Posts Tagged ‘HIT’

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

March 13th, 2013 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.

Lower Readmissions for Hospitals with Good Nursing Work Environment

January 14th, 2013 by Cheryl Miller

No one could argue that nurses do more than their fair share of work. But now a new study is documenting that work environments that are beneficial for nurses are also beneficial for hospitals in terms of readmissions rates.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that Medicare patients treated in hospitals with a good work environment for nurses had up to 10 percent lower odds of readmission than those treated in hospitals with a poor work environment.

Researchers suggest that improving nurses’ work environment and reducing their workloads are organization-wide reforms that could result in fewer readmissions. All hospitalized patients are exposed to bedside nursing throughout their stay and combining targeted transitional care, the coordination of healthcare during the transition from hospital to home, with high-quality inpatient nursing care will produce more positive outcomes for all patients, and help reduce overall healthcare costs. Preventable hospital readmissions cost the United States more than $15 billion annually, and Medicare is now penalizing hospitals with excessive rates of readmissions.

This study parallels another recent news story documenting nurses/case managers’ role in reducing readmissions by dispensing phone calls within 48 hours of discharge to high risk patients. The study, from Cigna, followed nearly 4,000 high-risk gastrointestinal, heart and lower respiratory patients and found that prioritized, telephonic outreach by health plan case managers after hospital discharge reduced future readmissions by 22 percent. This subject is currently a hot topic on our new LinkedIn forum, CaseTalk – a Forum for Care Coordinators. You can join in the discussion group here.

How to find the right nurse/case manager? Robert Fortini, vice president and chief clinical officer of Bon Secours Health System, tells us that they should posess both creativity and critical thinking skills, in our story excerpted from our new book, Profiting from Population Health Management: Applying Analytics in Accountable Care. Bon Secours’ nurse navigator program was so successful that they were planning on doubling their budget for them within 18 months.

And in other news, the increased use of EMRs and other related tools have failed to fulfill the financial promise of HIT, according to a new RAND Corporation analysis. One of the major reasons is that systems deployed are neither interconnected nor easy to use. Some changes to reverse this are documented in our story.

And don’t forget to take our new survey on Medication Adherence.