While stroke is largely a disease suffered by the elderly — for each decade after age 55, the risk of stroke doubles — healthcare professionals cannot discount entirely the possibility of stroke in children and young adults. In this week's DM Update, one study shows that many young adults suffering stroke are being misdiagnosed in the ER, while another notes a correlation between the occurrence of stroke and the number of fast-food restaurants in a neighborhood.
Archive for February, 2009
So far, 130 healthcare organizations have told us how they're using incentives (benefit- and cash-based) to enroll and motivate participants in health and wellness programs. Just a few days remain to take the Health & Wellness Incentives Survey and tell us what's working for your organization and receive an e-summary of the results.
For the first time in recent history, children may have shorter lifespans than their parents. The reason: Childhood obesity.
With more than 30 percent of U.S. children overweight or obese, a first-of-its-kind childhood obesity initiative was recently unveiled — a critical step in the nation's battle against this epidemic. The premise: Participating insurance companies will pay for a minimum of four dietitian and physician visits per year, to give parents and children direction and guidance on eating well and reducing and controlling weight. Companies signed on for the initiative include BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts, Aetna and WellPoint, and companies like PepsiCo are
now offering the benefit to their employees. The American Academy of Pediatrics along with the American Dietetic Association have both signed on to help monitor the program.
This joint effort from the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation — known collectively as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation — noted that such an initiative will give children better access to the healthcare they need to fight childhood obesity. The initiative is expected to serve an estimated 1 million children in its first year and over 6 million children in three years.
More than $150 billion of the $787 billion economic stimulus package — about 19 percent — will directly or indirectly impact healthcare delivery. The key items are summarized below, taken from an overall package summary created by the New York Times:
At the government site www.recovery.gov, you can read a full text of the legislation, track the distribution of these funds by federal agencies — even share how the (hoped-for) economic recovery is affecting you.
Chronic pain is a very taxing condition — both physically and fiscally. On average, chronic pain patients lose 4.6 hours of work per week, costing employers $61.2 billion annually. This week's Disease Management Update focuses on chronic pain — the number of occurrences, non-traditional treatments, pain level reduction and recommendations for med school curricula when teaching this complex topic.
Came across some interesting tactics this week to reduce medication non-compliance, which is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and costs the healthcare industry upwards of $150 billion annually. Scary to think that of 1.8 billion medications prescribed annually, only 50 percent are taken correctly by the patient.
First, Hummingbird Health Coaching is driving patient medication adherence through behavioral health coaching. Its latest health improvement effort is called Adherence Rx, a program that leverages health coaching with state-of-the-art technology and the latest teachings of behavioral science to "improve patient adherence and impacts patient outcomes, brand loyalty and brand profitability." Says Hummingbird: "AdherenceRx helps bring cost-effective and improved healthcare to patients by giving them the resources and tools to become successful. One-on-one coaching increases patient understanding of their disease state, medications, and adopting a healthy lifestyle as well as offers ongoing support to ultimately change behavior and drive sustainable results."
Next, Vitality GlowCaps, the intelligent pill cap that illuminates and plays a melody at dosage times, announced a partnership with Meridian Health to distribute GlowCaps through the Meridian Home Store and Meridian pharmacies, as well as on its own Web site and via amazon.com. The company says this partnership allows for a greater reach to those battling with medication adherence.
Because the very concept of a medical home revolves around the patient, effective patient assignment into that medical home is crucial. Dr. Anita Murcko and Dr. Charles DeShazer highlighted some benefits of medical home assignment in HIN's webinar yesterday on patient assignment into the medical home, including:
But that's not all. According to Dr. Murcko, creating, implementing and fostering medical home "best practices" is a leadership opportunity for managed care in public and private sectors.
And adds Dr. DeShazer, "Appropriate patient assignment is essential to ensure proper credit for reimbursement and performance, but most importantly to establish the relationship contract necessary for achievement of the PCMH principles and the anticipated value."
With the swift motion of a pen, President Obama signed legislation that will cover an additional 4 million children under SCHIP at the expense of cigarette smokers — raising federal tobacco taxes by 61 cents per pack. With intentions of detering current and prospective smokers, the U.S. government is doing their part in the crusade for tobacco cessation and prevention. This week's installment of the DM Update looks what other organizations are doing in the area of smoking cessation and prevention and provides an industry expert's comments on the effectiveness of incentives in tobacco cessation.
What are your organization's experiences with health and wellness incentives and rewards? Take HIN's February survey of the month, and let us know!
Recent reports indicate that diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are linked, as diabetics face an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's. In this week's Disease Management Update, researchers find a possible new Alzheimer's application for insulin and discover that diabetics with high glucose levels often experience lower cognitive functioning.