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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Content Editor Cheryl Miller

The cost of medication non-adherence is great: in 2009, the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) blamed it for $290 billion in 'otherwise avoidable medical spending' in the United States alone each year.

One area researchers are looking at more closely than ever is care transitions, as we report in this issue. Research shows that patients transitioning from one care facility to another are driving up related healthcare costs because of the gaps and resulting errors that can occur. This is an important shift in perspective, given that researchers have long thought that complex patients with multiple conditions/medications are primary causes for non-compliance.

We also explore pharmacists’ role in medication adherence in a new chart of the week. It illustrates the top five areas pharmacists are being reimbursed for their efforts in this area. Compiled from the Healthcare Intelligence Network’s own research, the findings reveal that while patient education numbers among the top five actions incented, the majority of pharmacists are not reimbursed for their efforts in this area.

The healthcare costs of tobacco-related diseases rivals medication adherence; every year, an estimated 443,000 people in the United States die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million people suffer from a serious smoking-related illness. Annually, costs associated with smoking-related illness account for billions in medical expenses and lost productivity, and 5.1 million years of potential life lost in the United States, the CDC reports.

California has been proactive in reforming smokers and disparaging tobacco companies; according to a report from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), a decades-long campaign in that state cost $2.4 billion, but reduced healthcare costs by $134 billion, and reduced the sales of cigarette packs by 6.8 billion, amounting to a loss of $28.5 billion in sales to cigarette companies.

We also address the high cost of hospital readmissions; according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), one in eight Medicare patients was readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being released after surgery in 2010, while one in six Medicare patients admitted to hospitals for non-surgical reasons were readmitted within 30 days. Both rates were unchanged from 2008.

The report, “The Revolving Door: A Report on U.S. Hospital Readmissions,” was based on new data that includes readmission rates for states, hospital referral regions, and more than 3,000 hospitals from the Dartmouth Atlas Project, largely funded by RWJF. It finds that readmission rates vary markedly across regions and hospitals.

And finally, a new tool empowering Medicare beneficiaries and hopefully reduce healthcare costs is now accessible from UnitedHealthcare and Novu. An online portal enables patients to create their own personalized wellness programs, by registering and completing a confidential holistic health evaluation that helps them measure their fitness, nutrition and overall life balance. Based on their responses, a tailored health and wellness program is recommended that features customized coaching, nutrition and fitness goals that can be achieved in specific, manageable steps.

Have any of your mHealth tools helped to reduce healthcare costs? Studies are showing that mHealth technologies could save from $1.96 billion to $5.83 billion in healthcare costs by the year 2014. Describe how your organization uses mHealth technologies by March 5, 2013 and you'll receive a free executive summary of survey results once it is compiled via e-mail or an mHealth-powered text message. Your completed survey also enters you into a drawing for a $25 Itunes gift card.

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 Fornarotto
Associate Editor:
Jessica Fornarotto, jfornarotto@hin.com

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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This week's featured download: Healthcare Trends in 2013 — Industry Shows More Faith in Healthcare Reform

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February 25, 2013
Vol. XV, No. 7

Sponsored by:
Moving Forward with Payment Bundling


This week's industry news:

  1. Portal Lets Medicare Beneficiaries Create Personalized Wellness Programs Online
  2. Integrated Health Coaching
  3. 1 in 8 Medicare Patients Readmitted to Hospital Within 30 Days of Surgery: Report
  4. Guide to Reducing Medicare Readmissions, Vol. II
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: Accountable Care Organizations in 2012
  6. California’s Tobacco Control Program Generates Significant Healthcare Savings
  7. New Chart: Top Incentivized Coaching Activities
  8. 2011 Benchmarks in Tobacco Cessation and Prevention
  9. Healthcare Law Expands ‘Essential Health Benefits’ to Include Mental Health
  10. The Financial Professional’s Guide to Healthcare Reform
  11. Medication Adherence During Care Transitions Getting Closer Look
  12. 33 Metrics for Care Transition Management
  13. Infographic: How Social Networks Predict Epidemics
  14. Improving Population Health Management Through Effective, Efficient Data Analytics
Please pass this along to any of your colleagues or, better yet, have them sign up to receive their own copy and learn about our other news services.

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This week's industry news

1.) Portal Lets Medicare Beneficiaries Create Personalized Wellness Programs Online

Medicare members can create their own personalized wellness program, including measurable nutrition and fitness goals, according to UnitedHealthcare.

Get the full story.

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2.) Integrated Health Coaching: Reducing Risk and Empowering Change across the Health Continuum

Integrated Health Coaching This resource describes how HealthFitness aligns individuals with the right coaching service at the right time, leveraging individuals’ intrinsic motivation to address underlying lifestyle issues that may impede health status and drive up healthcare spend.


Learn more about this resource.

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3.) 1 in 8 Medicare Patients Readmitted to Hospital Within 30 Days of Surgery: Report

One in eight Medicare patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being released after surgery in 2010, while one in six Medicare patients admitted to hospitals for non-surgical reasons were readmitted within 30 days, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


4.) Guide to Reducing Medicare Readmissions, Vol. II

Guide to Reducing Medicare Readmissions, Vol. II This resource examines innovative interventions to reduce preventable admissions, rehospitalizations and ER visits by high-utilizing Medicare beneficiaries, including four multidisciplinary collaborative interventions aimed at key factors fueling readmissions in this population — and that support an accountable care vision.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: Accountable Care Organizations in 2012 — ACO Participation Doubles in 12 Months

Accountable Care Organizations in 2012 Participation in accountable care initiatives has more than doubled in the last 12 months, according to 200 healthcare companies who completed the second annual Healthcare Intelligence Network survey on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The typical ACO is smaller, too, as the number of active ACOs with 100 to 500 physicians dropped almost 50 percent in the last 12 months. This year’s survey provided new data on other healthcare professionals in the ACO, ACO reimbursement models, and ACO impact.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) California’s Tobacco Control Program Generates Significant Healthcare Savings

California spent $2.4 billion on tobacco control programs since 1998 and reduced healthcare costs by $134 billion, according to a study by UC San Francisco (UCSF).

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


7.) New Chart: Top Incentivized Coaching Activities

New Chart: Top Incentivized Coaching Activities Health coaching and the tools and technologies supporting it are critical elements of a population health management approach. Telephonically, face-to-face and increasingly powered by mHealth, health coaches are instrumental in reducing health risk across the care continuum, often working within new care delivery models such as the patient-centered medical home and the accountable care organization. We wanted to see which activities are incentivized in health coaching programs.

Click here to view the chart.

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8.) 2011 Benchmarks in Tobacco Cessation and Prevention

2011 Benchmarks in Tobacco Cessation and Prevention This resource documents the efforts of more than 80 companies to curb and prevent tobacco use, compiled from responses to a 2010 survey on this topic. It provides data on a wide range of tobacco prevention and cessation trends.


Learn more about this resource.

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9.) Healthcare Law Expands ‘Essential Health Benefits’ to Include Mental Health

Comparing and purchasing health coverage plans will be easier for consumers, and states and insurers will have more flexibility and freedom to implement the ACA, according to a final rule from the HHS.

Get the full story.

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10.) The Financial Professional’s Guide to Healthcare Reform

The Financial Professional’s Guide to Healthcare Reform This resource explains the healthcare law for individuals and businesses alike, what to expect from it and what actions they need to take to comply, providing examples of what the impact of the law might look like.




Learn more about this resource.

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11.) Medication Adherence During Care Transitions Getting Closer Look

While complex patients have long been targets of medication adherence programs, research is showing that patients transitioning from one care facility to another are driving up healthcare costs associated with non-adherence, because of the gaps and resulting errors that can occur, according to research compiled by the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


12.) 33 Metrics for Care Transition Management

33 Metrics for Care Transition Management This resource provides a graphic compendium of performance benchmarks in key areas impacting care transitions — from key tasks performed at hospital discharge to the prevalence of home visits in programs to improve medication adherence.


Learn more about this resource.

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13.) Infographic: How Social Networks Predict Epidemics

In the future, social networks such as Twitter may well help to predict flu outbreaks. Traditional flu tracking performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relies on outpatient reporting and virological test results supplied by laboratories nationwide that confirms an outbreak within 2 weeks after it has begun. MPHProgramsList, an advocate for public health student education, created an infographic that highlights the growing influence of social media’s ability to monitor and accurately track public health trends.

Read this blog post.

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14.) Improving Population Health Management Through Effective, Efficient Data Analytics

Robert Fortini Enhanced reporting and efficiency, significant reductions in readmissions in congestive heart failure patients and added leverage at contract negotiation are just a few advantages Bon Secours is deriving from its EHR-based data collection tools, explains Robert Fortini, vice president and chief clinical officer at Bon Secours. Fortini talks about the health system's shift from home-grown methodologies to the sophisticated IT knowledge base powering its population health management program, resulting in data that has a "compelling" effect at contract time.

Listen to this podcast.

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