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Doctors play key role in sustaining weight loss among teen girls

Physicians can help overweight adolescent girls lose weight and keep it off by identifying lifestyle habits that need improvement and encouraging their efforts, a study says. "Some primary care physicians don't think they have a lot of influence over patients because they have such a short period of time to meet with them, but they do have a very powerful presence in the lives of teenagers and their families," said lead study author Lynn L. DeBar, PhD, MPH, clinical psychologist and behavioral health researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "By just encouraging a healthy lifestyle among their patients, they make a difference." Teenage girls who participated in a six-month program that included weekly peer meetings and consultations with their primary care physician had a lower body mass index and better self-esteem than females who did not take part in the program, said a study posted online Feb. 13 in Pediatrics. DeBar recommends that p ...

AT&T to operate AMA's online physician platform

Under what is being described as a "collaborative agreement," AT&T will take ownership and control over the American Medical Association's physician platform, integrating it with the company's health information exchange. The platform currently operates under the name Amagine, but it will be merged into AT&T's Healthcare Community Online when the changeover is complete. The two platforms run on technology created by Covisint, a division of Detroit-based technology company CompuWare. The AMA will continue to serve as a collaborative partner, offering physician outreach, input into new content and guidance on new solutions. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The merging of products is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The AT&T Healthcare Community Online was launched in 2010 as a health information exchange. Since then, new tools and applications have been added for its users, which are mainly large health care organizations. Randall Porter, assistan ...

HHS mandates clear insurance language

The Obama administration will require health insurance plans to publish their coverage information using simple terms and consumer-friendly labels. New rules mandated by the health system reform law and recently finalized by the Dept. of Health and Human Services would help employers and beneficiaries compare and select health plans more easily, health officials said. Insurers would use templates, similar to nutrition labels used on food products, designed by the administration to detail cost-sharing and coverage limitation information. "Consumers, for the first time, will really be able to clearly comprehend the sometimes confusing language insurance plans often use in marketing," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "This will give them a new edge in deciding which plan will best suit their needs and those of their families or employees." Insurers must use new forms that detail coverage beginning Sept. 23. Information will include examples of coverage that highlight the cos ...