Public Health News Roundup: August 15
Investing in Tobacco Cessation Programs Can Cut Costs, Save Lives
Preventable health problems from tobacco account for $200 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity. Investing properly in often-underfunded tobacco cessation programs — such as smoke-free workplace rules and taxes — can cut these costs dramatically, according to a new brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The return on investment in cessation programs has been shown to be as high as $50 for every $1 spent. The brief is part of RWJF’s Health Policy Connection series. Read more on tobacco.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Nationwide Campaign Set to Start
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign starts August 17. More than 10,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies are participating in the annual crackdown on drunk driving. It runs through the Labor Day weekend. In 2010, more than two-thirds of the deaths in drunk driving collisions involved drivers whose blood alcohol levels that were nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08, according to NHTSA. Read more on alcohol.
$3M Study to Reduce Errors During Patient ‘Hand Offs’
As many as 70 percent of the most serious hospital errors can be linked to poor communication. This is especially the case during patient transfers — or “hand offs” — such as admission, shift changes and after procedures. In an effort to curb this statistic and stop errors before they can occur, nine hospitals around the country are participating in the I-PASS study to figure out the best way to train residents in “handing off” pediatric patients. The study is funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read more on health care.