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David Blumenthal on Drops in Infections, Diabetes Complications

Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D., highlights some good news in a Reflecting on Health Reform blog post: some kinds of health care–acquired infections are declining in the nation’s hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Blumenthal looks at how these life-saving reductions were accomplished, and notes that "progress is possible when you have good scholarship documenting a really bad, solvable problem and then mobilize both the government and the private sector to take it on." Also see an accompanying infographic showing variation among states in infection rates.

In another blog post, Blumenthal reports on more good news from the CDC: complications from diabetes fell sharply between 1990 and 2010. The most dramatic reductions were in heart attacks (down 68 percent) and deaths from uncontrolled blood sugar (down 64 percent). Blumenthal, a former practicing primary care physician, reviews factors that contributed to the decline, including research that prompted physicians to pay closer attention to patients' blood sugar, lipids, and blood pressure levels.

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