Four Transitions for Back-To-School

Monday, September 12th, 2011
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

It’s back to school time, and the healthcare industry is undergoing its fair share of transitions.

  • NCQA is launching a new accreditation program for ACOs this fall. The organization worked with consumer advocates, purchasers and other healthcare and managed care experts to develop seven standards by which it will evaluate ACOs. Early bird adopters of the accreditation effort can get reduced rates on survey fees, online education tools and promotion. Order the NCQA ACO standards.
  • The one-year report card on Cigna’s ACO approach with Medical Clinic of North Texas (MCNT) is in; and both healthcare systems are reporting excellent grades in four key areas: reducing avoidable emergency room visits, following evidence-based medicine, lowering medical costs and better controlling diabetes. Since the accountable care program began, MCNT has received the highest level of recognition from NCQA for meeting national quality standards for physician group medical homes. Cigna helped by sharing patient-specific data that identifies individuals who could benefit most from additional outreach and follow-up care.
  • Medical students, rather than teachers, are getting apples this year: Apple iPads. Many universities, including Yale Medical School, profiled here, are downloading curriculum onto the tablets in an effort to be more “green,” save money, and protect patient confidentiality. Computer security has been a particular concern for the Yale School of Medicine, and the iPad is compliant with security and privacy laws and does not carry the same risk of information loss that a laptop might, Yale officials say.
  • And finally, a lesson that can’t be taught enough: smoking just a few cigarettes can kill. A new report from the CDC shows that smokers are smoking less: the percent of daily smokers who smoke nine or fewer cigarettes per day rose to nearly 22 percent in 2010, up from an estimated 16 percent in 2005. But smokers need not be heavy or long-term smokers to be affected with a smoking-related disease, or suffer a heart attack or asthma attack, CDC officials say. And states with the toughest anti-smoking campaigns, like like Maine, New York and Washington, have the fewest smokers. Which just goes to show that even the most resistant students can be taught to change their ways.
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