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Health institutions team up to improve care

A new collaboration is bridging medical education, patient care and research in an effort to improve the safety and quality of health care nationwide. Two hundred medical schools, teaching hospitals and health systems representing 12% of U.S. hospital admissions have committed to participate. The Assn. of American Medical Colleges announced March 30 the Best Practices for Better Care initiative ( The goal is to get institutions to work together and improve care based on proven methods, said AAMC Chief Advocacy Officer Atul Grover, MD, PhD. "We've had a number of individual efforts at individual institutions," he said. "What we found was there wasn't a lot of information-sharing between institutions about what different folks were doing." The initiative will work to improve medical education about quality and patient safety, increase use of surgical checklists, reduce central-line infections, decrease hospital readmissions, an ...

Practices are better at retaining nurses than hospitals, study says

Physician offices may have characteristics that make them attractive employers for registered nurses despite usually paying less than a hospital or a large health system. "There are some aspects of working in a hospital that can burn nurses out more quickly," said Sanja Licina, PhD, senior director of talent intelligence and consulting with CareerBuilder, an online job search and recruitment company. RNs work an average of 3.3 years at a physician office before changing employers, according to a CareerBuilder analysis of resumes in the company's database ( Licina co-wrote the study, which was released March 29. RNs spent an average of 3.1 years at general hospitals and specialty hospitals before moving on. At 1.8 years, nursing care facilities had the worst retention rate. RNs worked an average of two years at kidney dialysis centers and home health care services. The report did not analyze why physician off ...

Discovery of Alzheimer's genes provides hope for future treatment

The discovery of five genes linked to Alzheimer's disease offers scientists insight into what causes the condition and advances efforts to treat and eventually prevent the disease, say the authors of two studies. The finding boosts the number of known Alzheimer's-related genes to 10. But it is not expected to have an immediate impact on how physicians diagnose and treat Alzheimer's patients, experts say. "The effect right this minute is probably limited. ... But in the long term, this is the kind of data you're going to need to tailor your therapies to a specific individual, " said Bill Thies, PhD, chief medical and scientific officer of the Alzheimer's Assn., the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research. When scientists identify enough Alzheimer's-related genes -- possibly 100 or more -- health professionals could conduct a genome-wide test on patients to measure their likelihood of developing the disease, Thies said. The more Alzheimer's-related genes a pati ...