Healthcare Business Week in Review: Patient Satisfaction; Health Insurance Marketplaces; Physician Shortage

Friday, November 15th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Familiarity does not breed contempt; instead, it leads to increased patient satisfaction scores, according to a new Vanderbilt study.

Realizing that nearly 90 percent of medical patients are unable to correctly name their treating physician following inpatient admission, researchers studied the effects of giving a randomized group of patients a simple biosketch card about their doctor. Patient satisfaction scores for the group receiving the card were 22 percent higher than those who did not receive the card. With Medicare reimbursements linked to HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores, this study has significant ramifications.

Some good news about the health insurance marketplaces: despite widespread difficulty accessing the online sites, public awareness has tripled since their October 1st launch, and a majority of those unable to access them will try again, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey.

According to the survey brief, more than half (58 percent) of those who are potentially eligible for coverage but who have not yet enrolled say they are likely to try to enroll or find out about financial help by March 31, 2014, the end of the open enrollment period. Seventeen percent of Americans who are potentially eligible for coverage have visited new health insurance marketplaces to buy coverage, via mail, Internet, phone, or in person. And nearly a third of adults who visited the marketplaces ranked their experiences as good or excellent. The extensive tracking survey is expected to come out again in December.

The expected glut of newly insured Americans seeking healthcare under the ACA could result in anticipated shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs) over the next decade, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Expanding the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants could help eliminate this. By using new models of healthcare that depend more on non-physicians, such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) and nurse-managed health centers, more than 50 percent of the expected shortage predicted to hit the United States over the next decade could be eliminated.

One way to keep Americans healthy: offer them incentives. And while offering NASCAR® tickets for completing a health risk assessment (HRA) might not be successful for everyone, they were the right incentive for one trucking company surveyed by Buck Consultants’ National Clinical Practice, says principal Patricia Curran. Many companies offer employees incentives for wellness participation, but they need to look at their population and determine what would most motivate them. We detail more in this week’s featured book excerpt.

Need an incentive to finish our current online survey on Healthcare Trends in 2014? How about a training DVD of the “2014 Healthcare Trends and Forecasts” webinar recorded on October 30, 2013? One lucky respondent to our survey will win it, so please tell us about the last 12 months and how your organization is preparing for 2014 by completing HIN’s ninth annual survey by November 18, 2013.

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