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News December 19, 2013

Healthcare’s Hottest Topics in 2013: Healthcare Briefings’ Most Read Articles

Healthcare reform certainly topped the list of the most talked about issue in the healthcare industry this past year, but it wasn’t the only thing on health leaders’ minds. Throughout 2013, Healthcare Briefing’s readers also wanted to know about clinical workforce trends, patient safety initiatives, ethical dilemmas, electronic medical record implementations and more.

Here is a look at the seven topics that resonated most with our readers in 2013:

1. Five Top Ethical Issues in Healthcare
When members of Congress and the president failed to come to terms that would avoid the sequester in early 2013, many questioned the ethics of the resulting budget cuts and their impact on medical research and healthcare delivery.  Yet such ethical issues in healthcare are common. Healthcare Briefings spoke to a panel of experts to get their view of the top ethical challenges facing today’s healthcare leaders.

2. Hospital Mergers and Acquisitions Increase, Benefiting Communities
During the past six years, 10 percent of community hospitals have been acquired or merged, with significant increases occurring in 2011 and 2012. And these ownership changes have benefited patients and the community by retaining vital services, according to a recent report from the American Hospital Association and the Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy.

3. Providers Getting Creative with New Healthcare Delivery Models
The times are changing, and healthcare providers are discovering new models to more efficiently deliver quality care while reducing costs.

“There will be lots of flavors and mechanisms that spring up to meet those objectives,” said Jordan Battani, managing director of CSC’s Global Institute for Emerging Healthcare Practices.

4. Epic Survival: A Super User’s View of EMR System Transitions
As healthcare facilities continue to implement electronic health records at a rapid pace, they find that one of the most common challenges lies in the staffing arena. Not only do leaders need to plan for EMR transition staffing, but they need to get current staff on board, well-trained and enthusiastic about using the system moving forward, amid reports of users’ rising dissatisfaction.

5. New Study Confirms: Lower Mortality Rates in Magnet Hospitals
Building on pioneering research from the early 1990s, Linda Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN, and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania report patients are at less risk of dying at Magnet-designated hospitals vs. other hospitals, something the team largely attributes to better nurse work environments and more educated nursing staff.

6. High Residency Match, Yet More Residency Positions Needed
A record 95 percent of this year’s graduating U.S. medical students matched to available residency positions in the spring of 2013, yet due to an increase in medical school programs and a pending physician shortage, many experts report, America needs more graduate medical education (GME) residency positions. A bill pending in Congress would increase the number of Medicare-supported residency positions.

7. What 2013 Holds for the Healthcare Workforce
Healthcare remains a dynamic and growing industry, with health reform and an aging population expected to increase demands for care while reductions in reimbursement put the squeeze on hospitals and other providers. Healthcare Briefings spoke to a panel of healthcare experts in early 2013 to get their predictions for the year.

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