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

ICU study: 32% of family members have anxiety after discharge
A study in Critical Care Medicine showed that ICU patients' family members who had morning spikes in cortisol levels were more likely to have anxiety three months later. Researchers found that 32% of family members had anxiety three months after patient discharge, 16% had depression symptoms and 15% had signs of post-traumatic stress. Psych Central (12/12)

Handoff bundle may reduce errors, improve workflow
Using the I-PASS Nursing Handoff Bundle may reduce errors during patient handoffs and benefit workflow, researchers reported in BMJ Quality & Safety. Data from a pediatric ICU showed the bundle led to a 30% improvement in verbal handoff communications, a 14% improvement in patient summaries and a 39% increase in the opportunity for patients to ask questions. Clinical Innovation + Technology online (12/7)

Preemies in NICU grab octopus instead of breathing tubes
WFMZ-TV (Allentown, Pa.) (12/11)

CDC reports rising flu activity
CDC researchers reported higher-than-average influenza activity, with widespread cases in Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Virginia, according to a study in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 45 flu-related ICU admissions and one pediatric death in the state. CNN (12/8)

Hospitals pay close attention to ratings
Hospitals take their quality ratings seriously, touting good reviews and even suing ratings agencies over bad ones, in the case of one facility in Chicago. How ratings affect patient decisions is not clear, but hospitals believe they affect public perception, competition and partnership opportunities. Kaiser Health News (12/11)

Survey shows health care systems think telemedicine has positive future
The Health Management Academy and the Center for Connected Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center surveyed 35 of the largest US health systems and found that although most are not getting reimbursed for virtual care or remote patient monitoring, more than 70% of those not receiving reimbursement think that will change in 2018, and many are continuing to implement telehealth programs. "Health systems are highly focused on becoming consumer-centric organizations, and view the integration of telehealth/virtual care/remote monitoring as part of the journey to putting consumers first," the report says. mHealth Intelligence (12/7)

Health care systems approaching AI with caution, focusing on proven tech
Hospital and health system executives responding to a survey said they are interested in artificial intelligence, machine learning and other emerging technology, but they are not rushing to implement it. Instead, they want to improve current EHR systems, standardize IT platforms and strengthen cybersecurity protocols. Healthcare Informatics online (12/7)

Nothing endures but personal qualities.
Walt Whitman, writer