Health System Review – November 27th, 2012

10% of Americans Have Coverage Through ACOs
Hospitals Face Pressure to Avert Readmissions
The New York Times – November 26, 2012
Medicare last month began levying financial penalties against 2,217 hospitals it says have had too many readmissions. Of those hospitals, 307 will receive the maximum punishment, a 1 percent reduction in Medicare’s regular payments for every patient over the next year, federal records show.

10% of Americans Have Coverage Through ACOs
Becker’s Hospital Review – November 26, 2012
Accountable care organizations now cover as many as 31 million Americans, or 10% of the population, according to a new study by Oliver Wyman. ACOs now cover 2.4 million Medicare patients, 15 million non-Medicare patients in Medicare ACOs and between 8 million and 14 million non-Medicare patients in non-Medicare ACOs.

E-visits Lead to Fewer Tests, More Prescriptions
Med Page Today – November 23, 2012
Virtual office visits that utilize EHRs were associated with fewer tests for urinary tract infections and sinusitis compared with in-person visits, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, researchers noted higher rates of antibiotic prescriptions were associated with e-visits. “When physicians cannot directly examine the patient, physicians may use a ‘conservative’ approach and order antibiotics,” the researchers wrote.

Harnessing Energy From the Body to Run Devices
The Wall Street Journal – November 26, 2012
Scientists are studying how to tap the energy naturally created by people’s bodies—such as heat, sound and movement—to power medical devices without the need to change batteries.

Siemens Set to Roll Out Wireless Ultrasound
DOTMed – November 25, 2012
Siemens announced it would launch its wireless ultrasound system at a radiology conference yesterday. The system, called Acuson Freestyle, includes a wireless transducer that allows the system to function without connecting cables, thus allowing for a less-cluttered work area for doctors and reducing the risk for contamination during surgeries. The company said the device is intended for interventional radiology departments, operating rooms, anesthesia practices and emergency rooms.