Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Having high-deductible insurance plans may be linked to delays in cancer diagnosis and care, NPR reported. According to the article, a study published in Health Affairs examined claims data from a large national insurer for 316,244 women whose employers switched coverage from low-deductible health plans to high-deductible plans. Overall, women with low incomes who had high-deductible plans waited an average of 1.6 months longer for diagnostic breast imaging, 2.7 months for first biopsy, 6.6 months for first early-stage breast cancer diagnosis, and 8.7 months for first chemotherapy, compared with low-income women with low-deductible plans, the article reported. The study also showed that women with high incomes and high-deductible plans experienced delays as well.
A new study indicates that scientists have used HIV in gene therapy to treat patients with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, also called “bubble boy disease,” The Associated Press reported. According to the article, the therapy involves removing some of a patient’s blood cells, using the modified HIV to insert the missing gene, and returning the cells intravenously. Six to 24 months after treatment, all 8 infants treated are making all the cell types needed to fight infections, the article reported.
Very few smartphone apps that are designed to help patients with type 2 diabetes offer real-time guidance on how to handle dangerously high or low blood sugar, Reuters reported. According to the article, a study examined 5185 apps for phones running Google’s Android software or Apple’s iOS system. Of the apps examined, the researchers found 371 that claimed to provide several diabetes management features, such as recording blood sugar data, reminding patients when they need to do specific things to manage the illness, and educating patients on what to do for conditions such as dangerously low or high blood sugar.