Trending News Today: Knowledge Gap Found in Patients With Advanced Cancer

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

A knowledge gap persists among patients with advanced cancer, according to Kaiser Health News. A large proportion of patients lack basic information about their diagnoses, including life expectancy, whether the disease is curable, and why they are undergoing their specific treatment. The downfall of this gap is that patients are unarmed to make informed decisions on treatment options and how they want to live out their remaining time, according to the report. A study published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 69% of patients with metastatic lung cancer and 81% of patients with advanced colorectal cancer believed they could still be cured, despite both conditions generally being considered fatal.

President Donald Trump named Norman “Ned” Sharpless as new director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), The Washington Post reported. Sharpless—–director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center––will succeed NCI acting director Doug Lowy, who is expected to remain at the institute as a researcher and deputy director. Sharpless has an extensive background in research regarding how cells age and become malignant, according to the Post.

Over a 3-year period, Medicare improperly paid health care professionals an estimated $729 million under an electronic medical records initiative. According to The Wall Street Journal, the federal initiative is designed to shift the health care system from paper to electronic health records. The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General conducted the federal audit, which showed that health professionals who vouched they earned bonus payments under the multibillion-dollar initiative either had no proof or failed to meet the bonus criteria.