News Briefs

AHRQ: Spending on trauma surpasses heart disease

U.S. spending to treat trauma-related disorders nearly doubled between 1996 and 2003 to surpass heart disease as the leading medical expenditure by condition, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported.

Over the same period, spending for heart conditions increased nearly 17% to surpass cancer as the second leading medical expenditure by condition.

The number of Americans with medical expenditures for heart conditions and cancer increased over the period, while the number of Americans with medical expenditures for trauma was roughly unchanged, AHRQ said.

The data are from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.

JCAHO recommends reconciling med lists

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has encouraged health care organizations to reconcile a patient’s medications as the patient transitions from one care setting or practitioner to another to help prevent medication errors. According to the JCAHO alert, the medication reconciliation process involves listing the patient’s current medications and medications to be prescribed, comparing the two lists, making clinical decisions based on the comparison, and communicating the new list to appropriate caregivers and the patient.