Healthcare Trends in 2018: Synergies from the Non-Traditional CVS Health-Aetna Merger

=As 2017 draws to a close, the recent CVS Health-Aetna merger continues to dominate the healthcare conversation. David Buchanan, president, Buchanan Strategies, weighed in on the non-traditional partnership during Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning Session, a December 2017 webinar now available for replay.

In this HealthSounds episode, Buchanan predicts the future of mega mergers in healthcare, the impact of the CVS-Aetna alliance on brand awareness, and the real ‘bonanza’ of the $69 billion partnership beyond bringing healthcare closer to home for many consumers.

During Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2018: A Strategic Planning Session, a December 2017 webinar now available for replay, David Buchanan and Brian Sanderson, managing principal, healthcare services, Crowe Horwath, provide a roadmap to the key issues, challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations in 2018.

The webinar examined key trends impacting healthcare providers and payors for 2018—how industry consolidation and fragmentation is reshaping the healthcare landscape; the expanding role of technology in healthcare, including artificial intelligence and blockchain breakthroughs; expectations for the CSR reduction, health insurance exchange product changes and MACRA; cost reduction and cost efficiency improvement strategies; 2018 strategic opportunities for healthcare organizations, including consolidations, joint ventures, strategic partnerships, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, risk-based contracts and patient and health plan member advocacy models; and much more.


Length: 5:25 minutes

7 Benefits of Leveraging a Patient Portal to Promote Population Health

=As patients of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) began to utilize the features of its newly minted portal, LVHN and its physician providers soon recognized the added benefits of this interactive tool.

In this HealthSounds episode, LVHN’s Lindsay Altimare outlines seven ways the LVHN portal, the fastest growing portal on the Epic® platform, improves efficiency and quality for her organization.

During Patient Portal Roll-Out Strategy: Activating and Engaging Patients in Self-Care and Population Health, a November 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Altimare, director of operations for the Lehigh Valley Physician Group, and Dr. Michael Sheinberg, medical director, medical informatics, Epic transformation, share LVHN’s initial portal roll-out strategy as well as the evolution of portal engagement and functionality since its 2015 launch.

The webinar provided key details on promotion strategies for portal launch, four LVHN portal platforms that allow patients to initiate self-service and their impact on physician practice workflow, LVHN metrics to measure patient engagement and portal success, new portal features slated to launch this year, and much more.


Length: 3:48 minutes

Focus Group Findings Shape Bronx Community Health Improvement Action Plan

Charmaine RuddockHow do you engage community residents in their health when many are distrustful of and feel disrespected by the healthcare system?

Encourage them to both direct and participate in the initiative, advises Charmaine Ruddock, project director of Bronx Health REACH.

In this HealthSounds episode, Ms. Ruddock shares what Bronx Health REACH learned early on in its coalition-building from community focus groups, and how this local feedback informed program development for a community traditionally ranked last in New York in terms of health outcomes and health factors.

During Innovative Community-Clinical Partnerships: Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities through Community Transformation, a November 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Ruddock shares the unique partnerships forged by Bronx Health REACH with area faith-based programs, bodegas, restaurants, schools, clinics and art groups and how these partnerships promote the health and well-being of area residents. Program highlights include partnering with the American Bodega Association and bodega suppliers to increase healthy purchase options; engaging clinics and patients in a Vegetable and Fruit Rx program to encourage healthy eating in obese patients; encouraging teachers to add nutrition education to their curriculum; promoting healthy eating options at Bronx restaurants via ‘The Bronx Salad;’ facilitating discounts for SNAP beneficiaries for healthy items.


Length: 4:59 minutes

Motivational Interviewing Respectfully Dispels Social Determinant of Health Barriers

Cindy BuckelsHow can care teams encourage patients to open up about sensitive social determinant of health (SDOH) factors? By employing motivational interviewing to establish a respectful partnership, advises Cindy Buckels, TAV Health director of population health.

In this HealthSounds episode, Ms. Buckels explains why motivational interviewing is more effective than the usual “Chunk-Check-Change” approach in transforming patient ambivalence and effecting the kind of behavior change that improves health.

During Social Determinants of Health: Using Empathy Interviewing To Help Care Teams Understand Factors Impacting Patient Health, a September 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Buckels shares key steps in identifying and removing SDOH barriers. Program highlights include the four core skills of empathy interviewing every care team should know; ideal workflows to identify high- and low-vulnerability patients; and reasons why crowdsourcing data around patients can reduce hospital readmissions and ED visits.


Length: 3:59 minutes

PinnacleHealth’s Patient Engagement Coach for Clinicians: Supportive Peer at Provider’s Elbow

Kathryn ShradleyHow receptive are clinicians to being coached in patient engagement techniques? At PinnacleHealth, provider reaction to rollout of patient engagement coaching has followed a standard bell curve, notes Kathryn Shradley, PinnacleHealth’s director of population health.

In this HealthSounds episode, Ms. Shradley outlines the framework underscoring the engagement coach’s supportive and educational role while at providers’ elbows as well as ways the health system earned clinicians’ support for the initiative.

During A Two-Pronged Patient Engagement Strategy: Closing Gaps in Care and Coaching Clinicians, an August 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Shradley describes her organization’s two-pronged approach to increase engagement rates across the health system, including details on the key patient survey data that helped to shape this program, three ways PinnacleHealth works to engage its more resistant patients, and more details on the essential role of the engagement coach for clinicians.


Length: 3:49 minutes

Integrated Case Management: The Surprise Question That Can Improve Timeliness of Hospice Referrals

Laura OstrowskyFor patients with cancer, palliative care should begin at diagnosis to help them shoulder the disease’s emotional, physical and financial burdens, explains Laura Ostrowsky, director of case management at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). However, for multiple reasons, referrals to hospice frequently happen too late for MSKCC patients to derive full benefit from that service.

In this episode of HealthSounds, Ms. Ostrowsky shares some key questions for integrated case managers to ask providers to improve timeliness of hospice referrals, patient and family satisfaction with hospice service, and awareness of end-of-life care. The strategy is one way MSKCC uses integrated case management to validate its worth in a value-based system: providing the best care in a quality-effective manner.

During Integrated Case Management: A New Approach to Transition Planning, an August 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Ostrowsky outlines MSKCC’s use of a team-based case management model that follows patients as they transition across the health system.


Length: 3:06 minutes

4 Foundational Behaviors Forge Framework for UnityPoint Health Patient Experience Improvement Plan

Paige MooreTo engage staff in its patient experience improvement action plan, UnityPoint Health defined four foundational behaviors expected of every team member (not just providers) across the organization.

In this podcast, Paige Moore, director of patient experience at UnityPoint Health, describes the rationale and rollout for the four behaviors, which are based on patient and visitor feedback and comments.

During Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a July 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Moore shares how the deployment of department-specific service action teams facilitated the switch from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.


Length: 3:56 minutes

Social Determinants of Health: Adapting Screenings for Different Populations

Amanda ParsonsAfter choosing two validated tools to assess social determinants of health (SDOH) in its largely Medicaid and otherwise government-insured patients, Montefiore Health System allowed each physician practice to determine its target population for screening.

In this podcast, Dr. Amanda Parsons, MBA, vice president of community and population health at Montefiore Health System, explains the various screening approaches taken by the physicians, and how that multi-site strategy figures into the health system’s overall plans for SDOH interventions.

During Assessing Social Determinants of Health: Collecting and Responding to Data in the Primary Care Setting, a June 2017 webinar now available for replay, Dr. Parsons provides insight into her organization’s evolution of SDOH screening into an EPIC®-supported process.


Length: 3:17 minutes

Michigan SNF Collaborative Sets Competition Aside to Improve Quality and Readmission Rates

Susan CraftTo hold the line on hospital readmissions, a tri-county, skilled nursing facility (SNF) collaborative in Michigan evaluates 130 participating SNFs by a host of quality metrics the SNFs enter into a common data portal.

In this podcast, Susan Craft of the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), one of four collaborative founders, outlines a few SNF participation and reporting mandates that run the gamut from meeting attendance to LACE readmission risk scores.

During Reducing SNF Readmissions: Quality Reporting Metrics Drive Improvement, a May 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Craft, director, care coordination, family caregiver program, HFHS Office of Clinical Quality & Safety, shared the key details behind this SNF collaborative, the program’s impact on readmission rates, and new readmission reduction targets derived from the program’s data analysis.


Length: 4:15 minutes

The Science Behind Care Transition Management: More Than Case Managers and Discharge Calls

Jennifer DragoAmong the myths surrounding care transitions management is the belief the intervention can be effectively executed pre-discharge or by phone only, explains Jennifer Drago, executive vice president of population health for Sun Health.

In this audio interview, Ms. Drago dispels this myth, outlining requirements for a professionally designed, evidence-based transitions of care program, and why inclusion of dedicated staff and home visits will enhance clinical outcomes and possibly save lives.

During A Leading Care Transitions Model: Addressing Social Health Determinants Through Targeted Home Visits, a March 2017 webinar now available for replay, Ms. Drago shared the key features of Sun Health’s care transitions program, which achieved the lowest readmissions rates in CMS’s recently concluded Community-Based Care Transitions Program.


Length: 2:34 minutes