Despite Progress, Opioids Are Still Overprescribed—and a Threat to Public Safety

Despite Progress, Opioids Are Still Overprescribed—and a Threat to Public Safety

Campaigns to reduce prescriptions for opioid medications have been recognized as a good step forward, but we’re still a long way from bringing prescribing rates down to an appropriate level according to data newly released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. One problem recognized in the report is a shortage of relevant, specific guidelines. This is especially true when it comes to prescribing pain medications for patients who have undergone certain procedures …

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Health Systems Are Pleading with Flu Patients to Go to Urgent Care

Health Systems Are Pleading with Flu Patients to Go to Urgent Care

Emergency rooms around the country are so crowded these days that they’re urging patients with symptoms of influenza to go to urgent care centers instead of the ED, unless they’re experiencing shortness of breath, debilitating cough, or other serious concerns. Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio, for one, announced in the local media that due to a surge in flu cases patients with symptoms should contact their primary care providers or head directly to an urgent …

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As 2019 Ended, Flu Deaths Topped 2,000—and Infection Rates Are Picking Up Steam

As 2019 Ended, Flu Deaths Topped 2,000—and Infection Rates Are Picking Up Steam

Shortly before New Year’s Eve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that influenza has claimed the lives of some 2,000 people in the U.S. this season. Nearly every state was reporting elevated activity. In total, as of that time, there were at least 3.7 million confirmed cases since October 1; 32,000 have required hospitalization. Most patients are infected with a strain called B/Victoria that normally doesn’t appear until the end of flu season. Since the …

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Telehealth May Be Going Retail—But Is That Good for Patients?

Telehealth May Be Going Retail—But Is That Good for Patients?

Shoppers at H-E-B grocery stores were presented with a whole new product recently: telehealth “visits” with offsite healthcare providers. The chain is partnering with Reliant Immune Diagnostics, which has placed their MDBox telehealth platform in select H-E-B locations. For a charge of up to $50, shoppers can answer a few questions about their symptoms on MDBox before being connected to an off-site provider. That provider then makes whatever diagnosis they think is appropriate—and “writes” a …

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Urgent Care Is Attracting More Migraine Patients; Be Sure You Know the Guidelines

Urgent Care Is Attracting More Migraine Patients; Be Sure You Know the Guidelines

An article just published in Neurology Advisor notes that the ongoing growth of the urgent care industry has led more and more patients with migraine to visit urgent care centers instead of the emergency room, where “long wait times, bright lights, loud noises, and stress over cost of treatment associated with emergency departments…can exacerbate migraine symptoms.” At the same time, the authors suggest that greater adherence to current treatment guidelines from the American Headache Society …

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Make 2020 the Year Urgent Care Becomes Known for Excellent Antibiotic Stewardship

Make 2020 the Year Urgent Care Becomes Known for Excellent Antibiotic Stewardship

Urgent care has received more than its fair share of criticism in light of healthcare-wide overprescribing of antibiotics. While much of that discussion reflects misperceptions about our industry, clearly all healthcare settings need to be held accountable for improving their decisions to ensure antibiotics are prescribed only when necessary. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continuing to re-evaluate their data on just how many antibiotic-resistant infections occur (with too many proving to be …

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How Measles Forced One School District to Issue an Ultimatum: Get Vaccinated or Stay Home

How Measles Forced One School District to Issue an Ultimatum: Get Vaccinated or Stay Home

Influenza isn’t the only vaccine-preventable disease wreaking havoc on communities across the country. Thirty-one states, from Maine to Hawaii, have seen confirmed cases of measles this year. In Seattle, the threat is seen as so great that the public school system has drawn a line in the sand: If your child hasn’t been vaccinated against measles, they’re not allowed to return to school after the winter holiday break. Days missed as a result will be …

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Telemedicine May Offer New Opportunities to Reach Kids in the Community—and Even in School

Telemedicine May Offer New Opportunities to Reach Kids in the Community—and Even in School

It’s hard on everyone—teachers, parents, and certainly children—when a student feels ill in the middle of the school day. And if the school nurse thinks the patient needs more care than she provide, Mom or Dad has to leave work and get their offspring in to see the pediatrician ASAP. Children in the Salamanca City Central School District in New York don’t even need to leave the campus to be seen by a physician or …

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New Data Reinforce the Need for Urgent Care to Differentiate from Freestanding EDs

New Data Reinforce the Need for Urgent Care to Differentiate from Freestanding EDs

It’s widely recognized that while freestanding emergency rooms are perfectly good places to go for walk-in care, the cost associated with that care is exorbitant compared with urgent care (and even more so compared with primary care or retail clinics). The problem is compounded by the fact that many patients who visit freestanding EDs think they’re walking into an urgent care center and are later hit with surprise bills. A new study in Academic Emergency …

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Crain’s Health Pulse Lauds the Last Decade for the ‘Rise of Urgent Care’

Crain’s Health Pulse Lauds the Last Decade for the ‘Rise of Urgent Care’

With the decade about to come to a close, Crain’s Health Pulse considered what some of the biggest healthcare stories of the 2010s were—concluding that the ongoing “rise of urgent care” is significant among them. A Look Back at the 2010s: The Rise of Urgent Care notes that what made the period of 2010–2019 so good for urgent care as a business model is likely to spur further growth in 2020 and beyond. Where evolving …

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