Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 5
May 29, 2008

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

Web 2.0 — sophisticated IT-backed Internet applications, service-oriented network architectures and blogs, podcasts and social networking sites — is revolutionizing disease management and health and wellness promotion as more providers and patients incorporate technology into care plans. Even CMS is getting in the act, having recently announced a pilot to give Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to use an online PHR populated by their own Medicare claims data.

This week's Disease Management Update highlights a program that delivers support to COPD patients via video-conferencing technology and other fruits of Web 2.0 labors in the healthcare industry.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Patricia Donovan
Guest Editor, Disease Management Update

If this is a forwarded copy of Disease Management Update and you like what you see, you can register to receive your own copy of this complimentary service. Sign up at: http://www.hin.com/dmdesktop/diseasemanagement.html

Table of Contents

  1. Pulmonary Rehab On Call: TELEHEALTH Offers Dial-up Help for the Rural and Remote
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Assessing Readiness to Change through Healthcare IT
  3. HealthSounds Podcast: Leveraging Web 2.0 in Health and Disease Management
  4. NIH Recruiting Patients for Program on Undiagnosed Diseases
  5. Survey of the Month: Patient Registries
  6. Making Contact: How Healthcare Organizations Locate and Communicate with Hard-to-Reach Clients

1. Pulmonary Rehab On Call: TELEHEALTH Offers Dial-up Help for the Rural and Remote

A program that delivers pulmonary rehabilitation via video-conferencing technology, the Internet and other emerging technologies to Canadian patients who live too far from respiratory therapy centers to make the twice-weekly trip improves their clinical condition, outcome and quality of life in just eight weeks, according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Societyís 2008 International Conference in Toronto.

The majority of patients referred to this program suffer from COPD. According to the Canadian Thoracic Society, only 98 pulmonary rehabilitation facilities exist in Canada, with the capacity to serve just 1.2 percent of Canadaís COPD population. Because many Canadian COPD patients live in rural areas far from these centers, expanding the reach of such programs is critical. TELEHEALTH allows patients to consult with pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and engage in a guided exercise program using video and communications technologies to avoid the need to travel long distances. To assess its effectiveness, the research analyzed the results of 113 rural patients who completed the TELEHEALTH program for eight weeks. All patients were seen by a pulmonologist via TELEHEALTH at the start of the program for a proper evaluation.

To learn more about this study, please visit:

2. Disease Management Q&A: Assessing Readiness to Change through Healthcare IT

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's experts are John Harris, M.Ed., FAWHP, senior vice president of the health support division of Healthways, and Sean Slovenski, president and CEO, Hummingbird Coaching Services.

Question: Do your health coaching technologies identify an individualís readiness to change?

Response: (John Harris) Yes. If that information exists from their HRAs or through any other means, it is transportable into the system. However, it is also built directly into our system, so if the data doesnít exist, we can collect it. Since readiness is variable — someone may not be ready today, but may be ready during the next phone call — it needs to be updated anyway. Therefore, what is transported into the system is not adequate on its own. The system does have the ability to assess readiness for every risk factor.

(Sean Slovenski) That is true for us as well. The information is either taken from an HRA thatís been administered at the work site and transported into the system, or the information can be gathered regularly through additional surveys and tools within the site. Depending on the protocol of the client, we might reassess that information every three to six months. There also can be flexibility. In other words, the coach will reassess whenever he believes thereís been a potential shift and things can be taken to the next level.

For more details on the role of healthcare IT in health and wellness coaching, please visit:

We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to info@hin.com.

3. HealthSounds Podcast: Leveraging Web 2.0 in Health and Disease Management

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has no shortage of clinicians willing to contribute content for its health-related podcasts and videos, says Dave Bennett, MUSC's director of web resources services. In an audio interview full of advice for prospective Web 2.0 adopters, Bennett covers the value of social media in driving traffic to your Web site and healthcare consumers to your doorstep. He also covers production issues and analytical tools related to podcast and video creation.

To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:

4. NIH Recruiting Patients for Program on Undiagnosed Diseases

The NIH has announced a new clinical research program that will aim to provide answers to patients with mysterious conditions that have long eluded diagnosis. Called the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, the trans-NIH initiative will focus on the most puzzling medical cases referred to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., by physicians across the nation.

To be considered for this NIH pilot program, a patient must be referred by a physician and provide all medical records and diagnostic test results requested by NIH. Patients who meet the programís criteria — as many as 100 each year — will then be asked to undergo additional evaluation during a visit to the NIH Clinical Center that may take up to a week.

To evaluate each patient enrolled in the new program, NIH will enlist the expertise of more than 25 of its senior attending physicians, whose specialties include endocrinology, immunology, oncology, dermatology, dentistry, cardiology and genetics. William A. Gahl, M.D., Ph.D., clinical director at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and an expert on rare genetic diseases, will serve as director of the new program.

To view more of this study's findings, please visit:

5. Survey of the Month: Patient Registries

Many healthcare organizations use patient registries to create a realistic view of clinical practice, patient outcomes, safety and comparative effectiveness and to support evidence development and decision-making. Complete our online survey on patient registries by May 31, and you'll receive a free summary of the results.

To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=5OTbdp3eEaksGtQNlOyqyA_3d_3d

6. Making Contact: How Healthcare Organizations Locate and Communicate with Hard-to-Reach Clients

Locating and initiating contact with members is a challenge that many organizations face when administering disease management (DM) programs to the medically underserved — in part due to outdated information from state agencies as well as to the generally transient nature of such populations. Learn how 67 healthcare organizations are providing outreach to their hard-to-reach clients from this summary of responses to HIN's September 2007 non-scientific online survey.

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