Healthcare Business Week in Review: PHRs, Diabetes, Health Insurance, Hospital Rankings

Friday, October 25th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Parents of young children who managed their family’s healthcare by using integrated personal health records (PHRs) were more likely to get their children the nationally recommended number of preventive care visits, according to a Kaiser Permanente study. PHRs allow patients to view parts of their medical record, including immunizations and after-visit instructions, and to manage appointments, refill prescriptions, check lab results, and securely communicate with their healthcare providers. The online tool is particularly valuable for busy parents who might forget when to bring their children in for well-child visits or immunizations, especially when they are healthy.

Diabetics can be better managed by healthcare providers who use EHRs to manage them, says Kathy Brieger, RD, CDE, chief operations officer pf Hudson River Healthcare. The reporting system provides data on patients, letting providers know who may have missed appointments for hemoglobin A1C or who could benefit from self management programs or care coordination. More in our featured book excerpt this week.

Online management plays heavily into a survey of small business owners looking at insurance options for their employees. According to researchers from the Commonwealth Fund, more than half of survey respondents who currently provide their employees with health benefits are willing to offer a choice of health plans while paying a fixed cost, as long as the employee pays extra for a more expensive plan. When asked what would make health insurance management easier, more than half said being able to compare plans, costs, benefits, physicians in the network, and other features online would be welcome.

Self management is the key to a new initiative aimed at helping hospitals across the state understand their practice patterns compared with their peers, better manage costs and improve outcomes for patients. The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC), launched by BCBS of Michigan, Blue Care Network, and the University of Michigan Health System, will provide hospitals with timely feedback about utilization and payment, comparing hospitals on cost and variation based on claims data from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Participating hospitals will not only receive information about their comparative costs during hospital admissions and their comparison to the statewide average, but also for care delivered before and after hospitalization.

And lastly, our new online survey for you to manage: please tell us how you have weathered the storms of 2013 – from an early surge in Medicare accountable care collaborations to the recent rocky introduction of ACA-mandated health insurance exchanges during a government shutdown – and are preparing for 2014 by completing HIN’s ninth annual survey on Healthcare Trends by November 18th. You’ll receive a free executive summary of the compiled results, and your responses will be kept strictly confidential. One respondent will win a training DVD of the “2014 Healthcare Trends and Forecasts” webinar recorded on October 30, 2013.

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