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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Content Editor Cheryl Miller

The United States’ spending on healthcare increased by just 3.8 and 3.9 percent in both 2009 and 2010 respectively; these figures represent the lowest rate of increase in the entire 51 year history of the National Health Expenditures (NHE.) Analysts point fingers at the poor economy and low unemployment numbers, causing many Americans to skimp on medical care. A breakdown of the report is included in this issue.

The city that never sleeps could be getting just what the doctor ordered: expanded care facilities. Cigna and Weill Cornell Physician Organization have launched New York’s first ACO between a health plan and a physician organization, in order to meet the IHI’s aims to improve health outcomes, lower total medical costs and increase patient satisfaction. Crucial to the program’s success will be the utilization of RNs, employed by Weill Cornell, who will serve as clinical care coordinators and help patients with chronic conditions to navigate their healthcare system. They will use patient-specific data provided by Cigna to identify patients being discharged from the hospital who might be at-risk for readmission, as well as patients who may be overdue for important health screenings or who may have skipped a prescription refill.

Job-hunting smokers beware: Geisinger Health Systems has joined the list of healthcare systems that will no longer hire smokers. As of February 1st , job applicants will be screened for nicotine as part of the company’s routine drug test. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, even nicotine patches and gum will prevent an otherwise eligible candidate from being hired; however, applicants will be given a chance to reapply for the job in six months’ time if they take advantage of the company’s smoking cessation resources and can quit smoking in that time. Non-nicotine hiring practices are currently legal in 20 states, including Pennsylvania, where Geisinger is based.

And Google’s Flu Trends Tool is proving to be a successful warning system for hospital EDs. Researchers from John Hopkins noted in a 21 month study that the rise in Internet searches directly correlated to a rise in ER patients with flu-like symptoms; the study was particularly effective when noting the surge in searches for flu symptoms and the number of children entering the pediatric ER. In the past EDs, hospitals and other healthcare providers have relied on CDC flu case reports provided during flu season, October to May, as a key way to track outbreaks. The Google tool collects and provides data on flu search topics on a daily basis. While the medical and science community has generally accepted flu search activity as a good indicator of impending sickness, this study, detailed in this issue, is the first of its kind to show the relationship between the data and an increase in ER activity.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Cheryl Miller
Editor, Healthcare Business Weekly Update

Please send comments, questions and replies to cmiller@hin.com.

HIN Associate Editor Jessica Papay
Associate Editor:
Jessica Papay, jpapay@hin.com

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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January 16, 2012
Vol. XIV, No. 2

Sponsored by:
Mapping the Way to ICD-10 Readiness: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Approach

This week's industry news:

  1. New Cigna-Weill Cornell ACO in NY Features RN Care Coordinators
  2. Health Management Tools for ACOs
  3. Geisinger Latest Employer to Quit Hiring Smokers
  4. Evaluating Health and Wellness Incentive Programs for Behavior Change
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: 2010 Performance Benchmarks in Tobacco Cessation
  6. Low Healthcare Spending Linked to Poor Economy, Low Utilization
  7. New Chart: Top Opportunities to Improve Medication Adherence
  8. 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook
  9. Google Flu Search Tool Effective Warning System for Hospital EDs
  10. Health IT in Care Management to Improve Health and Effect Behavior Change
  11. Mayo’s 4 Steps for Building HRA Participation
  12. Guide to Health Risk Assessment and Stratification
  13. Two Medical Home Approaches Behind $1 Billion in N.C. Medicaid Savings
  14. HealthSounds Podcast: Diabetes Management in the Medical Home
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Reducing Readmissions in 2012 — Third Annual Survey

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This week's industry news

1.) New Cigna-Weill Cornell ACO in NY Features RN Care Coordinators

Cigna and the Weill Cornell Physician Organization have launched a collaborative accountable care initiative to expand patient access to healthcare, improve care coordination, and achieve the “triple aim” of improved health outcomes, lower total medical costs and increased patient satisfaction.

Get the full story.

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2.) Health Management Tools for ACOs: Improving Outcomes in Accountable Care Organizations

Health Management Tools for ACOs This resource examines the building blocks of population health management that drive improvements in healthcare quality and efficiency in ACOs — while positioning healthcare organizations for core measure improvement and increased reimbursement.



Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Geisinger Latest Employer to Quit Hiring Smokers

Geisinger Health Systems will no longer hire job applicants who use tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and chewing or smokeless tobacco, beginning February 1.

Get the full story.

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4.) Evaluating Health and Wellness Incentive Programs for Behavior Change

Evaluating Health and Wellness Incentive Programs for Behavior Change During this webinar, an industry expert shared his organization's techniques and strategies to increase engagement in and results from health and wellness programs.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: 2010 Performance Benchmarks in Tobacco Cessation

This white paper summarizes results of the Healthcare Intelligence Network’s second annual Tobacco Cessaton & Prevention e-survey conducted in November 2010, revealing the efforts of 84 healthcare organizations to curb these trends, including program availability, program components and reimbursement trends.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Low Healthcare Spending Linked to Poor Economy, Low Utilization

U.S. healthcare spending experienced historically low rates of growth in 2009 and 2010, according to the annual report of National Health Expenditures (NHE) published in Health Affairs.

Get the full story.

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7.) New Chart: Top Opportunities to Improve Medication Adherence

Top Opportunities to Improve Medication Adherence Evidence continues to mount that heightened levels of medication adherence correlate to reduced hospitalizations and emergency room visits, especially among Medicare patients. We wanted to see the top opportunities to improve medication adherence.

Click here to view the table.

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8.) 2012 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook: Metrics, Measurements and Innovations

2012 Healthcare Benchmarks Yearbook HIN's third annual compilation of performance benchmarks in key areas of healthcare activity and growth delivers all-new actionable data compiled in 2011 on activities including: healthcare trends for 2012, tobacco cessation and prevention, reducing readmissions, case management, ACOs, medication adherence and compliance, and using registries for accountable care. Available for the first time in two versions.

Learn more about this resource.

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9.) Google Flu Search Tool Effective Warning System for Hospital EDs

Monitoring Internet search traffic on Google’s Flu Trends tool might better prepare hospital ERs for a surge in sick patients than waiting for outdated flu case reports, says a report published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Get the full story.

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10.) Health IT in Care Management to Improve Health and Effect Behavior Change

Health IT in Care Management In this 35-page report, the chief executive officer of Pharos Innovations describes the prerequisites for using technologies to engage patients in chronic disease improvement programs, setting the scene for care management and behavior change.


Learn more about this resource.

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11.) Mayo’s 4 Steps for Building HRA Participation

Making your targeted population aware of existing HRA programs, and offering them incentives, which could include cash or benefits, are two ways to build HRA participation, explains Thomas Ferraro, business development director with Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources.

Get the full story.

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12.) Guide to Health Risk Assessment and Stratification

Guide to Health Risk Assessment and Stratification Twelve industry thought leaders describe the processes of health risk assessment (HRA) and stratification as well as applications and benefits of health assessment in the workplace and various healthcare settings. This 140-page guide also examines the HRA's impact on cost, utilization and patient health status. This resource contains more than 77 images; Q&A chapter answers more than 60 questions on health risk assessment.

Learn more about this resource.

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13.) Two Medical Home Approaches Behind $1 Billion in N.C. Medicaid Savings

Aggressive care management and preventive care saved North Carolina Medicaid nearly $1 billion over four years, according to a new analysis by Milliman Inc., a national healthcare consulting firm.

Read this blog post.

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14.) HealthSounds Podcast: Diabetes Management in the Medical Home — A Diabetes Collaborative Takes Team-Based Approach

Kathy Brieger Hudson River HealthCare (HRHC) takes a team approach to disease management in the 3,400 adult patients with diabetes it serves, explains Kathy Brieger, RD, CDE, HRHC's chief operations officer. Ms. Brieger describes the multiple levels of care available to patients served by the HRHC Diabetes Collaborative, a four-point strategy for weight management that targets the most challenging aspect of managing diabetes, and HRHC's upcoming trial of telepsychiatry at selected FQHCs.

Listen to this podcast.

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