Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 22
September 14, 2006

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Table of Contents

  1. Fifth Annual 'Take a Health Professional to the People Day' Provides Health Screenings at Barbershops, Beauty Salons
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Health Fairs and HIPAA: Make Privacy Part of Planning
  3. The Open Enrollment Experience: Perspectives from Health Plans and Consumers
  4. New URAC Guidelines Gauge Efforts in Consumer Protection, Empowerment and Promotion of Quality Healthcare
  5. Better Clinician-Parent Communication Reduces Inappropriate Antibiotic Use in Children

1.) Fifth Annual 'Take a Health Professional to the People Day' Provides Health Screenings at Barbershops, Beauty Salons

Regular visits to the doctor’s office are an important part of staying healthy, yet many people do not have a primary care physician with whom they can schedule routine checkups. For African-Americans, who face an increased risk of developing a variety of conditions and suffering worse outcomes from them, establishing a "medical home" is crucial in maintaining physical and mental health.

To reach out to people who might not otherwise have many interactions with healthcare providers, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health's (GSPH) Center for Minority Health (CMH) is presenting the fifth annual "Take a Health Professional to the People Day" at 10 local barbershops and beauty salons. Teams of volunteer physicians, nurses, public health educators, dentists, pharmacists and other health professionals and advocates will travel to various neighborhoods as part of CMH's novel effort to provide potentially life-saving information and health screenings and to build trust needed to create healthy African-American families.

This award-winning "Take a Health Professional to the People Day" is CMH's unique version of the national" Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day" initiative, part of the national campaign to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

To read this story in its entirety, please visit:
http://newsbureau.upmc.com/Schools/BarbershopSalonScreenings.htm


2.) Disease Management Q&A: Health Fairs and HIPAA: Make Privacy Part of Planning

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Paul Harris, a senior healthcare consultant with Hewitt Associates.

Question: What are the privacy issues an organization must consider when planning a health fair?

Answer: Fairs should be set up such that there are private areas for biometric evaluations, providing results and counseling. Employees should be required to agree to a sharing of information with a third party (e.g. disease management, health plans, wellness vendors, etc.).

It's a fine line with [changes mandated by the] Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA). Some say health fairs are not subject to HIPAA and others say yes. Go the conservative route and include disclaimers, notice of privacy practices, etc. Explain to employees how, why and when the information will be used. Some employers like to use unique identifier numbers so employees don't have to identify themselves, but can still longitudinally tie data from year 1 to year 2 to show results and track outcomes.

Employers, health plans and wellness programs alike often use health fairs as a means to engage consumers. While health fairs are rated as popular components of health and wellness programs, they are often times not rated as highly successful.

To learn how to organize a health fair that participants want to attend and that delivers value to its sponsor, please visit:
http://store.hin.com/product.asp?itemid=3475

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


Healthcare Intelligence Network to Report Live from Health Management Congress

Via special daily editions of The Disease Management Update, the Healthcare Intelligence Network will provide updates from the 11th annual Health Management Congress (formerly the Disease Management Congress) in Las Vegas from Wednesday, September 13 through Friday, September 15. Stay tuned for highlights of keynote speeches and presentations in wellness, prevention and disease management strategies as well as reactions and impressions from congress presenters and attendees.


3.) The Open Enrollment Experience: Perspectives from Health Plans and Consumers

Many health plans and employers are gearing up for open enrollment, the annual opportunity for employees to review, select and change their health insurance coverage as well as adjust contributions to the savings, retirement and flexible spending options their employers offer. The Healthcare Intelligence Network recently released the results of an online survey that asked health plans and consumers to report on their open enrollment experience and suggest refinements to the process.

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


4.) New URAC Guidelines Gauge Efforts in Consumer Protection, Empowerment and Promotion of Quality Healthcare

URAC, the independent, nonprofit organization that promotes healthcare quality through accreditation and certification programs, has called for public comment on a new set of healthcare management service measures. The measures will be applied across nine of URAC’s accreditation programs. The goal of the proposed program is to create and maintain healthcare management services measures to promote consumer protection and quality improvement. URAC is seeking comments and potential additional metrics from healthcare management organizations and health plans. The deadline for public comment is October 6, 2006.

These measures will be used to collect relevant information about consumer protection and empowerment and quality data for comparison across five categories: operational service quality, access to services, clinical decision making/support, quality improvement and customer/consumer satisfaction.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.urac.org/news_release.asp?navid=news&pagename=news_releases&id=1128


5.) Better Clinician-Parent Communication Reduces Inappropriate Antibiotic Use in Children

Better physician-parent communication about a child's treatment plan may reduce inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions, according to the results of a cross-sectional study reported in the September 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"Previous research has shown associations between patient-parent reports of an expectation for antibiotics and physician prescribing, but physician perceptions of parental expectations have been demonstrated to be a stronger predictor of actual prescribing behavior," write Rita Mangione-Smith, MD, MPH, from the University of California–Los Angeles, and colleagues. "Similarly, although physicians commonly cite parent pressure as a reason for prescribing, recordings of actual encounters between parents and physicians show that explicit demands or requests for antibiotics are relatively infrequent."

Between October 1, 2000, and June 30, 2001, 522 pediatric encounters motivated by cold symptoms were videotaped at 27 pediatric practices in Los Angeles. The 38 participating clinicians completed a post-visit survey measuring their perception of whether the parent expected antibiotics. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality supported this study.

To read more about this study, please visit:
http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/9/945


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