An Update on Healthcare Reform

In March, Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). It was a troubling moment for a new Republican regime that, for years, had promised to repeal Obamacare.   The AHCA was a flawed bill. It attempted to appease varied conservative interests, but it ended up being a convoluted mess that only alienated hard-line and moderate Republicans. Far-right conservatives thought the bill was Obamacare-lite, while moderates were concerned the bill failed to protect the interests of both their lower-income and sicker constituents.   According to Politico, Republicans have come to a tentative agreement that would appease the conflicting interests of their party. The conservative Republicans have agreed to reinstate Obamacare’s Essential Health Benefits, which was stricken from the original AHCA. According to this provision, all health plans must provide health benefits such as mental health and addiction treatment, preventive services, ambulatory care, and more—all with no limit. This appeases moderate Republicans who were worried about their constituents, as the provision prevents insurers from providing bare-bones coverage. In exchange for this, moderate Republicans have agreed to permit states to opt out of Obamacare’s community rating provision—this means that insurance companies can charge higher premiums to individuals with pre-existing conditions. This is a win for fiscally conservative Republicans because it’ll theoretically lower health insurance prices, at least for healthy individuals.   The compromise does...

Quiz! Do You Know Your Diseases?

Do you know your diseases? Take this quiz from Gap Medics Blog to find out! Featured From Gap Medics Blog Featured Image:...

Can Smartphones Sequence DNA?

Featured From The Doctor’s Channel   Video: Source   Molecular analysis of biological samples is typically outsourced to well-equipped (and cost-intensive) laboratories. However, there are times when sample diagnosis and DNA sequencing is needed quickly, needed in a remote location, or both. For this reason, Professor Mats Nilsson of Stockholm Universitet, Uppsala Universitet, and SciLifelab has led research on creating a smartphone compatible device for rapid, cost-effective molecular analysis.   The 3d-printed smartphone attachment uses a specialized lens and two LED lights to perform its microscopy. One of the first use-cases that Prof. Nilsson envisions for the technology is identifying antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis in developing countries. When the device becomes widely available, it’s estimated that it will cost less than $500.   Click here to read the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.   Featured Image:...

Top 10 Hardcore Grey’s Anatomy Moments – #2

Believe it or not, medicine is a career filled with drama. From the closest of saves to those fastidious concerns for protocol implementation, we are no strangers to the loud proclamations of physicians, residents, nurses, and the rest of the staff in the hallways and operating rooms. Translating this very sense of excitement to the medical TV shows out there, Grey’s Anatomy is one of the notable and long-running ones that fit this characterization in the perfect manner.   For my fellow Grey’s Anatomy fans out there, this is my tribute to you. Join along as we watch some of the most hardcore moments from the show, displaying the rigor, emergency, and adrenaline-rush of our beloved medical profession.   2. The “everyday” emergency Surgery is a field that teeters on the edge of life and death. There is an emergent situation just waiting to pounce on you as you turn a corner. Thus, this profession is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are willing to challenge themselves to the breaking point and face the mantle of saving human lives on a daily basis.       Featured Image:...

Have Medical Degree – Will Travel

        Featured From Gap Medics Blog   Featured Image:...

Can Punishing Medical Errors Make Hospitals Safer?

In January, Medicare cut federal payments to 769 hospitals, continuing a program of punishing hospitals for errors and avoidable complications, such as blood clots, falls and bed sores. For the first time these penalties also included hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections. Mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare is required to penalize the bottom 25% of the worst performing hospitals, even if they’ve shown a reduced rate of incidents from year to year. In the years since the penalties took effect, they had the unintended consequence of disproportionately reducing funding in teaching hospitals and for patients in low-income areas with limited access to services. This prompted congress to legislate a socioeconomic adjustment when evaluating hospital performance.   While the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that hospital-acquired conditions have declined 21% from 2010 to 2015, there were still an estimated 3.8 million hospital injuries in 2016: 115 injuries for every 1,000 patient stays. Specialized hospitals, such as those for children, rehabilitation, cancer, veterans and psychiatric treatment are exempt from the financial penalties.   Reporting by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that readmission rates started falling in 2012 and have continued, suggesting that more hospitals have taken up preventative measures for hospital acquired infections and preventable readmissions, and that overall the impact of the penalties is less than 1% of the reimbursable amount for a re-admission.   Image:...

Diagnosing Genetic Disorders with Facial Recognition Technology

With advancing technology, you can see a doctor from home using FaceTime or send a pic of your mole for a cancer diagnosis. And now, the same technology that automatically tags your photos on Facebook can help doctors diagnose rare genetic diseases.   Facial recognition technology dates all the way back to 1964, when computer programmers starting teaching their computers how to recognize human faces. Early operations could process about 40 pictures an hour in an attempt to match similar features using coordinates between pupils, outside corners of the eyes, hairline, etc. Early attempts struggled to cope with variations from photo to photo if the subject wasn’t posed in exactly the same position. In the mid-2000s, the Face Recognition Grand Challenge was sponsored by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, among others, to bring attention and innovation to facial recognition technology.   Image: Source   Now, researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) have produced software that uses facial recognition technology to help diagnose DiGeorge syndrome. A rare genetic disease, DiGeorge syndrome is caused by a defect in chromosome 22. Although its effects vary from person to person, the syndrome can result in cleft palate, low calcium levels, heart defects and a weakened immune system. There is no cure, but early interventions can improve the patient’s outlook through relevant treatments.   The breakthrough is particularly important...

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