Women’s Health Must be Priority for States’ Health Exchanges

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Women are finally getting the respect they deserve.

According to a new report from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS), women’s health issues are key to the health of the nation and should be a major consideration when policymakers design and set up new insurance exchanges. And states need to maintain transparency so women can know up front what their coverage includes, including enrollment processes, scope of benefits, out of pocket charges and exemptions, so they can best provide for themselves and their families.

Transparency is also key to HHS’s aggessive list of health information technology (HIT) goals for 2013. Among them: at least 50 percent of physician offices will be using EHRs, and a majority will use electronic exchange among providers, ensuring that patients’ health information will be accessible wherever they access care. These goals are considered crucial to reducing healthcare costs and improving care quality, HHS officials say.

Increased access is behind a new primary care medical home (PCMH) certification from the Joint Commission. Designed for hospitals and critical access hospitals that have ambulatory care services that include primary care services offered by clinicians, the certification is considered beneficial to patients because it provides them increased access to the clinician and interdisciplinary team, and care from other clinicians and facilities is tracked and coordinated and regulated by evidence-based treatment protocols.

And increased virtual access is welcome to the majority of consumers, says a new Cisco Customer Experience Report recently released at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference.

Consumers and healthcare decision-makers across the globe were surveyed on sharing personal health data, participating in in-person medical consultation versus remote care and using technology to make recommendations on personal health. Results showed that the majority of Americans favored the increase of technology and remote care.

Three-quarters of consumers find access to care more important than face-to-face contact with their clinician, and are comfortable with the use of technology for medical interaction. The bottom line: consumers will overlook cost, convenience and travel, in order to be treated at a perceived leading healthcare provider to gain access to trusted care and expertise.

And don’t forget to take our new online survey on care transitions in 2013. Describe how your organization strategizes care transitions and you’ll receive a free executive summary of survey results once it is compiled.

These stories and more in this week’s issue of the Healthcare Business Weekly Update.

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