A few weeks ago President Obama signed into law the Continuing Extension Act of 2010. It includes a revision to the HITECH Act that will enable physicians practicing in hospital outpatient clinics to collect federal payments for meaningful use of health IT. My colleague Protima Advani, who heads up the Advisory Board's IT Insights practice, wrote the following analysis, which I though you might find of interest:
"This change marked a huge victory for many Washington lobbyists and may have set a precedent for additional amendments to the HITECH Act. In fact, right on the heels of this amendment, several congressional representatives introduced legislation to expand this definition--for the purposes of meaningful use incentives for EHR adoption--to include behavioral health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment professionals and facilities.
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My colleague Matt Garabrant wrote a nice piece on the recent approval of Provenge I wanted to share:
The recent approval of Provenge for advanced prostate cancer treatment marks a significant milestone in the fruition of a long-sought-after realm of cancer treatment referred to as immunotherapy, or biological therapy. The concept being that you can effectively train a patient's own immune system to turn against its own cancer cells and fight them off. Broken down into layman's terms, this process involves borrowing some of the patients white blood cells, exposing them to some common proteins found within prostate cancer cells (as well as a few more obviously complex steps and interactions to ensure the directions are fully instituted into the white blood cells), and reintroducing these cells back into the patient's body.
While the development and fruition of Provenge was opposed by some significant hurdles along the way, the receipt of FDA approval on April 29th indicates a very big win for cancer care overall, at least in the form of a proof-of-concept. Immunotherapy represents a promising treatment approach which some researchers herald as one of the next major evolutions in cancer care.
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