Week in Review: Jan. 15

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The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.


Industry News

U.S. Organ Transplants Reach 30K Milestone, Thanks to Increased Donations

Organ transplants in the United States reached a milestone in 2015, exceeding 30,000 for the first time, a non-profit group reported. Those 30,973 transplants of kidneys, livers, and other organs were nearly 5% more than performed in 2014 and came after years of fairly slow, steady increases, said officials with the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Via USA Today.

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Doctors Unionize to Resist the Medical Machine

The outsourcing of hospitalists became relatively common in the last decade, driven by a combination of factors. There is the obvious hunger for efficiency gains. But there is also growing pressure on hospitals to measure quality and keep people healthy after they are discharged. This can be a complicated data collection and management challenge that many hospitals, especially smaller ones, are not set up for and that some outsourcing companies excel in. Via NY Times. 

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Why Employers' Incentives for Weight Loss Fall Flat with Workers

Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight. Via NPR.

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Drugmakers Raise Prices Despite Criticism

Drugmakers didn’t let up on price increases with the start of a new year, demonstrating the industry’s pricing power in the face of mounting criticisms of prescription costs in the U.S. Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., Allergan PLC, Horizon Pharma PLC, and others have raised U.S. prices for dozens of branded drugs since late December, with many of the increases between 9% and 10%, according to equity analysts. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Blue Cross Shrinks on MNsure While Medica Picks Up Market Share

As MNsure enrollment grows, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is losing market share while Medica is growing, according to numbers released by the state’s health insurance exchange. Last year, Blue Cross had 50 percent of the MNsure market, but the health insurer’s share currently stands about 36 percent, according to figures presented to MNsure’s board of directors during a meeting in St. Paul. Via Star Tribune.

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Mayo Clinic News

Mathis, Pinn, and Plummer Named to Hall of Fame

Three industry pioneers who shaped health care's future in dramatically different ways will be inducted into Modern Healthcare's Health Care Hall of Fame on March 13 in Chicago. Plummer joined the fledgling Mayo Clinic in 1901. He was a gifted physician but also recognized how technology, organizational design, and even architecture could play a role in the healing process. Dr. William Mayo, one of the two brothers who founded the clinic, would later say that hiring Plummer was his “best day's work.” Via Modern Healthcare Online.

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Cath Labs Get First Guidelines for Cancer Patient Tx 

The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) released recommendations for the cardiac catheterization of cancer patients, with specific diagnostic and interventional considerations for their treatment. The recommendations are the first of their kind, Donald W. Northfelt, M.D., an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., said. Via MedPage Today.

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Mayo Clinic Spending $92.7 Million on Buildings, Equipment

Mayo Clinic announced a plan for spending $92.7 million on facilities and equipment that includes more private rooms in Rochester, better roads near its hospital in Florida, and a new airplane for transporting patients. The spending plan was approved in November by the board of directors at Mayo, which routinely makes large infrastructure investments across its six-state network of hospitals and clinics. Via Star Tribune.

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Can Echinacea Melt Winter’s Colds and Flu?

Cold and flu season is here, and with it, a healthy dose of misery. Echinacea, a herbal remedy made from a flowering plant, can prevent respiratory infections—or even help treat them once they begin. “If you are getting plenty of fluids and plenty of rest and you want to take echinacea, it seems like a reasonable thing to do and unlikely to harm you,” says Pritish K. Tosh, associate professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. But people at risk for flu complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, should instead take an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, he adds. Via Wall Street Journal.

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$10 Million Gift for Neurosurgery Residency Program, Addressing Nationwide Shortage

A $10 million gift from a grateful patient and his wife will provide funding for a neurosurgery residency program on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus to help address the nationwide shortage of specialists in head and spine procedures. Via Mayo Clinic News Network. 

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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.