U. of Missouri researcher unveils early HIT study results; Fewer consumers to obtain coverage under reform;

News From Around the Web

The state of California has fired the contractor on a hugely troubled technology project, after problems with the system were divulged. The contract, terminated Friday, stalls the expensive overhaul of an outdated computer network used to issue paychecks and handle medical benefits for 240,00 state employees, the Los Angeles Times reports. Article

> A nursing informatics expert from the University of Missouri suggests that "sophisticated IT leads to more robust and integrated communication strategies among clinical staff, which allows staff to more efficiently coordinate care and better protect patient privacy," in a recent announcement from the university. Greg Alexander, a MU professor who is the co-principal investigator on a study fueled by a $14.8 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services focusing on reducing avoidable re-hospitalizations among nursing home residents, found that practitioners use IT to help make clinical decisions, electronically track patients' care and securely relay medical information in a study. Announcement

Health Insurance News

> Insurers might not see quite as large an influx of new consumers as previously predicted under the health reform law, according to the latest budget outlook from the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO projected that fewer people--about 27 million consumers--will get insurance by 2017, down from its previous estimate of up to 34 million new consumers. Article

> Despite previously opposing the health reform law, more Republican governors are endorsing one of the law's central provisions--Medicaid expansion. The decisions could even lead to a shift among GOP lawmakers nationwide. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder both recently announced that their states will expand Medicaid. They follow Republican governors in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota in committing to enlarge the state-funded healthcare program, Reuters reported. Article

Medical Imaging News

> Using advancing imaging after the onset of acute stroke does not help physicians identify patients who benefit from a clot-removal procedure, according to results from the Mechanical Retrieval and Recanalization of Stroke Clots Using Embolectomy (MR RESCUE) Trial published online Feb. 6 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Patients who suffer from ischemic strike are at risk of suffering brain cell death, which can be avoided if physicians are able to quickly open the blocked artery. Intravenous issue plasminogen activator (t-PA) has been effective in dissolving clots and improving outcomes in some stroke patients, but has been less effective in patients with clots in the larger brain arteries associated with the most serious strokes. Article

> Improving communications efforts and advocating for better quality are among several things radiologists can do to maintain and strengthen crucial relationships with hospitals and referring physicians, according to an article published this month in the American College of Radiology's ACR Bulletin. Effective communication, according to Cynthia Sherry, M.D., of Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center in Dallas, helps processes run more smoothly and prevents small problems from developing into the kind of problems that can threaten contract renewals. Article 

And Finally... This Mardi Gras float got pretty heavy. Article

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