What’s new in health care news this week?
Diabetes everywhere. There’s an entire Health Affairs issue devoted to the topic of “Confronting the Growing Diabetes Crisis.” It looks at many interrelated issues, such as the personal financial burden of having diabetes over the course of a lifetime, whether it’s best to put scarce health care resources into focusing on prevention or treatment, models for community-based lifestyle programs for those with type 2 diabetes, the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act on giving those with diabetes access to affordable health insurance and crucial care, genetic factors related to type 2 diabetes, and a great deal more. Inevitably, many of the articles focus on type 2 diabetes, which is so closely linked to America’s obesity epidemic.
Joint studies. The New York Times reported this week on a large government study showing that, whatever one believes about marijuana’s psychological effects or the efficacy of its various medical uses, long-term marijuana smoking—at least one joint per day, every day of the year—does not impair lung function or contribute to the development of COPD. Will this change anyone’s mind about whether this drug is evil, a panacea for all ills, or somewhere in between? Probably not.
Unreported harm. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a report last week stating that only 14% of medical errors and other events that harm Medicare patients were reported by hospital employees. The report calls for improving reporting systems and the creation of a list of “potentially reportable events.” According to the New York Times story on the topic, adverse events that have gone unreported include “medication errors, severe bedsores, infections that patients acquire in hospitals, delirium resulting from overuse of painkillers and excessive bleeding linked to improper use of blood thinners.”
Which leads us (or does it?) into nursing blogs. Many of the ones in our blogroll have been pretty silent in the past few months, or longer, and it’s not clear why. Some bloggers are taking a break, some have burned out or decided to use their time for other things (like going back to school), some have simply decided to spend more time on Facebook or sharing their thoughts by ‘microblogging’ on Twitter (or are simply playing lots of Words With Friends on their smartphones). There are almost certainly many interesting new nursing blogs we don’t yet know about that are taking their places. If you know about them, please let us know. We need to take some time and do some digging. And we plan on doing a serious revision of the blogroll in the next few weeks.—JM, senior editor