Health Care Quality & Statistics News of the Week, 3/19/14

By | March 19, 2014

Good morning!  

In a (hopefully non-feeble) attempt to increase the utility of this post, I’m adding two sections — a “conferences, scholarships & awards” area, and a “Michigan legislative update” area. The former will help better identify professional-development opportunities — feel free to send me stuff to add to the list! — and the latter is for my colleagues in the Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality. 

On deck this week …. 

Health Care Quality

  • Let the children rejoice: There’s some evidence that the “five-second rule”  — that you can safely eat food you dropped on the floor if you picked it up within five seconds — isn’t purely myth. Still not a good idea, though.
  • A study published in PLOS ONE suggests that preventive  home visits for the elderly aren’t associated with differences in mortality or independence, although the evidence isn’t conclusive and some experts have pushed back on the findings.
  • Last week, CMS ordered insurers to accept Ryan White premium assistance, and other such support from federal programs. The rule waived the normal public-comment period. Yet CMS also urges insurers to reject premium assistance from hosptials, drug companies and device makers.
  • The push to recognize HF as being of “ominous prognostic importance” to diabetes care continues. Experts recently weighed in on the deep ties between diabetes and HF.  [Registration required to view link.]
  • A study in JAMA Surgery suggests that quality data in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program are unreliable measures of performance.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges has released a list of principles for providers to use to evaluate the various quality-of-care grading/ranking schemes. In essence, It’s a checklist for docs to determine whether a particular grading system is, itself, up to par.
  • The AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative recently released a guide explaining the value of integrating behavioral health services across the continuum of care. The guide includes several frameworks and some starting points to improve integration.
  • Code Black: Proposed rules would significantly increase the disaster-response capability of most health care facilities. Some argue the rule doesn’t go far enough; others suggest that the current proposed rule will cost $225 million nationally in the first year alone.
  • The NQF is currently in a 14-day review period for the proposed roster of person- and family-centered care measures. Comments end Mar. 27.

Statistics & Methodology

  • The ASA’s Quality and Productivity Section will have a “history of the section” poster at this year’s JSM. We have a great resource about the section’s early days thanks to a 1990 article in The American Statistician, courtesy of Gerry Hahn, Tom Boardman and David Fluharty. If any of you have some historical wisdom to share — anecdotes, minutes, photos — I’d love to incorporate them into the poster presentation and also on Q&P’s forthcoming history page  on our section’s website.
  • Mia Stephens shares some useful info on fitting continuous or discrete distributions in JMP.
  • The sharing and consumption of online media isn’t what we think it is, apparently.
  • The newest versions of JMP Clinical and Genomics are available as of this week. Richard Zink shares seven aspects of the product that he finds useful.
  • The Data Science Association released its 3/16/14 newsletter.
  • Flavio Barros shares some MOOCs and other courses to learn R. Meanwhile, Joseph Rickert has collected a “meta” book of free online reference guides to learning different aspects of R.
  • … And if you missed some good R-related blog posts, see the February round-up

Conferences, Scholarships & Awards

  • The March 21 deadline for application to the Mary G. and Joseph Natrella Scholarship, offered by the Quality and Productivity Section of the American Statistical Association, is fast approaching. Recipients receive a $3,500 grant, a $500 travel stipend, complimentary registration to the Joint Research Conference in Quality, Industry and Technology … and more. Application is open to full-time students in master’s or doctoral programs who have a demonstrated interest in the application of statistics to quality and productivity.
  • The Joint Research Conference — a mix of the Quality and Productivity Research Conference (ASA Q&P Section) and the Spring Research Conference ( ASA SPES) — will take place June 24-26 on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle. The theme is “Statistics and Quality in a Data Rich World.” Douglas Hawkins is the honoree. Visit the conference website for more info.  Contributed papers are accepted through April 15.
  • The Third Workshop on Biostatistics and Bioinformatics will be held May 9-11 at Georgia State University, Atlanta. Xihong Lin of Harvard will keynote. Registration is now open. See the conference website for more information. The goal of this event is to stimulate research and foster interaction in these two subject areas. 

Michigan Legislative Update – Health Policy

  • The Senate Health Policy committee meets at 2:30 p.m. on March 20. Two bills are on the agenda. HB 5136 would create a uniform mental health release form. HB 4865 would allow dental services provided in a mobile dental facility.
  • A package of bills have been introduced in the House (HB 54045405/5407) and the Senate (SB 858/859/860) to permit docs to prescribe and pharmacists to dispense opioid antagonists including naloxone hydrochloride to friends/family of people at risk for a heroin overdose. The bills would also require EMS personnel to carry and be trained in the use of these drugs, and to grant immunity to docs and pharmacists who prescribe/dispense/possess/administer the drugs to someone who they may believe to be at risk for heroin or an opioid-related overdose. The bills have been referred to their respective committees. Visit Michigan Votes to search for the bills if you want to learn more. 

Notes from Jason

  • Do you have any good references (blogs, RSS feeds, etc.) I can use to augment my normal list of sources for this message? For example, I’m heavy on R material but not so much for SAS, and that’s not a function of partisanship on my part.

 Have a safe and happy week!

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