Archive for August, 2012

Infographic: 9 Key Healthcare Tranformation Elements from the Hawai’i Beacon Community

August 31st, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

With the patient at the center of the healthcare continuum, the Hawai'i Island Beacon Community (HIBC), has designed an infographic to illustrate how the community and healthcare organizations are partnering to transform healthcare.

Nine key components that emphasize collaboration, technology and community engagement are joining forces to improve the quality of care and the health of the population in Hawai'i, while reducing costs.

Hawaii Island Beacon Community Healthcare Transformation

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Physician Endorsement Helps ‘Sell’ Medical Home Model to Patients

August 28th, 2012 by Patricia Donovan
medical home patient

Recorded Webinar: Patient Engagement in the Medical Home

Nothing will engage patients and health plan members in the medical home model more than a ringing testimonial from the individual's own physician, advises Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. That's one of the lessons the payor has learned as it shops its patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model around its member population.

"The endorsement of a physician is key in this model," explains Jay Driggers, Horizon's director of consumer experience and engagement. "An insurance company isn’t going be able to [engage members] all on its own. If a PCP says this is a good program, and I want you to be a part of it, then typically patients will agree, and will want to be a part of it as well."

A danger of leaving providers out of this messaging is that patients may sense a downgrading in their level of care, Driggers warned during a recent webinar on Patient Engagement in the Medical Home: A Continuum Approach.

Other key words and phrases with which to pepper conversations about the medical home: "coordinated comprehensive care" and "increased access." "These issues are really prominent in the patient's mind, in the consumer's mind. They love the idea of somebody helping them, not have to repeat themselves, or working with their specialists to obtain all of their health records."

Horizon has invested a lot of time and resources to research and test consumers' perceptions of the medical home. The verdict? Awareness and understanding of the model is low, but interest is strong.

To maximize the transformative effect of the medical home, accountable care organizations (ACO) and episodes of care (also known as bundled payments), Horizon created a wholly owned subsidiary called Horizon Healthcare Innovations (HHI). To achieve its mission of creating "an effective, efficient and affordable healthcare system," HHI decided to take a closer look not only at physician behavior, but also at the behavior of patients and health plan members. The consumer engagement team is charged with identifying tools to engage patients and encourage behavior change.

HHI has crafted a broader view of engagement as a four-part continuum: awareness, understanding, action (behavior change) and outcome. Of its seven key consumer engagement objectives, HHI ranks "becoming knowledgeable on care models and benefits" at the top, and employs a variety of strategies, including behavioral economics and the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) model, to segment consumers by need and motivation.

Tempted to employ technologies like smartphone apps and telemonitoring to communicate with and engage the population? Don't assume everyone's ready and willing to use them, advises Driggers. "Mobile health is not yet a silver bullet," he said. "If you’re a senior citizen who doesn’t even really use a cell phone, I shouldn’t expect that you’re going be able to manage your diabetes using a smartphone app."

Among the five key components of Horizon's medical home model are a population care coordinator to manage the care of high-risk patients and close care gaps, as well as a playbook and learning network of best practices.

HHI's efforts have increased awareness, interest and overall engagement in the medical home, but Driggers said HHI is not stopping there. "A 'one and done' approach doesn't work. It takes repetitive, constant work to raise awareness. And interest rises with frequent contact."

Infographic: Medical Home Paves Way for Patient Satisfaction

August 24th, 2012 by Patricia Donovan
Medical Home Infographic

Click image for Medical Home benchmarks.

Large doses of e-prescribing, electronic health records and patient portals, among other health IT tools, are powering higher levels of satisfaction within the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), according to a new infographic from the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

We invite you to travel down this infographic, which revisits key PCMH trends in 2006, when patient satisfaction levels were half those reported by 2012 respondents to HIN's sixth annual survey on the medical home.

The infographic provides other metrics and measures reported by this year's respondents, comparing some with those recorded six years ago:

  • Favored reimbursement models;
  • Greatest barrier to PCMH adoption;
  • Percentage of medical homes prepping for participation in accountable care organizations;
  • Top strategies to educate and engage patients;
  • Time required for medical home conversion;
  • Average number of lives covered by medical homes;
  • Which PCMHs are embedding case managers;

and lots more.

We invite you to embed this infographic on your own Web site using the code that appears beneath it. Also, share it via your social media channels. A deeper dive into 2012 trends in patient-centered medical homes is reflected in 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: The Patient-Centered Medical Home.

Other Infographics: 2012 Activity Assessment in Accountable Care Organizations

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10 Hallmarks of a Health-Literate Organization

August 23rd, 2012 by Jessica Fornarotto

Recorded Webinar: Patient Engagement in the Patient-Centered Medical Home — A Continuum Approach

Leadership committed to health literacy and easy access to health information are two attributes of an organizational environment that fosters health literacy, suggests a new study reported in the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

It is possible for a healthcare system to redesign its services to better educate patients in the handling of immediate health issues and also become more savvy consumers of medicine in the long run, says the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) study. The study identified ten attributes that healthcare organizations should adopt to make it easier for people to better navigate health information, make sense of services and better manage their own health — assistance for which there is a profound societal need.

The ten attributes of a health-literate organization are:

  1. Has leadership that makes health literacy integral to its mission, structure and operations.

  2. Integrates health literacy into planning, evaluation measures, patient safety and quality improvement.
  3. Prepares the workforce to be health-literate and monitors progress.
  4. Includes populations served in the design, implementation, and evaluation of health information and services.
  5. Meets the needs of populations with a range of health literacy skills while avoiding stigmatization.
  6. Uses health literacy strategies in interpersonal communications and confirms understanding at all points of contact.
  7. Provides easy access to health information and services and navigation assistance.
  8. Designs and distributes print, audiovisual, and social media content that is easy to understand and act on.
  9. Addresses health literacy in high-risk situations, including care transitions and communications about medicines.
  10. Communicates clearly what health plans cover and what individuals will have to pay for services.

Some 77 million people in the United States have difficulty understanding very basic health information, which clouds their ability to follow doctors’ recommendations, and millions more lack the skills necessary to make clear, informed decisions about their own healthcare, said senior author Dean Schillinger, MD, a UCSF professor of medicine, chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine at SFGH, and director of the Health Communications Program the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations at SFGH. “Depending on how you define it, nearly half the U.S. population has poor health literacy skills. Over the last two decades, we have focused on what patients can do to improve their health literacy,” said Schillinger. “In this report, we looked at the other side of the health literacy coin, and focused on what healthcare systems can do.”

The importance of enhancing health literacy has been demonstrated by many clinical studies over the years, said Schillinger. Health literacy is linked directly to patient wellness. People who can understand their health information tend to make better choices, are able to self-manage their chronic conditions, and have better outcomes than people who do not.

Adults with low health literacy may find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system, and are more likely to have higher rates of medication errors, more ER visits and hospitalizations, gaps in their preventive care, increased likelihood of dying, and poorer health outcomes for their children.

Many health policy organizations have recognized that health literacy is not only important to people, but it can also benefit society because helping patients help themselves is a way to keep healthcare costs down. Successful self-management reduces disease complications, cuts down on unnecessary ER visits and eliminates other wasteful spending.

Click here for more information and for a complete description of the ten attributes.

8 Successes Achieved by Diabetes Management Programs

August 23rd, 2012 by Jackie Lyons

Patient-Centered Diabetes Management: Driving Outcomes with Education and Behavior Change

Large payoffs in patient compliance, patient satisfaction and medication adherence resulted from programs aimed at managing diabetes, according to respondents to HIN's 2011 “10 Questions on Diabetes Management” survey. In their own words, respondents described the greatest successes achieved by their diabetes management programs:

1. "Our greatest success is knowing the impact we have already made helping our patients, friends and families realize that they are not alone in this battle. We have produced results time and time again, proving this epidemic can be managed."

2. "Diet and nutritional talks and cooking demonstrations have stirred consciousness and thoughtfulness towards dietary protocols."

3. "The indigent population we manage through our program has had only one hospital admission for a diabetes-related problem in 2011. That’s impressive!"

4. "Improved mental status and treatment compliance in other spheres."

5. "High level of patient engagement; increased patient-provider contacts and communication; and reduced hospitalizations and overall costs."

6. "Significant ROI in one year using randomized control trial (RCT) methodology."

7. "More knowledge of the condition and decrease in gaps in care."

8. "Standardization of diabetes management programs, incentives, benefit enhancements and enhanced methods to reach members who opt out of one-on-one nurse coaching."

2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Diabetes Management provides more actionable data from the 83 responding organizations on current diabetes management programs and their impact on population health outcomes and healthcare spend.

Nearly 6 Million Visit Retail Medical Clinics in 2009; Older Patients and Preventive Services on Rise

August 20th, 2012 by Cheryl Miller


Retail medical clinics continue to grow in popularity, particularly among those 65 and up seeking preventive services, a new report from the RAND Corporation shows. Nearly half of visits between 2007 and 2009 occurred on weekends, when physician offices are typically closed. But despite their rising popularity, they still account for a small proportion of outpatient medical care overall.

The elderly are targets of a new initiative from the HHS, which has partnered with five pharmacies to help educate customers about their Medicare benefits. The pharmacies will provide educational materials to beneficiaries about available preventive services and savings on prescription drug spending in the “donut hole” coverage gap, among other things.

Efforts to decrease hospital readmission rates remain stagnant, as the national average readmission rate continues to hover slightly above 19 percent, according to a recent news report from Kaiser Health News. Nearly 300 hospitals, some of them nationally recognized, could lose an estimated $280 million in Medicare funds over the next year as the government starts paying healthcare providers based on the quality of care they provide.

And don’t forget to participate in on our Health and Wellness Incentives Survey. A review of 36 peer-reviewed studies of wellness programs in large firms found that average employer medical costs fell $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and costs for days that employees were absent fell an average of $2.73. Please share the details of your incentives program by completing our fourth annual survey by August 31 and you'll receive a free executive summary of the compiled results.

Read all of these stories in their entirety in this week's Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

Infographic: 26 States Offer Plan to Coordinate Dual Eligible Care

August 17th, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

Twenty-six states have submitted proposals to integrate healthcare delivery and reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid dual eligibles. Get a visual overview of the types of arrangements offered by various states and the market opportunity.

Coordinating Care for Dual Eligible Beneficiaries: Overview of State Proposals

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Infographic: ACO Activity Assessment Tracks Launch of Accountable Care Organizations

August 17th, 2012 by Patricia Donovan

Click image for ACO metrics and benchmarks.

Check out this new HIN infographic depicting the rapid evolution of the ACO as a bona fide healthcare delivery model.

We've discovered infographics, a creative and visual way of conveying the latest healthcare benchmarks we've identified. Our e-mailboxes seem to be full of infographics lately, and we have to admit they're a fun alternative to plain old pie charts and bar graphs. So we are creating a few ourselves, based on data from our healthcare benchmark surveys, and you'll be seeing them here.

If you're as new to infographics as we are, there's one thing you should know: infographics can be LONG. So you usually have to click on it to display the entire image. For example, click on the colorful red image above to enlarge it, and learn about ACO challenges, benefits and locations, metrics to measure ACO success and time needed for ACO implementation.

Scroll down this detailed image to find out who's running the ACOs, what the industry has to say about accountable care, whether your ACO should be wired with an EHR, and prognostications about the future of ACOs.

If this infographic piques your interest and you'd like to review all of the data that went into the making of it, check out 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks: Accountable Care Organizations

Like the infographic? Then share a comment, and while you're at it, let us know of any healthcare infographics that catch your eye. We'll share the best ones here.

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HHS ‘Red Tape’ Rule Frees Up More Physician Time for Patients

August 13th, 2012 by Patricia Donovan

Hometown hero Christie Rampone, co-captain, U.S. women's soccer team


The locals are still buzzing about last week's gold medal taken by the U.S. women's soccer team, led by team captain and Manasquan resident Christie Rampone. The team's win over Japan tempered somewhat the disappointment of losing to the same team in the 2011 World Cup. Friday's game was a career high and possibly the last for Rampone, who hopes the victory will inspire a new generation of female soccer players and revive interest in a national women's soccer league. Congratulations to Christie and all of the U.S. athletes.

For physicians, billing and insurance-related tasks can sometimes take on Olympian proportions. That's why a proposed HHS rule on electronic payments will save time and cut red tape for doctors, who on average spend three weeks a year managing claims and payments, when they'd rather focus on coordination of care for their patients.

Patient-centeredness is the intent of BCBS of Michigan's (BCBSM) recent designation of another thousand physician practices — 3,017 physicians — to its patient-centered medical home (PCMH) program, making it the largest in the nation for the fourth consecutive year. Research by BCBSM has found that patients in designated medical home practices require fewer hospital admissions and ER visits than patients in non-designated practices.

These patients also report higher levels of satisfaction, too, according to a new white paper on Medical Homes in 2012. Results from our sixth annual survey on this topic tie this surge in medical home starts to a rise in patient satisfaction, a critical quality metric for healthcare providers. Download a copy in this week's Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

Infographic: The ICD-10 Compliance Countdown

August 10th, 2012 by Melanie Matthews

With just over a year to the October 1, 2013 ICD-10 compliance deadline, only 1 percent of healthcare organizations have completed their ICD-10 compliance implementation, according to a new infographic from TEKsystems.

The infographic also illustrates the role of health IT vendors and health IT staff in achieving compliance.
The Race to the ICD-10 Finish Line

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