JOHNS HOPKINS BUSINESS OF MEDICINE TIPS AND BRIEFS

April 1997
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410)955-5384
E-mail:gstephen@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Listed below are story ideas from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. To pursue any of these stories contact Gary M. Stephenson at (410)955-5384 or gstephen@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

THE JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL RANKS NUMBER ONE AGAIN...IN HEALTHY FOOD

Long ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News & World Report magazine, top recipient of NIH research dollars awarded to academic medical centers, and first in the number of top physicians in Best Doctors in America, Hopkins can add another number one ranking to its list -- healthy hospital meals. According to a nationwide survey of 30 hospitals conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital was rated best for its offerings of cholesterol-free, fiber-rich foods to patients who desire them.

HOPKINS USA: ACCESS FOR PATIENTS ACROSS THE NATION

With one toll-free telephone call, patients now can get all arrangements made for using Hopkins services -- from identifying the right doctor and coordinating multiple medical appointments to transportation and lodging. Hopkins USA, launched last March, "alleviates the time-consuming and frustrating elements of planning a visit, providing 'one-stop-shopping' for patients," says Toby Gordon, Sc.D., vice president of marketing and development. "We see Hopkins USA as a way to facilitate access to the nation's premier medical center while expanding our patient base," she adds.

HOPKINS, NIH AND ANGIOTECH PHARMACEUTICAL SIGN AGREEMENT

The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, NIH's National Institute of Aging and Angiotech Pharmaceuticals Inc. have signed a three-year Collaborative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop paclitaxel and other microtubule stabilizing agents for the treatment of a variety of vascular diseases, including restenosis, the renarrowing of an artery following percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. Paclitaxel, an FDA-approved chemotherapeutic drug, recently has been demonstrated in animal experiments at Hopkins, NIA and Angiotech to prevent restenosis and other vascular injuries at lower, safer drug levels.

$200,000 GRANT FOR HYPERTENSION STUDY IN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has awarded Hopkins $200,000 to support "Project Win," a two-year, community-based trial to control high blood pressure in African American women. Hypertension will afflict most African American women in their lifetimes. The trial will determine whether weight loss, dietary change and regular physical activity can control high blood pressure. "Lifestyle changes have great potential to reduce blood pressure in this high-risk population," said Lawrence Appel, M.D., the study's principal investigator and associate professor of medicine in the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research at Hopkins. "Lifestyle programs have appeal. The challenge is to tailor them so people can stick with them over time."

ENDOCRINE SURGERY SAFER, LESS COSTLY AT HOPKINS

Parathyroid gland surgery is more successful and less expensive at academic medical centers, such as Hopkins, with specialized endocrine facilities and experienced surgeons, than at hospitals where fewer of the operations are done, according to a Hopkins study published in the December 1996 issue of Surgery. Researchers compared costs and outcomes for 901 patients who underwent surgery (removal of the parathyroid glands) for hyperparathyroidism at 52 Maryland hospitals with 169 patients who underwent the same procedure at Hopkins. Forty-seven of the 52 hospitals performed fewer than 10 of the operations per year, but these lower-volume hospitals accounted for 80% of in-hospital deaths. Hopkins' cure rate was 97%, with no deaths.

HOPKINS LEADS IN SUCCESS OF ACOUSTIC NEUROMAS SURGERY

While almost always benign, acoustic neuromas, the second most common brain tumor, can be devastating to the patient, threatening hearing and vital functions -- breathing, heartbeat -- regulated by the brain stem. Particularly at risk are the fragile facial nerves. And removing the tumors without destroying surrounding nerves can be the surgical equivalent of untying the Gordian knot. According to an upcoming article in the Journal of Neurosurgery, 98.5% of those undergoing the operation at Hopkins came through with normal or near-normal facial nerves. Hopkins' surgeons attribute the success rate to experience.

HOPKINS-SUBURBAN HOSPITAL LABS AFFILIATE

As part of an alliance established last summer between Johns Hopkins Medicine and Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., the institutions have agreed to affiliate their laboratories. The Johns Hopkins Department of Pathology will provide consultation for certain complex or unusual laboratory analyses. The two labs will jointly purchase new equipment and will link their computer systems. In addition, registered nurses from Suburban will work with the Hopkins Home Healthcare Agency to streamline laboratory services for Montgomery County residents whose medical care is followed at Hopkins. The nurses will go to the homes of these patients to draw blood, and then will process the reports and send the results back to Hopkins.

HOPKINS' CENTER FOR INFORMATION SERVICES PICKS UP THREE HONORS

An electronic patient medical record developed by Johns Hopkins Medicine's Center for Information Services has been selected to become part of the Smithsonian Institution's Permanent Research Collection of Information Technology Innovation to be housed at the National Museum of American History. The selection, part of the Computerworld Smithsonian Awards program, was based on Hopkins' use of "information technology to create strides toward remarkable social improvement in business." The Hopkins Electronic Patient Record is a PC-based Windows application that provides user-friendly access to patient information, laboratory and radiology test results, and other clinical information. And, Healthcare Informatics, one of the leading journals in the field, has named the Center for Information Services one of the country's most computer-advanced health organizations. The Center also has been recognized for desktop integration with an award for the most innovative use of technology presented by the Maryland Society of Healthcare Information Systems.


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