Archive for August, 2007

Emergency Room Management

August 31st, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

Educating patients on alternatives to the emergency department (ED) is a key to reducing ED usage, according to Dr. Karen Amstutz and Dr. Lakshmi Dhanvanthari of Wellpoint State Sponsored Business. Click here to listen to Dr. Amstutz and Dr. Dhanvanthari’s comments on this emergency room management tactic.

Dr. Lakshmi Dhanvanthari and Dr. Karen Amstutz, along with Dr. Jim Glauber, medical director for Neighborhood Health Plan of Massachusetts, will provide details on the most effective strategies they’ve implemented to address non-emergent ED use during a September 25, 2007 audio conference, , Developing Effective Strategies to Reduce Non-Emergent Emergency Department Use.

American Cancer Society to Devote All Ad Dollars to Problem of Uninsured

August 31st, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

The New York Times reports that in response to research linking a lack of insurance to delays in detecting malignancies, the American Cancer Society is devoting its entire $15 million advertising budget this year to the consequences of inadequate health coverage. This is a change from its usual disease-specific advertising messages, such as those targeting smoking cessation. The article cites a 2003 study that estimated that one of every 10 cancer patients was uninsured.

Hospitals, Health Plans React to Unnecessary Visits to Emergency Department

August 29th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

In a July 2007 e-survey, almost 85 percent of responding healthcare organizations say that unnecessary visits to their emergency rooms are an issue, and more than half are addressing this trend in their emergency department management efforts. Educating the population, recommending care alternatives — such as urgent care facilities — and raising the price of admission to emergency rooms are the most frequently employed strategies.

Healthy Partnerships in Healthcare Mean Everyone Benefits

August 27th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

My family collectively rolls their eyes whenever they hear me say “Let’s not recreate the wheel.” But practically speaking, partnering with another group already in a similar healthcare space makes a lot of sense, especially with resources stretched to the limit. This week in the HIN Weekly Update, we talk about several beneficial partnerships — health coach and client, disease management organization and community group, the federal government and small town. Two federal programs in particular will give some communities the financial legs to foster a drug-free environment and others the resources to create one-stop shopping for long-term care advice. Who knows? Maybe these grants will create a future partner for your organization.

We also ask you to partner with us and take our e-survey on caregiver support and education . Respond by this Friday, August 31 and get a free summary of the results. Or, just tell us about collaborations that are working for you by emailing

Home is Where the Diabetes is?

August 23rd, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

In this day and age, it’s no longer a shock when you hear eating this will cause cancer or not doing that will increase your risk of heart disease. But who knew that the actual place you live can contribute to your health?

According to a recent study featured in this week’s Disease Management Update, adverse housing conditions are strongly linked to developing diabetes in urban, middle-aged African Americans. For the study, houses were rated for inside and outside cleanliness and the condition of the furniture inside, while neighborhoods were evaluated for noise, air quality and condition of houses, streets, yards and sidewalks. Something as common as a crack in a sidewalk contributed negatively to a neighborhood’s quality rating.

While it is not yet clear exactly how housing conditions contribute to the onset of diabetes, what steps can be taken now to reduce these problems? For starters, disease management (DM) programs can be proactive and partner with state programs, local agencies, schools, faith organizations, businesses and clubs, within these poor inner cities and attempt to reduce other factors that increase one’s risk of diabetes such as diet and weight. By working together, DM programs and community-based organizations can educate the population about known factors contributing to their risk of diabetes and what they can do now to eliminate these risk factors.

Is your organization cashing in on these profitable partnerships with community organizations? We want to hear about the payoffs in improved outcomes!

Gen X Guidelines for Healthcare and Hiring

August 21st, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

gen x book
Trying to market healthcare to Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers? You’ve probably already discovered that the old rules no longer apply. Instead, think iTunes, the Web, cell phones and other new media.

“What we’re trying to do is produce content that’s suitable for the broad-based national media and yet also make it searchable so it is found by younger people and targeted more toward their niches. As they are out actively seeking information in response to a crisis (whether they are younger people helping their parents or more savvy older people), we want them to be able to find information that’s relevant to them,” says Lee Aase, manager of national media and new media at the Mayo Clinic, which hopes its ventures in new media will provide new ways to get noticed by Gen-X.

This cohort is also getting attention from Wellpoint, which created its Tonik health plan with the young ininsured in mind. The product was designed to appeal to Gen X’s independence, freedom and spontanaeity, while providing essential medical coverage, according to Aric Hooverson Grey WorldWide account director who led the agency team for client WellPoint/Anthem’s Tonik product line. Shelley Patchin is the director of advertising for WellPoint.

And if you have employees that fall under the Gen X umbrella, an interesting article from Manage Smarter offers strategies for retaining Gen X hires. A must-read for baby boomer managers.

Reducing Non-Emergent ED Usage

August 20th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

Medical homes are key in reducing emergency department (ED) usage, according to Jim Glauber, medical director for Neighborhood Health Plan of Massachusetts. He defines ED overuse for his organization and discusses the differences between urgent care and emergent care and when patients should use each. Click here to listen to Dr. Glauber’s comments.

Dr. Glauber, along with Dr. Lakshmi Dhanvanthari, and Dr. Karen Amstutz, both from WellPoint State Sponsored Business, will provide details on the most effective strategies they’ve implemented to address non-emergent ED use during a September 25, 2007 audio conference, Developing Effective Strategies to Reduce Non-Emergent Emergency Department Use.

The Role of IT in Reducing ADEs

August 20th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

Implementation of computer technology is key in eliminating adverse drug events (ADEs), explains Leanne Huminski, chief nursing officer, McLeod Regional Medical Center. She comments on capitalizing on computer technology, McLeod’s initiatives for eliminating adverse drug events and the role information technology is playing in reducing ADEs. Click here to listen to Leanne’s comments.

Huminski, along with collegue Donna Isgett and Lenore Blank and Michelle Gilbert, Blank, Michelle Gilbert, Donna Isgett, and Huminski will describe how their organizations are implementing perfect care processes in heart failure and medication management with details on how they’ve implemented their programs and the results they are achieving during a August 22, 2007 audio conference, Pursuing Perfect Care: Improving Chronic Care Outcomes by Treating the Whole Patient.

Quality and Sharing

August 20th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

Quality. Hospitals live and breathe it, health plans often reimburse by it, and providers are warming to the idea of reporting on it. But in this week’s featured podcast, Dr. Dale Bratzler reminds the industry not to lose sight of the patient’s needs while polishing pay-for-performance initiatives. Also, learn how some organizations raise the bar on quality by pooling resources with community organizations. This week’s Healthcare Business Weekly Update offers you two ways to pool resources with industry colleagues:

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August 20th, 2007 by Melanie Matthews

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