Week In Review — Jan. 16

The Week In Review provides an overview of the past week's top healthcare content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news and upcoming events.

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Health Alert: CDC Says Doctors Aren't Doing Enough to Fight Flu

With high levels of flu activity spreading, the CDC urges doctors to increase use of antiviral medicines. Via ABC News.

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The Future of Medicine Is in Your Smartphone 

Over the past decade, smartphones have radically changed many aspects of our everyday lives, from banking to shopping to entertainment. Medicine is next. With innovative digital technologies, cloud computing and machine learning, the medicalized smartphone is going to upend every aspect of health care. And the end result will be that you, the patient, are about to take center stage for the first time. Via Wall Street Journal. 

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Too Many People Take Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attacks, Stroke, Study Says

Among 68,808 patients being treated by cardiologists around the U.S., 7,972 of them were taking aspirin despite having a very low risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. In other words, 11.6% of patients were taking the drug “inappropriately,” according to a study published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Via LA Times.

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Why the U.S. Is Losing Its Edge on Medical Research

The United States may no longer be the leader in medical research due to lack of funding. Funding for medical research in the United States is in a sorry state, but other parts of the world are experiencing the opposite, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA. Via TIME.

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C.D.C. Chief ‘Confident’ on Ebola 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could be brought under control, but that “we are by no means out of the woods.” The director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, said he was “very confident we can get to zero cases in this epidemic if we continue the way we’re going and nothing unexpected happens.” Via NY Times.

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Study Says Biopsies Are Safe 

Cancer biopsies do not cause the disease to spread, says a new study that dispels a common myth. "This study shows that physicians and patients should feel reassured that a biopsy is very safe," said study senior investigator Dr. Michael Wallace, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.Via HealthDay.

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Proposed Regulation of Lab Tests Draws Mixed Reviews at Workshop

A Food and Drug Administration proposal to regulate laboratory-developed tests could upend a clinical sector that provides thousands of tests to healthcare providers every day, raising costs and potentially limiting patient access, detractors say…FDA regulation of lab tests won't guarantee better quality and may also limit access to community healthcare, Dr. Curtis Hanson, a hematopathologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, said Friday at the workshop. The Mayo Clinic uses about 1,600 laboratory-developed tests. “Let's be sure we know what problem we're fixing,” he said. Via Modern Healthcare.

Misguided Aspirin Use in 1 in 10 Low-Risk Heart-Clinic Patients: Study Emphasizes Need to Calculate Underlying Risk

Asked to comment, Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN) said that "the most important message is to recognize that there are people [who take] aspirin believing that they are protecting themselves from having heart attacks when they are actually exposing themselves to the [bleeding] risks of taking aspirin and likely having no benefit at all." This likely represents millions of people, given the widespread use of aspirin, he noted. Via Medscape.

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Influenza and Sepsis: Mayo Expert Describes Warning Signs

Sepsis can be a dangerous complication of almost any type of infection, including influenza, pneumonia and food poisoning; urinary tract infections; bloodstream infections from wounds; and abdominal infections. Steve Peters, MD, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Mayo Clinic and senior author of a recent sepsis overview in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, explains sepsis symptoms and risk factors, the difference between severe sepsis and septic shock, and how sepsis is typically treated. Via Infection Control Today.

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How Mayo Clinic Standardized Care Across 22 Emergency Departments 

Mayo raises the bar for quality and reduces costs through standardization, In 2012, Mayo Clinic Health System recognized the financial and quality opportunities of standardizing the clinical operations of their emergency departments. So, they tasked a physician-administrator dyad with an ambitious goal: harmonize the clinical operations of all 22 of Mayo's emergency departments in Minnesota. The facilities ranged from Mayo's flagship academic medical center ED to several small critical-access sites; in aggregate, the facilities saw over 350,000 patients annually. Via Advisory Board.

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Kelley Schreiber

Kelley Schreiber is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She is the principle editor and writer of Insights and leads social media and direct marketing strategy. Kelley has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2013. Outside of work, you can find Kelley running, traveling, playing with her new kitten, and exploring new foods.