Ensuring Every American Access to Broadband Is Essential For the Nation’s Health Care, Says Congress

Ensuring that every American has access to broadband throughout the country has been declared to be an essential health care imperative by the Joint Advisory Committee on Communications Capabilities of Emergency Medical and Public Health Care Facilities in a recently released report. The Joint Advisory Committee was established pursuant to legislation Congress passed in 2007 to implement the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.

The Committee found that home broadband can enable access to distant telemedicine applications, remote monitoring technologies, health information, and the ability of health care workers to work remotely in an emergency. Broadband communications systems can help ensure … Read the rest

Amid Privacy Concerns, Google Announces “Google Health”, an On-Line Health-Records Management System

Google has announced a pilot project called Google Health in which it will begin storing the medical records of 1,500 to 10,000 patients at the Cleveland Clinic who agreed to an electronic transfer of their personal health records so they can be retrieved through Google’s service, which will not be open to the general public. Each health profile, including information about prescriptions, allergies and medical histories, will be protected by a password.

Last year Microsoft introduced a similar service, HealthVault, and AOL co-founder Steve Case founded Revolution Health, which also offers online tools for managing personal health histories.

The project … Read the rest

Medical Device Manufacturer’s Settlement of Kickback Charges Shows That Even Criminal Fines Can Be “Privatized”

The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey directed that a no-bid 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million contract be awarded to The Ashcroft Group, the consulting firm of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, to monitor a large settlement of criminal accusations against medical device manufacturer Zimmer Holdings and four smaller companies accused of paying kickbacks to doctors who recommended and used the company’s knee and hip implants.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie directed that the contract be awarded to his former boss with no public notice. Mr. Christie said the fees were imposed in lieu of fines.

If … Read the rest

Drug Makers Release Test Results That Shows That Their Cholesterol Drug Zetia Has No Benefits

Merck and Schering- Plough, the makers of the popular cholesterol drug, Zetia, announced that Zetia and Vytorin, a pill containing Zetia and Zocor, had failed to benefit patients of a two-year trial which was completed in April of 2006. Merck and Schering-Plough’s press release stated that Zetia not only failed to slow down the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, it contributed to the formation of plaque. Patients taking Vytorin to reduce the growth of fatty plaque in the arteries actually experienced a growth of plaque in their arteries twice as fast as those taking Zetia alone.

This … Read the rest

Serving Chili Peppers (sort of) to Patients Undergoing Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery to Reduce Post-Surgical Pain

Researchers are “hot” on the trail to finding a new way to decrease post-surgical pain following painful operations such as knee and hip replacements. Surgeons are experimenting by dripping capsaicin – the ingredient that gives chili peppers their fire, directly into open wounds during knee replacement surgeries hoping that bathing surgically exposed nerves in a high enough dose will numb them for weeks. The theory takes root from the fact that when you bite into a hot pepper, after the initial burn your tongue goes numb.

Research shows that capsaicin targets key pain-sensing cells in a way that blocks pain … Read the rest

A Concierge is a Service Available Not Only at a Hotel

“Medical concierge,” also known as “boutique practice” and “retainer medicine”, is over 20 years old. The goal behind this form of medicine is to provide quality medical services that were formerly only able to be offered to affluent entertainers and the like. For instance, this field promotes limiting the number of patients that each doctor sees, increasing the number and length of house visits with those patients, lengthening the time available with patients during their appointments, and the overall goal of increasing the quality of health care.

Many doctors pursue the field of “medical concierge” to ensure that patients are … Read the rest

Latest Brain Scan Technology May Help Increase Recovery for Conscious Pain and Suffering of “Vegetative” People

Brain scans using the most recent technologies are challenging the decade-old doctors’ assumption that patients who have been diagnosed as vegetative lack any capacity for conscious thought. Most of these patients are previously healthy people who suffered a traumatic brain injury such as in a car accident, or oxygen deprivation after a heart attack or stroke or perhaps even due to medical malpractice. Although most brain scans show what is wrong with someone’s brain, sophisticated brain scans are showing what parts of the brain are working, with surprising results.

What is lacking in these patients is not necessarily … Read the rest

Possible Statute of Limitations Bar to Over 600 People Who Doctor Might Have Exposed to Hepatitis B and C and HIV Illustrates Gross Unfairness of Lack of “Discovery Rule”

Earlier this week, 628 people were sent letters by the New York State Health Department urging them to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV, all blood borne diseases, because they had received epidural injections from Dr. Harvey Finkelstein, who used re-used syringes, from January 1, 2000 to January 15, 2005.

Even though the victims would have had no way of knowing that they had been exposed to the diseases until now, it may be too late for them to sue the doctor. This is because under New York law, the time period to bring suit (2 1/2 … Read the rest

Heart Surgery Drug Trasylol Withdrawn from Market

The German pharmaceutical company, Bayer AG, announced that it will withdraw Trasylol, its controversial drug used for heart surgery, from the market. The withdrawal was due in part to a study performed in Canada which suggested that Trasylol increased rates of death.

The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study it conducted finding that Trasylol increased the risks of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and death. The research concluded that stopping the use of Trasylol would result in the prevention of 10,000 to 11,000 cases of kidney failure per year along with the savings of over … Read the rest

Health Insurers’ Physician Ranking Programs Spark Concerns About Consumer Deception: Investigation by New York Attorney General Leads to Agreement

New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has been conducting an industry-wide investigation of doctor ranking programs, concerned that the insurers use their ranking system to steer their insureds to doctors who cost the insurers less but are not as well qualified to treat the insured as physicians who are more expensive for the insurer to pay. This investigation has led to an agreement, announced earlier this week, with healthcare industry leader, CIGNA Healthcare, regarding its doctor ranking programs.

Investigations performed under the leadership of the Attorney General show that consumers cannot rely on these programs blindly. Previously, in letters … Read the rest