NewsStand, July 20, 2023

NewsStand, July 20, 2023

By Iowa Hospital Association|
|July 24, 2023

Iowa news

Des Moines police CARE unit responded to 1,500 mental health crisis calls in first year

The Des Moines Police Department’s Crisis Advocacy Response Effort is one year old. Since it started, CARE has successfully responded to over 1,500 calls. When police receive a mental health crisis call, a mental health professional responds. That professional offers short-term crisis counseling and community resources, and more over the phone. A field response team responds in person if needed. (KCCI)

Iowa Cancer Consortium receives sponsorship to accelerate health equity initiatives

The Iowa Cancer Consortium, Iowa’s statewide comprehensive cancer coalition, was awarded a $70,000 sponsorship by biotechnology company Genentech. The sponsorship will support equity training and programmatic initiatives to equitably reduce the cancer burden in Iowa. According to the Iowa Cancer Registry, Iowa is the only state in the nation with a significant increase in cancer incidence from 2015-2019. It also has the second-highest cancer incidence of all states. A cancer diagnosis impacts Black Iowans at a much younger age compared to the white population. Iowa’s Black population has the highest cancer incidence rates of all racial and ethnic groups for those ages 50-79, whereas Iowa’s white population has the highest rate among those 80 and older. (Business Record)

Iowa family raises awareness about cleft palates

A nonprofit is looking to break a Guinness World Record to raise awareness for its efforts to support families with loved ones who have a cleft palate. Smile Train helps families pay for essential medical costs for patients like 16-year-old Hunter Fasse of Shell Rock. “I was born with lateral cleft lip and palate,” Fasse said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines cleft palate as a condition in which the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth doesn’t join together completely during pregnancy. It affects one out of every 1,700 babies. Fasse has had eight surgeries since he was 5 months old and will continue to need more surgeries as he grows up. (KCCI)

National news

Reevaluating service line strategies in light of operational realities

The many headwinds buffeting health systems should prompt leadership to revisit the strategic direction, goals and performance of their service lines and clinical programs. There have been significant — and likely permanent — structural shifts in operating costs, staffing and the options for where many procedures can be delivered. Health systems must address the reality of scarcities in financial resources, human resources and time. Those resources must be focused where they can generate the best return. Health systems have pursued service line strategies intended to drive differentiation and growth. The problem is that, in competitive markets, everyone’s doing the same thing. This has created a “trench warfare” environment, where a small gain in market share for one service line is often matched by a loss in market share in another. Organizations must determine where they offer a differentiated service line or clinical program that has real growth potential. (KaufmanHall)

Google’s health care AI on par with humans but not ready to see patients

Google’s generative artificial intelligence platform for health care is more than 90% accurate in making clinical decisions, on par with human providers. Answers from the Med-PaLM AI tool aligned with the scientific consensus 92.6% of the time, compared to 92.9% for real-life clinicians, according to a study by Google researchers. The extent of the possible harm from the decisions lined up as well: 5.9% for Med-PaLM and 5.7% for clinicians. But the large language model isn’t quite ready to be deployed in clinical settings, the study’s authors acknowledged. Mayo Clinic recently started testing Med-PaLM. (Nature)

Telehealth only reduces costs for certain types of diseases

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that telehealth did not reduce costs or the number of future visits for patients with circulatory, respiratory or infectious diseases. The researchers based their findings on patient visits from hospital outpatient clinics in Maryland from 2012 to 2021. Telehealth tools were effective at treating behavioral health conditions, metabolic disorders, dermatology and musculoskeletal disorders. Overall, the study did find that telehealth reduced outpatient costs by $239 per patient. But clinicians could not accurately observe heart and lung conditions or deal with infections over video. (UT News)

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