Healthcare Business Week in Review: Post-Surgery ER Visits Up; Medicare Spending Debate; EHRs and Diabetes

Friday, September 20th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Nearly one in five older adults who have common operations will end up in the ER within a month of their hospital stay, finds a new study from the University of Michigan Medical School.

There is also wide variation among hospitals, with some having four times the rate of post-surgery emergency care for their patients than others, suggesting that hospitals should be graded based on their performance on this measure.

But researchers agree that further study is needed before post-surgical ED visits join such measures as hospital readmissions and infections in assessing the quality of hospital care, researchers note. More inside.

Experts and the public disagree on whether Medicare spending should be reduced in order to lower the federal budget deficit, according to a special report in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, a majority of the public says they will vote against candidates who favor the reductions.

Americans feel that Medicare recipients have prepaid or are paying for the cost of their healthcare, and that the benefits they do receive are the same or less than what they paid during their working lives. But experts maintain, among other issues, that one of the most important reasons for rising Medicare costs is unnecessary care provided to patients.

There is widespread agreement that the use of EHRs in clinical settings can decrease ER visits and hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, according to researchers from Kaiser Permanente (KP).

Following the implementation of HealthConnect&#174, the organization’s comprehensive EHR system, KP researchers found that diabetic patients visited the ER 29 fewer times per 1,000 patients and were hospitalized 13 fewer times per 1,000 patients annually after the implementation.

Do you input EHR data for health risk assessments? Sophisticated analytics behind today’s health risk assessments or health risk appraisals (HRAs) provide employers, payors and providers an aggregate view of population health and the raw material for the development of prevention and lifestyle change programs. Tell us how your organization uses HRAs to improve population health in our e-survey by October 15, 2013 and get a FREE executive summary of the compiled results.

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