What is MACRA, Anyway?
MACRA. MIPS. APMs. BLT. PB&J. Yes, the government is throwing more acronyms at you (it’s also possible one of those doesn’t belong!). So what is MACRA, and how do MIPS, APMs, and a plethora of other acronyms relate?
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, was signed into law in 2015, and went into effect last year. It changes how Medicare pays for physician services and repeals the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula providing predictable payment increases.
The Can’t-Miss Show in the Clinical Laboratory Community
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) is holding its 70th Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo on July 29 – August 2, 2018 in Chicago! This is the largest global scientific conference and tradeshow in laboratory medicine, with ~20,000 attendees from around the world and offers 750 exhibitors. AACC also provides Plenary Sessions featuring world-renowned scientists and scientific sessions covering a broad range of subjects at various experience levels, and focused “Brown Bag” sessions that give attendees the opportunity to pose questions in small groups. So get those safety glasses ready for a conference that showcases “the cutting-edge science and technology shaping the future of clinical testing and patient care.” (more…)
The use of Point of Care Testing (POCT) in hospitals is on the rise across Europe. In particular Emergency Departments (EDs) are adopting flu rapid tests to speed up time-to-diagnosis and address the burden on departments during flu season.
Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) are immunoassays for the identification of influenza A & B viral antigens in respiratory samples. In Europe, influenza generally occurs in epidemics between November and April each year – similar to the U.S. and other regions in the Northern Hemisphere. (more…)
Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) is one of the most important causes of acute upper respiratory tract infection. “Early diagnosis and treatment of Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and further complications such as rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis. “
Current Strep A Testing Methods
Labs have traditionally used conventional identification procedures for Group A Streptococcus from throat swabs, which involve the isolation and subsequent identification of viable pathogens by culture techniques that require 18-24 hours or longer. (more…)
If you’re like many physicians and Point of Care (POC) laboratories, you may be dealing with suboptimal performance from some of your current diagnostic methods. For example, conventional Rapid Influenza Diagnostics Tests (RIDTs) vary in terms of sensitivity and specificity when compared with viral culture or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Product insert information and research publications indicate that in general, RIDTs sensitivities are approximately 50-70%. (more…)
April is Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month in the U.S., which aims to raise public awareness about the impact of STDs and the importance of preventing, testing for, and treating STDs. In addition, April 22-28 is National Infertility Awareness Week – a good time to talk about women’s health and the risks of infertility STDs can pose.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are commonly spread from person to person via sexual contact. Also referred to as STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or venereal disease, they represent a significant women’s health issue – worldwide.
The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates there are more than 1 million new STIs acquired daily worldwide, with 1 in 4 sexually active adolescent females infected. (more…)
Syphilis: From Near-Eradication to Resurgence
When it comes to syphilis, most everyone has the same first thought: Wait, didn’t we solve that a while ago?
Syphilis was almost eradicated in the U.S., but is now on the rise – and it’s reaching 20 year highs.
Europe has also seen a resurgence of syphilis. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: “With the widespread use of penicillin, syphilis prevalence had significantly declined after World War II. However, in several industrialised countries a considerable resurgence occurred in the late 1980s.” In fact, the UK has recently reported ‘a 12% increase relative to the year prior and the largest number of diagnoses reported since 1949’ (more…)
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the body’s tissues. It predominantly impacts the lining of the joints, and affects up to 1% of adults worldwide.
What We Know About Vitamin D and Bone Health
Vitamin D (which isn’t actually a vitamin, but is instead considered a hormone) is essential to bone and muscle health. It helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorous – both of which are essential minerals for good bone health.
Is There a Link Between RA and Vitamin D Deficiency?
Over the last two decades, a number of studies have evaluated whether Vitamin D has an effect on rheumatoid arthritis – and what the correlation between the two may be. (more…)