Information technology has transformed much of the American economy, but its use in health care still lags, especially when it comes to electronic medical records.
Here's an example: The state of Colorado runs a computerized registry where any provider who gives a child a vaccine can report that information. The system should help kids stay current with their immunizations.
For at least a decade, many have assumed that too many fidgety kids have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and been medicated for it. But it's still been hard to get reliable information on just how many kids are getting diagnosed and whether it's justified. So researchers at Kaiser Permanente in California decided to look at the trend, using the best data they could get from kids who'd actually seen specialists.
What's the big fuss about Guinea worm, a parasite that now infects just a few hundred people? Well, the public health community finally has the nasty bug's back against the wall.
There were only 542 cases of Guinea worm worldwide last year, the Carter Center said this week. That's 48 percent less than in 2011. And it's a mere blip compared to the 3.5 million cases back in 1986.
As the flu season grinds on from news cycle to news cycle, there's some flu news of a different sort. Federal regulators have approved a next-generation type of flu vaccine for the second time in two months.
The two new vaccines are the first fruits of a big government push to hasten and simplify the laborious production of flu vaccines.