Caffeine Shows Promise in Saving Lives of Brain Injured WASHINGTON — The common chemical stimulant available in a cup of coffee or some soft drinks may hold promise for saving the lives of brain-injured troops. A recent preliminary study suggests that a high dose of caffeine may be able to help prevent death in cases of serious traumatic brain injury if given immediately after the injury. More
Medicare No Pay Policy Had Little Effect on Catheter Associated UTIs ANN ARBOR, MI--Did Medicare’s policy of withholding payment from non-federal hospitals for preventable nosocomial infections have the deserved effect? Not in every case, according to a new survey by the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare Center and the University of Michigan Health System. Researchers found that while some 90% of U.S. hospitals surveyed increased efforts to prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia between 2005 and 2009, practices to control catheter-associated urinary tract infections were much less commonly employed. More
Study Looks at Usability of VA’s Personal Health Record A new study recruited patients into a human-computer interaction laboratory to determine the user experience for several popular functions of the VA’s personal health record system. Users reported that, once they were into the secure Web-based system, they found the prescription refill function to perform better than expected but expressed concerns about other areas.More.
Specialty Update: Infectious Disease
Military Winning Iraqibacter Battle but War on Resistant Organisms Continues Even after they are safely transported for medical treatment far from the combat zone, wounded servicemembers face powerful adversaries: multidrug-resistant organisms, which pose a greater risk to today’s injured servicemembers than those of past wars. Controversy over resistant bacteria — especially Acinetobacter, which has been dubbed Iraqibacter in some circles because of its prevalence in that region — has focused on DoD and its response to the problem, even prompting a congressional hearing in 2010. What has been lost in the discussion is that military medicine actually has made significant strides in overcoming infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms. More
VA Seeks to Increase Flu Vaccine Rates for Healthcare Staff after Last Year’s Drop After recorded seasonal influenza vaccination rates among VHA healthcare personnel plummeted 21% last year compared with 2009-2010, the agency has set an aggressive goal of vaccinating 85% of healthcare workers during the 2011-2012 flu season. According to a report from the VHA Office of Public Health, 50% of the H1N1 influenza infection among healthcare workers in the first wave of the 2009 pandemic was acquired in the workplace. More Please read this article and participate in this month's online opinion poll: Should VA mandate that all medical staff receive annual influenza vaccines as a condition of employment?
Specialty Update: Women's Health
Studies Look at Combat Effects on Female Troops and Healthcare Providers Several recently released studies conducted by a number of federal agencies examine the effects of combat on women, who now make up 15% of American military forces. As military healthcare providers see more frontline action, increased attention is being given to the long-term health effects of their service. One study looked at how gender impacted operational stress. More
Specialty Update: Immunology
Veterans in Cities More Likely to Use New HIV Drugs Urban veterans with HIV may be more likely than their rural counterparts to be early adopters of new HIV therapies, a recent study suggests. For the study, researchers in Iowa City, IA, performed a retrospective cohort study to determine rural-urban variation in adoption of raltegravir — the first HIV integrase inhibitor — in Veterans Affairs healthcare. The researchers found that urban dwellers were more likely than rural to initiate raltegravir within 180 days and 360 days, although the gap narrowed slightly at 720 days. Morel
Legislation Introduced to Help FDA Prevent and Control Drug Shortages WASHINGTON — Unless FDA knows of a potential drug shortage in advance, the agency is not very effective in preventing or controlling that shortage, according to a recent government report. The agency also has failed to keep adequate records of past shortages, which could allow for a better understanding of why shortages occur. More
Multiple Factors Spur Big Increases in TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy Usage WASHINGTON — Last year, a “perfect storm” seemed to result in more prescriptions filled by TRICARE’s mail-order pharmacy. Throughout 2011, the mail-order pharmacy filled slightly more than 1 million prescriptions a month. In October, however, that number jumped to 1.15 million prescriptions and continued its increase to about 1.2 million in November and to almost 1.25 million prescriptions in December. More
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