Healthcare Business Week in Review: Oncology PCMH; Medication Management; Seniors on FB

Friday, November 29th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

As families gathered this week to celebrate Thanksgivikkuh, (which won’t happen again for 77,000 years!) we offered several stories that demonstrate the strength of partnerships.

To begin, a first-of-its-kind patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model for oncology from Aetna and Consultants in Medical Oncology and Hematology, PC (CMOH).

The collaboration combines evidence-based decision support in cancer care with enhanced personalized services and realigned payment structure and is designed to increase treatment coordination and improve quality outcomes and costs for cancer patients. Researchers found that more than half of all new cancer patients are 65 or older, and most have one or more health conditions in addition to cancer. Given their frequency of contact with patients, oncologists are well positioned to help their patients coordinate care for multiple conditions.

Physician-led, team-based models of care are the future of healthcare, according to the AMA, which has issued a set of recommendations for implementing these models, including a report for the development of payment mechanisms that promote satisfaction and sustainability of team-based models in various practice settings. Among the recommendations: establishing payment distribution models that foster physician-led team based care, and reimbursing those physicians who lead these teams accordingly.

High-risk heart failure patients receiving nursing interventions were four times as likely to take their medication, but their hospital readmission rates were not impacted, according to a new study at Duke Medicine.

Patients who were tutored about managing their symptoms, taking their pills on schedule, and developing an action plan for addressing their symptoms were more likely to take their prescribed medications. They were encouraged to use doctors’ offices and clinics rather than the emergency department.

But when the researchers looked at the hospital readmission rate, they found that readmissions were not significantly different between the two groups. Medication management is just one of many issues facing patients most at risk for their conditions to worsen, researchers found, and redesigning care to confront the issues that are keeping the vulnerable from regaining their health has to be addressed.

Developing a communication hub, virtually and in person, is critical to a successful care coordination plan for dual eligibles, says Timothy C. Schwab, MD, FACP, former chief medical officer of SCAN Health Plan. It ensures that all members of the immediate and long-term support team are in sync with each other.

Seniors want to stay connected. According to a new Accenture survey, more than half of seniors 65 years and older are seeking digital options for managing their health services remotely. In fact, researchers found that at least three-fourths of Medicare recipients access the Internet at least once a day for e-mail (91 percent) or to conduct online searches (73 percent) and a third access social media sites, such as Facebook, at least once a week.

And lastly, a way for you to communicate with us: participate in our fourth comprehensive online survey, Reducing Hospital Readmissions Benchmark Survey, and we will send you a free e-summary of the results once they are compiled.

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