CVS Caremark discusses role of HIT
Concerning the effort to shift the nation’s healthcare system away from paper records and handwritten prescriptions toward a fully coordinated system linked through health information technology, CVS Caremark apparently gets it. The company’s leaders have shown a firm grasp of the potential for reaching patients — and keeping them involved in their own health and wellness regimen — through Internet-based tools like Google.
The U.S. healthcare system has evolved over more than two centuries from largely agrarian and small-town roots, where doctors made house calls and “chemists” compounded medicines and plasters for individual patients. Today, it’s a massive, complex patchwork of thousands of physician practices, hospitals, testing labs, clinics and pharmacies, most of which don’t talk to each other.
The result is a sprawling network of silos, most of them linked only indirectly with one another. Each may have a partial understanding of the patient’s condition, prescription drug intake, ancillary conditions, diet or lifestyle habits, but it’s rare for any single point of contact along that health care chain to have that patient in complete, real-time focus.
It’s like the old saw about a group of sightless men trying to describe what an elephant looks like by touch – one describes only the trunk, another only the flank, a third perhaps an ear. The picture that emerges of any patient within this uncoordinated health network is distorted and incomplete.
The strategists at CVS Caremark know that has to change. The company’s partnership with Google was a groundbreaking advance in health IT and integrated care, and its use of the web to survey employers and patients themselves is innovative and cutting-edge. No doubt, the company’s pharmacy and technology gurus will continue to come up with new ways to exploit the power of electronic recordkeeping and connectivity.
Reducing sugar, increasing fiber intake may curb Latino teens’ risk for Type 2 diabetes
CHICAGO Reducing sugar intake by the equivalent of one can of soda per day and increasing fiber intake by the amount equivalent to one half cup of beans per day appears to improve risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes in Latino adolescents, according to a report in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Almost 40% of Mexican American adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 were overweight or at risk for being overweight from 2003 to 2006, according to background information in the article.
“Latino children are more insulin resistant, and thus more likely to develop obesity-related chronic diseases than their white counterparts,” the authors wrote. “To date, only a few studies have examined the effects of a high-fiber, low-sugar diet on metabolic health in overweight youth, and to our knowledge, none have tested the effects of this type of intervention in a mixed-sex group of Latino youth.”
Emily Ventura of Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and colleagues conducted a 16-week study to examine if reductions in added sugar intake or increases in fiber intake would affect risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes in 54 overweight Latino adolescents (average age 15.5). Participants were split into three groups: control, nutrition (receiving one nutrition class per week) or nutrition plus strength training (receiving one nutrition class per week along with strength training twice a week).
The results: 55% of participants decreased their sugar intake by an average of 47 grams per day (equal to the sugar in one can of soda) and 59% increased their fiber intake by an average of 5 grams per day (equal to the fiber in a half cup of beans) across all intervention groups, including controls. Participants who decreased their sugar intake had an average 33% decrease in insulin secretion and those who increased their fiber intake had an average 10% reduction in visceral adipose tissue volume.
“A reduction in visceral fat indicates a reduction in risk for Type 2 diabetes, considering that to a greater degree than total body fat, visceral fat [fat surrounding the internal organs] has been shown to be negatively associated with insulin sensitivity,” the authors noted. “Our results suggest that intensive interventions may not be necessary to achieve modifications in sugar and fiber intake. Accordingly, nutritional guidance given in the primary care or community setting may be sufficient to promote the suggested dietary changes in some individuals. … In addition, policies that promote reduced intake of added sugar and increased intake of fiber could be effective public health strategies for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes in this high-risk population.”
Zak Designs launches Snow White products
SPOKANE, Wash. Zak Designs on Monday announced the launch of a line of products that showcase Snow White and her seven friends to correspond with the fall release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the Disney Vault on Blu-ray hi-def and DVD.
The products feature traditional artwork.