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Clinical Accuracy Spoken Here
Chronic Pain Often Inadequately Treated

According to the National Center for Health Statistics one in four U.S. adults say they suffered a day-long bout of pain in the past month. One in ten say the pain lasted a year or longer. The associated costs of pain are posing a great burden on the health care system. Pain is now recognized by the medical community as a disease entity with serious individual and societal impact. The prevalence of inadequate pain management in patients is well documented. It is estimated that 75% of patients with advanced cancer experience moderate to severe pain. An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report states that 40% of people at the end of life have severe, unrelieved pain. This pain can be controlled in the majority of cases with current pain management medications and techniques, so why isn't it?

Athena Forum, Pain Management: Module A www.athenaforum.com

OA and RA Very Different Diseases

While there are similarities in the initial presentation, it is important for CMs to understand the differences between OA and RA. Although both may result in joint pain they are very different diseases. OA is a localized degenerative condition. In contrast, RA is a systemic, autoimmune disease that affects the synovial lining of joints and other selected body tissues. See Module B, page 6 of the RA Course for a Table of "Key Differences" between OA and RA, including age of onset, primary joints involved and characteristics of joints and associated pain.

Athena Forum, RA: Module B
Excellence in Case Mgmnt

Strategies to Reduce Hospital Costs: Physician Practice Profiling

Physician Practice Profiling looks at the way physicians practice medicine and at their practice decisions. A lot of physicians continue to practice medicine the way they were taught, regardless of whether there is research evidence to support that practice. If these habits are perpetuated in a teaching hospital, the residents may carry on the same tradition. Practice behaviors based on habit rather than evidence adds unnecessary clinical risk, can jeopardize outcomes and add costs to an already inflated healthcare system. The only way to reduce risk and expenses is to improve use of resources, which means changing the way physicians practice medicine. Other strategies to reduce hospital costs have not been effective.

[Reference: Athena Forum, Patient Advocacy and Care Standards: Module B]

In the Headlines . . .

CDC Advises Whooping Cough Vaccination for Health Care Workers

According to the CDC, more than 21,000 people got whooping cough in 2010, many of them children and teens. The disease is very contagious and in rare cases can be fatal, especially for babies too young to be vaccinated. Health officials believe contagious adolescents are a worrisome threat to vulnerable infants. Because a whooping cough vaccine for adolescents and adults was not licensed until 2005, vaccination rates for those groups are much lower. Estimates are that only 6 percent of adults are fully immunized. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the whooping cough vaccine for all adults who are around infants. On February 23, 2011, the committee voted to alter vaccination guidance to make it clear that all health care workers should get the whooping cough vaccine.

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JSPH & Athena Forum – Partners in Chronic Care
Master’s Degree
in Chronic Care Management

Managing chronic illness is the key to true healthcare reform.

No matter what its appearance – diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer or COPD – chronic disease is the greatest contributor to the cost of healthcare in the United States.

The Jefferson School of Population Health’s online Master of Science in Chronic Care Management (MS-CCM) stresses chronic illness prevention and wellness, integrates evidence-based guidelines, includes behavioral health concerns, and appreciates cultural and individual variation.

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The look of confidence
  CM Excellence® Series: 
  » Principles of Case
  » Patient Advocacy
  » Utilization Management
  » Discharge Planning
  » Hospital Revenue Cycle

  Clinical Series: 
  » Asthma
  » Behavioral Health
  » Colorectal Cancer
  » COPD
  » CV Risk: Stroke & MI
  » Diabetes
  » EOL & Palliative
  » GI Disorders
  » Heart Failure
  » Multiple Sclerosis
  » Obesity Management
  » Pain Management
  » Rheumatoid Arthritis
  » Women’s Health



Cathy Wright Cathy Wright, BSN, RN
Clinical Editor
Athena Forum


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