American hospitals improved their performance on 25 evidence-based quality metrics in 2008, according to a report released in January by the Joint Commission.
In fact, hospitals exceeded 90% compliance on 23 of the commission's 31 measures of heart attack, pneumonia, heart failure, asthma and surgical care.
The commission, which accredits more than 3,000 hospitals and other health care organizations, has collected quality data since 2002. This is the fourth annual public report of results (www.jointcommission.org/library/annual_report).
"It's not just the average that's getting better," said Joint Commission President Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPH. "It's important to note how many hospitals are achieving really high levels of performance. ... Hospitals have figured out, even with the increasing number of measures they have to work on, how to get close to consistent excellence on these measures of quality."
The measures track performance in areas such as giving aspirin and beta-b ...
Blood levels of lead below those considered elevated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still may negatively impact kidney function in otherwise healthy adolescents, says a study in the Jan. 11 Archives of Internal Medicine.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore gathered data from 769 adolescents, ages 12 to 20, who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988 to 1994.
Nearly all of the participants had blood lead levels below 10 ug/dl (the CDC's threshold for concern), with an average level of 1.5 ug/dl.
Researchers found that higher lead levels, which were still below 10 ug/dl of blood, were consistently associated with a lower glomerular filtration rate.
"There is a lot of accumulating evidence showing a role of lead [in kidney disease]. ... But I was a little surprised that we saw the association in a relatively small population of healthy kids," said Jeffrey Fadrowski, MD, a pediatric neph ...