Pia Christensen/AHCJSharon Hillier, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, discusses the pre-exposure prophylaxis pill, or PrEP, which can help prevent HIV infection.
HIV prevention and treatment have undergone a revolution since the disease first appeared, but there are still barriers to reaching the most at-risk populations, HIV experts said during a session at Health Journalism 2015.
While HIV patients in 1985 had a life expectancy of at most 10 years, now they are living into old age and are more likely to die from smoking, said Brad Hare, director of HIV care and prevention at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco.
Researchers are working toward a cure and people without HIV can take a prevention pill to keep them from becoming infected. Continue reading
Working together in teams and investing in primary care can improve health outcomes and reduce spending in the American health care system, a panel of experts told a packed room at Health Journalism 2013 Friday afternoon.
“You cannot tell me that better care and lower costs don’t go together because I’ve seen it,” said Donald Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The best examples come from communities not policymakers, he said during the session entitled, “Controlling health care costs while improving quality.” And they inevitably involve patients, doctors, nurses and other providers working together, he added.
Berwick cited a healthcare project in Alaska, where team-based care has resulted in 50 percent fewer hospital bed days, 53 percent fewer emergency department admissions and 65 percent fewer specialty visits.
Berwick said the fact that the U.S. health care system continues to provide low value at high-cost is a “crisis” and people are scrambling to figure out how to fix it. Among the biggest problems that have led to waste in the health care system are pricing failures, uncoordinated care and unnecessary treatment, Berwick said. “More is not better,” he said. “We are going to have to change the way we think.” Continue reading