Blood Test Identifies Those at Risk of Heart Disease, UTSW Research Finds

Researchers at UT Southwestern have found that a blood test can identify those who are in the early stages of heart disease. Patient data revealed that two biomarkers were elevated in patients who were often not receiving any treatment for hypertension. The research analyzed 13,000 patients from a variety of backgrounds, and found that one-third of adults had the elevated biomarkers and were not previously in treatment for a heart condition. Though the patients had a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure over the next decade, they were not aware of the risks prior to the test… Full Story

BSW Heartburn Research Finds New Solution to Symptoms

Research conducted by Baylor Scott and White Health found that the 66 percent of patients using proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for persistent heartburn have symptoms that are not caused by acid production, as previously assumed. PPIs reduce stomach acid levels and are considered optimal treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. However, even after taking PPIs consistently, approximately 30%-40% of patients complain that their heartburn or GERD symptoms still persist.  “There is a huge misconception among patients and physicians that heartburn means GERD” says Dr. Stuart Spechler, Chief of Gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. The study evaluated… Full Story

Emergency Costs Went Up When Freestanding ERs Arrived in Texas

When an additional freestanding emergency department (FED) entered a local market in Texas, out-of-pocket costs and emergency provider reimbursement went up 3.6 percent per insured beneficiary, according to Rice University research published this month in American Emergency Medicine. The study looked at data in four states, but Texas FEDs were especially prolific. The study analyzed 495 Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA), looking at the number of FEDs in each location and comparing other cost and demographic data. By 2017 there were only 51 PUMAs in Texas without an FED, meaning 74% of PUMAs in Texas had at least one. In… Full Story

McKesson and Aetion Partner Up for Real World Cancer Insights

McKesson and healthcare technology company Aetion have announced a collaboration to advance cancer research. The partnership is meant to advance the use of real-world evidence to aid the cancer infrastructure and help fight multiple tumor types. The Aetion Evidence Platform will work with McKesson’s iKnowMed oncology electronic health record to improve research for an FDA project at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The solution will improve insight, safety, and allow companies to assess the economic impact of treatments. Aetion analyzes health data from the real world to provide answers about treatments, costs, and outcomes for providers, payers, and regulatory agencies. “This collaboration… Full Story

Cancer Research is on the Ballot This November

While the election that is making most headlines is over a year away, this November has a constitutional amendment that will impact the future of cancer research in the state. On November 5, voters will get a chance to decide on a resolution that has pitted Empower Texas and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility against American Cancer Society, republican State Senator Angela Paxton and a number of pharmaceutical companies. Proposition 6 reads, “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.” This month, McKesson hosted a… Full Story

UT Arlington Research to Avoid Medication-Related Harm

Research at the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation is aiming to reduce the use of medications and avoid medication-related harm, which cause 700,000 emergency room visits and 100,000 hospitalizations a year. A team led by professor of nursing Yan Xiao has earned a $2.5 million grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct interviews and focus groups with patients and healthcare professionals all over the country and use UTA’s Smart Hospital to run simulations of interventions. A multidisciplinary team of specialists in geriatric nursing,… Full Story

Urgent Care Supply is Surging, but Will Texas Have Enough?

The number of urgent care centers is skyrocketing nationwide, with 44 percent growth in the last five years according to a Cushman and Wakefield report. A combination of convenience and cost have pumped up demand, and between 2006 and 2016, urgent care volume increased by a factor of 18, while emergency room volume tripled during the same period. There are more than 200 urgent care centers in Dallas-Fort Worth, but in Texas, where there is already a healthcare shortage. There are lower than average number of urgent care centers per capita for residents over 65, meaning there may not be… Full Story

Brain Imaging May Help Detect Depression

UT Southwestern researchers have found brain imaging to be useful when prescribing medication for depression. It turns out that making images of the brain’s activity in various states, such as being at rest or engulfed in emotional turmoil, helps sketch an accurate picture of how depression manifests a particular patient. “Much like technology can discern individuals through fingerprints and facial scans, studies prove we can utilize imaging to identify specific signatures of depression in people,” says Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, founding director of UT Southwestern’s Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care, via release. Artificial intelligence played a role in segments… Full Story

Report: Infant Mortality and Suicide Increases Nationwide

A report from America’s Health Rankings found an increase in teen suicide by 25 percent and an increase in infant mortality by 6 percent since their last report in 2016. The most significant indicator of influence on youth health is geography. Teen suicide is 7.3 times higher in Alaska than in Rhode Island. Tobacco use among youth is 2.8 times higher in Kentucky than in Hawaii. Male youth have notably higher rates of child mortality and teen suicide than female youth. Child mortality is 1.8 times higher among males than females and teen suicide is three times higher among males… Full Story

UnitedHealth Brief: High Value Physicians Can Save Medicare $286 Billion

If all the U.S. physicians who treat Medicare Fee-For-Service patients were to meet quality and cost-efficiency criteria, Medicare would save $286.8 billion between 2020 and 2029, according to a new UnitedHealth brief. The savings in 2020 would be $20.5 billion for Medicare fee-for-service. Meeting these criteria would create “high value” physicians, whose per-episode cost of care is 6.9 percent lower than other physicians according to the brief. These physicians also experience 21 percent lower risk-adjusted spending relative to other physicians, with 64 percent fewer inpatient hospital days and 35 percent fewer emergency department visits. If primary care physicians meet quality… Full Story