Designed specifically for critical care physicians, Critical Care SmartBrief is a complimentary twice weekly e-mail newsletter. Compiled from thousands of sources including news sites and blogs, it provides the latest litigation, research and policy news in the critical care community. Visit the archives to access previous issues. Mobile device versions are also available. Read the top stories shared by Critical Care SmartBrief readers.

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 Critical Care SmartBrief

Study links NICU phthalate exposure to future behavioral problems
A study in the journal PLOS ONE found phthalate exposure in the NICU was associated with more mature behavioral performance in premature infants, but also could lead to neurobehavioral problems during childhood. Researcher Annemarie Stroustrup said studies are needed to find safe replacements for "bad actor" phthalates in plastic equipment used in NICUs. Medscape (free registration) (3/14)

Neb. children's hospital participates in NICU genome study
Children's Hospital & Medical Center and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., are participating in a study looking at whether faster genome sequencing can improve the care of NICU infants with suspected genetic conditions. "We want to enable families and physicians to make decisions based on real knowledge, rather than guessing what might be wrong," said Dr. Luca Brunelli, division chief of neonatology at Children's. Omaha World-Herald (Neb.) (3/12)

Research: Gut bacteria may play role in sepsis-related brain dysfunction
Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (3/15)

Hospitals deal with shortage of injectable opioids
US hospitals and surgical centers are dealing with a nationwide shortage of injectable opioid pain medications linked to manufacturing problems and government efforts to reduce opioid manufacturing due to addiction and abuse of oral opioids. Facilities are conserving the drugs, using alternative medications, and ensuring correct patient dosages so mistakes do not put supplies at risk. STAT (tiered subscription model) (3/15)

Study: Prices, not utilization, explain high health care spending in US
An analysis of data from 2013 to 2016 comparing 11 high-income nations showed the US spends almost twice as much as other wealthy countries on health care, but it had the lowest life expectancy and highest infant death rates of the group. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found utilization of care in the US is similar to that of other countries, but administrative costs and prices for prescription drugs and medical services are substantially higher in the US. Reuters (3/13)

Study: Burn injury survival has increased over 30 years
Physician's Briefing/HealthDay News (3/15)

Northwell Health uses virtual care to reduce ICU mortality
Northwell Health's use of Royal Philips' Virtual Hospital Service, which includes eICU technology and a telestroke program, led to a 20% reduction in ICU mortality. The program also doubled the number of patients getting blood clot medication and doubled organ donation referrals. Clinical Innovation + Technology online (3/13)

Survey looks at providers' use of clinical surveillance tools
A Spyglass Consulting Group survey found that extending EHR capabilities, customizing algorithms to hospital-based protocols, providing real-time access to data, and using data analytics to detect deteriorating conditions in patients are among the clinical surveillance technology tools hospitals and health systems are using to monitor high-risk patients. Hospital leaders cited the importance of these tools but reported being skeptical of technology vendors' claims related to predictive warnings and early detection for high-risk patients. Healthcare IT News (3/13)

What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common sense.
Beatrix Potter, writer and illustrator