Healthcare Watch November 2022

Patient Pages: PatientPoint Reveals Patients Are Anxious About Talking with Doctors

After surveying 2,005 nationally representative Americans, PatientPoint found that more than half are too afraid to ask their healthcare provider about their health condition or symptoms, with men even more afraid of these interactions than women (57% vs. 45%). A notable 69% of Americans worry that they won’t be able to understand the terminology their doctors use and the same number of patients wish they knew how to describe their symptoms better before talking to an HCP. Upsettingly, half of Americans said they worry a provider will be insulted or get angry if they push to find out more about their condition.

While patients are already anxious about a lack of information for preparing for a visit and what they’ll find out about their health during a visit (39%), the stress of long wait times in and out of the exam room raises stress levels. Fifty-one percent of respondents say it takes too long to be called for their appointment in the waiting room, and 48% are stressed about wait times in the exam room itself. On the way out of a doctor’s appointment, 48% of patients report feeling confused.

How can all of this be addressed? Patients have the answer. Sixty-two percent of American patients say they want their doctor’s office to be more modern, with 78% responding that they do want technology showcasing relevant education on their symptoms.

“Transforming the doctor’s office from intimidating to engaging begins by putting ourselves in the patient’s shoes in those critical, reflective moments while they wait to see their healthcare provider,” said PatientPoint Founder and CEO Mike Collette. “By leveraging technology to equip patients with the relevant education they want on their condition, we can empower them to speak up, ask questions, and learn more about treatment options.”

When asked what could make waiting rooms and exam rooms feel more comforting, people favored being able to read (47%) and watch (48%) educational materials about their condition. The PatientPoint study points out the patient desire for information and the need for information to empower patients and avoid anxiety over doctor’s visits. “Waiting time is learning time, and knowledge is power,” said Collette. “Empowered patients make better decisions and better decisions mean better outcomes. The more we can provide relevant content to patients at the point of care and beyond, the more we can increase patient comprehension, improve compliance, and help patients live healthier lives.”

Doctor Docs: Physicians Need Info to Treat Long COVID

In a Sermo survey of more than 1,100 global physicians, 86% felt there is a lack of clinical guidance on how to diagnose Long COVID and 87% felt there is a lack of clinical guidance on how to treat Long COVID in patients. With Long COVID becoming a more common concern for patients, physicians are looking for clinical guidelines for diagnosis and treatment. Of surveyed physicians, 62% reported seeing an increase in Long COVID symptoms in patients in their practice and are realizing that the effects are far reaching, with 57% reporting patients are developing new health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, IBD, myocarditis, A-fib, etc., following a COVID infection. Mental health effects are also a concern, with 77% of surveyed physicians reporting that they are seeing an increase in mental health issues with patients in their practices who are dealing with Long COVID.

Along with their inability to make informed diagnoses and treatments, doctors are failing to convince their patients to get the new bivalent booster. While 87% of physicians recommend the shot, patients are hesitant. When asked why vaccinated patients were resistant to getting the new bivalent COVID booster, surveyed physicians reported the most common reason they hear from patients is that they will be infected regardless of being boosted (58%), followed by pandemic fatigue (57%), and fears that they will feel unwell from the booster (48%). Lack of guidelines is also a factor in why vaccinated patients aren’t getting boosted. About 33% of doctors say their patients are confused about when to get the booster because they were recently infected and 17% reported that patients were unsure about bivalent booster availability for their vaccine brand.

“Long COVID is a secondary pandemic crisis challenging both physicians and patients alike,” says Claudia Martorell, MD MPH FACP, Sermo Medical Advisory Board member. “Long COVID’s complexities and lack of clinical guidelines on how to treat it is of increasing frustration to many physicians trying to help patients in their practices.”

Therapeutic Talk: Daffodils: A Potential Heart Disease Treatment

Professor Trevor Walker, whose research on producing galanthamine from daffodils led to the founding of Agroceutical Products, and company Co-founder, Managing Director Kevin Stephens.

With more than half of our pharmaceuticals and therapies coming from mother nature, researchers have been studying the potential of natural compounds in daffodils for various medical applications. Agroceutical Products, a pharmaceutical company that extracts alkaloids called galanthamine from daffodils to be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, partnered with Robert Gordon University (RGU) and Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) to further investigate the flowers’ bio-active properties.

Three different alkaloids pulled from the stem, leaves, and petals of the flower have the potential to prevent thickening and stiffening of the walls of the heart. Studies using cell-based models that mimic cardiac conditions are helping researchers understand the different impact they have on contributors to heart failure, such as fibrosis. Kevin Stephens, Co-founder and Managing Director of Agroceutical Products, told The Herald: “We already have a well-established UK supply chain that is helping to treat Alzheimer’s. This study could lead to the development of additional medicines that could be transformational for patients suffering with heart conditions, with promising initial findings. It is also about valorizing biomass that would otherwise go to waste and working closely with the farmers to maximize the output and the value of their crops.”

Ongoing studies show that isolated and purified alkaloids can interrupt a sequence of events that could lead to the stiffening of heart tissues and result in heart failure.

Med Device Department: AI Makes More Diagnoses of Heart Disease More Successful

A recent Mayo Clinic study shows that doctors who use AI technology more frequently have higher rates of successfully diagnosing certain heart conditions, even if those clinicians have less experience in dealing with complex patients. AI-enabled screening tools could double the chances of spotting low ejection fraction from the heart’s left ventricle, an important measure of efficiency as the cardiac muscle works to push blood out to the rest of the body. Researchers found that less experienced doctors do tend to use AI tools more often than seasoned HCPs, but their study finds that a clinician’s age, gender, and the total number of patients they have cared for did not significantly impact their diagnosis rates while using high-tech tools.

The AI program in the study would analyze the ECG findings, and if they were found to have a high likelihood of low ejection fraction, then the software recommended the patient undergo a cardiac ultrasound exam. High adopters were defined as those who followed the AI’s recommendations more often than their peers, and they were twice as likely to identify cases of low ejection fraction—with a diagnostic yield of 33.9% compared to 16.3% for low adopters.

“This demonstrates the importance of AI systems that integrate seamlessly into the workflows of clinicians,” David Rushlow, MD of Family Medicine for Mayo Clinic in the Midwest, stated in a press release. “Given the technical nature of AI in healthcare, it often is initiated and developed in academic specialty practices. To maximize AI’s benefits, more collaboration is needed between specialty practices and primary care.”

FDA Update

Drug Approvals

The FDA approved Imjudo (tremelimumab) from AstraZeneca to be used in combination with durvalumab for adult patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (uHCC). The one-time IV drug therapy proved to significantly increase overall survival when used with durvalumab.

The FDA granted accelerated approval to Janssen Biotech for Tecvayli (teclistamab-cqyv), the first bispecific B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA)-directed CD3 T-cell engager, for adult patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. This injectable is intended for multiple myeloma patients who have received at least four prior lines of therapy, including a proteasome inhibitor, an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

GSK’s Boostrix was granted approval on a new indication for immunization during the third trimester of pregnancy to prevent pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in infants younger than two months.

Med Device Approvals

The FDA granted AVITA Medical Breakthrough Device Designation to its RECELL System for soft tissue repair indication as well as its vitiligo indication. The RECELL System was already approved for use in treating burn wounds and is used to prepare Spray-On Skin Cells using a small amount of a patient’s own skin, providing a new way to treat severe burns, while significantly reducing the amount of donor skin required.


You May Also Like

Market with Maximum Efficiency by Obeying Your Inner Sensei

In the world of branding, everything boils down to positioning—making sure your brand can ...

Destination Birds

The pandemic encouraged everyone to pick up new hobbies, especially those that bring us ...

Take Two Tweets and Call Me in the Morning: The Rise of HCP Influencers

Before the pandemic, social media influencers were known mainly for projecting beautifully curated lives ...