Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 15
July 27, 2006

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Table of Contents

  1. Physicians Not Yet Tapping Full Potential of Electronic Medical Records
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Using HRAs in the Medicare Populations
  3. Survey Identifies Best Practices in Wellness and Health Promotion Programs and Promotions
  4. Employer Wellness Push Nearly Matches Disease Management, Employee Assistance Efforts
  5. Medical Errors, Higher Costs due to Language Barriers Highlight Need for More Translators in United States

1.) Physicians Not Yet Tapping Full Potential of Electronic Medical Records

Nearly a quarter of U.S. office-based physicians used some form of electronic medical record (EMR) in 2005, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as officials try to meet a presidential goal of having digital health data for every American by 2014. However, the study found that when questioned about specific uses of the EMR, such as computerized orders for prescriptions, computerized orders for tests, reporting of test results and physician notes, only one in ten of the physicians surveyed is considered to be using EMRs. The report presents estimates of EMR use by physician, practice and location characteristics of office-based physicians.

To read more about this study, please visit:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/electronic/electronic.htm


2.) Disease Management Q&A: Using HRAs in the Medicare Populations

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Randall S. Krakauer, M.D., national medical director at Aetna, Inc.

Question: How can a health risk assessment (HRA) effectively identify risk in the Medicare population?

Answer: "When working with the Medicare population, the most important component of the HRA is its completion rate. We have intense outreach programs targeted to various Medicare demographics, and our HRA has a high rate of completion, by industry standards. A basic strategy is to keep your HRA simple. Limit the number of questions and make it available at members’ convenience—through mail, telephone, etc. Complex assessments inhibit effectiveness because members are not motivated to take the time to be thorough."

For more tactics from Dr. Krakauer and other experts for improving health, education and independence in an aging population, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3447

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


3.) Survey Identifies Best Practices in Wellness and Health Promotion Programs and Promotions

Employee health has become a primary concern of employers who are looking to shield themselves against rising healthcare costs and improve employees’ morale, attendance and productivity. In its May 2006 online survey, the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN) asked health plans and employers about their use of health promotion programs as a hedge against these issues. This executive summary specifies which wellness and health promotion programs are employed the most, along with common promotion strategies and challenges to successful programs.

To download this complimentary white paper, please visit:
http://www.hin.com/library/registerwellnesshp.html


4.) Employer Wellness Push Nearly Matches Disease Management, Employee Assistance Efforts

Wellness programs and employee wellness incentives continue to gain in popularity in the wake of unrelenting spikes in medical costs for businesses and patients. Seventy-five percent of employers now offer a wellness program, according to Hay Group, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that recently surveyed 435 employers, up from 73 percent a year ago. Wellness programs are almost as common as disease management and employee assistance programs (EAPs); 90 percent of companies provide a DM program and 81 percent offer an EAP, Hay Group reports.

To read this article in its entirety, please visit:
http://www.haygroup.com/ww/media/headline.asp?PageID=2953


5.) Medical Errors, Higher Costs due to Language Barriers Highlight Need for More Translators in United States

By 2004, the number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home grew to almost 50 million— 19 percent of U.S. residents. And there were 22 million residents that year with limited English proficiency. Very few states even have interpreter-certification programs, resulting in higher costs and worse medical care, according to an analysis of language barriers to healthcare in a recent issue of New England Journal of Medicine.

To read this study in its entirety, please visit:
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/355/3/229


Contact HIN:
For more information on the products and services available through the Healthcare Intelligence Network, contact us at (888) HIN-3530 (446-3530), (732) 528-HIN8, (528-4468), fax (732) 292-3073 or email us at info@hin.com.

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