Monday, November 20, 2017

ACEP Study Provides New Perspectives on Dealing with Opioid Crisis

Ken Mwatha received his bachelor of science in zoology from the University of Wyoming. He went on to pursue a medical degree from the John Hopkins School of Medicine. Since 2013, Ken Mwatha has served as an attending physician at St. Agnes Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Mwatha is also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Established in 1968, ACEP is a professional organization that caters to physicians who provide emergency care. To date, the organization has a membership of 34,000 with mostly emergency physicians, residents, and medical students joining. Apart from upholding the highest standards of emergency care provision, ACEP also provides an avenue for sharing profession-related research at its annual meeting. 

During this year’s meeting, a study was presented that provides some new insights into the ongoing opioid crisis. The ACEP president, Paul Kivela, acknowledged that the crisis has drastically affected emergency departments across the nation. According to the study led by Harvard Medical School professor Scott Weiner, MD, FACEP, despite the improved availability of the opioid overdose antidote Naloxone in emergency departments, around ten percent of those who are treated for an opiod overdose die within a year. This means that even though overdose patients have received the appropriate treatment, they should still be considered as high-risk for an overdose and should be referred to more resources, such as counseling.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

US News Recognizes Excellence of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Mwatha serves as an attending physician in the emergency department of a Baltimore hospital. In preparation for his career, Dr. Ken Mwatha earned an MD and completed an emergency-medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A key institution in the development of the medical-education model in the United States, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine today stands out among the best medical schools in the country. In March of 2017, US News & World Report again confirmed this prestigious status when it awarded the School of Medicine the No. 3 ranking on the publication’s 2018 list of the Best Medical School for Research.

In garnering this high ranking, the Johns Hopkins school beat out all but two of the 118 medical schools that submitted the necessary data to US News. This marks the sixth consecutive year the School of Medicine has finished in third place on the publication’s list. Unlike in 2017, however, when it shared the rank with two other institutions, the School of Medicine took sole possession of the third spot on the 2018 list, coming in behind only the medical schools at Harvard University and Stanford University.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Data Highlights Growing Importance of Emergency Rooms

Kenneth “Ken” Mwatha, MD, treats patients in need of emergency care at a hospital in Baltimore. Board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Ken Mwatha, MD, also affiliates with the American College of Emergency Physicians.

In a September 2017 press release, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) reported on data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Providing further evidence of the importance of ERs, the data showed the number of emergency visits in the United States exceeded 141 million in 2014, a more than 10 million increase from the previous year and the highest recorded total in history. 

The ACEP points to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as the reason for the jump in emergency visits. In fact, 2014 marked the first year that patients covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program received more care in ERs than any other insured or uninsured group. According to Becky Parker, MD, president of the ACEP, trips to the ER are expected to rise further, as forthcoming data will likely show the number of annual emergency visits moved past 150 million in 2016.

Beyond the growth in the amount of emergency care, the CDC data elucidated a positive trend of patients coming to ERs with severe and complex issues, as opposed to those seeking nonemergency care. Despite the increase in emergency visits and the level of treatment needed, the ACEP reports that waiting times continue to fall, with nearly a third of patients seeing a medical professional in less than 15 minutes.