Flu shot advisories available at CDC web site
Faced with another anticipated delay in availability of influenza vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta is encouraging health care providers to administer the vaccine to the people at greatest risk as early as September.
The CDC’s recommendations are intended to phase in the vaccine use to provide early protection to those at greatest risk for flu and its complications. These include health care workers, people older than 65, residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities, adults and children with chronic pulmonary or cardiovascular disorders, children and teen-agers at risk for Reyes syndrome, women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season, and people who have required regular follow-up or hospitalization during the last year for chronic metabolic diseases, renal dysfunction, hemoglobinpathies, or immunosuppression.
Concrete information about this year’s flu vaccine will not be available until early fall. To help avoid a repeat of last year’s flu vaccine shortage, the CDC’s National Immunization Program offers the latest developments on the vaccine for the 2001-2002 influenza season. The bulletins are available at www.cdc.gov/nip/flu.
AMA, JCAHO, NCQA release diabetes care measures
For the first time, organizations representing physicians, health plans, hospitals, and other health care entities have cooperated to develop a common set of health care performance measures. The Coordinated Performance Measurement for Management of Adult Diabetes was released July 12 by the American Medical Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, and the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
The adult diabetes performance measure set is the first in a series of measurement sets that the three organizations plan to develop. Consensus measures on cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy and neonatal care are expected to follow in the next two years. The performance measure set is designed to be used in multiple settings to measure the performance of care provided to diabetes patients.
The measures were developed by a Diabetes Expert Panel of clinical leaders and advisers in diabetes care who conferred with participants in the Diabetes Quality Improvement Project, a coalition of major stakeholders in diabetes care formed under the sponsorship of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The next step is a demonstration project designed with the Maine Medical Assessment Foundation, a not-for-profit health services research and quality improvement organization that will test the feasibility of "single data collection" — collection of data to be used in both provider and health plan performance measures from a single source.
A copy of the diabetes measures is available at www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/3798.html.
Treatment guidelines available for specific osteoporosis
New guidelines for the prevention and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis have been published in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
The article reviews new information on the condition and the role of glucocorticoid therapy as a risk factor for fractures and includes treatment strategies, strategies for prevention of bone loss and fractures, and information on therapies still under investigation.
The ACR develops practice guidelines for the purposes of reducing inappropriate care, controlling geographic variations in practice patterns, and making effective use of health care resources. Because of major advances in management of this disease, the ACR updated its guidelines after only five years. The article, "Recommendations for the Prevention and Treatment of Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis," is currently on-line at www.rheumatology.org.
Forum releases report on serious medical errors
A report identifying 27 "adverse events" that should never, or rarely, occur in health care is available on the National Quality Forum’s web site. Serious Reportable Adverse Events, released in July, includes performing surgery on the wrong body part or the wrong patient, using contaminated drugs or devices, leaving a foreign object in the patient after surgery, and discharging a baby to the wrong family. The events are proposed as the basis for standardizing data collection and reporting the most egregious medical errors.
"The errors on our list represent health care’s crashes," says Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, president and chief executive officer of the National Quality Forum. "When a plane goes down the incident is reported and studied in detail, which usually results in improved safety. The same thing should be done in health care."
The report is being reviewed by more than 120 organizations, all of them members of the Quality Forum, including consumer groups, insurers, hospital and physician organizations, and government agencies. The recommendations may ultimately be used by the government or by private purchasers of health care. The goal is to have a standard set of reportable events, resulting in better patient care, Kizer says
The report and additional information are available at www.qualityforum.org.
Smart site’ customizes diabetes information
The American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, VA, has redesigned its web site to make it easy for consumers to access personalized content. Consumers may enter their profile, enabling them to customize the information they see on the site. Initially, the customization is limited to local information, such as events and programs happening in their area. Eventually, consumers will be able to receive information about their specific form of diabetes.
The new design is easier to navigate and now includes message board forums for specific groups, such as parents of children with type 1 diabetes, adults with type 2 diabetes, Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans. A Youth Zone with interactive games teaches children about diabetes self-care and an interactive virtual grocery story includes nutritional information.
The web site, www.diabetes.org, has more than 9,000 pages and receives 1.5 million visits a month.
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