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February 2014 Briefing - Allergy

Last Updated: March 03, 2014.

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Allergy for February 2014. 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.

Going Live With EHR Leads to Frustrations, Productivity Hit

FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system takes excessive physician and staff time and disrupts practice, according to survey results published Feb. 24 in Medical Economics.

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Hospital Size, Market Share Affect Inpatient Care Prices

FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Size and market share are the greatest differentiators between hospitals receiving low prices and high prices for inpatient care, according to a study published in the February issue of Health Affairs.

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Stethoscopes Contaminated After Single Physical Exam

FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Stethoscopes get contaminated after a single physical exam, with the contamination greater than that seen on most of the physician's dominant hand, barring the fingertips, according to a study published online Feb. 27 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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Doctors Pleased With Congress' Medicare Payment Agreement

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physician groups are expressing optimism over the Congressional agreement to revamp the Medicare physician payment system, according to an article published Feb. 26 in Medical Economics.

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More Than Seven Million Patient Record Breaches in 2013

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The number of patient records breached increased more than 137 percent and affected over seven million records in 2013, according to an annual report published by Redspin.

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Review: Antibiotics Don't Avert Otitis, Pneumonia in Children

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- For young children with undifferentiated acute respiratory infections (ARIs), current evidence does not support the use of antibiotics to prevent ear infections or pneumonia, according to a review published online Feb. 18 in The Cochrane Library.

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Adjuvant High-Dose Vitamin D3 Beneficial in Urticaria

TUESDAY, Feb. 25, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Adjuvant high-dose vitamin D3 is beneficial for patients with chronic urticaria, according to a study published online Feb. 7 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

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Quality Measures Data Added to Physician Compare Website

MONDAY, Feb. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Data for quality measures have been added to Physician Compare, the website that helps consumers search for information about physicians, according to a report published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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FDA to Step Up Oversight of Indian Drug Makers

MONDAY, Feb. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is to increase monitoring of drugs from pharmaceutical companies in India, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., said during a Friday afternoon news conference.

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Unfilled Hospital Openings for Doctors Growing, Survey Finds

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The need for hospital physicians is growing, according to an article published Jan. 3 in Medical Economics.

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Prenatal Vitamin A Deficiency May Contribute to Asthma

THURSDAY, Feb. 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Early fetal retinoic acid (RA) deficiency is associated with altered airway smooth muscle phenotype, with RA restricting airway smooth muscle differentiation, according to an experimental study published in the Feb. 3 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Before Implementation, Full EHR Cost Needs Consideration

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- From the outset of electronic health record implementation, hospitals and governments need to understand the major cost categories involved and identify the factors that may impact these costs, according to research published online Feb. 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

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'Talking' Medical Devices, Apps Continue to Evolve

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 19, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- "Talking" medical devices and apps, among other techy health-focused inventions, can help people manage everyday wellness routines, such as taking pills and checking blood sugar levels, as well as dire medical circumstances, say experts.

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Online Ratings Do Affect Patient Choice of Physician

TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of the general U.S. population is aware of online physician rating sites, according to a research letter published in the Feb. 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Physicians More Likely to Be Burned Out Than Non-Doc Peers

TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Trainees and early-career physicians are more likely to be burned out than control population samples, according to research published online Jan. 20 in Academic Medicine.

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Direct-to-Consumer Genomic Testing Concerns Explored

TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Various concerns relate to direct-to-consumer genomic testing, according to an ideas and opinions piece published online Feb. 10 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Non-Traditional Office Hours Can Reap Big Financial Benefits

MONDAY, Feb. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians can reap significant financial benefits by extending their office hours to include non-traditional hours, according to an article published Jan. 8 in Medical Economics.

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AAFP: Telemedicine Can Help With Increased Demand for Docs

MONDAY, Feb. 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Telemedicine offers a potential solution to the increased demand for physician-patient interaction, according to a report from a recent forum. The forum was hosted by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, and the results of the discussion were published by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

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ICD-10 Implementation Likely to Be Financial Disaster

THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The American Medical Association (AMA) is continuing its efforts to stop implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), citing the huge financial burden for physicians.

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CMS Extends 2013 Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline

THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have extended another deadline for the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) Incentive Program, according to an article published Feb. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Congress Agrees on Legislation to Replace SGR Formula

THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Congress has agreed on legislation to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which will guarantee Medicare providers annual 0.5 percent reimbursement increases as new payment models are introduced, according to an article published Feb. 11 in Medical Economics.

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Affordable Care Act Enrollment Nears 3.3 Million

THURSDAY, Feb. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- 3.3 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the state and federal marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration announced Wednesday.

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Mid-Sized Companies Get Extra Year to Comply With ACA

TUESDAY, Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Medium-sized companies will have another year before they have to provide employees with health insurance or face tax penalties, the Obama administration announced Monday.

Other Health Highlights: Feb. 10, 2014

Guidelines Issued for Managing Hospital Medicine Groups

TUESDAY, Feb. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new assessment guide comprising 10 principles has been developed for effective management of hospital medicine groups (HMGs), according to research published in the February issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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New Rule Allows Patients to Access Laboratory Test Results

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In a final rule relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a patient or their personal representative can access their completed test reports directly from the laboratory, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

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Residents Concerned About Lack of Time With Patients

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. medical residents are concerned about reduced face-time with patients and report that engaging patients in their own care is more challenging than anticipated, according to a report from the American Resident Project, sponsored by ThinkWellPoint.

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Commercial-Size Packages of Uncle Ben's Rice Recalled

MONDAY, Feb. 10, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Recent illness outbreaks at schools in three states have prompted the recall of 5- and 25-pound bags of Uncle Ben's Infused Rice products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Monday.

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Physicians Need to Be Prepared to Talk Antibiotics

THURSDAY, Feb. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patient pressure to receive antibiotic prescriptions remains a challenge for providers who are trying to combat antibiotic resistance by curbing prescriptions for viral infections, according to an article published Jan. 8 in Medical Economics.

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CLER Pathways to Excellence Document Issued

THURSDAY, Feb. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) Pathways to Excellence document has been released for graduate medical education as a foundation for preparing the physician workforce in patient safety and quality improvement, according to a report from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

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ICD-10 Transition May Impact Practice Cash Flow

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians and health plans remain unprepared for the disruption that implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) will bring to their cash flow, according to an article published Jan. 14 in Medical Economics.

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Choosing Wisely Tips Should Prompt Doc-Patient Discussion

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The Choosing Wisely recommendations can form a starting point for discussing cost and appropriate use of testing with patients, according to an article from the American Medical Association (AMA).

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FDA: There's Still Time for Patients to Get a Flu Shot

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- It's still not too late to get a flu shot, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Children and seniors tend to be most susceptible to flu. But sometimes a flu virus will affect more young and middle-aged adults. That appears to be the case this flu season, the agency said.

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EHR Use During Patient Visit May Mean Missed Non-Verbal Cues

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patterns of eye gaze change with the use of electronic health records (EHRs), and this influences physician-patient interaction, according to research published in the March issue of the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

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CVS Caremark to Stop Selling Tobacco Products

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The national drug store chain CVS Caremark said Wednesday that it's phasing out the sale of tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the United States.

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Declines in Antibiotic Use in Children May Have Plateaued

TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Reductions in antibiotic dispensing for children may have plateaued, according to a study published online Feb. 2 in Pediatrics.

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Online Medical Records Trump Colleagues As Docs' Info Source

TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Online patient medical records are the top source of information for doctors, based on the mean annual exposure, according to the results of a survey conducted by Kantar Media.

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Health Reform Differs Across States: Report

MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- California is one of 10 states that have done the most to roll out provisions of the Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. These states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, have committed to implementing "the most significant aspects of health reform," the report states.

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