Easier Drug Approval Isn’t Cutting Drug Prices
“It’s at least possible that if I know we’ve got to show actual, substantial benefits, or that it’s got to be novel in some way, that I might push harder,” says Dr. Steven Joffe, a pediatric oncologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
Soda ad blitzes conspicuously match food stamp schedules, study says
Food companies have embraced a controversial tactic in their quest to sell more soda, a new study says: timing advertisements for sugary drinks to the days states distribute food stamp benefits. On any given day, grocery shoppers are likely to see soda displays in stores, researchers found. But they are two to four times as likely to come across them when food stamps go out.
DACA program tied to health of U.S.-citizen kids
The U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, has spillover benefits for the health of the young children of DACA-eligible mothers, a recent study suggests. Researchers found that after DACA was implemented, there was a surge in enrollment of these U.S.-born kids aged 5 and younger in the national Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefit program.
E-cigarettes disappoint in a workplace quit-smoking study
It’s a big question for smokers and policymakers alike: Do electronic cigarettes help people quit? In a large study of company wellness programs, e-cigarettes worked no better than traditional stop-smoking tools, and the only thing that really helped was paying folks to kick the habit.
Want people to quit smoking? Offer them money.
E-cigarettes, on their own, don’t appear to be very good at saving lives. If you really want to get smokers to quit, you need to build an incentive structure. Consider a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study’s authors took some 6,000 smokers enrolled in tobacco-cessation programs through their employers and randomly divided them into five groups. The first received information about the health benefits of not smoking and motivational text messaging. The second received free cessation aids, such as nicotine patches or pharmacotherapy and, if those failed, free e-cigarettes. The third received free e-cigarettes upfront. And the final two received financial incentives — worth up to $600 — if they kept from smoking. The result six months later? Those receiving financial incentives were up to three times more likely to quit than those given free e-cigarettes.
Can Bundled Payments Help Control Health Care Costs?
The U.S. spends more per person on health care than any other major industrialized nation. In fact, costs now reach about 18% of GDP and so anything that can slow the climb – or reverse it – tends to get attention. One promising idea for blunting costs comes from new research on how Medicare experimented with bundled payments for knee and hip replacements. That saved about 5% of total costs. Beyond the monetary gain, that approach also appeared to raise the overall quality of care. Amol Navathe, a professor of medicine and health policy at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine, was part of the research team. He joined the Knowledge@Wharton show, which airs on Wharton Business Radio, SiriusXM channel 111, to discuss the findings.
Dr. Joshua Kayser (MBE 2014), 2018 "Doctor of the Year''
Congratulations to alum Dr. Joshua Kayser (MBE 2014) on receiving the 2018 "Doctor of the Year'' award at the CPL Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center!
The best flu prevention might be behavioral economics
“One of the best examples of a successful nudge was reported last year by University of Pennsylvania researchers who, with a simple tweak in the electronic medical record, increased vaccination rates by almost 40% relative to clinics that did not receive the tech change. The intervention was devastatingly simple: When doctors first logged in to a patient chart, they were prompted to either “accept” or “cancel” an order for the flu shot.”
Is it possible to change bad behavior - permanently?
“With the recently launched Behavior Change for Good Initiative, University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth and Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions Katherine Milkman are hoping to come up with strategies for change that actually stick. Working with a team of scientists from different disciplines, they’re conducting some of the largest social science experiments ever in an effort to create easy, affordable tools that help people make better daily and long-term decisions about their health, education and savings.”
Announcing New Medical Ethics Fellows
Three outstanding first-year postdocs will be joining the Division of Medical Ethics this summer.
Penn’s Bioethics Film Festival celebrates 200th anniversary of ‘Frankenstein’
“We have very high hopes that technologies like CRISPR will actually help us to address some terrible human afflictions,” said Moreno. “While at the same time, we worry that these hopes could be exploited by unscrupulous people, or that the consequences could be really terrible and set science back.”
Why Trump's comments on mental health have drawn attention to a Penn professor's work
Conversations on how American institutions interact with people struggling with mental illnesses have emerged once again following the Florida Parkland shooting. Experts across the country, including Penn’s bioethicists, have weighed in on solutions.
CMS is Leading the Way Toward Bundled Payments. Should It Be?
The irony of Price’s objection to mandatory payment bundles—that they are ‘experiments’—is the reason why many in healthcare like them. Doctors are scientists, and scientists experiment. ‘The beauty of the mandatory bundle for joint and cardiac procedures is that you basically have a randomized trial where you can see [whether] bundles increase the volume of procedures, [whether] hospitals are able to save money, and [whether] quality is maintained,’ Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, told HCA in an interview. ‘You get real data.’ Emanuel, the founding chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health and vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, takes credit for working behind the scenes to launch the OCM, and he has also published studies and opinion letters regarding the efficacy of the joint replacement bundles.
All Children Should Have to Get the Flu Shot
This raises the question, why don’t we mandate the flu vaccination, if not for all Americans, then at least for everyone under 18? After all, every state mandates that children get immunized for measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio before enrolling in kindergarten.
Association Between Playing American Football in the National Football League and Long-term Mortality
Is there an association between playing professional American football and long-term mortality? In a video interview, Atheendar Venkataramani discusses the findings of his recent study.
Ezekiel Emanuel: Are Hospitals Becoming Obsolete?
Hospitals are disappearing. While they may never completely go away, they will continue to shrink in number and importance. That is inevitable and good.
Opinion: How Trump’s behind-the-scenes cuts to Medicare spending will hurt health care
President Trump has proposed some modest steps to slow the apparently inexorable growth in Medicare entitlement spending, breaking with his campaign promise to leave alone government-funded programs for seniors.
Ezekiel Emanuel has been named a 2018 Dan David Prize Laureate.
The nine laureates of the 2018 Dan David Prize were announced on February 7th by Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University and Chairman of the Dan David Prize Board and Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, Chairman of the Dan David Foundation.
Far from being forgotten, the NFL’s ‘replacement players’ may help make football safer
There is considerable interest in this topic. The main concern is that injuries to the brain may shorten the lives of NFL players. Lifestyle choices, such as substance use (either during or after a player’s career), and the loss of purpose that can come after early retirement, are other factors that may also raise the risk of early death.
What’s In A Name: Will BPCI-Advanced Hold Back Or Advance Bundled Payment Policy?
On January 9, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI-Advanced), a forthcoming Medicare bundled payment program that pays physicians and health care organizations for a defined episode of care, instead of individual services, to encourage clinicians and hospitals to improve quality and lower costs.