Rising drug prices and shortages: Hospitals make a move

For years, hospitals have been dealing with sharp drug price increases and shortages. To combat these problems, hospitals are going into the drug manufacturing business. A group of major hospital systems plans to form a nonprofit company that will provide several generic drugs to the hospitals—either by manufacturing them or working with a third-party manufacturer.

The goal of the effort is to challenge the many companies that take advantage of the market by buying up monopolies of off-patent drugs and then raising prices. Everyone remembers when Martin Shkreli raised the price of an older drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750.

The Association for Accessible Medicines, the generic manufacturers’ trade group, says it welcomes the competition, and some drug shortage experts indicate that increasing suppliers will help.

Read more.

Toolkit to screen for suicide risk

Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health’s Division of Intramural Research Programs recently developed a free Ask Suicide-Screening Questions (ASQ) toolkit to help nurses and other healthcare professionals identify young people at risk for suicide. The toolkit, which is organized for specific medical settings (for example for emergency departments, inpatient units, or specialty clinics), includes four questions that take 20 minutes to administer. One study of the toolkit found that 97% of youth at risk for suicide were identified when a yes response was given to one or more of the four questions. Read more.

Patient confidence in nurses decreases when hospitals are understaffed

Nurses are well respected by the public. However, according to a recently published study, patients lose confidence in nurses and nursing care when they feel that not enough nurses are available. This study, conducted in England and led by Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, FRCN, Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded that reducing missed nursing care by ensuring adequate numbers of RNs at the hospital bedside and improved hospital clinical care environments offer opportunities to enhance patient satisfaction. Read more.

Beat the winter blues

You and your patients may be suffering the ill effects of cold winter weather. Take steps to keep yourself happy and healthy…and share them with  your patients:

  • Exercise regularly to release endorphins and improve your mood.
  • Eat healthy (with an occasional indulgence).
  • Meditate to calm anxiety and ease mild depression.
  • Spend time (in person or virtually) with friends and family.
  • Investigate light therapy, which may help seasonal depression.
  • Seek help when you experience serious signs of depression.

Learn more.

751 U.S. hospitals penalized for high infection rates

Hospitals in every state were penalized with cuts in Medicare payments for having too many infections. (Maryland is the only state not affected because it has a different Medicare payment system.) Medicare considers these conditions when evaluating hospitals:

  • Infections from colon surgeries, hysterectomies, urinary tract catheters, and central line tubes.
  • Rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile
  • Frequency of 10 types of in-hospital injuries (including bedsores, hip fractures, blood clots, sepsis, and postsurgical wound ruptures).

Read more.

New York—First state to require a BSN

New York is the first state to require that nurses get bachelors degree. Within 10 years of receiving an RN license, nurses must earn their BSN. The law does not apply to nurses already in practice. The BSN requirement has been a priority for several years, but New York is the first state to make it law. Read more.

Flu treatment hampered by I.V. bag shortage

This unexpectedly bad flu season has been made even more difficult because of a shortage of fluids used to deliver medication and treat dehydrated patients. The ongoing shortage was worsened when the hurricane in Puerto Rico left many manufacturing plants without power. The small saline bags used for hydrating patients and diluting medications have been especially hard hit. Read more.

Are data breaches in healthcare organizations common?

Has your organization ever experienced a data breach? According to a survey by the University of Phoenix College of Health Professions, one in five RNs say yes. If you’ve experienced a breach, what happened? Was security tightened? Were protocols changed? If you answered no to those questions, you’re not alone. A quarter of respondents who said their facility had a data breach saw no changes in how data security and patient privacy are handled. Read more about this survey and healthcare data security here.

Nursing scholarships to help hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico

The outpouring of support for citizens effected by the 2017 hurricanes continues. This time, it comes in the form of scholarships for nurses enrolling in Ponce Health Sciences University accelerated bachelor in science nursing program. The program offers 14 scholarships, seven merit based and seven needs based. The scholarships, which pay for 50% of the tuition fees, were developed to help Puerto Rico recover as quickly as possible from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria. Read more.

Body cameras in health care: The debate

Is it appropriate for healthcare professionals to wear body cameras? Here are some pros and cons, according to those debating this issue:

Provide evidence in malpractice litigation
Prompt better behavior by patients, families, and healthcare workers when they know they’re being recorded
De-escalate potentially volatile situations

Potential security and privacy violations
Interference with honest communication, especially with regard to sensitive healthcare topics such as mental health and drug misuse
Feasibility of safely storing protecting recordings

Read more on here. And we welcome your opinion on this topic.

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