March 2017

VA Might Yet Move to Commercial EHR System

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.

Opioid Safety Initiative Drives Down Prescriptions for High-Dose Painkillers

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.

How Low To Go: The Continuing Controversy on BP Targets

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?”

Shulkin Sails Through Senate on Promise of VA Changes

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.

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.

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.

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.

VA Action Stabilizes Prescription Costs for Veterans

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.

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

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.

New Surveillance Registry Helps VA Provide Consistent Care to MS Patients

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.

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

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.

Battlefield Genitourinary Damage Alters Lives Beyond Physical Injuries

Battlefield Genitourinary Damage Alters Lives Beyond Physical Injuries

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

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.

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.