Nov. 18 - 22, 2013

International Coverage

Lung transplant finding helps thousands Zealand
Researchers in the US have made a significant breakthrough that could see tens of thousands more lungs available for transplant each year. Doctors from the University of North Carolina have found that lungs can survive for up to four hours after a person dies if they have air pumped into them, the Daily Mail reports.

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Obese women at higher risk of breast cancer
The New Indian Express
Women who are obese face an increased risk of developing an aggressive sub-type of breast cancer known as 'basal-like', scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that obesity radically alters the cellular microenvironment of mammary glands in ways favourable to the growth of basal-like tumours.

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National Coverage

AP IMPACT: Seeking lung donors after at-home death
… It's a little-known twist of nature — your lungs can live on for a while after you die. …An innovative experiment now aims to use that hour-or-more window of time to boost lung transplants by allowing donations from people who suddenly collapse and die at home instead of in a hospital. "There aren't enough lungs. We're burying them," said Dr. Thomas Egan of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who is leading the project. "It turns out your lungs don't die when you do."
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Use of Analytics Produces Better Patient Outcomes
Baseline Magazine
Few fields benefit more from advanced analytics than health care "Today, in the outpatient setting, 25 percent of adverse effects are caused by poor or inadequate follow up of abnormal test results," says Carlton Moore, associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Flawed Gauge for Cholesterol Risk Poses a New Challenge for Cardiologists  
The New York Times
This week, cardiologists learned that a new online calculator meant to help them determine a patient’s suitability for cholesterol treatment was flawed, doubling the estimated risk of heart attack or stroke for the average patient. But fixing it would not be easy … Dr. Michael Pignone of the University of North Carolina said it was time to take another look at the new calculator. The guideline committee members are experts, he said, but “getting it right is really hard.”

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Experts defend new heart attack prevention advice
Heart experts who wrote new guidelines for preventing heart attacks and strokes are defending a formula that some doctors say overestimates risk for certain groups. … Dr. Sidney C. Smith Jr., a former Heart Association president from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said dozens of heart experts spent nearly five years carefully reviewing top-quality studies to develop the guidelines and the formula and let other major medical groups review it before adopting it.

Nanotechnology technique may help diabetics avoid the needle
A new nanotechnology-based technique for regulating blood sugar in diabetics may give patients the ability to release insulin painlessly using a small ultrasound device, allowing them to go days between injections – rather than using needles to give themselves multiple insulin injections each day. The technique was developed by researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

300 Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know – 2013
Becker Hospital Review
Becker's Hospital Review is pleased to present the 2013 edition of "300 Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know." The following men and women have shown admirable dedication to healthcare delivery at local, regional and national levels. Some leaders have held their positions for a few months, while others have been at the helm for more than 20 years. Each has demonstrated great promise and commitment to improving healthcare in America through work done with their respective organizations or broader public health initiatives.  

William L. Roper, MD. CEO of UNC Health Care System (Chapel Hill, N.C.). In addition to serving as CEO of UNC Health Care System, Dr. Roper is also dean of the school of medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs of the system. He is also a professor of pediatrics at the school of medicine and a professor of health policy and administration in the UNC School of Public Health.

David Strong. President of Rex Healthcare (Raleigh, N.C.). Mr. Strong became president of Rex Healthcare in September 2004. He also serves as COO of UNC Health Care for system affiliations, providing for all community hospitals and regional care sites within the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based system.

Regional Coverage

Autism treatment still a mystery, psychiatrist tells EBR educators
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.)
University of North Carolina psychiatrist Dr. Jarrett Barnhill has many ways to spot potential development disorders, particularly autism, in young children, but is much more tentative about suggesting ways to help them.

State & Local Coverage

UNC Health Care explores partnership with Nash system
Triangle Business Journal
A UNC Health Care spokeswoman confirmed that the Chapel Hill-based hospital system could partner with Nash Health Care. It would be just another example of health care consolidation, and another partner for UNC Health Care, which has formed various arrangements with hospitals around the state in the past few years.

Nash Health Care has facilities throughout the county, including its flagship Nash General Hospital, a 282-bed facility and primary provider for Nash, Edgecombe and surrounding counties. The system has 1,500 employees, nearly 200 physicians and 400 volunteers.

Women's health focus of Asheville event
The News (Black Mountain)
Women’s health and health disparities will be a focus of a forum Tuesday in Asheville. Wendy Brewster, director of the Center for Women’s Health Research at UNC Chapel Hill, will be the featured speaker.

UNC study shows increasing hospital discharges, shorter length of stay
Triangle Business Journal
… Data compiled by the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, which is part of UNC-Chapel Hill and compiles extensive data on North Carolina’s health care industry, shows that although total inpatient days have decreased relative to the population in the past two decades, total discharges have not. This means that patients are staying in the hospital for shorter periods, but not actually going to the hospital fewer times.

Medical advances improve care, but don’t always lower costs
Triangle Business Journal
Hospital leaders or heads of pharmaceutical and medical device companies often talk about how medical advances are helping doctors cure more people with serious illnesses and increasing life expectancy. What they don’t talk about as often is how this also increases overall health care spending.

…Rex Healthcare, part of UNC Health Care, has been offering a relatively new procedure called transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR, a procedure that repairs the valve that allows blood to flow away from the heart. The procedure costs $78,000 and increases life expectancy by 1.6 years on average. The procedure is less risky than open-heart surgery, but also more costly.

UNC Health Care leverages big data to boost bottom lines
It's always to refreshing to see big data not just being thrown around as a buzzword, but truly being used to save lives and improve bottom lines. That's the case at the University of North Carolina Health Care (UNCHC), a large non-profit healthcare provider in Chapel Hill, N.C., where one doctor is touting data and analytics as "increasingly at the heart of" how his hospitals run.

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