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Hospital News

August 22, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

Mt. Sinai, Stony Brook to affiliate

The Manhattan-based Mount Sinai Health System and Long Island-based Stony Brook Medicine announced their collaboration on research, academic and medical programs, Crain’s recently reported.  The two organizations will team up on graduate and medical education and devise summer programs for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students.  The agreement gives Mount Sinai a foothold on Long Island, where the city’s medical centers have been seeking partners.

Mount Sinai to tackle food insecurity with fruit/veggie “prescriptions”

Can subsidized medical “prescriptions” for fresh fruits and vegetables help low-income patients improve their health?

That's one of the questions two doctor-researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hope to answer as they follow a group of 50 obese children and 50 adults with poorly controlled diabetes.  All participants in Mount Sinai’s new Powerfood program, who will have been identified as “food insecure,” get affordable access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The new pilot, which will begin recruiting participants in September, is led by Mount Sinai physicians Dr. Leora Mogilner, a pediatrician, and Dr. Victoria Mayer, an internist.

Powerfood was developed in partnership with three nonprofit organizations: Bridgeport, CT based Wholesome Wave, which has championed the prescription model with health providers around the country; the NY Common Pantry, a food pantry in the city that will screen families for food insecurity, and the Corbin Hill Food Project, a nonprofit food hub that distributes food from local farmers in the Bronx and Harlem.

Each family will pick up a $20 box of fresh produce every two weeks, with the program footing half the bill. The rest can be paid for with SNAP or other public benefits.

Industry survey: hackings have hospital IT heads hassled, but many still don't encrypt

With wholesale hospital patient data heists in the news in recent months and years, the hospital information technology (IT) security community has been increasingly on guard.

However, according to a recent survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a health IT industry trade group, a significant minority of hospital IT heads still do not encrypt their patient data systems.

For hospital employees whose task it is to secure all sensitive patient information, Public Enemy No. 1 are the “ransomware” attacks in which cyber criminals hack into hospital databases and hold it hostage until a ransom is paid,  according to the survey.

Most survey respondents also believe that the hackers’ primary motivation is to commit medical identity theft—a category of identity theft that uses key patient information to obtain for healthcare uner that patient's name.

Medical identity theft is particularly harmful in today’s interconnected world of electronic health records (EHRs) because it can pollute a patient’s EHRs with diagnoses, prescriptions, treatments and other medical information not generated by them—and, too often, without their knowledge.  Such corrupted records can come back to haunt innocent patients in the future.

The annual HIMSS report is based on a survey of 150 information security leaders at U.S. hospitals and hospital systems and various non-acute care environments like doctors’ offices, behavioral health and long-term care facilities and home health service providers.

Night surgeries double risk of patient death: Study

Hospital patients are likelier to die if they undergo a surgical procedure at night, according to research recently presented at the World Congress of Anesthesiologists.

Researchers with Montreal’s McGill University Health Center analyzed all surgical procedures over a five-year period at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital—some 41,716 elective and emergency procedures in all.  

After adjusting for age and overall American Society of Anesthesiologist risk scores, they found that patients were 2.17 times more likely to die during nighttime surgeries than during daytime procedures, with those undergoing procedures later in the day 1.43 times more likely to die than those undergoing it during regular daytime hours.

There are numerous potential reasons for the increased risk, according to the researchers. For example, provider fatigue as the day wears on is a major concern, which has led certain providers to allow nurses to nap during breaks. It’s also possible treatment is delayed in some cases due to lack of room availability or patients being too sick to be postponed prior to treatment.

Despite these risks, research indicates providers are increasingly hiring doctors to work overnight shifts.

Cleveland Clinic replacing all lighting with cheaper, “greener” bulbs

How’s that for a bright idea?

Hospitals sure suck up a lot of electricity, what with all the electric and electronic biomedical equipment in regular usage—never mind all the computers.  And that’s not even counting the thousands of light bulbs illuminating hundreds of thousands of square feet across hundreds of rooms, hallways, lobbies and public areas.

That’s why the Cleveland Clinic, a vast medical complex that is one of the country’s top hospitals in a number of specialties, is now replacing all its fluorescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient, cheaper and environmentally friendly “green” light bulbs.

The project is said to be the largest hospital lightbulb-change operation ever.

The vast campus-wide retrofit, which will take months and which has created 20 new jobs, will replace 250,000 fluorescent lights in all of the system’s facilities with LED lights—which last up to ten years and are mercury-free.

Lighting accounts for 16 percent of Cleveland Clinic’s total energy use; the retrofit is projected to save the health system about $2 million annually in electricity consumption.

Medical groups spar over operating-room dress code

A statement issued earlier this summer by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) outlines what it considers proper hospital operating room (OR) attire—based on “professionalism, common sense, decorum and the available evidence.”

However, “In response to numerous calls from members and nonmembers,” the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) released its own statement on August 16 about the ACS statement:

“Of particular concern to AORN, and its membership, is the introductory statement, ‘The ACS guidelines for appropriate attire are based on professionalism, common sense, decorum, and the available evidence.’  Regulatory agencies, accrediting bodies, and patients expect health care organizations to follow guidelines that are evidence based rather than conclusions based on professionalism, common sense, or decorum.”

Does AORN have difficulty with professionalism, common sense or decorum?