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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Content Editor Cheryl Miller

Convenience, whether in the form of a telemedical consult, a mail order pharmacy, or even an HRA, is helping to improve patient care and quality.

According to a new Kaiser Permanente study, diabetic patients who received heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than those who picked up prescriptions in person.

Among the reasons researchers suggested were that patients with disabilities or limited transportation were better able to take their meds when all they had to do was go to their mailbox.

In the same vein, children in rural areas are provided better care when telemedicine is available.

According to a new study from UC Davis Medical Center, rural physicians face distinct disadvantages when providing critical care for severely ill or injured pediatric patients. Lack of pediatric training, access to EMRs and 24-hour pharmacist coverage contribute to the problem. Telemedicine services with pediatric specialists resulted in far fewer dosage errors, among other things.

Despite the occurrence of face-to-face meetings, many patientsí health status and risks are overlooked because of the infrequent use of health risk assessments, according to the AHRQ.

Problematic but treatable health behaviors like anxiety, alcohol use, depression and unhealthy eating are generally not explored in a primary care visit but can be detected with the use of a new evidence-based HRA. Designed for primary care physicians, nurses and other staff, patients provide the data. Details inside.

A final ruling on home healthcare payments has been issued for 2014, and is designed to better align Medicare payments with home health agenciesí costs providing care, while lowering costs to taxpayers and the 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who receive services, according to the CMS. The final rule reduces the number of home-health quality measures reported by home health agencies (HHAs).

And lastly, donít forget to take our online survey, Reducing Hospital Readmissions in 2013. While great strides have been made in the reduction of 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions, CMS still docked reimbursement for more than 2,200 hospitals in 2013 for exceeding 30-day readmission rates for heart failure, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. In 2015, CMS penalties will extend to acute COPD and elective hip and knee replacements. Describe how your organization is working to reduce hospital readmissions by taking HIN's fourth comprehensive Reducing Hospital Readmissions Benchmark Survey. Respond by January 3, 2014 and receive an e-summary of the results once they are compiled.

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:

Home Visits in 2013 — House Calls Foster Medication Adherence, Patient Satisfaction

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December 2, 2013
Vol. XV, No. 45

Institute for HealthCare Consumerism's IHC FORUM Sponsored by:

Institute for HealthCare Consumerism's IHC FORUM

The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism's IHC FORUM is the only national event focused 100 percent on innovative health and benefits management, bringing to life IHCís collaborative online community and informative publications. Through workshops, general sessions and networking opportunities, attendees obtain insights from key policy makers, legal experts, thought leaders and peers. The IHC FORUM allows employers, brokers, consultants and health plan administrators to LEARN, CONNECT, SHARE to arrive at actionable, cost-saving strategies for their businesses.

Click here to visit the conference Web site.


This week's industry news:

  1. AHRQ Evidence-based Guide Helps Implement Health Assessments in Primary Care Settings
  2. 2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health Risk Assessments
  3. Diabetics Who Use Mail Order Pharmacies Less Likely to Visit ER: Study
  4. Patient-Centered Diabetes Management
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: Telehealth in 2013
  6. Medicare Finalizes Home Health Payments for 2014
  7. New Chart: Top Targeted Conditions for Medication Adherence Programs
  8. Home Visit Handbook
  9. Telemedicine Reduces Pediatric Medication Errors in Rural EDs
  10. Telemedicine Technologies
  11. Physician-Hospital Co-Management a Top Trend for 2014
  12. Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014
  13. Infographic: Leaks in the Healthcare Claim Process
  14. Aligning Value-Based Reimbursement with Physician Practice Transformation
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.

Missed the last issue? Read it here.

Join our Online Communities:

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Take our monthly e-survey:
Reducing Hospital Readmissions in 2013

You'll be emailed a synopsis of the survey results.

Interested in all open surveys? Review them here.


This week's industry news

1.) AHRQ Evidence-based Guide Helps Implement Health Assessments in Primary Care Settings

Many behaviors that are problematic but treatable are going unnoticed because of the infrequent use of health risk assessments (HRAs), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesí Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Get the full story.

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2.) 2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health Risk Assessments

2013 Healthcare Benchmarks: Health Risk Assessments This resource analyzes the responses of more than 100 healthcare organizations to HINís October 2013 Industry Survey on Health Risk Assessments, and provides metrics and measures on current and planned HRA initiatives as well as lessons learned and results from successful health assessment programs.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Diabetics Who Use Mail Order Pharmacies Less Likely to Visit ER: Study

Contrary to concerns, diabetic patients who received heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than those who picked up prescriptions in person, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


4.) Patient-Centered Diabetes Management: Driving Outcomes with Education and Behavior Change

Patient-Centered Diabetes Management This resource provides actionable data from 83 organizations on current diabetes management programs and their impact on population health outcomes and healthcare spend, providing critical benchmarks that show how the industry is working to more effectively engage patients in the self-management of their diabetes.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: Telehealth in 2013 — Videoconferencing, Virtual Visits and Smartphones Power Population Health Management

Telehealth in 2013 Healthcare is leaning on videoconferencing more than ever to monitor discharged patients, conduct remote consultations and facilitate communication, according to responses to 2013 Telehealth Survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. Respondents reported an increase in the use of videoconferencing — from 41 percent in 2010 to 59 percent in 2013. Download this HINtelligence report for more telehealth trends for 2013 as reported by 129 healthcare companies in HIN's third annual Telehealth Survey. Included in the report are the greatest barriers or challenges to telehealth implementation, top funding to support telehealth efforts, telehealth use in clinical applications, and much more.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Medicare Finalizes Home Health Payments for 2014

A final ruling on home healthcare payments has been issued for 2014, and is designed to better align Medicare payments with home health agenciesí costs providing care, while lowering costs to taxpayers and the 3.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who receive services, according to the CMS.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news


7.) New Chart: Top Targeted Conditions for Medication Adherence Programs

New Chart: Top Targeted Conditions for Medication Adherence Programs According to the more than 100 healthcare companies who responded to HIN's latest medication adherence (MA) e-survey, 61 percent say that hypertension is the top health condition targeted by MA programs. We wanted to see which other conditions are targeted.

Click here to view the chart.

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8.) Home Visit Handbook: Structure, Assessments and Protocols for Medically Complex Patients

Home Visit Handbook This resource outlines an innovative home visit pilot for Medicaid and dually eligible patients that reduced unplanned hospital admission days by 71 percent in three months and provides key performance benchmarks on home visit activity in the healthcare industry.

Learn more about this resource.

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9.) Telemedicine Reduces Pediatric Medication Errors in Rural EDs

Telemedicine consultations with pediatric specialists can improve the quality of care and reduce the number of drug errors in rural settings, according to a study from UC Davis Medical Center.

Get the full story.

>>Return to this week's industry news

10.) Telemedicine Technologies: Information Technologies in Medicine and Telehealth

Telemedicine Technologies This resource focuses on how medical information can be reliably transmitted through wireless communication networks. It explains how they can be optimized to carry medical information in various situations by utilizing readily available traditional wireless local area network (WLAN) and broadband wireless access (BWA) systems.

Learn more about this resource.

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11.) Physician-Hospital Co-Management a Top Trend for 2014

In 2014, physicians will continue to be co-managers, actively engaging in the hospital and overseeing patient experience, quality of care and cost reduction, predicted Steven Valentine, president, The Camden Group, during a Healthcare 2014 strategic planning session.

Get the full story.

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12.) Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2014 This resource shares industry insights from two healthcare leaders, and provides a handle on whatís keeping healthcare CEOs up at night and a dream prescription for sounder program management in 2014.


Learn more about this resource.

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13.) Infographic: Leaks in the Healthcare Claim Process

In healthcare's post-reform volume-to-value world, payor reimbursement strategies are tipping in favor of providers who can deliver clinical and financial goods. However, most practice are leaving up to 30 percent of potential revenue on the table due to insufficient internal resources, processes and technology, according to a new infographic from CareCloud. This infographic shows exactly where physicians are losing money, specifically during the pre- and post-visits, and the visit itself.

Read this blog post.

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14.) Aligning Value-Based Reimbursement with Physician Practice Transformation

Julie Schilz In its quest to transform 70 to 80 percent of its physician practices to a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) over the next three years, WellPoint has adopted a "meet the practices where they are" philosophy, reports Julie Schilz, director of care delivery transformation for WellPoint. Each practice is at a different place in the transformation effort and requires specialized supports, she adds.

Smoothing the transformation rollout is the simultaneous participation of 500 WellPoint practices in CMS's Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) program, whose goals dovetail with key PCMH principles — as though WellPoint had another partner in its transformation initiative, Schilz notes.

Just as important as practice support is transparency with health plan members, Schilz adds, especially when it comes to explaining the concept of the medical home neighborhood — where care coordination is a collaboration between primary care and the specialist.

Listen to this podcast.

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