The disappearing hospital emergency room (Morning Read)

Today’s current medical news includes: urban emergency rooms in decline; concerns about European medical device regulation; and a setback for Abbott’s TriLipix.

Current medical news and unique business news for anyone who cares about the healthcare industry.

ERs in “crisis”: From 1990 to 2009, the number of urban hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. dropped 27 percent, which is “a threat to everyone’s care,” according to researchers. “When we rely on a market-based approach, we can’t expect resources to be distributed in an equitable fashion,” says one of the researchers.

Be careful what you wish for: The U.S. medical device industry loves to complain about onerous U.S. regulation while celebrating Europe’s less-stringent approach, but some top European cardiologists are calling for changes to European device regulation. “The regulatory system has not kept pace with technological advances and changing patterns of medical practice,” they said.

A setback for Abbott: Abbott Labs’ cholesterol pill TriLipix may have its uses limited in the U.S. or be subject to more testing after a study suggested the drug doesn’t protect against heart attacks or strokes better than a generic medicine.

Docs increasingly do video consultations: About 7 percent of practicing physicians use video to consult with patients, with psychologists and oncologists being  the heaviest users.

BIO’s advice: Trade group BIO lists its top 5 strategies for business success for small biotech firms. No. 1 — Identify your company’s true skill or value and hold close to it.

Not exactly single-payer: There’s been lots of buzz about Vermont moving toward a single-payer system, but details are still extremely sketchy, and there’s considerable doubt as to whether it’ll ever happen.

The bill provides for the creation of the legal framework of a public insurance program, to be called Green Mountain Care, but includes no funding mechanism, defines no benefit standards, is vague on the future roles of private insurers, and is silent on exactly how existing federal programs are to be incorporated.