Disease Management Update
Volume V, No. 10
July 3, 2008
Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,
There used to be a time when you would go into a restaurant and the hostess would ask, "Smoking or non-smoking?" The days of smoking in public spaces are long gone, and the repercussions spell good news for heart health. Also in this issue, researchers are finding new ways to reduce heart damage following a heart attack.
And don't miss your chance to take HIN's new e-survey on energy costs in healthcare — not only will you receive a free summary of the survey results, but the respondent who submits the most effective energy conservation/cost-saving strategy will receive a $50 gas card!
Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Editor, Disease Management Update
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Table of Contents
- Smoke-free Policies Reduce Heart Disease
- Disease Management Q&A: Gauging Wellness Success
- HealthSounds Podcast: Improving Outcomes in CHF Patients
- Researchers Find New Ways to Reduce Heart Damage
- Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare
- Changing Lives with Lifestyle Management
Smoke-free Policies Reduce Heart Disease
Research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that smoke-free policies are “extremely effective” in reducing the health hazards of smoking. The findings are the latest in a series of reviews and evaluations from the IARC’s Tobacco and Cancer Team.
In addition to the fact that smoke-free legislation decreases heart disease morbidity, the group also found that smoke-free policies:
substantially decreases second-hand smoke exposure
do not decrease the business activity of the restaurant and bar industry
decrease tobacco use in youths
decrease respiratory symptoms in workers
in the home policies decrease adult smoking and children’s second hand smoke-exposure
in the workplaces decrease cigarette consumption in continuing smokers and the prevalence of
“Implementation of such policies can have a broader population effect of increasing smoke-free environments,” said John Pierce, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center. “Not only do these policies achieve their aim of protecting the health of non-smokers by decreasing exposure to second-hand smoke, but they also have many effects on smoking behavior, which compounds health benefits."
To learn more about this research, please visit:
2. Disease Management Q&A: Gauging Wellness Success
Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is William B. Baun, manager of human resources and wellness at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Question: How do you measure the success of wellness programs?
Response: (William B. Baun) Participation is very important. We can't belittle just counting heads — that's important. But then you've got to move down to the behavior change that's taking place. You've got to have different measures for the different things that you're going after, be it stress reduction or improved nutrition or increased physical activity. That could be collected via an HRA — true outcome data where you're measuring cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetic measures or efforts where you're just trying to get people to better manage their chronic diseases.
It depends on the programs you're running and your goals and objectives for that year. In our programs, we have a variety of measures. You're trying to keep up with that officially and cost-effectively. There are some things that we would love to be able to measure, but we just can't do it cost-effectively.
For more details on recruiting, training and maximizing the impact of wellness champions, please visit:
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3. HealthSounds Podcast: Improving Outcomes in CHF Patients
Collaborative patient care models that empower the primary care nurse to communicate patient needs to physicians has not only improved patient care and outcomes but also fostered a cultural change at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC), explains Lenore Blank, a nurse practitioner and administrative manager of HUMC's heart failure and pulmonary hypertension team. Her team is part of Pursuing Perfection, a healthcare quality initiative from the Institute of Healthcare Improvement. As HUMC creates the partnerships mandated by Pursuing Perfection, it is extending the knowledge and benefits they've gained with other organizations — and reducing hospital readmissions in the process.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
Researchers Find New Ways to Reduce Heart Damage
Researchers at University of Cincinnati (UC) are trying to reduce post-heart attack damage by studying the way cells die in the heart — a process controlled by transcription factors. Studies have identified the role for an important group of interacting transcription factors and the genes they regulate to determine whether cells in the heart survive or die after blood flow restriction occurs. Scientists use virus-like mechanisms to transfer DNA and other nucleic acids inside the body. Now, UC researchers are further investigating new, non-viral delivery mechanisms for this transfer of DNA.
"We can use non-viral delivery vehicles to transfer nucleic acids, including transcription factor decoys, to repress activation of specific transcription factors in the heart,” said Keith Jones, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics.
Jones and other researchers are hoping that this new technology will allow them to directly address the effects of gene regulation in disease, as opposed to using classic drugs that treat symptoms or have significant adverse outcomes.
To learn more about this research, please visit:
5. Survey of the Month: Energy Costs in Healthcare
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, healthcare organizations spend over $6.5 billion on energy each year to meet patients' needs while experiencing double-digit cost increases. In addition, rising gas prices are affecting healthcare administration and utilization. Complete our survey on energy costs in healthcare by July 31 and receive a free summary of the compiled results and $25 off the price of the full study when it is published in September. Also, the respondent who submits the most effective energy conservation/cost-saving strategy will receive a $50 gas card!
To participate in this survey and receive its results, please visit:
6. Changing Lives with Lifestyle Management
Abandoning behaviors that are detrimental to one’s health is no simple feat. That's why numerous healthcare organizations are launching lifestyle management programs for individuals with life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This executive summary provides the general character of more than 60 such initiatives, including the differing approaches and techniques in identification, treatment and outcome assessment.
To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
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