Trending News Today: Electronic Health Records Linked to Lower Hospital Death Rates

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

AstraZeneca’s lung cancer drug Imfinzi was recommended for European approval by the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) for use in patients with inoperable disease that had advanced locally but did not spread widely around the body, Reuters reported. According to the article, officials with the FDA granted approval to Imfinzi in February for this expanded use and Japan approved the drug earlier this month. The European Commission grants final approval, but it generally follows the CHMP’s recommendations, the article reported.

A new study has found the use of electronic health records in hospitals may be tied to lower death rates, but fatalities may first increase during the transition, Reuters reported. According to the article, the study authors examined the degree of digitization and 30-day death rates for patients aged 65 years and older at 3249 hospitals nationwide from 2008 to 2013. Over time, each of the functions were associated with a 0.09 percentage-point drop in annual death rates and every new function added during the study was associated with a 0.21 percentage-point reduction in annual death rates, the article reported.

The Trump administration announced a proposed plan that would affect 40% of the payments physicians receive from Medicare, NPR reported. According to the article, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plan would combine 4 levels of paperwork required for reimbursement and 4 levels of payments into 1 form and 1 flat fee for each physician’s appointment. The CMS would offer a flat fee for each office visit with a patient regardless of whether the physician is a primary care physician or a specialist, the article reported.