Archive for the ‘Elder Care’ Category

Countering 5 Remote Monitoring Cautions in Face of mHealth Uncertainty

March 24th, 2015 by Cheryl Miller

remote_patient_monitoring

Physician champions and legislative advocates can spur remote patient monitoring success.

Physician skepticism about mHealth is a frequently cited barrier to implementing remote monitoring. But once physicians understand they can allot in-person visits for those who truly need them, then use their other time remotely monitoring other patients to wellness, they might be more willing to buy in to mHealth.

It’s all about educating the physician, advises Dr. Luke Webster, vice president, chief medical information officer, CHRISTUS Health, who shared how CHRISTUS responded to these challenges during its remote patient monitoring pilot.

  • Unclear ROI: There are always questions around ROI. We look at pre-implementation costs and pre-enrollment costs versus post-costs, including all project costs. What does that ROI mean for your organization?
  • Limited Resources: With care transitions, we took remote patient monitoring and put it on top of the care transitions program. That added additional responsibilities to the already busy workflow process. Whether you’re looking at an E-Hub model or expanding these programs into other areas of your organization, it’s important to review that budget up front. What’s expected of your outcome goals? How will you do that from a day-to-day process and biweekly performance outcomes and measures so you meet that targeted overall outcome, whether it’s reducing length of stay, cost of care, or 30-day readmissions?

    You want all of that to match. Your resources have to be identified upfront. We have been very fortunate to have our providers as champions. They buy into it; they understand it. They didn’t buy into it initially because the nurse coach thought it necessary to make that patient home visit. Sometimes it is. But she has found, with these tools, that she can better do that from her office and manage more patients.

  • Physician Skepticism: It is important to understand your champions, your available resources, backup, etc., when issues come up and you need those resources. We’re finding — and statistics state this — that physicians are still more comfortable doing face-to-face visits. Keeping those patients healthier and at home means we’re keeping them out of the facilities. The physicians and primary care providers may have some skepticism regarding that as well. They have less hands-on training with the equipment so perhaps don’t fully understand the opportunity for them to fill clinic days with patients that are truly in need of an appointment that day versus monitoring others who can be coached to wellness at home.

    It’s about educating physicians, finding those champions and engaging them in the overall process and direction of our health system.

  • Reimbursement Regulations: You need an advocate who can speak for you, represent what you’re doing, and prove the value both at a state and federal level. That should be an ongoing process and on your calendar monthly: identifying and calling your state or federal representative.
  • Rising Technology Costs: This is a booming area; vendors can’t get their products out fast enough. When you set up a budget for a program like this and look to initiate a pilot or expansion, you must look at all technology costs—not only for hardware but for software, upgrades and required support. Do you go through a third party vendor, and do you lease or purchase your equipment? When do you purchase the equipment? Just from our original pilot in late 2012 to today, we’ve seen some changes in technology. If your kits are organized to fit that original technology, how will that change 18 months later, and what will be the cost of adjusting the kits (for example, Styrofoam, boxes, etc.)?

    All of that will change. Look at those technology costs and related issues as you move forward and have a plan to how best recycle that kit.

    Remote Monitoring
    Luke Webster, MD, is vice president and chief medical information officer of CHRISTUS Health. Dr. Webster has over 20 years of clinical and health informatics experience. He specializes in health informatics and physician leadership, clinician adoption and change leadership, clinical transformation, evidence-based medicine, clinical analytics and process improvement.

    Source: Remote Patient Monitoring for Chronic Condition Management

Risk Stratification Targets the High-Risk, Curbs Utilization Across Continuum

February 19th, 2015 by Cheryl Miller

Preventive care and utilizing hospital and discharge information are critical for stratification, say a number of thought leaders from organizations like Humana, Adventist Health, Taconic Professional Resources, Monarch Healthcare (a Pioneer ACO), and often lead to improved clinical and financial outcomes. Here, some advice from these thought leaders.

Across the healthcare continuum, improved clinical and financial outcomes at organizations like Humana, Adventist Health, Taconic Professional Resources, Monarch Healthcare (a Pioneer ACO), and Ochsner Health System were preceded by rigorous risk stratification of populations served.

“Humana encourages preventive care, and we are trying to prevent the most costly interventions by making sure we address things before they become big problems,” notes Gail Miller, vice president of telephonic clinical operations in Humana’s care management organization, Humana Cares/SeniorBridge. “It is successful so far. We have been able to reduce hospitalizations from what we expected by about 42 percent. We have been able to decrease our hospital readmission rate to 11 percent.”

Hospital admission and discharge information is critical for stratification, adds Annette Watson, RN-BC, CCM, MBA, senior vice president of community transformation for Taconic Professional Resources. “Depending on the model in a primary care practice (PCP), if a physician is not the admitting physician—if the admission is from a specialist, hospitalist, or through the ER—it cannot be assumed the PCP has the admission and discharge information. People may think physicians know about their patients being in the hospital, but that is not always the case.”

“Our first step in launching Monarch’s Pioneer ACO program was to develop a population disease profile in risk stratification analysis,” contributes Colin LeClair, executive director of accountable care at Monarch HealthCare. “With the help of Optum Actuarial Solutions, we identified the eight most prevalent and costly conditions in our population. We then identified the largest cohort of high-risk patients best suited for Monarch’s care management programs. Ultimately we isolated the top 6 percent of high-risk patients with a diagnosis of diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or renal disease and found that of those patients, 6 percent account for 43 percent of total medical cost across the entire population. That analysis resulted in us targeting about 1,200 high-risk patients who have a similar constellation of issues.”

“You want to look at your high utilizers of care, because they’re using a great deal of care,” concludes Elizabeth Miller, RN, MSN, vice president of care management at White Memorial Medical Center, part of Adventist Health. “There’s potential for decreasing procedures, tests, ED visits, hospitalizations.”

Source: 2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Stratifying High-Risk Patients

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/2014-Healthcare-Benchmarks-Reducing-Hospital-Readmissions_p_4786.html

2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Stratifying High-Risk Patients captures the tools and practices employed by dozens of organizations in this prerequisite for care management and jumping-off point for population health improvement—data analytics that will ultimately enhance quality ratings and improve reimbursement in the industry’s value-focused climate.

BCBSM Physician Incentives Target 5 Root Causes of High-Cost Healthcare

February 17th, 2015 by Cheryl Miller

Designed to target underlying reasons for high-cost healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s (BCBSM) Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) rewards and incentivizes providers to enhance the delivery of care. To address poorly aligned incentives, for example, they developed tiered fees based on performance measured at the population level, not just at the individual physician level or patient’s level, says Donna Saxton, BCBSM’s field team manager of BCBSM’s value partnerships program.

How has the program evolved? The several root causes of high-cost healthcare within our system were readily apparent: poorly aligned incentives, a lack of population focus, very fragmented healthcare delivery, a lack of focus on process excellence or process improvement and a weak primary care foundation. As we’ve developed our Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP) initiative, we were strategic and deliberate in how we were going to address the root causes of our high-cost system, keeping in mind the tenets and the philosophy of the PGIP program.

To address poorly aligned incentives, we developed tiered fees based on performance measured at the population level, not just at the individual physician level or patient’s level.

Tiered performance fees also addresses the lack of population focus and places emphasis on all patients and payor registries.

The one thing that really makes our PGIP program unique is that we are payor-agnostic. The incentive dollars we have distributed through the life of the program readily help and incentivize other payors in the state, because if these capabilities are implemented, they ultimately serve all the patients in our state. We’re very proud of that because we feel that that is part of the servant leadership we need to do for patients and members in our state.

To attack the fragmented healthcare delivery, we’ve organized our systems of care, aligning our incentives for primary care physicians, hospitals and specialists.

We also have collaborative quality initiatives, which help sharpen our physicians, specialists and care delivery people on the science of process improvement.

Our PCMH initiative is our pinnacle initiative, which we believe has strengthened our primary care foundation across the state.

generating medical home savings
Donna Saxton, field team manager of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s (BCBSM) value partnerships program, currently oversees the team of representatives that support the statewide collaborative relationships with 44 physician organizations (PO) and 39 organized systems of care (OSCs) that participate in the BCBSM Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP).

Source: Generating Medical Home Savings and Quality Improvements Through Outcome-Based Measures

Registries Identify High-Risk Patients, Support Evidence-Based Protocols

January 6th, 2015 by Cheryl Miller

Obtaining a clear snapshot of a patient population is the first step in managing health outcomes in an accountable care organization (ACO), says Gregory Spencer, MD, FACP, chief medical officer with Crystal Run Healthcare. Registries are a major part of that, and at Crystal Run Healthcare, care managers use them to identify high-risk patients, implement evidence-based protocols, and coordinate care inside and outside the office.

We have used care managers for about seven years. Groups of nurses use our registries to identify high-risk patients and implement evidence-based protocols. We have used an EHR, and we use e-mail and Blackberries ® extensively within our practice so that when we have a new development, we can get the word out quickly to mobilize people or alert them that certain things are happening. Registries are a major part of this: getting your list of people with a high-risk condition.

Our care managers are nurses that pull the list of patients from the registry using evidence-based guidelines. They contact them, make sure they get certain things done that they need to have done, and smooth those efforts. They do care planning and then communicate with the patients outside of the office. We are also embedding a care manager at a few of our sites to try and catch patients while they are in the office as well.

The template we use is pretty basic. It keeps track of the patient’s last test, and includes certain results so that if the patient has a question or is due for some lab work, the care manager can quickly order it. If it’s not protocol-driven, they can send it to the physician for review or potentially do it themselves if we are able to cover it with a protocol. This is one way we use registries of patients who require referral tracking.

Again, workflow is the Achilles heel of some brilliant quality efforts. You don’t want to destroy your workflow and patient flow. Not to say that you can’t redesign your workflow if it is important, but this process can end in tears. Sometimes if the change is not well thought out, it has negative effects on workflow.

Source: Population Health Management Tools for ACOs: Technologies and Tactics to Support Accountable Care

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Population-Health-Management-Tools-for-ACOs-Technologies-and-Tactics-to-Support-Accountable-Care_p_4204.html

Population Health Management Tools for ACOs: Technologies and Tactics to Support Accountable Care examines the building blocks of population health management that drive improvements in healthcare quality and efficiency in ACOs — while positioning healthcare organizations for core measure improvement and increased reimbursement. In this 40-page resource, Dr. Gregory Spencer, chief medical officer of Crystal Run Healthcare, demystifies registry use and shares patient registry best practices.

Infographic: Out-of-Pocket Costs and the Elderly

December 1st, 2014 by Melanie Matthews

Nineteen percent of Americans over age 65 skip needed healthcare because of high out-of-pocket costs, according to a new infographic by the Commonwealth Fund.

The infographic also looks at how this compares to the elderly in France and Sweden.

Remote Patient Monitoring for Enhanced Care Coordination: Technology to Manage an Aging PopulationFrom home sensors that track daily motion and sleep abnormalities to video visits via teleconferencing, Humana’s nine pilots of remote patient monitoring test technologies to keep the frail elderly at home as long as possible. When integrated with telephonic care management, remote monitoring has helped to avert medical emergencies and preventable hospitalizations among individuals with serious medical and functional challenges.

In Remote Patient Monitoring for Enhanced Care Coordination: Technology to Manage an Aging Population Gail Miller, vice president of telephonic clinical operations in Humana’s care management organization, Humana Cares/SeniorBridge, reviews Humana’s expanded continuum of care aimed at improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction and reducing overall healthcare costs with a more holistic approach.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Quality Care for Aging Seniors

June 16th, 2014 by Jackie Lyons

With 13 percent of Americans now over the age of 65, senior healthcare services are becoming increasingly important. Furthermore, 27 percent of this population has diabetes, according to a new infographic from Avamere.

This infographic illustrates the most prevalent diseases in this age group and the growing need for preventative services.

A well-timed palliative care consult can enhance the patient experience and foster appropriate use of healthcare resources. 2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Palliative Care documents emerging trends in palliative care at 223 healthcare organizations, from the timing for initial palliative care consults to individuals on the palliative care team to the impact this specialized care is having on healthcare utilization

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

9 Things to Know About Palliative Care

June 12th, 2014 by Cheryl Miller

With an aging population that is living longer—an estimated 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Medicare each day — and a shortage of specialists trained for the field, palliative care is no longer taking a back seat to more traditional healthcare. The majority of respondents to the Healthcare Intelligence Network’s first annual Palliative Care survey in February 2014 said they have a palliative care program in place, and of those that don’t, more than half said they planned to launch a program within 12 months.

Here are nine benchmarks gleaned from the 2014 Palliative Care survey:

  • Timely referrals of patients to palliative care are one of the biggest challenges to implementing a program, according to 89 percent of respondents.
  • Frailty is a key characteristic of their palliative patient/member population, say 48 percent of respondents; other traits include impaired cognitive capacity (34 percent) and disabilities (15 percent).
  • „„Candidates for palliative care are primarily identified by physician referrals (78 percent).
  • More than half (60 percent) of respondents said that case management assessments were important tools for identifying palliative care candidates.
  • While the majority of respondents (68 percent) administer palliative care on an inpatient basis, more than half (54 percent) say care is conducted on home visits and just under a third offer palliative care at extended care facilities.
  • About 88 percent of respondents with palliative care programs reported an increase in patient satisfaction levels among Medicare participants, while 89 percent saw more satisfaction among caregivers.
  • Overall, the presence of palliative care helped to curb healthcare utilization costs for 70 percent of respondents.
  • Seventy-one percent of respondents with palliative care programs in place reported an uptick in hospice election by Medicare patients.
  • Nearly 20 percent of respondents said it was too early to tell what ROI their palliative care program generated.

„
Excerpted from 2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Palliative Care

Infographic: Calculating the Cost of Home Care

June 6th, 2014 by Jackie Lyons

The cost of nursing and assisted living facilities in the United States ranges from $41,124 to $94,170 annually, while the average cost of in-home care is $29,640 per year, according to a new infographic from Interim HealthCare.

This infographic also outlines some of the key factors that compare in-patient facilities to in-home healthcare options in terms of reliability, convenience and affordability.

Remote monitoring is a key care coordination strategy for at-home individuals with complex illnesses. 2014 Healthcare Benchmarks: Remote Patient Monitoring delivers a comprehensive set of metrics from more than 100 healthcare organizations on current practices in and ramifications of remote monitoring for care management of chronic illness, the frail elderly and remote populations.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you’d like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Value, Convenience Key to Successful Use of Telehealth Technology

May 8th, 2014 by Cheryl Miller

The most sophisticated technology in the world will not engage patients and members in health improvement if they are not convinced of the value of the program to their health, the commitment of their providers to the process and the credibility of the entire care team says Dr. Randall Williams, chief executive officer for Pharos Innovations. Here, he discusses the importance of convenience when it comes to engaging members or patients into a daily self-care program.

AHRQ performed a technology assessment looking at the use of information technology (IT) and the adoption of IT by patients and members of health plans who were elderly and had chronic illness, or who were underserved and had chronic illness. This technology assessment focused on looking at interactive consumer technologies that were geared toward helping consumers improve their health. This assessment describes several factors that influence the use, usefulness and usability of these technologies, in particular in populations that we as a company and others would describe in their populations, which are the elderly or the underserved and who have chronic illness.

This review concludes that from a consumer’s perspective, programs and technologies that are used to support those programs need to have a perception of benefit to the individual who will be using them. Also, they have to be perceived as convenient and as something that can be easily integrated into the daily activities of that individual patient or member.

Ultimately, the successful use of these interactive technologies is predicated on engagement into the use of that program or technology. That is directly linked to the amount of value that the consumer might perceive about the intervention that’s being offered to them — that those technologies will have a positive impact on the health and wellness of those populations if indeed there’s a feedback loop that’s provided. This feedback loop is something that’s also crucial to the design of the engagement and ultimate intervention programs. The feedback loop may include an assessment of the current health status, interpretation of that status in light of established treatment plans and treatment goals, adjustments made to that treatment plan as needed and communication back to the patient or the member with targeted recommendations or advice. This cycle then repeats.

Lastly, this report also notes the importance of convenience. Convenience is critical when it comes to engaging members or patients into a daily self-care program. Engagement is higher when that intervention is delivered via technologies and resources that the consumers are use to using on a daily basis for other purposes. We have been fortunate to take advantage of some of that learning in our program design and in our technology design as well.

Excerpted from Health IT in Care Management to Improve Health and Effect Behavior Change.

9 Remote Monitoring Technologies Enhance Telephonic Care Management

April 2nd, 2014 by Cheryl Miller

From home sensors that monitor daily motion and sleep abnormalities, to video visits using teleconferencing, Humana is doing its best to ensure that the frail elderly can remain at home as long as possible.

When integrated with a telephonic care management program, these remote monitoring technologies have helped Humana to avert medical emergencies and preventable hospitalizations among individuals with serious medical and functional challenges, says Gail Miller, vice president of telephonic clinical operations in Humana’s care management organization, Humana Cares/SeniorBridge. The pilots are part of a continuum of care aimed at improving health outcomes, increasing satisfaction and reducing overall healthcare costs with a more holistic approach.

Most Americans are living longer, and suffering fewer deaths from acute illness, Miller said in a recent Healthcare Intelligence Network webinar, Integrating Mobile Health Remote Patient Monitoring with Telephonic Care Management for Improved Care Coordination Results. But they are also developing more chronic illnesses and functional limitations, which are often the costliest to manage.

Despite their growing frailty, however, nine out of 10 Americans prefer to age at home, she continues. To help them live independently and age gracefully at home, Humana, which has over 30 years experience in the Medicare program, and over two and a half million Medicare advantage members, launched the Humana Chronic Care Program (HCCP). Targeting the members most in need, or the sickest 20 percent, which drive 75 percent of the company’s costs, the company implemented a series of nine healthcare remote monitoring pilots for individuals with congestive heart failure (CHF) and diabetes as well those with medication adherence problems. The pilots also target those with functional challenges that make activities of daily living (ADL) challenging.

“There is a clear need to look beyond disease and address functional limitations,” Miller says.

One of the pilots includes strategically placed home-based sensors that monitor ADL levels of those with functional impairment. Algorithms detect abnormalities in the patients’ activities, i.e. erratic sleeping behaviors or toileting patterns that can signal infections, which then generate alerts for recommended interventions.

Video visits include two way audio-video communications so that care managers can interact with their sickest members as an adjunct to home visits. Members are given tablets to use for face-to-face contact with their care manager, or to go over any educational materials their care managers or physician provides them.

Ranging from passive to active monitoring, all of the technologies are senior-friendly, and designed to help members manage their conditions, reduce hospitalizations and improve the patient/member experience, Miller says.

A mobile Personal Emergency Response System (PERS), for those that live alone or have limited caregiver support, has been the most popular, Miller says. Members are mailed a cellular device that can be activated manually by a button, or automatically via an accelerometer. Once turned on, the PERS device connects the member to clinically trained emergency support. Many patients have asked if they could extend their use of this particular device once the pilot was over, Miller says. She explains why:

Besides being a health issue, I think the device also speaks to the level of safety concerns that a lot of seniors who have multiple chronic conditions, and who live alone, have. They don’t want to necessarily reach out to their neighbors all the time. This provides them some peace of mind, which is the ultimate goal of the program.

Listen to an interview with Gail Miller of Humana Cares/SeniorBridge here.

What are your organization’s efforts in remote patient monitoring? Participate in our e-survey, 10 Questions on Remote Patient Monitoring, by April 22, 2014 and you will receive a free summary of survey results once it is compiled.