People in Counties with Worse Economies Post-Recession Are More Likely to Die from Heart Disease

Communities in the United States that experienced the most economic distress in the wake of the Great Recession saw a significant increase in death rates from heart disease and strokes among middle-aged people, according to a new multi-institution study led by researchers at Penn Medicine.

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How Oncologists Can Ethically Navigate the “Right-to-Try” Drug Law

The 2018 federal Right to Try Act allows patients with a life-threatening illness to be treated with drugs that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many in the oncology community say Right to Try strips away important regulatory protections and view the move as a risky step bound to create ethical dilemmas for physicians whose goal is to guide patients toward safe and appropriate treatment decisions. Oncology is one field at the forefront of requests for unapproved drugs. An interdisciplinary team of bioethicists, oncologists, and lawyers from Penn Medicine and other institutions penned a commentary published online this week in the Journal of Clinical Oncology to offer recommendations to help oncologists navigate this new “Right to Try” world, while maintaining their ethical obligations to patients.

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Nationwide Study Aims Improve Long-Term Lung Transplant Outcomes

As part of an effort to improve long-term outcomes, a national team led by a researcher at Penn Medicine has launched a study–funded by a $9.8 million grant from the NIH–to better understand clinical and biological processes that occur after transplant and lead to the development of these complications.

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Women Have Substantially Less Influence on Twitter than Men in Academic Medicine

Women who are health policy or health services researchers face a significant disparity in social media influence compared to their male peers, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Although the average number of tweets among all researchers tend to be consistent, women trail behind men in follower counts, regardless of how active they are on Twitter. The findings, which hold implications for larger questions around gender disparities in academic medicine, are published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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New Opioid Prescription Dosages Drop 22 Percent in Penn Medicine’s New Jersey Practices Following Changes to State Law and Health Record Alerts

The total amount of opioids dispensed per new opioid prescription decreased by 22 percent in Penn Medicine outpatient practices in New Jersey after the state passed a law limiting prescriptions to a five-day supply for new opioid prescriptions. Penn Medicine implemented an electronic health record (EMR) alert, or “nudge,” to notify clinicians if that limit had been reached. The study, published online today in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, is one of the first evaluations of a state law’s impact on prescribing outcomes, and is the first report of an EMR being used to make compliance with prescribing limits easier. Importantly, after the prescribing limit and alert went into effect there was no evidence to suggest pain control worsened.

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Treating Pulmonary Embolism: How Safe and Effective Are New Devices?

A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association identifies the risks and benefits of using novel interventional devices compared to anticoagulation alone to treat patients with pulmonary embolism.

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