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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

The healthcare reform debate continued last week — not only across party lines and but also across the pond. Defenders of the British National Health Service Twittered support for their country's health system after it took a beating during some of the town meetings around the U.S. Meanwhile, funds from this year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are quietly being put to work to alleviate critical shortages of healthcare workers and faculty as well as increase and improve healthcare quality and access. In a featured story this week, the HHS allocates $13.4 million in loan repayment funds to support nurses. About a third of these funds will go to schools of nursing to train masters and doctoral nursing students who plan to become nurse faculty after completing their education; the rest will help repay educational loans for RNs in exchange for two years of service at facilities with a critical shortage of nurses. Tennessee is particularly hard hit; a review of facilities where the first 100 eligible nurses have been placed indicates that 14 nurses have been placed at eight Tennessee hospitals.

Nurses figure prominently in patient education and outreach programs. More than 70 organizations have already responded to HIN's survey of the month on patient education and engagement efforts. Add your responses by August 31 and you'll receive a free executive summary of the compiled results. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential.

Your colleague in the business of healthcare,
Patricia Donovan
Editor, Healthcare Business Weekly Update

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

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

Publisher:
Melanie Matthews, mmatthews@hin.com

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August 17, 2009
Vol. XI, No. 31

Sponsored by:
Constructing Care Transitions to Reduce Hospital Admissions

This week's industry news:

  1. Social Security to Fund $24 Million in EMR Contracts
  2. Risks and Liabilities in EMRs
  3. Aligning Communications and Incentives for Behavior Change
  4. Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: Putting out the Addiction — Tobacco Cessation
  6. 12-Year Nationwide Drop in Tobacco Sales to Minors Continues
  7. Measuring Change
  8. Exercise and Mediterranean-type Diet May Lower Alzheimer’s Risk
  9. Alzheimer's Disease — The Evaluation and Management of Dementia
  10. HHS Loan Repayments Reward Nurse Educators, Service in Underserved Areas
  11. International Practice Development in Nursing
  12. HealthSounds Podcast: Avoiding Hospital Readmissions with "Clean and Clear Handoffs"
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.) Social Security to Fund $24 Million in EMR Contracts

To speed the processing of disability applications, Social Security has allocated $24 million in contracts to provide the agency with EMRs to improve the efficiency of its disability programs. Through a Request for Proposals, Social Security is looking for healthcare providers, provider networks and health information exchanges to participate in its Medical Evidence Gathering and Analysis through Health IT program.

Get the full story.

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2.) Risks and Liabilities in EMRs: Protecting Privacy, Avoiding Penalties and Litigation

Risks and Liabilities in EMRs During this audio conference, authoritative panelists identified the challenging legal issues, outlined the major risks and potential liabilities in managing EHRs, and offered best practices and practical solutions to avoid litigation and penalties.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Aligning Communications and Incentives for Behavior Change

Industry experts describe how having a combined communication and incentives program can lead to behavior change in patients.

Blending incentives and communication programs to drive health coaching participation is an effective strategy, says Jennifer Hidding, former director of interactive health management of consumer solutions at OptumHealth. “Incentives are very effective and powerful in a communication program. They are crucial in driving participation and eventually behavior change."

Get the full story.

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4.) Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives: Utilization and Effectiveness Data to Drive Health Promotion, Compliance and ROI

Benchmarks in Health & Wellness Incentives In an economic climate where individuals delay medical care to often disastrous and costly outcomes, a prudent investment in incentives to reward participation in health improvement activities can generate desired changes in health behavior and associated costs. For maximum returns, incentives must be carefully matched to the health improvement activity and the desired behaviors. This special report is the one-of-a-kind resource healthcare payors and purchasers can use to compare their incentives programs to others in the marketplace and defend their incentive programs to budget-conscious C-suites.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: Putting out the Addiction — Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Programs

By funding an expansion of healthcare coverage for children with a 61-cent tobacco tax per cigarette pack, the U.S. government is doing their part in the crusade for tobacco cessation and prevention. Now, HIN examines how over 220 wellness companies, behavioral healthcare providers, PCPs, DM organizations, employers, health plans and hospital/health systems are contributing to the area of tobacco cessation and prevention.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) 12-Year Nationwide Drop in Tobacco Sales to Minors Continues

Sales of tobacco to underage youth (those younger than age 18) have continued to decline, and have in fact reached historic lows under the Synar Amendment program — a federal and state partnership program aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors, according to a new SAMHSA report.

Get the full story.

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7.) Measuring Change: Evaluating Health and Wellness Coaching Performance, Outcomes and ROI

Measuring Change While tools to identify health coaching candidates abound, no straightforward formula for evaluating coaching ROI exists. However, emerging findings from two health coaching organizations indicate that the structure of a coaching program and in some cases the coaches' own personal attributes can deliver hoped-for participant outcomes in weight management, tobacco cessation, stress management and related health-related savings. In this special report, two health coaching thought leaders present their coaching ROI models and examine the impact of health and wellness coaching on behaviors and the bottom line. They also share anecdotal research that ties coaches' personal attributes to optimal outcomes — information that can influence health and wellness coach hiring strategies.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) Exercise and Mediterranean-type Diet May Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

Both being more physically active and adhering to a Mediterranean-type diet appears to be associated with reduced Alzheimer’s risk, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). While previous studies have only investigated the association between either physical activity or diet and Alzheimer’s disease risk separately, this new research explored their combined association.

Get the full story.

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9.) Alzheimer's Disease — The Evaluation and Management of Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease This 70-page report details diagnosis, non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical management of this common cluster of disabling disorders. It also includes references, Web links and other resources. This product is updated annually.

Learn more about this resource.

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10.) HHS Loan Repayments Reward Nurse Educators, Service in Underserved Areas

HHS has dedicated $13.4 million for loan repayments to nurses who agree to practice in facilities with critical shortages and for schools of nursing to provide loans to students who will become nurse faculty. The funds, made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), come from two programs administered by HHS: the Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

Get the full story.

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11.) International Practice Development in Nursing and Healthcare

International Practice Development Practice development is a key concept in developing effective nursing care, which is firmly embedded in health service modernization agendas, clinical governance strategies, team and cultural developments and in quality improvements that directly impact on patient care in the UK and internationally. Practice development acknowledges the interplay between the development of knowledge and skills, enablement strategies, facilitation and a systematic, rigorous and continuous processes of emancipatory change in order to achieve evidence-based, person-centered care. This resource is essential for all practice developers and for nurses with a remit for facilitating innovation and change in practice.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) HealthSounds Podcast: Avoiding Hospital Readmissions with "Clean and Clear Handoffs"

Avoiding Hospital Readmissions Geisinger Health Plan's successful Transitions of Care program is the health plan's response to rising rehospitalization rates among Medicare patients, a major concern of both CMS and private payors. Geisinger Health Plan's Doreen Salek defines the transition teams' key area of focus when providing a "clean and clear handoff" of a patient from one care site to another, with the goal of avoiding readmission to the hospital. The health plan's director of business operations of health services also defines the plan's ideal home health partner, its blueprint for a universal plan of care to improve care coordination and expectations for patients and their families and caregivers.

Listen to this podcast.

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