Trending News Today: Cigna Aims to Reduce Opioid Overdoses by 25%

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape

On Thursday, Cigna announced an initiative to reduce drug overdoses 25% by 2021 in certain communities hit by the opioid epidemic, The Hill reported. According to the article, Cigna plans to use predictive analytics to identify customers who are at the highest risk for an opioid overdose and develop partnerships in those areas to help combat the epidemic. Cigna picked communities in which a large number of their consumers live and where higher-than-average rates of drug overdoses are occurring, the article reported.

A new study found that viruses may play a role in the development of Alzheimers, the Associated Press reported. According to the article, the study’s researchers found that certain viruses, including 2 common herpes viruses, affect the behavior of genes involved in the disease. By using complex genetic data from hundreds of brains at several brain banks, the team found viral genetic material at far higher levels in Alzheimers-affected brains than in normal ones, the article reported.

Dr Atul Gawande, a surgeon who was named this week to head the company being formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase, cited surgery as the single biggest US health care cost, Reuters reported. Dr Gawande also said that end-of-life care needs to take into account the wishes of the patients, the article reported. According to Reuters, Dr Gawande, who spoke at the annual meeting of American’s Health Insurance Plans, suggested that hospitals use data tracking for treatments and assessing end-of-life care as ways to cut costs and improve patient care.