So long sepsis?

Sepsis is the leading cause of death in American hospitals, claiming over 700 patients per day. So wouldn’t it be nice if there were something care providers could do about it? Two large-scale studies are trying to figure that out with a cure that’s so (relatively) simple and cheap, some are calling it snake oil. Dr. Paul Marik began treating his sepsis patients with a cocktail of Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and corticosteroids, and observed remarkable sepsis reversals in many of the patients he treated with the mix. The implications of this proposed treatment are more dramatic than the most dramatic panda ever. So the two studies are trying to get funds and patients recruited ASAP to see if the science really stands up to scrutiny.

Amazon puts drugs back on the shelf

The healthcare industry can breathe a little easier, at least for now. Amazon has backed off on its plans to sell pharmaceutical products to hospitals. Logistical concerns are part of the pull-back, which is kind of surprising since that’s like Amazon’s whole thing, right? Turns out, cold chain is hard. It’s actually more than just that—while Amazon certainly has brand recognition to go around, not even it can disrupt loyal vendor relationships maintained between hospitals, drug distributors, and group purchasing organizations. Pharmacies and drug distributor stocks went up after the announcement, but they better keep their heads on a swivel—there’s still that health venture with Berkshire and JPMorgan to be worried about. Last we heard, they were on a CEO search.

“It’s the prices, stupid”

That’s really the name of a 2003 paper that explains health care spending is so high in the US because the prices for health care are so high, stupid. 14 years later the story still rings true—the per unit cost of health services hasn’t shifted much. Vox, in an effort to get a scope of these prices across the nation, is asking readers to send in their emergency facility fee (think: what the hospital charges to keep their lights on waiting for you to break your toe) to crowdsource the cost of that specific unit price. It’s an interesting idea since hospitals don’t advertise their ED admission fees. Telling patients they have to pay at least $500 beforehand typically isn’t the best look after all.

NHS may wanna cry about this one

A huge cyberattack hit dozens of countries over the past week. British National Health Services were hit particularly hard, leaving healthcare workers without patient data, which forced hospitals to cancel procedures. The attack used “ransomware” to get into computers, encrypt data, and then forced people to pay up in untraceable currency before giving the files back. Basically, imagine someone breaking into your office, putting a lock on your file cabinet, and refusing to give you the key until you leave money next to the stump in that seedy park you never see any kids at during the day. The attack is still ongoing, but if you’ve updated your Windows system past XP (which NHS hadn’t,) you’re probably fine.

Medicare over(under)sight

Hospitals must report the number of hospital-originated patient infections to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is mandated because, according to a 2016 report (paywall warning), medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. No way?!? Way. Medicare is then supposed to review and investigate suspicious reports—ones that hint of under-reporting. But why would a healthcare facility under-report these figures, you ask? Because results are made public and hospitals receive financial bonuses or penalties based on their numbers. A recent investigation by the Office of the Inspector General reported that the vast majority of hospitals they sampled passed inspection, but CMS needs to rely more heavily on data analytics to identify likely offenders. If you ever think InsightCity is behaving unethically, let us know. We’ll investigate ourselves and get back to you. Trust us.