Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

How to Survive a Merger or Acquisition in Radiology

Published on the Jan. 28, 2016 DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Mergers and acquisitions have been a radiology conversation topic for several years. The number of practices melding hasn’t increased significantly, but it’s a possibility that concerns many.

If you’re facing this decision, industry experts have guidance on when it might be beneficial and what you can expect in 2016.

Reasons to Conjoin
There are several reasons for considering a merger or acquisition, according to Lawrence Muroff, MD, the chief executive officer and president of consulting firm Imaging Consultants, Inc., and radiology professor at the University of Florida and University of South Florida Colleges of Medicine,.

“Typically a merger or acquisition provides protection or is for the perceived or actual need to provide specialty expertise on an around-the-clock basis or for the opportunity to confront or negotiate with your hospital system to step-up and take responsibility for the entire system,” he said.

You’ll likely merge or acquire for one of these reasons:

To read the remainder of this article at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/how-survive-merger-or-acquisition-radiology


January 28, 2016 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anemia Linked to Restless Legs Syndrome in Lupus

Published on the Jan. 20, 2016 Rheumatology Network website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Anemia could increase the prevalence of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in patients with lupus, according to a new study.

The study analyzed the relationship between the frequency and intensity of restless legs syndrome and anemia. It’s a first-of-its-kind look at International RLS Study Group Rating Scale (IRLSSG-RS) scores and anemia in lupus patients. Existing research points to an inflammation/immune system dysfunction link with restless legs syndrome.

Researchers discovered higher restless legs syndrome prevalence in lupus patients than others. Findings suggested anemia was associated with more common, more severe restless legs syndrome in lupus patients. The study appeared in the Dec. 1, 2015 issue of International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Investigators divided 124 patients – 62 with lupus and 62 without – into two groups based on hemoglobin levels. Male anemia levels were less than 13 g/dL; less than 12 g/dL for females. Exclusion criteria were: diabetes, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, acute/chronic infection, chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency, malignancy, and smoking.

Participants were assessed for restless legs syndrome symptoms in face-to-face interviews.

A restless legs syndrome diagnosis required:

  • urge to move limps with senses of paresthesia/hysesthesia
  • need to move; feeling relief when moving
  • worsening symptoms when resting; relief when moving
  • worsening symptoms in evenings/nights

The average anemic lupus patients was 40 years old – 38 for the non-anemic. Twenty lupus patients had anemia; 42 didn’t. Nineteen (30.6 percent) lupus patients had RLS. Ten anemic lupus patients (50 percent) also had RLS – their IRLSSG-RS score was 14.5 +/- 9.9. Nine non-anemic lupus patients (21.4 percent) had RLS, and their IRLSSG-RS was 9.0 +/- 8.9. RLS was more prevalent in lupus patients than the control group – 14.5 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.

Among the anemic, 16 had iron deficiency, and four had chronic disease anemia. Seven iron deficient patients (43.8 percent) had RLS, as did three (75 percent) with chronic disease. Iron-deficient IRLSSG-RS scores were 14.4 +/- 10.2, and 14.5 +/- 9.9 for chronic disease.

Researchers noted the small anemic patient population as a limiting factor. They also didn’t further evaluate anemia causes.

To read the story at its original location: http://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/lupus/anemia-linked-restless-legs-syndrome-lupus

January 22, 2016 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , | Leave a comment

Shoes that Relieve Osteoarthritis Foot Pain

Published on the Jan. 20, 2016, Rheumatology Network website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

According to a new study, prefabricated foot orthoses and rocker sole footwear can effectively reduce peak pressure under the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) associated with osteoarthritis. However, they relieve pressure differently.

The study assessed how prefabricated foot orthoses and rocker sole footwear affected spatiotemporal parameters, hip and knee kinematics, and plantar pressures in first MTPJ OA patients. Findings were published in the Dec. 7, 2015, issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Researchers studied 88 spatiotemporal/kinematic and 87 plantar pressure participants. Patients had first MTPJ pain for at least 12 weeks, pain rated at least 20 mm on a 100 mm visual analogue scale, less than 64 degrees of first MTPJ dosiflexion range of motion, and pain upon first MTPJ dorsal aspect palpation. They walked household distances without walkers, crutches, or canes, avoided other interventions, stopped all pain medications, and submitted to two X-rays.

Researchers tested two interventions. A prefabricated foot orthoses group received full-length orthoses with cut-out sections beneath the first metatarsal and trimmed distal edges to the second and fifth toe sulci level. Participants with pronated feet received wedges to reduce their Foot Pressure Index scores. The rocker sole footwear group received appropriately-sized rocker sole shoes with rounded soles in an anteroposterior direction and a soft-cushioned heel.

During gait analysis, the prefabricated group wore their own shoes with and without orthoses, and the rocker sole group compared their regular shoes to rocker sole shoes. All participants walked 250 m and completed four, 8 m walking trials. Researchers recorded hip and knee joint range of motion with wireless, wearable sensors. The in-shoe Pedar system measured peak plantar pressure under the hallux, lesser toes, first MTPJ, second to fifth MTPJs, mid-foot and heel.

Orthoses increased lesser toes and midfoot peak pressure, as well as decreased first MTPJ pressure. Rocker sole shoes decreased peak pressure under the first MTPJ, second to fifth MTPJs, and heel. Findings suggested lesser toes, second to fifth MTPJs and mid-foot peak pressure were lower in rocker soles, but no difference existed in first MTPJ peak pressure.

Researchers found prefabricated orthoses redistributed loads away from the first MTPJ, likely by shifting it to the medial longitudinal arch during mid-stance and the lesser toes during propulsion. Rocker sole shoes reduced cadence and slowed velocity, producing a cautious gait and reducing sagittal plane hip motion. It also alleviates forefoot peak pressure (reducing pain), indicating rocker sole shoes could therapeutically benefit people with symptomatic first MTPJ osteoarthritis.

The study was limited, researchers said, because they couldn’t blind participants to intervention assignment, and observed changes are immediate effects only. Gait analysis also didn’t allow for in-shoe MTPJ kinematics assessment, and the wearable sensor motion analysis system is restricted to knee and hip sagittal plane evaluation.

To read the article at its original location: http://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/osteoarthritis/shoes-relieve-osteoarthritis-foot-pain

January 22, 2016 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , | Leave a comment

How Radiologists Can Get Along With Everyone

Published on the Jan. 14, 2016 DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

No radiologist, radiology practice, or department is an island. Without partners of all sorts, a radiologist cannot succeed. The inter-related nature of providing quality health care services and optimal patient care requires a well-tuned, communicative team made up of many members.

While your office colleagues are integral to a radiologist’s success, they can’t be the only other players to comprise the team. To be truly effective, radiologists must cultivate and maintain open relationships with other stakeholders – referring physicians, hospitals, technologists, and, most importantly, patients.

According to industry leaders, there are reasons behind why each relationship is important, as well as tactics you can use to strengthen each connection.

For the American College of Radiology (ACR), understanding and supporting ongoing relationships between radiologists and referring physicians or hospital administrations is vital to underscoring the most effective patient care possible. And, these groups always tell the ACR the same things when asked to name the most important characteristics of a successful, trustworthy radiology partner.

Every hospital surveyed reports the need for radiology partners that are aligned with the health systems’ overall goals – ones that take the time to unearth priorities, stumbling blocks, and upcoming efforts, according to Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, chair of the ACR Commission on Economics. Everyone is looking for a radiology group invested in the hospital’s long-term growth.

“Make sure you’re around and visible. Show up to medical staff meetings. Show up and commit to being an active participant with the intricacies of the hospital,” McGinty said. “Get to know the people you work with, and understand their challenges. Those are important things.”

There are several steps needed to reach this goal, she said. After discovering what’s important to them and committing the time and energy investment needed for a solid relationship, identify the people in your department or group you feel most comfortable sending in to talk with hospital administrators. Not everyone will be good for this job, but try not to rely on fewer than three people.

Most importantly, she said, pitch in and keep a positive attitude. Be part of any solution and never part of the problem.

“It’s a bad idea to assume what’s important to any other party. Don’t assume you know their wants and needs. Ask them,” McGinty said. “Spend your time learning about what they consider to be important and what their strategies are.”

To read the article published at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/how-radiologists-can-get-along-everyone

January 18, 2016 Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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