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Company news

June 16, 2010

The Indiana University School of Medicine ranked below average for its output of primary-care physicians, according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Roughly one-third, or 34.1 percent, of physicians minted by the IU med school go into primary care, ranking IU No. 79 out of 141 schools on the list. Some of the nation's most prestigious medical schools—including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, New York University and the Mayo Clinic—ranked among the bottom 15 for turning out primary-care docs. To see the full ranking, click here.

Eli Lilly and Co.’s experimental drug Bydureon helped diabetics lower their blood sugar and their weight—but not any more than the cheap, old diabetes pill metformin. That’s the upshot of clinical trial data released Tuesday by Indianapolis-based Lilly and its development partners on Bydureon. The once-a-week version of Byetta helped patients reduce their blood sugar, measured by hemoglobin A1c, by 1.5 percentage points. So did metformin. Patients on Bydureon lost an average of 4.5 pounds a piece. Patients on metformin lost 4.4 pounds on average. Bydureon did reduce blood sugar more than Januvia, a medicine made by New Jersey-based Merck & Co. Inc., and roughly the same as Actos, a drug made by Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. However, patients lost less weight on Januvia, and actually gained weight on Actos. Lilly is waiting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve Bydureon for market.

WellPoint Inc. got some recognition for practicing what it preaches. The National Business Group, a not-for-profit organization of large employers, named WellPoint one of 66 Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles because the company encourages its workers and families to adopt long-term, healthy habits. Meanwhile, Indianapolis-based WellPoint is developing online care options to give patients a quicker way to converse with a physician—using online video and chat or using a phone. In a partnership with Boston-based American Well, WellPoint will launch its online care option in the fall with a network of primary-care and specialist physicians committed to conducting virtual visits with patients. The online care option will begin in a few markets and then expand throughout WellPoint’s territories across the country.

Purdue University's Healthcare Technical Assistance Program is hiring 50 professionals to help 2,200 Indiana primary-care doctors adopt electronic records that meet federal standards. Purdue's center, armed with $12 million in federal stimulus funds, will aid small Indiana practices of 10 or fewer health care providers, community health centers, federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics.

Eight programs at Riley Hospital for Children ranked among the top 30 children's hospitals in the nation in U.S. News' annual America's Best Children's Hospitals list. The rankings will be released in the August issue of U.S. News & World Report. Riley ranked third in urology, 14th in pulmonology, 15th in diabetes, 20th in neonatal care, 22nd in digestive disorders, 29th in cardiology and neurology and 30th in cancer. No other hospitals in Indiana were named in the rankings. U.S. News based the rankings on each hospital's reputation, outcomes, and such measures as nursing care, advanced technology, and credentialing.

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