Week in Review: April 1


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

Why Hackers Are Going After Health-Care Providers

The health-care sector has a lot of information that could be valuable to criminals and that makes them a juicy target. First, they often have a bunch of personal information that could be use for traditional financial fraud -- things like your name, social security number, and payment information. But they also have health insurance information, which can be sold for even more on online black markets because it can be used to commit medical fraud -- things like obtaining free medical care or purchasing expensive medical equipment -- that often isn't caught quite as quickly as credit card or bank account fraud. Via Washington Post.

Physician Group Calls On Government To Rein In Drug Prices

It's not just patients who are getting tired of ever-rising drug prices. Doctors are joining the chorus of frustration. The latest voice? The American College of Physicians, whose membership includes 143,000 internal medicine doctors, published a position paper calling for the government and industry to take steps to rein in spiraling costs. The article, being published in Annals of Internal Medicine, says that the U.S. is the only country in the 34-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes most advanced economies, that doesn't have any government regulation of drug prices. Via NPR. 

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How Did the Opioid Epidemic Get So Bad?

Overprescribing opioids is something we’ve gotten used to doing. To be fair, the origins of the epidemic aren’ due to the behavior of bad-apple doctors, who are rare. The majority are well-intentioned prescribers caught in a web of entangling interests spun over the past two decades. When the powerful narcotic OxyContin was first made available in the mid-90s, all that doctors heard from sweeping educational campaigns (many driven by pharmaceutical industry marketing) was that they were undertreating pain. Via Boston Globe.

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How Google Is Taking Health Care By Storm

The top analytic minds at the helm of Google’s growing influence in health care aren’t (human) minds at all. They are advanced computers that can make decisions based on technology called “machine learning.” Google’s next big project is bringing attention to all the ways that big data, advanced medical tools, cloud computing, and machine learning could soon revolutionize nearly every aspect of health care. Although the folks at Alphabet— Google’s shiny new parent company as of 2015—have been tight-lipped about its R&D numbers, there are many clear signs of changes to come. Via Health Care Communication News.

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In NFL, Deeply Flawed Concussion Research and Ties to Big Tobacco

For the last 13 years, the NFL has stood by the research, which, the papers stated, was based on a full accounting of all concussions diagnosed by team physicians from 1996 through 2001. But confidential data obtained by The Times shows that more than 100 diagnosed concussions were omitted from the studies — including some severe injuries to stars like quarterbacks Steve Young and Troy Aikman. The committee then calculated the rates of concussions using the incomplete data, making them appear less frequent than they actually were. Via NY Times.

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Mayo Clinic News

Cancer Treatment’s New Direction

Evan Johnson had battled a cold for weeks, endured occasional nosebleeds, and felt so fatigued he struggled to finish his workouts at the gym. But it was the unexplained bruises and chest pain that ultimately sent the then 23-year-old senior at the University of North Dakota to the Mayo Clinic. There a genetic test revealed a particularly aggressive form of acute myeloid leukemia. Dr. Kasi and his Mayo colleagues—Naseema Gangat, a hematologist, and Shahrukh Hashmi, a transplant specialist—are among the authors of an account of Mr. Johnson’s case published in January in the journal Leukemia Research Reports. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Lynx To Host Preseason Game at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester

The Minnesota Lynx announced that for the first time in 13 years, they’ll play a preseason game in southeastern Minnesota. The Lynx will make a return to the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester to host the Washington Mystics on Sunday, May 8. The game will be played at 4 p.m. Via WCCO.

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On C.T.E. and Athletes, Science Remains in Its Infancy

In the best study to determine risk so far, a research team at a Mayo Clinic bank in Jacksonville found C.T.E. in 21 of 66 brains of people who had played contact sports. It found no evidence of the disorder in 198 people with no record of playing such sports. But the authors said they had no way to know whether those 21 former athletes had symptoms linked to C.T.E.; some had other neurological disorders as well when they died. “These are very early days, and we badly need larger studies, that include both athletes and nonathletes,” said Dr. Dennis Dickson, the study’s senior author. Via NY Times.

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Mayo Clinic Will begin construction on Two New Buildings, Costing $100 Million, This Year

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville announced that it will begin $100 million in major construction projects this year. It will begin construction this summer on what Mayo officials are calling “a destination medical building” that will provide integrated services for complex cancers, as well as neurologic and neurosurgical care. The 150,000-square-foot building will have four stories with the potential to add 11 more stories. More than 126,000 patients are expected to visit in the first year after the building opens. Via Florida Times-Union.

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Mayo Clinic Florida Completes 3000 Liver Transplants

The liver transplant team at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, recently completed the 3,000th transplant since the liver program started in 1998. Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus is only the seventh transplant center in the country to complete 3,000 adult liver transplants. Via Mayo Clinic News Network. 

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Gina Chiri-Osmond

Gina Chiri-Osmond is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. She manages public relations and media outreach. Gina has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2011. Outside of work, Gina is going for gold in volleyball at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo . . . or at small-town summer festivals.