HEALTH

Schering-Plough rolls out new antifungal spray

BY Michael Johnsen

KENILWORTH, N.J. Schering-Plough Consumer Healthcare on Tuesday launched Tinactin Chill, an antifungal spray for the treatment of athlete’s foot.

The new antifungal is available in two formulations, liquid spray and deodorant powder spray.

With the product launch, Schering-Plough is targeting first time athlete’s foot sufferers, which are primarily young males ages 14 to 22.

“Research shows that experiencing athlete’s foot for the first time can be very frightening and intimidating for young men,” stated John O’Mullane, group VP, research and development, Schering-Plough  Consumer Healthcare. “Our research indicated that to reach this age group we would need to go beyond the traditional methods of communication with our customers.”

Accordingly, Schering-Plough developed www.meettheburns.com, a site that features a series of “Webisodes” highlighting the fictitious Burns family and a character named “Gus” representing fungus. Each segment presents an athlete’s foot treatment message in a situation comedy style that is entertaining and identifies well with teens.

“Many young men are reluctant to talk about their situation when they first experience athlete’s foot,” O’Mullane said. “However, they often seek information on the Internet. By developing this Web site, we can reach young men and help inform them and their parents that there are effective and easy to use treatments for this common condition.”

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RelayHealth collaborating with CDC to provide H1N1 information

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA RelayHealth, a provider of healthcare connectivity services, is helping healthcare providers cope with the recent outbreak of influenza A (H1N1), and aiding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with monitoring of influenza antiviral prescribing activity nationwide via an authorized prescription data feed, the company announced Monday.

“Our hope is that the H1N1 threat continues to moderate,” stated Jim Bodenbender, RelayHealth’s SVP and general manager. “But whatever the threat level, our secure online interactive tools are available to assist physicians enrolled on the RelayHealth network to keep their patients informed of the latest credible health information at any time.” 

Already, physicians are using RelayHealth’s HIPAA-compliant interactive service to broadcast messages securely over the Internet to their patients about the symptoms of H1N1 influenza and what to do if those patients think they have the disease, RelayHealth reported. RelayHealth has also made available H1N1 flu educational content on its network, which doctors can transmit to their patients

And RelayHealth’s Pharmacy Solutions Group is contributing to the national effort to track and limit the spread of the H1N1 flu by providing the CDC with a HIPAA-compliant data feed of antiviral prescriptions filled by a cross-sectional sample from more than 35,000 major chains, regional chains and independent pharmacies throughout the U.S. that have allowed their information to be shared.

RelayHealth provides the CDC with this authorized data feed every four hours, the company stated. On average, RelayHealth sends 400,000 to 500,000 prescription records daily to the CDC.

According to RelayHealth, the agency uses this data to monitor influenza antiviral prescribing activity across the country and shares the data with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Our ability to swiftly assemble the data on antiviral prescriptions for the CDC is playing a role in the nation’s emergency preparedness effort,” stated Jeff Felton, president of RelayHealth’s Pharmacy Solutions Group.

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ASGE: Electronic diagnosis provided inaccurate results for Barrett’s esophagus patients

BY Michael Johnsen

OAK BROOK, Ill. In a review of more than 2,000 patients coded for Barrett’s esophagus, electronic diagnosis overestimated the prevalence of the disease, according to researchers in California, the American Society for Gastroinestinal Endoscopy announced last week.

According to the review, researchers found that only 61.9% of patients assigned a billing diagnosis code for Barrett’s esophagus actually had Barrett’s esophagus after a manual record review.

The misdiagnosis could potentially undermine or skew future research into patients diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus, a condition where the lining of the esophagus changes due to chronic inflammation, generally from gastroesophageal reflux disease. Definitive diagnosis requires a biopsy, taken at upper endoscopy, demonstrating replacement of the normal cell lining with one more like the cell lining of the small intestine. This is also known as intestinal metaplasia. Barrett’s esophagus itself has no specific symptoms, but this change can increase the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer).

Researchers concluded that electronic coding alone overestimates the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus, and most clinical and research uses will require a manual verification of disease status.

The study appears in the May issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the ASGE.

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