2017 Issues

March 2017

VA Might Yet Move to Commercial EHR System

After years of working to modernize its electronic health record internally, a senior IT official indicated last month that a shift to a commercial EHR is the likely path forward for VA.

March 2017

Opioid Safety Initiative Drives Down Prescriptions for High-Dose Painkillers

Thanks to a national initiative begun at the VHA in 2013, fewer veterans are receiving prescriptions for risky dosages of opioid painkillers.

March 2017

How Low To Go: The Continuing Controversy on BP Targets

After the release of the SPRINT research in 2015, the question about treating hypertension in older adults appeared to be, “How low can you go?”

March 2017

Shulkin Sails Through Senate on Promise of VA Changes

David J. Shulkin, MD, stepped into the role of VA secretary last month after receiving unanimous support from the U.S. Senate.

March 2017

Guideline-Discordant Imaging In Prostate Cancer

About half of veterans with low-risk prostate cancer receive imaging not called for in clinical guidelines, according to a new study.

March 2017

Brachytherapy Usage Decreases in Prostate Cancer

While several prior studies have suggested that brachytherapy utilization has significantly decreased as intensity modulated radiation therapy usage has increased, a group of VA researchers sought to investigate brachytherapy utilization in a large, hospital-based registry.

March 2017

Obesity Linked to Higher PC Mortality

While, at the population level, obesity is associated with prostate cancer (PC) mortality, little information is available on how obesity affects long-term PC-specific outcomes after initial treatment, according to a study in the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases.

March 2017

VA Action Stabilizes Prescription Costs for Veterans

Late last month, the VA introduced a tiered pharmacy benefit designed to decrease the cost of outpatient medications for most veterans.

March 2017

MS or Chronic Multisymptom Illness? Making the Tricky Diagnosis in Recent Veterans

Diagnosing multiple sclerosis in its early stages can be difficult in the best of circumstances.

March 2017

New Surveillance Registry Helps VA Provide Consistent Care to MS Patients

After several years of development and testing, the VA’s Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry (MSSR) is ready for rollout — and that means veterans are likely to receive more consistent and better coordinated care.

March 2017

Change in Law Allows IVF at VA for Wounded Veterans Left Infertile

Veterans whose combat-related trauma left them infertile now have access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment covered by VA, thanks to implementation of a new interim final rule.

March 2017

Battlefield Genitourinary Damage Alters Lives Beyond Physical Injuries

Recent improvements in battlefield medical care have allowed more servicemembers to survive devastating injuries.

March 2017

Asthma More Common in Less-Fit Army Recruits

Army recruits with low fitness levels, extra body fat or both are at higher risk of asthma diagnosis in the first two years of military service, according to a recent study.

March 2017

OEF/OIF Vets Have High Rates of Exposures

Recent U.S. veterans have high rates of potentially harmful environmental exposures which are linked to an increased likelihood of respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

March 2017

How Ignoring COPD Guidelines Helped Veterans

Failing to follow international guidelines on treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) isn’t always bad medicine, a new study reported.

March 2017

Infectious Disease Specialist Uses Telehealth for Rural Veterans With HIV

Veterans living in rural areas face a lot of challenges, the most common of which is having to travel long distances to access VA medical care.

March 2017

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself

The free, efficient and unobstructed flow of information is critical both in business and medicine.

March 2017

Vaccine Cuts By Half Medical Visits for Influenza-Associated Illnesses

Early estimates indicate that this year’s influenza vaccine effectiveness reduced the risk for associated medical visits by about half.

March 2017

Frailty Not Significant Factor in Flu Vaccine Response

Influenza vaccine response is affected both by preexisting immunity to influenza and older age, according to a new study, which pointed out that frailty, an indicator of functional impairment in older adults, also has been shown to be a factor in one study of non-veterans.

March 2017

Beware of Mimics in Diagnosing, Treating Influenza

Influenza can present with a wide range of symptoms which overlap with several life-threatening conditions.

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