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Pertussis more common among older adults than previously thought, GSK study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — While pertussis is often considered a childhood disease, a new study from GlaxoSmithKline indicates it’s a lot more common among older adults than commonly reported.

The study, released Thursday at the 2013 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, estimated that the actual number of pertussis cases among adults ages 50 years to 64 years was about 520,000 this year, as opposed to the 8,764 cases that were treated, and about 465,000 among those ages 65 years and older, despite the 6,359 cases treated.

In other words, that means about 202 cases per 100,000 adults ages 50 years to 64 years, and 257 per 100,000 among those ages 65 years and older — about 42 to 105 times higher than those that are medically attended.

"The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], other public health authorities and infectious disease experts have long suspected that pertussis cases in adults go undetected or are misdiagnosed as other respiratory ailments," GSK Vaccines VP and director of scientific affairs and public health Leonard Friedland said. "To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to quantify the incidence of cough illness attributed to B. pertussis via regression modeling among those greater than 50 years old."

 

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Study: NPs strengthening focus on promoting patient adherence

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — With physicians already in short supply and millions of uninsured Americans set to enter the healthcare system in 2014 as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act takes effect, nurses and physician assistants are stepping up to fill the gap and are increasingly taking a central role in helping patients stay on therapy, according to Manhattan Research’s "Taking the Pulse Nurses 2013" study.

"Nurse practitioners are playing a key role in driving medication adherence while using a variety of support tools, including digital support and services," Shawn Dimantha, principal analyst at Manhattan Research, stated.

Promoting adherence to treatment is becoming all the more important to providers and health systems in light of the healthcare reform-fueled shift toward outcomes-based reimbursement. The study, for which Manhattan Research surveyed 909 practicing U.S. nurses and physician assistants, found that:

  •  Nearly 9-out-of-10 NPs provide patients resources to help them stay on track with their medicines, and 3-out-of-10 NPs have referred them to such digital adherence tools as websites or apps
  • Almost half of NPs said the time they spend on patient education has increased over the past two years
  • More than 3-out-of-5 NPs said patient outcomes will be a top priority in their practice for the next one to two years

"As NPs spend more time on patient education, there is an opportunity for pharma to extend services beyond the pill, including providing more engaging online patient education materials and tools that help patients stay on their medication,” Dimantha stated.
 

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Abbott named top healthcare company in Dow Jones Sustainability Index

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Dow Jones has named Abbott an industry group leader in its 2013 Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Abbott said Thursday.

The drug maker said it achieved the top spot among healthcare companies and was one of only 24 companies selected for leading their respective industries, chosen from among 3,000 companies worldwide.

The company was recognized for innovation management, supply chain management, stakeholder engagement, customer relationship management, environmental reporting, human capital development, talent attraction and retention, labor practices and human rights, social reporting, strategy to improve access to drugs or products, corporate citizenship and philanthropy and health outcome contribution.

 

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