News & Information
Texas Tech Medical School to Stop Considering Race in Admissions
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 07:54 PM

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, under pressure from the Department of Education, will no longer consider race as a factor in its medical school admissions process, according to an agreement signed by the health center’s president in February.

The agreement comes nearly 14 years after the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into whether the center’s admissions policies violated the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on racial discrimination. The Office for Civil Rights is also investigating admissions practices at Harvard and Yale.  The agreement requires that the school revise all of its admissions and recruitment materials by September.

U.S. Uninsured Rate Sticks at Around 9%
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 07:52 PM

A little more than 9% of Americans were uninsured during the first 9 months of 2018, according to survey data.  

A total of 29.7 million people of all ages (9.2%) were uninsured at the time of being interviewed -- "not significantly different from 2017, but 18.9 million fewer persons than in 2010," the authors noted. Among adults, ages 18-64, 13.0% were uninsured at time of interview, 19.7% had public coverage, and 69.0% had private health insurance coverage. (Numbers add up to more than 100% because some patients had both public and private coverage and were included in both categories.)

Can Healthcare Escape the 'Reality TV Paradox'?
Written by Eitor   
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 07:48 PM

How is healthcare like reality television? In both cases, what gets rewarded is not actually what the payer really wants.

In reality TV, the seeming goal is to identify the most talented recording artist or the most compatible couple. But even though that may be the stated goal, the real goal is totally different – viewers and ad dollars.

It’s the same way in healthcare, the thing we reward is not the same as what we really want. The ‘Reality TV Paradox’ happens when the relationship of the actual outcome to what you're measuring may not really be strong.

Preventive cardiology is an example. Although the real goal is to prevent heart attacks and strokes, what do we incentivize? One-size-fits-all algorithms for screening for cholesterol which actually may not be the best idea.  The same can be said for blood pressure targets; there is very little discretion related to them … How do we move away from simply incentivizing one-site-fits-all algorithms for every body?

Doctors are Bad at Reading Lab Results
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 07:43 PM

Modern medicine has come to rely on tests and technological scans. Every year, doctors in this country order more than 4 billion tests. 

Research has found, however, that many physicians misunderstand test results or think tests are more accurate than they are when used diagnostically. Doctors especially fail to grasp how false positives work, and they make crucial medical decisions based on incorrect assumptions that patients have ailments that they probably don’t, unacceptably increasing the chances of making the wrong choice. 

The first problem that doctors (and thus, patients) face is a basic misunderstanding of probability. Say that Disease X has a prevalence of 1 in 1,000 (meaning that 1 out of every 1,000 people will have it), and the test to detect it has a false-positive rate of 5 percent (meaning 5 of every 100 subjects test positive for the ailment even though they don’t really have it). If a patient’s test result comes back positive, what are the chances that she actually has the disease?  

Researchers in a study found that almost half of doctors surveyed said patients who tested positive had a 95 percent chance of having Disease X.  This is radically, catastrophically wrong. In fact, it’s not even close to right. 

Measles in Texas: 2019
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 07:37 PM

The Texas Department of State Health Services is reporting 10 measles cases in the state in 2019, one more than Texas saw in 2018. 

The 10th case is in an adult traveler from the Philippines, where there is an ongoing measles outbreak.

Measles is a highly contagious respiratory illness transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes virus particles into the air. 

The illness usually starts a week or two after someone is exposed to the virus with symptoms like a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes. A few days later, the telltale rash breaks out as flat, red spots on the face and then spreads down the neck and trunk to the rest of the body. A person is contagious about four days before the rash appears to four days after. People with measles should stay home from work or school during that period.

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