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Home3 Things to Know Todayindex/list_13470_2Mistaken Probability, a Prior Authorization Push, and a Busy Weekend Ahead for...

Mistaken Probability, a Prior Authorization Push, and a Busy Weekend Ahead for EDs

Is What You Call Probable…Impossible?
Nearly 78% of physicians gave logically impossible answers when asked to estimate the probability of medical events happening, according to research.

The mistake, called conjunction fallacy, can lead to serious clinical errors.

Famous example: “Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations.”

Which is more probable?

  1. Linda is a bank teller.

  2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement.

Most people answer option 2 — when the probability of those two events occurring together is always less than or equal to one occurring alone.

“This study suggests we need to improve how we teach medical students and physicians about probability, especially in multistep processes. If their intuitions about probability are incorrect, this could harm patients,” said Aartik Sarma, MD.

Support for Changes to the Prior Authorization Process
Lawmakers are requesting changes in the prior authorization process for insurer-run Medicare plans.

The request came after testimony regarding improper denials of payment of care. In an April report, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services found that 18% of denied payments met coverage rules.

Proposed solution: A pending bill urges insurers to use a more streamlined review process. The bill calls for an electronic prior authorization process that allows for real-time decisions, reducing the need for fax machines and phone calls.

The bill, called Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2021, has 300 bipartisan sponsors.

Intended outcomes: Sponsors of the bill hope that it reduces administrative burden, allows for quicker patient care, and reduces complications.

Emergency Departments Are Going to Be Busy This Weekend
Over the past 15 years, firework-related injuries have increased by 25%, according to a new report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

There were about 11,500 fireworks-related injuries treated in emergency departments in 2021, and 74% of those occurred between June 18 and July 18, according to the report.

Knowledge is key: “It’s imperative that consumers know the risks involved in using fireworks so that injuries and tragedies can be prevented,” said commission Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric.

Kaitlin Edwards is a staff medical editor based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @kaitmedwards. For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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