Optic neuritis treatments vary greatly for NMO and MS

Did you miss the July 18th issue of the Ophthalmology Times eReport? In this e-newsletter we released information on optic neuritis treatments, the Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) summer symposium, transcorneal electrical stimulation, and more. Check out the articles in this issue below.

Optic neuritis treatments vary greatly for NMO and MS

Optic neuritis in juvenile neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a potentially blinding disease in pubescent and post-pubescent patients in the French West Indies. The treatments used for relapses of the disease and prevention are not well defined; however, they are very different from those used to treat patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The critical need is to be able to differentiate between MS and NMO before treatment is initiated to preserve the visual and motor functions of those young patients, according to Rabih Hage, MD. Read more

Oral uveitis agent set for phase III trial

Patient enrollment has been completed for a phase III clinical trial of oral voclosporin (Luveniq, Lux Biosciences) for the treatment of non-infectious uveitis. Read more

Ophthalmic Women Leaders partners with Women in Ophthalmology for WIO Summer Symposium

Ophthalmic Women Leaders (OWL) is participating in the Women in Ophthalmology (WIO) summer symposium in Williamsburg, VA. Read more

RP studies look at implants and transcorneal electrical stimulation

Updates on research into therapies for both early- and late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were presented at the Retinal International World Congress. Read more

Dr. Osher receives latest Kelman Award at the Brazilian Congress of Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Times Associate Medical Editor Robert H. Osher, MD, received the Kelman Award at the Brazilian Congress of Ophthalmology. Read more

University of Tennessee to feature lecture by glaucoma expert, M. Bruce Shields, MD

Glaucoma expert M. Bruce Shields, MD, will lecture at the Hamilton Eye Institute at the University of Tennessee (UT) Health Science Center Department of Ophthalmology. Read more

Topcon introduces new device, celebrates 80 years

Topcon Medical Systems has introduced a new computerized lensmeter (CL-300 Computerized Lensmeter) in U.S and Latin American markets. Read more

Optic-neuritis treatment modern medicine

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Novel technology discriminates normal and ectatic eyes

Did you miss the July 11th issue of the Ophthalmology Times eReport? In this e-newsletter we released information on discriminating the difference between normal and biomechanically compromised or ectatic corneas, a new CPT code for the procedure used to implant miniature ophthalmic telescopes, new chair appointments at New York University and more. Check out the articles in this issue below.

Novel technology discriminates normal and ectatic eyes

Measurement of corneal parameters using dynamic ultra-high-speed Scheimpflug photography (CorVis ST, Oculus) is an effective method for discriminating between normal and biomechanically compromised or ectatic corneas, including very mild cases of forme fruste keratoconus (FFKC), according to the results of a retrospective study reported by Renato Ambrosio Jr., MD, PhD. Read more

Dispersive OVD gains FDA approval

The FDA has approved a dispersive ophthalmic viscosurgical device (OVD) (Healon EndoCoat OVD, Abbott Medical Optics) for use as a surgical aid in cataract extraction and IOL implantation. Read more

New CPT code for telescope implant

The American Medical Association (AMA) has released a new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for the procedure used to implant miniature ophthalmic telescopes (Implantable Miniature Telescope [by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz], VisionCare Ophthalmic Technologies). Read more

Ocriplasmin BLA granted priority review

ThromboGenics NV has announced that the FDA has accepted the filing of the biologics license application (BLA) for ocriplasmin intravitreal injection 2.5 mg/ml and granted it priority review. The proposed indication of ocriplasmin intravitreal injection is for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (VMA) including macular hole. Read more

Survey finds increased satisfaction with eye care

Satisfaction is increasing among patients who have a regular eye-care professional, according to a new survey. Read more

Drs. Galetta, Balcer to join NYU Langone

Steven L. Galetta, MD, has been appointed the Philip K. Moskowitz, MD, Professor and Chair of the department of neurology, and Laura Balcer, MD, MSCE, has been appointed vice chairwoman of the neurology department at the New York University (NYU) Langone Medical Center. The appointments are effective Nov. 1. Read more

How Bevacizumab Monotherapy Can Help Patients with ROP

Did you miss the July 5th issues of the Ophthalmology Times eReport? In this e-newsletter we released information on Bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) monotherapy for zone I retinopathy of prematurity, gender difference in presbyopia assistance, a scholarship for the “most beautiful eyes” and more. Check out the articles in this issue below.

Bevacizumab monotherapy shows potential for some patients with ROP

Bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech) monotherapy for zone I retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) might have potential for treating pre-term infants who are in phase II of the pathogenesis of ROP. Read more

Gender differences may factor into presbyopia assistance

Ophthalmologists should consider gender differences in arm length and reading distance preferences when prescribing reading glasses or bifocal lenses, according to a recent study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Such factors mean that women tend to desire assistance with presbyopia symptoms earlier than men do. Read more

George Bartley to become Ophthalmology editor in January

George B. Bartley, MD, will succeed Andrew P. Schachat, MD, as editor-in-chief of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO’s) flagship journal, in January. Dr. Schachat has served in this capacity since 2003. Read more

Scholarship to be awarded for ‘most beautiful eyes’

A $10,000 educational scholarship is up for grabs in Prevent Blindness America’s (PBA’s) 2012 Most Beautiful Eyes Contest. Read more

Vitrectomy system gains 510(k) clearance

Synergetics USA Inc. has received 510(k) marketing clearance from the FDA for its proprietary vitrectomy system (VersaVIT). Read more

Acucela receives ‘Emerging Leader’ award

Acucela Inc. has been named as a recipient of the 2012 Emerging Leaders award from the Japan-U.S. Innovation Awards. Read more

NicOx, RPS sign worldwide licensing agreement

NicOx S.A. and Rapid Pathogen Screening Inc (RPS) have entered into a licensing agreement that gives NicOx access to RPS’s point-of-care ocular diagnostic tests. Read more

Doctors Access Selects CareCloud To Launch New Practice Management Solution for Physician Network

Doctors Access Selects CareCloud To Launch New Practice Management Solution for Physician Network

Partnership Will Utilize CareCloud’s Cloud-Based Software and Services as Foundation for Doctors Access Pro(TM) Practice Management Offering for Hundreds of Healthcare Providers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. & MIAMI, Jul 25, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — CareCloud, a leading provider of web-based practice management, electronic healthcare record (EHR) and medical billing software and services, today announced that Doctors Access, Inc., a nearly 20 year old practice management company and a division of iPractice Group, has entered into a unique partnership with CareCloud. Through this agreement, Doctors Access will utilize CareCoud’s platform in its new cloud-based practice management offering, Doctors Access Pro(TM), which will be made available to the approximately 500 current users of the Doctors Access practice management software.

As part of this strategic partnership, CareCloud’s cloud-based practice management software and services will act as the backbone of Doctors Access Pro, which will be an intuitive-to-use, easy-to-adopt and HIPAA 5010 compliant solution. The new practice management system will provide dynamic rules intelligence, expert live chat and phone support, reporting tools, automated claim submission, and comprehensive analytics reporting that will enable medical groups to track and optimize revenue and operations performance in real-time.

“Given the growing demands on medical and chiropractic practices to comply with new medical billing protocols, we believed it was time to offer our clients a cloud-based practice management solution to more easily navigate evolving compliance mandates like HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10, while at a price point that’s within the budget of smaller independent practices. After a lengthy search, we felt that CareCloud and its cloud-based practice management and revenue cycle management products clearly stood out in the industry,” said Ting Chang, Chief Executive Officer of Doctors Access.

Doctors Access plans to present the new Doctors Access Pro cloud-based solution to its clients starting in August 2012. iPractice Group, Inc., the parent company of Doctors Access, has already successfully migrated to the new cloud-based system for its revenue cycle management and billing services.

“We are thrilled to partner with Doctors Access as we look to bring a unique cloud-based practice management solution to hundreds of doctors across the country. Healthcare is seeing massive change, and no population in the industry is facing greater challenges than doctors and healthcare providers as they look to stay current with emerging IT and regulatory mandates,” said Albert Santalo, CareCloud’s Chairman and CEO. “Given the inherent flexibility of our cloud-based platform, CareCloud can partner with firms like Doctors Access to bring market-unique offerings to hundreds of diverse providers across a wide geographic region. We’re excited to enable Doctors Access’ healthcare providers to experience a network effect that bolsters their practices’ operations through capabilities that aren’t always available in traditional software solutions.”

About Doctors Access, a division of iPractice Group, Inc.

Doctors Access is a customer-focused technology services firm who provides practice management software and billing services to smaller, independent medical and chiropractic practices. Having nearly 20 years success working with hundreds of practices across the U.S., Doctors Access understands the challenges facing today’s healthcare providers across all specialties. As a division of iPractice Group, an all-inclusive IT products & services company headquartered in Nashville, TN, Doctors Access works with customers to update their businesses’ IT systems and improve their revenue management by offering practice management software, services, and IT support. Doctors Access is located at 51 Century Boulevard, Ste 125, Nashville, TN, 37214. For more information on Doctors Access, visit www.doctorsaccess.com or www.doctorsaccesspro.com .

About CareCloud

CareCloud is a leading provider of cloud-based practice management, revenue cycle management, electronic health record (EHR) and medical billing software and services for medical groups. The company’s products are connecting providers to one another – and to their patients – through a fully integrated digital healthcare ecosystem that can be accessed on any browser or device.

CareCloud is helping thousands of physicians to increase collections, streamline operations and improve patient care in over 30 states. The company was named a winner of IBM’s SmartCamp Silicon Valley 2010 for its innovative technology and received over $20 million in Series A funding from Intel Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. To learn more about CareCloud, please visit www.carecloud.com .

SOURCE: CareCloud, Inc.

Affordable Care Act brings influx of patients

Affordable Care Act brings influx of patients

Law’s impact forever changes healthcare financing and access to careAffordable Care Act

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to allow most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to stand, tens of millions of patients are about to acquire health insurance in 2014, some for the first time. This represents a monumental change in our nation’s approach to healthcare delivery, and it will forever change the financing of medical care. But with a shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs), many doctors are uncertain about its initial effect on primary care and the future of it.

Glen Stream, MD, MBI, FAAFP, president of

the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), agrees.

 

This has been shown to be the case in Massachusetts, where a study by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation found that the use of emergency rooms for nonemergency reasons declined 4% from 2006 to 2010 (see Massachusetts case study).

Stream knows that primary care is already at capacity in many parts of the United States, especially family medicine. An AAFP study in 2000 found that a national shortfall of 3,900 family medicine practitioners will occur by 2020. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates a national shortfall of more than 90,000 physicians across all specialties by 2020.

“By 2014 [when the new laws fully take effect], thousands of family practitioners aren’t going to suddenly appear,” Stream says. But an estimated 32 million new patients will.

The increased demand could bring new attention to solving the problem, Stream adds. The AAFP advocates for issues such as how to get more medical students interested in family practice and help them cope with the lower salaries while facing burdensome debt and achieve higher reimbursement, he says.

Richard M. Dupee, MD, chief of the geriatrics service at Tufts Medical Center in Boston and governor of the American College of Physicians’ Massachusetts chapter, sees the aging workforce as another major problem.

“Some older physicians are retiring rather than bothering with the requirements to adopt electronic medical records, and they are not being replaced by younger ones,” he says. “In rural areas, there are fewer of the academic hospital-owned clinics to take up the slack.”

Massachusetts is in the process of trying to fix another disincentive to primary care careers: low reimbursement. A bill is pending in the state legislature to raise payments. Nationally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced plans to give family physicians, internists, and others providing primary care a raise, too. But the trend for doctor reimbursements has been going down, and it may likely get worse for some.

“If reimbursement is fair, physicians with capacity will welcome [newly insured patients], but if it is not adequate, they will not,” Dupee says. “Most seasoned physicians in their 50s or 60s are already maxed out. They can’t absorb more volume without more money to cover the extra staff they will need.”

ADVOCACY

The AAMC notes that U.S. medical schools have complied with requests to boost class sizes by 30% time over the past 6 years, but the overall supply of U.S. physicians cannot expand unless Congress increases the number of federally funded residency training positions, a number that has been frozen since 1997.

“The AAMC is working hard to revisit this freeze,” says Christiane Mitchell, director of federal affairs. “Staying where we are will leave U.S. medical school graduates without a training position. This is an immediate issue.”

She notes that there is no real policy justification for the freeze; it was merely a victim of budget-cutting. The possibility of further federal cuts also has been raised.

“Medical school graduates need a place to train. Without one, it limits their options and may discourage the best and the brightest from choosing medicine as a career,” she says.

App allows patients to monitor skin lesions

App allows patients to monitor skin lesions

A new smartphone application provides patients with reminders to monitor skin lesions or suspicious moles over time.

UMSkinCheck was developed at the University of Michigan Health System and allows users to create photographic baselines of their skin. It also provides step-by-step instructions for performing a self-exam.

The app guides users through a series of 23 photos, covering the body from head to toe, Newswise.com reports. It then stores any photographs of suspicious lesions for later comparisons, which the app will remind the user to repeat. Photos can be shared with the user’s dermatologist. The app also includes a way for users to calculate their personal skin cancer risk.

Although regular skin checks can help to detect melanoma in its earliest stages, whole body photography requires a professional photographer and is not always covered by insurance, Michael Sabel, M.D., associate professor of surgery and lead physician involved in developing the app, told Newswise.

“Now that many people have digital cameras on their phones, it’s more feasible to do this at home,” he says.

The app is designed for iPhone and iPad and is available to download on iTunes.

Go back to the Dermatology Times eNews newsletter.

Close relationships tied to ovarian cancer survival

Close relationships tied to ovarian cancer survival

Women with ovarian cancer may have somewhat better survival odds when they feel emotionally supported by family and friends, a new study suggests.

Of 168 ovarian cancer patients in the study, 95 had “high social attachment” – meaning they had relationships that made them feel emotionally secure and closely connected to at least one other person.

After almost five years, 59% of those women were still alive, vs 38% of patients with lesser emotional bonds.

The researchers are not sure of the reasons for the link. It seemed to go beyond practical factors, like having someone who helped patients out day-to-day. But the study cannot say whether a close emotional relationship, itself, affects women’s survival odds.

And a researcher not involved in the work cautioned against making too much of the findings.

It is “strictly a correlational study,” said Dr. James C. Coyne, director of the behavioral oncology program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, in an email.

There could be various reasons for the connection between emotional support and survival, according Dr. Susan K. Lutgendorf of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, who led the new study.

“We’re talking about people who feel a close connection with someone else. They feel they have someone they can confide in,” Dr. Lutgendorf said.

One possibility is that women with such supportive relationships feel less stress – which, in turn, might affect their well-being in a number of ways. Based on other research, people who feel support from family and friends may stick with their medical treatment more closely, Dr. Lutgendorf noted.

But in past studies, she and her colleagues have seen some potential direct links. They’ve found that ovarian cancer patients’ levels of “social attachment” seem to correlate with certain markers of inflammation and immune function, for instance.

Still, no one knows if close emotional relationships can actually boost women’s cancer survival odds.

In fact, Dr. Coyne said, some clinical trials have looked at whether boosting social support, through support groups or psychotherapy, can extend cancer patients’ lives.

“And the findings are universally negative,” he said.

As reported online July 16th in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the women were followed from the time of surgery for their ovarian cancer. They all completed questionnaires on social support and depression symptoms.

Even after adjustment for depression, age, and the stage of the cancer, women who felt strong emotional support were 13% less likely to die during the study period, the authors said. On the other hand, “instrumental” support was not tied to survival.

Dr. Lutgendorf said it was surprising that type of support was not also linked to survival.

What does it all mean for women with ovarian cancer?

“Many women have wonderful support from family and friends,” Dr. Lutgendorf said – but if they think they need more support, they should reach out.

Cancer centers often have “wellness” services that offer support groups or other types of psychological and emotional help, Dr. Lutgendorf noted. There are also national resources, like the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Lutgendorf also said doctors can ask cancer patients about their relationships – whether they have “someone they can talk to,” for instance.

Dr. Coyne said that if he were to study the issue, he’d want to follow a larger group of women over time. He would want to monitor any “medically significant events” and see how social relationships helped women deal with those health problems.

“My basic hypothesis would be that women who have close relationships have more opportunities to be vigilant for and address surgical complications, (other concurrent illnesses) and signs of (cancer) recurrence in a timely fashion,” Dr. Coyne said.

He was critical of the theory that emotional bonds could have effects on the immune system that boost cancer survival. For one, he said, it’s not clear yet whether and how various “immunological variables” affect cancer progression.

He cautioned against raising people’s hopes on that front.

“Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to unrealistic expectations that they can extend their life by strengthening their immune systems,” Dr. Coyne said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/QfBx7T

J Clin Oncol 2012.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters Limited.