PHARMACY

IoM releases report on ‘yardsticks’ to measure health, well-being

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Institute of Medicine on Wednesday released a report that identifies 20 health indicators policymakers, the media and the public can use as “yardsticks” to measure the overall health and well-being of Americans.

And going forward, taking an historical look at these health metrics may provide a score card of sorts to help measure the performance of public health and care systems, IOM added.

The 20 proposed indicators reflect a range of factors that determine well-being, including how many individuals engage in certain risky or healthy behaviors, how well patients fare from the care they receive, and to what extent health professionals and facilities are meeting specific goals. 

“This report takes an important step of capturing the health of the American people with a few key indicators,” said committee chair George Isham, medical director and chief health officer, HealthPartners. “Given the gap between the relatively low performance and high costs of our healthcare system, data that is readily accessible on the Internet will be of great value in devising strategies to close this gap. We believe this set of measures, as deployed by the State of the USA project, can help move the nation toward better health.”

Accordingly, data around these indicators will be warehoused in the health section of a new State of the USA Web site. The site will aim to help people become more-informed and active participants in national discussions about important health-related topics, IOM stated.

IOM’s Proposed Health Indicators:

• Life Expectancy at Birth

• Infant Mortality

• Life Expectancy at Age 65

• Injury-Related Mortality

• Self-Reported Health Status

• Unhealthy Days, Physical and Mental

• Chronic Disease Prevalence

• Serious Psychological Distress

• Smoking

• Physical Activity

• Excessive Drinking

• Nutrition

• Obesity

• Condom Use

• Health Care Expenditures

• Insurance Coverage

• Unmet Medical, Dental, and Prescription Drug Needs

• Preventive Services

• Preventable Hospitalizations

• and Childhood Immunization.

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Aurora to support Concordia University School of Pharmacy

BY Alaric DeArment

MEQUON, Wis. Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care will provide program support for Concordia University Wisconsin’s upcoming School of Pharmacy, Concordia officials announced Wednesday.

“It is important that we extend our resources to help ensure there are more opportunities to educate and train pharmacists in Wisconsin,” Aurora president and chief executive officer Nick Turkal said in a statement. “We have a longstanding commitment to find solutions to the challenges of health care, including the need to fill those positions where there are workforce shortages.”

One part of Aurora’s support involves letting Concordia pharmacy students work at Aurora pharmacies while its pharmacists serve as instructors at the school.

“We are excited with the news that Aurora Health Care will be partnering with us,” Concordia School of Pharmacy executive dean Curt Gielow said.

Concordia has raised $3 million of the $20 million it needs to build the pharmacy school by the 2011-2012 academic year, including $17 million to construct the building, Gielow said. The school will accept 50 to 75 students per class and train practitioner pharmacists to work in urban and rural areas.

The academic program will include a standard “2+4” program, comprising a two-year pre-pharmacy program and a four-year professional program, as well as a four-year bachelor of science degree program in pharmaceutical sciences.

Milwaukee is one of the largest cities in the country without a local pharmacy school.

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FDA grants waivers to Abaxis for point-of-care analyzers

BY Alaric DeArment

UNION CITY, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has given blood-analysis system manufacturer Abaxis a waived status for two analytes, creatine kinase and phosphorus, when used by healthcare professionals with the Piccolo and Piccolo Xpress point-of-care analyzers, Abaxis said last week.

The company said Thursday that as a result of the waived status, healthcare professionals have better access to the Renal Function and MetLyte 8 panels and can conduct this testing at the point-of-care under a certificate of waiver.

“The waiver of these two panels bolsters our already comprehensive offering to healthcare professionals, enabling them to conduct important testing at the point of care in order to manage patients in real time,” Abaxis chairman and chief executive officer Clint Severson said in a statement. “We believe rapid and accurate diagnostic testing can lead to improved patient care while reducing some of the administrative burden healthcare practices face on a daily basis.”

The panels are respectively used to determine renal function status and to assess several metabolic conditions across several medical specialties, including pediatrics and cardiology.

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