication for New Meds

THURSDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- A physician-targeted education session improves physician communication about newly-prescribed medications, according to a study published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Large Teaching Hospitals Face More Readmission Penalties

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Large hospitals, teaching hospitals, and safety-net hospitals (SNHs) are more likely than other hospitals to be penalized under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), according to a research letter published in the Jan. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Care Transition Initiative Decreases Rehospitalizations

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Communities instituting quality improvement initiatives for care transitions see significant declines in the rate of 30-day rehospitalizations and hospitalizations, according to a study published in the Jan. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Poor Arthritis Outcome Risk Up in Overweight Black Women

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight African-American women with or at risk of knee osteoarthritis are at higher risk than overweight white women of poor functional outcomes, according to a study published in the January issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Canadian Pediatric Lupus Severity Varies With Ethnicity

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- While Canadian children with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) differ in disease characteristics and severity by ethnicity, treatment, disease activity, and irreversible organ damage are similar across ethnic groups, according to a study published in the January issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Simple Intervention Ups Pneumococcal Vaccination Rate

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Use of a simple point-of-care paper reminder form is associated with an increase in the percentage of immunosuppressed rheumatology patients who remain up-to-date with their pneumococcal vaccinations, according to research published in the January issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

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Efforts Failed to Up Primary Care, Rural Resident Training

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The 2005 redistribution of graduate medical education (GME) funds did little to train more residents in primary care and in rural areas, according to a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

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Even Brief Interruptions Dramatically Increase Errors

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Even momentary interruptions of two to four seconds can significantly affect a person's ability to accurately complete a task requiring considerable thought, according to research published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

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Family Docs Are Early Adopters of Electronic Health Records

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Family practice physicians are adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems at a fast pace, with 68 percent using an EHR system by 2011, and 80 percent expected to be users by 2013, according to research published in the January/February issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Most Newly Approved Biologics Studied in Peds Population

TUESDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of biologics approved since 1997 include pediatric information in their labeling and have been studied in pediatric trials, according to a review published online Jan. 14 in Pediatrics.

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Certain Online Behaviors of Docs Warrant Investigation

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- There is high consensus among state medical boards regarding the likelihood of probable investigations for certain online behaviors, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Top Five Issues for Docs and Patients Identified for 2013

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The top five issues that will impact physicians and patients in 2013 have been identified, according to a report published Dec. 10 by The Physicians Foundation.

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National U.S. Health Care Spending Relatively Stable

FRIDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The growth in national U.S. health care spending was relatively stable in 2011, but growth in personal health care spending accelerated, according to a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

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SPIRIT 2013 Clinical Trial Protocol Guidelines Issued

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A panel of experts, including trial investigators, trial coordinators, and representatives from ethics and regulatory agencies, has developed the Standard Protocol Items: Recommendations for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) 2013 guidelines for the minimum content of a clinical trial, according to a statement published online Jan. 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Health Care Use Dropped Among All During Recession

TUESDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Health care use declined significantly among all races and ethnicities during the recession from 2007 to 2009, with the only ethnic disparity being fewer physician visits by Hispanics compared with whites, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Web-Based QoL Tool Beneficial in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Children with arthritis who use a Web-based application to monitor health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have more discussions with their rheumatologist about psychosocial issues, and their physicians are more satisfied with the care provided during consultations, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in Pediatrics.

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Cervical Spine Instabilities Frequently Develop in RA

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of all patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) initially without any cervical spine instabilities will develop some type of instability within about five years, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of Spine.

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Shared Savings May Promote Care Coordination Entity Use

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Use of shared savings could encourage individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid to enroll in state-designed care coordination entities (CCEs), according to a perspective piece published online Jan. 2 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Fracture Risk Down With Adherence to Bisphosphonates

THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with an osteoporotic fracture, adherence to bisphosphonate treatment is associated with reduced fracture risk; and for veterans with rheumatoid arthritis, non-adherence to bisphosphonate treatment is over 50 percent, according to two studies published in the December issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

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Association Between Health Care Cost, Quality Inconsistent

THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The direction of the association between health care cost and quality is unclear, with inconsistent evidence indicating positive, negative, mixed, and indeterminate associations, according to a review published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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House Joins Senate to Avert Medicare Cuts

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The House of Representatives settled on an 11th-hour agreement late Tuesday night that has averted the widespread tax increases and spending cuts that would have gone into effect January 1. This agreement occurred 21 hours after the U.S. Senate did its part to steer the country clear of the "fiscal cliff."

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Fibromyalgia May Be Underdiagnosed, More So in Men

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Fibromyalgia may be underdiagnosed in the general population, particularly in men, according to research published online Nov. 30 in Arthritis Care & Research.

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