Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 23
September 21, 2006

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Table of Contents

  1. Improving the Productivity of Primary Care Visits
  2. Disease Management Q&A: Encouraging Collaboration on Cultural Competency Initiatives
  3. Baby Boomers' Impact on Healthcare: High Demands, Expectations Met with a Healthy Dose of Prevention
  4. Health Risk Assessment for Teens Part of HealthMedia's Wellness and Disease Management Programs for Cleveland Clinic
  5. MVP Partners with Cigna to Combine Provider Networks

1.) Improving the Productivity of Primary Care Visits

With the average office visit limited to 10 to 15 minutes per patient, the primary care physician (PCP) has little time to devote to patient education. But even during that brief encounter, there are tactics PCPs can employ to help patients better understand and manage their health issues. Dr. Thomas S. Bodenheimer, adjunct professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, presented these suggestions for maximizing the primary care visit to the 11th annual Health Management Congress in Las Vegas:

  • Simplify the information given to patients, then ask patients to repeat instructions to confirm their understanding. "Fifty percent of patients don't understand what their doctors have told them during an office visit," Dr. Bodenheimer told the congress' 400 attendees. "Having the patient repeat the information closes the loop."
  • Participate in shared decision-making with the patient, guiding them to consider information, options, consequences and their own preferences.
  • Set goals and develop an action plan to meet specific goals. For example, if the patient's goal is to lose 10 pounds, then part of the action plan should be to substitute water for soda.
  • Offer intensive follow-up. Current reimbursement practices make it difficult for the PCP to do this during a routine visit, Dr. Bodenheimer said, but this follow-up can be handled by another caregiver or staff member — even a non-degreed individual — who has been properly trained.

To read more of Dr. Bodenheimer's suggestions for improving the state of primary care, outlined in a recent article for the New England Journal of Medicine, please visit:

2.) Disease Management Q&A: Encouraging Collaboration on Cultural Competency Initiatives

Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Elsa Batica, cross cultural health development and training manager with Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Question: How much do you involve the participants from your region in developing your level of cultural diversity programs?

Answer: At Children's, we have a family advisory council that guides us to be more culturally competent in serving our members. Cultural competence is not just knowing the do's and don'ts of each culture, but also using universal skills regardless of the patient. That's one of the ways we enhance cultural competence. Also, most of our interpreters come from those particular cultures, serving as a valuable internal resource. In addition, the members of our family advisory council take part in several collaborative initiatives. That's how we get resources, knowledge and information.

To learn how Children's and other organizations are developing and refining cultural competency programs for their staffs and how these efforts improve the overall quality of care they provide, please visit:

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

3.) Baby Boomers' Impact on Healthcare: High Demands, Expectations Met with a Healthy Dose of Prevention

Whatever else they accomplish during their "golden years," baby boomers will likely fall ill and challenge the healthcare system to treat and manage their chronic and acute health conditions. In a recent online survey, the Healthcare Intelligence Network asked healthcare organizations to assess baby boomers' impact on their field and define strategies for anticipating and treating the needs of the sandwich generation so often consumed with caring for their own parents that they may neglect their own health issues.

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

4.) Health Risk Assessment for Teens Part of HealthMedia's Wellness and Disease Management Programs for Cleveland Clinic

HealthMedia, Inc., a provider of online behavior change interventions, has been selected by the Cleveland Clinic to provide a comprehensive health and wellness campaign to 48,000 employees and dependents. The campaign includes HealthMedia® Succeed™, a health risk assessment (HRA) for adults, as well as HealthMedia® TeenSucceed™, an HRA designed for teenagers. The HRAs are complemented by a suite of lifestyle management programs that encourage weight management and physical activity, healthy eating, smoking cessation and stress reduction.

Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multi-specialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation's best hospitals in its annual "America's Best Hospitals" survey.

For more information, please visit:

5.) MVP Partners with Cigna to Combine Provider Networks

MVP Health Care of Schenectady and its sister company, Preferred Care of Rochester, have formed a strategic alliance with Cigna HealthCare to offer health insurance and self-funded benefits plans. The companies said the product suite, which includes medical management, disease management and wellness programs, is designed to provide high-quality care at a lower total cost.

The affiliation will combine Cigna's national network of nearly 500,000 providers and 5,000 hospitals and healthcare facilities with MVP/Preferred Care's network of more than 19,000 providers and 151 hospitals and healthcare facilities. The insurers will remain separate companies and will continue to compete outside of the alliance's specific offerings.

To read the complete story, please visit:

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