Study Finds Increase in Online-Purchased Health Plans
As the U.S. healthcare system attempts to move forward with recent government-mandated changes and states begin to create healthcare exchanges, a DestinationRx study indicates an increasing amount of consumers are taking to the Internet to shop for healthcare coverage. Between 2008 and 2010, a 23% shift occurred between the number of people who purchased via a call center and those who shopped online.
Due to new healthcare reform laws, states have until September 1, 2014, to create insurance exchanges. For more information, visit http://govhealthit.com/newsitem.aspx?nid=74657.
New Research Finds Antibiotic Use Has Detrimental Side Effects
A recent Reuters report details a 10-month study performed on three women who were given the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Researchers found the antibiotic greatly suppressed beneficial bacteria living in the gut. After giving each participant a five-day regimen of antibiotics, researchers used daily stool and DNA sampling to conclude that the effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, according to study authors Les Dethlefsen and David Relman of Stanford University in California.
The antibiotics reduced the amount of beneficial bacteria in each case, and one woman’s bacteria count took months to recover. This study appears to support the growing belief that humans are positively affected by their symbiotic relationship with bacteria.
Antibiotics also have been linked to inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s Disease. The researchers suggest that regularly decimating bacteria populations using antibiotics could be helping to fuel the recent upswing in drug-resistant superbugs.
For the full report, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE68C57W20100913.
Healthcare-Associated Infections on the Decline
A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) between 2004 and 2007 has declined significantly, according to www.medpagetoday.com. In 2004, the study found that 2.3 infections per 1000 hospital stays were reported. However, only 2.03 infections (or .02%) of all hospital stays were reported in 2007. Rates of infection dropped across the board, with every subgroup studied finding declines.
While the AHRQ report itself did not offer an explanation of the results, many experts attribute the drop to better adherence to guidelines for the treatment and prevention of HAIs. For more information, see the article at www.medpagetoday.com or the report at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov