Archive for October 28th, 2008

MD Age, Specialty Impact Care Post-MI

October 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Source: Canadian Med. Assoc. J., MedPageToday

Older physicians and non-cardiologists are less likely to prescribe proven effective medicines for patients that recently sustained a heart attack, according to a study published in this week’s Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Peter Austin and colleagues at the University of Toronto conducted the study. They reviewed administrative data from 132,778 myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients in Ontario between 1992 and 2005.

Overall, the scientists found a heartening rise in utilization of beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins in post-MI patients over the course of the study period. Prescriptions for these medications rose from 42.6%, 42% and 4.2% respectively at the beginning to about 80% for all three groups by 2005.

However, physicians that had practiced medicine for at least 29 years adopted best practices more slowly and in the end were 19% and 29% less likely to prescribe statins and beta-blockers than their younger colleagues.

Similarly, non-cardiologists were 18-54% less likely than cardiologists to discharge patients on these medications.

Medical evidence had established the efficacy of beta blockers by 1992. Final verdicts on ACE inhibitors and statins were nailed down by 1995 and 1998 respectively. In general, these drugs reduce mortality, reduce complications and improve functional status post-MI.

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Counting Clicks all the way to the Bank

October 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Source: Washington Post

Looking for companies positioned to weather the Great Economic Crisis of 2008? Pizaazz recently cited career networking sites like LinkedIn and Xing in this regard, but how about comScore, the Reston-based, publicly traded company that tracks consumer behavior on the Web?

comScore has created a large proprietary database by tracking the online behavior and monetary transactions of 2 million panelists. The panelists permit comScore to follow them around the Web in exchange for free Internet service or virus scans, and rights to participate in various contests. Panelists also participate in surveys which allow comScore to link information about attitudes and intentions to web search behavior. 

comScore then massages the data to create “insight” for several markets including automotive, financial services, pharmaceuticals and technology.

Its recent press releases convey the sorts of questions comScore can answer (and make money in so doing): “15 million people banked online in France in August,” “comScore ranks the top 50 US web properties for September,” “ More than half of Asia-Pacific internet users visited online gaming sites in August.”

The company’s reports have achieved sufficient cache to influence valuation exercises during M & A as was the case during the recent tie-up between Revolution Health and Waterfront Media. One time, they even affected the stock price of mighty Google. This occurred last February when comScore reported that paid search clicks, Google’s largest source of revenue, had tailed off around the Web. The search giant’s stock fell 5% on the news.

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For Sermo, it’s a Big Deal

October 28th, 2008 | No Comments | Source: Sermo

Sermo, a Cambridge-based social networking site for physicians, has reached an agreement with Bloomberg that gives financial analysts real-time access to the opinions of Joe the Doctor and 90,000 of his colleagues who have joined Sermo’s community.

The deal was announced late last week. It calls for the formation of The Healthcare Exchange, a new service that will be offered exclusively to the 280,000 analysts and investors worldwide who pay a premium for access to the Bloomberg Professional service. The Healthcare Exchange allows analysts and investors to post questions about drug therapies, medical devices and health care trends directly to Sermo’s physician community.

As they do regularly on Sermo, physician members will provide raw, unfiltered, iconoclastic responses based on their own personal experiences. The new information source, the parties propose, should complement the more tightly scrubbed, buttoned-down information flow that currently emanates from the academic medical community, pharmaceutical, biotech and device companies, and government agencies.

“The Healthcare Exchange tears down the barriers between those who need information and those who have it,” said Sermo CEO Daniel Palestrant, MD while announcing the initiative during last week’s Health 2.0 conference in San Francisco. “No small group of opinion leaders can compete with the ‘wisdom of the crowd.’” 

The announcement follows by just over a week the IOM’s decision to honor John Wennberg for his pioneering work in the area of evidence-based medicine.

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