What We're Reading: Senate Recess Delayed; ONC's Tech Goals; Antidepressant Switching Study


Senate Leader Postpones Recess With Goal of Voting on Health Bill

Faced with a rapidly approaching month-long break, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has decided to postpone the Senate recess by 2 weeks with the hope that his party’s legislators can come to an agreement on a healthcare bill, which they have thus far been unable to pass, the Washington Post reports. The plan is to unveil an updated bill on Thursday, receive a Congressional Budget Office score on Monday, and hold a vote soon after. The Senate will now stay in session until August 11 “to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items,” McConnell said in a statement.

Health IT Office Director Envisions Technology Priorities and Challenges

Donald Rucker, MD, the new director of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, outlined the office’s major priorities on Tuesday, according to MedPage Today. The 2 major issues that need to be addressed in the health technology landscape are making electronic medical records more usable and improving interoperability between different systems. Rucker said these challenges would require innovative solutions. "Just look at the apps on your phone; go through the ones you use, and ask, 'Do we have that in healthcare?'" he said to reporters. "That's what we're working on."

Study Compares Effects of Switching, Adding Medications on Persistent Depression

When patients with major depressive disorder do not achieve remission with the first course of antidepressant drugs, clinicians must determine whether they should add a new drug to the current regimen or switch to a different drug entirely. The results of a study in JAMA indicate that the former may increase the chances of remission. Researchers found that when patients with treatment-resistant depression had their medication augmented with aripiprazole, they were more likely to see their depression subside compared with the study group that was switched to bupropion.

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