Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Me and My Doc’s Top 10 Posts of 2015

It’s been another year of headline-making health stories, from the measles outbreak in Disneyland and the 2015 Texas legislative session to the never-ending struggle against vaccine misinformation. Here are Me and My Doctor’s 10 most-read posts of 2015:

  1. Measles: The Next Disneyland Could be Texas. Corpus Christi pediatrician Ernest Buck, MD, warned us that a measles outbreak ― like the one linked to Disneyland ― is just a hop, skip, and a plane ride away from Texas, especially given many Texas school districts’ low vaccination rates.

  2. WIC Program Deserves Support. Austin pediatrician Steven Abrams, MD, urged the government to reauthorize the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) before time ran out Sept. 30. Dr. Abrams called renewing the program a “moral imperative,” because — critical to lifelong good health — the program protects infants and their mothers from malnourishment. (The WIC program has since been renewed.)

  3. Epic Fail: We Physicians Must Do More to Promote Cancer-Preventing HPV. Physicians need to step up their game in encouraging their patients get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), said Keller pediatrician Jason Terk, MD. “We are at risk of being the generation of pediatricians and family physicians who collectively failed to protect our patients from a preventable cause of cancer,” he wrote.

  4. We Can Prevent Unintended Pregnancy. Texas’ unintended pregnancy rate sits at 54 percent, and that number hasn’t budged in two decades. Fort Worth obstetrician-gynecologist Shanna Combs, MD, said that percent will fall if women are provided accurate, comprehensive contraception counseling and contraception at low or no cost. “We need to get insurance companies to realize this so that our patients can prepare for a pregnancy when they are ready,” she wrote.

  5. HPV Is an Epidemic That We Can Prevent. Houston gynecological oncologist Lois Ramondetta, MD, said getting your kids vaccinated against HPV should be as much of a “no-brainer” as applying sunscreen on them before going outside. “HPV exposure is part of being human,” she stated. “I don’t want your children to become my patients.”
  6. Infographic: Flu Facts. TMA created an infographic to illustrate top flu facts everyone should know, including the dangers of influenza, who should get vaccinated, and what types of vaccines are available.

  7. Pregnant Women May Be Getting Unnecessary Ultrasounds. Pregnant women are getting more ultrasounds than ever, and while some high-risk pregnancies may call for additional ultrasounds, most women are getting more than double the recommended number, said San Antonio physician Kenneth Higby, MD.

  8. Cartoon: Vaccinate Yourself Against Vaccine Misinformation. If you’ve ever searched the word “vaccines” on the Internet, chances are you’ve come across some really scary ― but patently false ― information. If you’re looking for a smart, concise history on vaccines and the science behind them, check out this fun comic strip by Popular Science cartoonist and blogger Maki Naro.

  9. Austin Regional Clinic’s Strengthened Vaccination Policy a Success Story. In June, the physicians at Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) announced they would no longer accept new pediatric patients whose parents, against physician advice, opted not to have them vaccinated. ARC said its policy has been a success, and led to many great conversations on the importance of vaccines with patients and their families.

  10. Red Tape Kills Venerable Medical Practice. After 40 years of service and more than 20 years together, the physicians at Austin Internal Medicine Associates closed their doors for good Sept. 4. The physicians cited burdensome regulations ― including electronic health record requirements and the looming switch to a new medical billing and coding system called ICD-10 ― as factors in their decision to close.

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