This Week’s Top Medical News Stories

Here are the top stories covered by DocWire News this week in the Homepage section. In this edition, learn why it’s vital for patients to wash their hands while in the hospital, how usability of electronic health records are tied to physician performance, how certain characteristics of autistic adults are life beneficial, and why children who undergo thyroid surgery are better off at high-volume pediatric surgery centers.

An alarming number of patients were found to have ‘superbug’ bacteria on their bodies during their hospital stay, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Researchers of this observational, prospective cohort study recruited 399 newly admitted patients from two hospitals in Michigan and evaluated them over 710 visits. The results of the study indicated that multidrug-resistant organism (MDRO) bacteria were present in 14% of patients early on in their hospital admittance. One of the researchers said of the study’s results that, “no matter where you are, in a healthcare environment or not, this study is a good reminder to clean your hands often.”

Enhanced usability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are correlated with physician cognitive performance levels, according to the findings of this study, which was published in JAMA. In this qualitative improvement study, researchers designated 38 participants to either a baseline EHR group (n=20) or an enhanced EHR group (n=18). Results of the study showed the 20 participants allocated to the baseline EHRs demonstrated significantly higher cognitive workload juxtaposed to the enhanced EHRs, and that the baseline group performed poorly compared the enhanced group, with 16% more abnormal test results. The researchers noted that “findings from this study support the proactive evaluation of other similar usability enhancements that can be applied to other interfaces within EHRs.”

Adults living with autism possess certain traits which benefit them in work and home life, according to a study published in Autism in Adulthood. To complete this study, researchers conducted 28 semi-structured interviews with 24 autistic adults. According to the results of the study, hyper focus, attention to detail, and the ability to remember were abilities that autistic people said benefited them the most. Dr. Ginny Russell, lead researcher of this study, said that “Talking more about the positive impact of autism may help to foster a more rounded vocabulary in autism discourse for clinicians, autistic individuals, and their families.”

Children who require thyroidectomy have better outcomes at high-volume pediatric surgery centers, according to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) who published their findings in Journal of Pediatric Surgery. They reviewed 464 (median age, 15) patients who underwent thyroid surgery at CHOP from 2009 through 2017. Based on the results, the researchers “reported extremely low complication rates after surgery, underscoring that a high-volume center with specialized pediatric surgeons well-versed in these procedures should be considered for children and adolescents who require surgery for thyroid disease.” Moreover, they noted that by seeing “a higher volume of patients, our team is extremely skilled at ensuring an accurate and complete pre-operative evaluation and selecting the best surgical plan for each patient based on their diagnosis.”