Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 12
July 07, 2006

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Table of Contents

  1. Survey Finds More Employees Willing to Invest in Employee Health and Productivity
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Clocking a Health Coaching Call
  3. Women's Heart Care Varies Widely By Hospital
  4. Patients: Healthier at Home
  5. Handheld Healthcare: Mobile Medical Technology

1.) Survey Finds More Employees Willing to Invest in Employee Health and Productivity

Eighty-five percent of U.S. employers are interested in purchasing services to increase employee productivity, reduce absences and enhance the health of their employees according to a new survey of 10,000 brokers and consultants conducted by Ceridian, a provider of managed human resource outsourcing solutions. A large number of the brokers surveyed place a high interest and value in services such as full and self-service leave administration; an online health and productivity assessment; life enhancement wellness coaching; return-to-work management; disability and disease management. With rising healthcare costs and productivity losses on the rise in the U.S., Ceridian conducted the survey to determine companies' interest level in purchasing services to help curb these costly trends. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said that their clients would be somewhat or very likely to purchase health and productivity services.

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2.) Disease Management Q&A: Clocking a Health Coaching Call

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Roger Reed, executive vice president and chief health officer at Gordian Health Solutions.

Question: What is the average amount of time a health coach spends per call per participant?

Answer: "It usually takes more time per call in the early stages of the intervention, in what we call the “preparing to change” stage. Those calls will average 20 minutes or more per call. Once the client starts to engage in change behavior, the calls trail off a bit. By the end of a year, the calls are probably no more than 10 minutes. Our coaching program runs for 12 months. Once an individual enrolls, they're engaged with coaching for a full year. An individual receives 12 to 15 outreach calls from our coaches. They also get six to eight mailings of information per year."

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3.) Women's Heart Care Varies Widely By Hospital

American hospitals improved women’s survival rates for treatment of heart disease and stroke by an average of 9.54 percent from 2002 through 2004, according to the third annual HealthGrades Women’s Health Outcomes in U.S. Hospitals study. But in-hospital mortality from cardiac disease and stroke – two major subsets of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among U.S. women – varied widely from hospital to hospital, the study found. Best-performing hospitals had, on average, a 40 percent lower mortality rate than those hospitals designated as poor performers. Compared against average hospitals, best performers had, on average, a 23 percent lower mortality rate.

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4.) Patients: Healthier at Home

Homebound patients with conditions such as heart disease, asthma and diabetes can end repeat trips to the hospital - and save the health-care system thousands of dollars in the process - if they keep a close eye on their symptoms. Officials from the Visiting Nursing Association of WNY say they have cut in half the number of re-hospitalizations of home-care patients with chronic disease. The result, they add, is happier, healthier, more independent patients. Another is savings of about $6,000 for each hospital stay that is avoided through vigilance and a touch-screen monitor. The VNA program is a local example of how disease management programs nationally might take costs out of health care delivery.

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5.) Handheld Healthcare: Mobile Medical Technology

If knowledge is power, then one of medicine’s most powerful tools is hand-held devices, or personal digital assistants (PDA). This new technology is helping save lives, improve care and lower costs. Today’s healthcare practitioners are increasingly mobile yet inundated with critical medical data, reports and research. Amid this flow of important medical information, doctors are forced to make time critical decisions at the point of care, without the information they require.

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