Monthly Archives: September 2014

Enter the Enterovirus

The recent outbreak of human enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) poses several challenges to syndromic surveillance. Its presentation can resemble any number of other upper respiratory infections of varying severity. The timing coincided with the end of school summer vacation, a time of year when respiratory illnesses are always spread. Differentiation based on key symptoms is theoretically possible, but also highlights where the assumptions of surveillance on chief complaints can break down. And while the outbreak received national media coverage, the lack of a memorable consensus on what to call the pathogen may have limited patients’ and registrars’ ability to ask for it by name.

Could Data Help Us Save One Million Hearts?

Around 600,000 people die of heart disease in the US annually. Another way of putting it: One in every four American deaths is caused by heart disease. And according to the CDC, about half of all Americans (49%) have at least one of the key factors of heart disease. In addition to endangering lives, heart disease also puts a strain on the economy. The total cost of health care services, medication and lost productivity related to coronary heart disease is estimated at $108.9 billion each year.

Population Health: Can We Improve Care, Pay Physicians More, and Reduce Costs?

Skyrocketing healthcare costs have been making headlines for the last three decades. Repeated policy solutions focused on financial and administrative remedies have been attempted–healthcare policy reform was a key domestic policy initiative under both Presidents Bush and Obama. President Bush initiated Medicare Part D, the largest overhaul of Medicare in the program’s history. President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has popularly become known as Obamacare.