Health Minute

3-D Printers Take on Challenge of Printing a Human Heart

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3D printers have been used to make splints, valves, and even human skin and an ear. Now this innovative technology is targeting a major new goal: to create an entire heart, using a patient’s own cells, that could be transplanted. A heart built with a patient’s cells would sidestep the rejection problems associated with the current practice of using donor organs or a completely artificial heart, and eliminate the need for powerful anti-rejection drugs that have many negative side effects.

FDA Proposes New Common Sense Rules on Medical Tech -Health Minute

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The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new rules on how health tech products should be regulated—or not. In a new report, the agency outlines three new categories, from high to low risk, based on potential risk to patient safety rather than on the tech platform used, as in previous practice.

U.S. Health Care Versus the World: The Big Picture -Health Minute

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As the enrollment deadline at the end of this month for the Affordable Care Act draws near, the facts, figures, and comments from all sides are flying throughout the media sphere. It might be exactly the moment to look again at the big picture of U.S. health care as measured against that of the rest of the world, and remember why radical reform of the American health system was thought to be urgent in the first place.

CT Leads in Overcoming ACA Enrollment Problems- Health Minute for February 20, 2014

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One state has figured out how to resolve the problems that have afflicted the new health insurance marketplaces mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut’s exchange has reached 238 percent of its target for enrollment, according to a state-by-state scorecard by the Department of Health and Human Services that shows how federal and state exchanges are performing. By contrast, Massachusetts, with a health insurance program similar to the ACA in place for years before the ACA was passed, has met only five percent of its target.

Hospital Fees More Related to Reputation and Market Share Than Quality - Health Minute for January 30, 2014

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The medical insurance industry has long argued that hospital pricing is the major driver behind health care premiums. A new report looks at why some hospitals have more negotiating power than others when it comes to setting fees for inpatient services. It also confirms what many have suspected: that hospitals charging higher prices do not necessarily rank higher in quality of care than lower-priced hospitals.

How Patient Engagement is Changing Health Care Practice - Health Minute for December 9, 2013

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Poorly informed decisions about health care add to the nation’s healthcare costs. The Institute of Medicine has estimated the price of unnecessary medical care at over $200 billion annually. A recent article in Modern Healthcare finds that 50 years of research exploring the impact better-informed and engaged patients have on medical decision making has real benefits for patients' health—and to their wallets and pocketbooks.

New Health Industry Business Models Driven by Expanded Care - Health Minute for November 25, 2013

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More doctors, health systems, and insurers are expanding the role of health care, from the hospital into patients’ homes and their daily lives. The aim is to keep patients with chronic conditions, nearly half of U.S. adults, out of the emergency room or hospital. Chronic diseases are among the most common, and costly, contributors to the nation's rising healthcare costs. Adults with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes account for 75% of American healthcare spending, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Affordable Care Act Injects Investment into Software Sector - Health Minute for November 14, 2013

Press Release

The Affordable Care Act expects to add, eventually, millions of new customers to the health insurance sector. It is also attracting millions of investment dollars into software startups that aim to help the newly insured manage their personal health, reports the Wall Street Journal. Venture capitalists have invested $948 million in 144 health-tech companies in the first nine months of this year. That’s 16 percent more than was invested in all of 2012, according to the National Venture Capital Association.

Single-Payer Health Plan to be Launched by Vermont - Health Minute for November 4, 2013

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Some form of a universal health care system is in place in all developed countries in the world, except the U.S. Now, the state of Vermont is pioneering a government-funded model with a planned 2017 launch of the nation’s first, state-level universal health care system. The effort has been sparked by upheavals in current health care, by decreases in both the coverage and the quality of employee health insurance offerings, and by the uncertainties of offerings and terms in the new Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Air Pollution Causes Lung Cancer: New WHO Report - Health Minute for October 24, 2013

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Air pollution has been confirmed as a cause of lung cancer, joining tobacco, asbestos, and ultraviolet radiation on the list of certified cancer agents. This confirmation comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a unit of the World Health Organization. The IARC had earlier identified components of air pollution such as diesel fumes to be carcinogens, but last week’s decision is the first time that air pollution in its entirely has been designated as cancer causing.

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