Disease Management Update
Volume III, No. 27
October 19, 2006
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Table of Contents
- Patients Unaware of the Serious Heart Risks of Triglycerides
- Disease Management Q&A: Managing the Behavior of Patients with Chronic Illness
- New! HealthSounds Podcast: The Role of Behavior Modification in Disease Management and Health
- Targeted Health Interventions Show Returns in Productivity
- Changing Lives with Lifestyle Management: Taking the Pulse of Population Health Programs
1.) Patients Unaware of the Serious Heart Risks of Triglycerides
Patients are woefully unaware of the cardiovascular risks associated with unhealthy levels of triglycerides, including those at highest risk, according to the results of a national survey from the National Lipid Association (NLA). The Moving Beyond Cholesterol survey revealed that the overwhelming majority of physicians felt patients did not understand triglycerides and were not aware of the differences between triglycerides and cholesterol, or the independent risks unhealthy levels of triglycerides may pose to heart health.
Elevated triglycerides are linked to serious illnesses, including heart disease, kidney disease and pancreatitis. Nearly nine out of 10 doctors surveyed agreed that they are an independent risk factor for heart disease, as outlined by the National Cholesterol Education Program. Of particular note is the finding that even those patients at most risk are unlikely to understand the dangers of elevated triglycerides. Of the patients surveyed who were being treated with lipid or cholesterol medications, only 5 percent knew healthy levels for all three kinds of lipids — HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
To read more about this study, please visit:
2.) Disease Management Q&A: Managing the Behavior of Patients with Chronic Illness
Each week, a healthcare professional responds to a reader's query on an industry issue. This week's expert is Dr. Richard Citrin, vice president of EAP solutions at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan.
Question: What are some cost-effective strategies for different types of patients, with special emphasis on chronic illnesses?
Response: We look at healthcare behaviors — the behavioral elements of a person's chronic illness. We look at how well a person manages their chronic illness; not so much from a medication compliance perspective, but whether they are able to speak to their doctor effectively, understand the nature of their chronic illness and interact more effectively with their healthcare system and healthcare provider.
We devise specific strategies for members to help them address issues around their chronic illness. Disease management companies address the member's compliance with the evidence-based guidelines associated with that particular disease. We're interested in how the member's behaviors impact their ability to manage their particular diseases. A theme of the Disease Management Association is behavior change — helping members make effective behavior changes for themselves to better manage their diseases.
For details on a stepped approach to behavior change, with strategies that get through to resistant patients, engage them and sustain participation, please visit:
We want to hear from you! Submit your question for Disease Management Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3.) New! HealthSounds Podcast: The Role of Behavior Modification in Disease Management and Health
In this week's Disease Management podcast, Michael Thompson, a principal with PricewaterhouseCoopers, describes how a lifestyle score card is being developed to incent members and employees to adopt healthy lifestyles. Meanwhile, Dr. Richard Citrin, vice president of EAP Solutions at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, describes how a person's perception of their health drives their healthcare decisions. Finally, Dr. Rick Botelho, a professor of family medicine and nursing at the University of Rochester, advises practitioners to put four key motivational principles into practice when helping patients change behaviors.
To listen to this complimentary HIN podcast, please visit:
4.) Targeted Health Interventions Show Returns in Productivity
HealthMedia, Inc., an online provider of behavior change interventions, has achieved significant results with integration of the clinically proven Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire (WPAI) into its entire suite of online wellness and disease management programs.
HealthMedia implemented a strategy to measure factors in productivity and work impairment 18 months ago. The results of this strategy have shown a substantial positive impact on productivity and effective cost-savings for populations with obesity, smoking, stress, depression and chronic illnesses — in some cases returning up to 10 times the investment.
The WPAI is a clinically validated tool developed to measure the impact of health conditions on workplace productivity for both full-time and part-time employees. WPAI assesses factors such as missed work hours and work productivity affected due to health issues. It then calculates a percentage reduction in productivity, which can be presented in financial terms.
To read this article in its entirety, please visit:
5.) Changing Lives with Lifestyle Management: Taking the Pulse of Population Health Programs
Healthcare organizations are using lifestyle management programs to help patients with chronic conditions modify unhealthy behaviors. In an August 2006 online survey, employers, providers and health plans discussed lifestyle management program development within their organizations. This executive summary explores the differing approaches and techniques in population identification, treatment and outcome assessment.
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