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From the editor

Dear Healthcare Intelligence Network Client,

HIN Managing Editor Patricia Donovan

In last week's address on healthcare, President Obama acknowledged the "high-quality care at costs below average" offered by Intermountain Healthcare and the Geisinger Health System, and encouraged "the adoption of these common-sense best practices by doctors and medical professionals throughout the system."

This summer, Geisinger shared with us how attention to care transitions is paying off in reduced readmissions among its Medicare population. And last week, Group Health Cooperative, which has been called a model for healthcare reform, described the medical home staffing models that have reduced ER visits by 29 percent, preventable hospitalizations by 11 percent and in-person visits by 6 percent — results published this month in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Both organizations employ a low-cost, low-tech tool to drive outcomes — what Group Health VP of Primary Care Services Michael Erikson describes as "the most underutilized technology in modern medicine, the telephone." Geisinger calls Medicare patients within 24 hours of discharge — even on weekends — to make sure they understand medication instructions, are safe in their homes and have a doctor's appointment within five to seven days. Group Health patients can book one of two daily phone appointments, and all 26 Group Health medical centers can answer a patient's call 80 percent of the time the first time they call, and no patient waits longer than 45 minutes for an answer to their clinical question. Group Health also calls patients within 24 hours of an ED visit to invite them back to primary care and follow up on any care needs resulting from that ED visit.

And in a featured story this week, Hackensack University Medical Center's routine follow-up call to discharged heart failure patients is helping to keep many of these patients from returning to the hospital.

In the old days, the phone company used to call it POTS (plain old telephone service). Today, the telephone is plainly delivering improved outcomes and reduced healthcare utilization.

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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September 14, 2009
Vol. XI, No. 34

Sponsored by:
Medical Home Reimbursement — Exploring Bundled Payment Options

This week's industry news:

  1. 3 Ways to Decrease Heart Failure Rehospitalizations
  2. Reducing Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients
  3. Joint Commission, Hospitals Join Hands to Clean Up Hand-Washing Failures
  4. Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
  5. Healthcare Business White Paper: Decision Support Tools in Benefit-Plan Design and Enrollment
  6. Screening, Education Hallmarks of New Postpartum Depression Program
  7. Depression Management Benchmarks
  8. Doctors Distressed About Surrogate Decision-Making
  9. Health Coaching in Primary Care
  10. Medicare May Cover HIV Screenings as Preventive Services
  11. Bloodborne Pathogens
  12. HealthSounds Podcast: Successful Models of Care for the Medical Home
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.) 3 Ways to Decrease Heart Failure Rehospitalizations

Lenore Blank, administrative manager of the heart failure team and pulmonary hypertension program at Hackensack University Medical Center, describes a three-tiered approach to keeping heart failure patients from returning to the hospital.

The goal is to decrease re-hospitalizations for this patient group, and empower and assist patients to develop self-management skills critical to keeping themselves out of the hospital. The outpatient center is modeled after the chronic care model.

Get the full story.

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2.) Reducing Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients: A Multidisciplinary Approach for the Medicare Population

Reducing Readmissions for Heart Failure Patients Learn how Hackensack Hospital is reducing readmissions of heart failure patients through a program of continuous care, patient education and self-management.

Learn more about this resource.

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3.) Joint Commission, Hospitals Join Hands to Clean Up Hand-Washing Failures

Eight leading hospitals and health systems have teamed with the Joint Commission’s new Center for Transforming Healthcare to address hand-washing failures as a critical patient safety problem — one that requires fixes far more complex than just putting up signs urging caregivers to wash their hands.

Get the full story.

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4.) Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings — Inservice Program

Hand Hygiene This new program discusses the CDC Guideline for hand hygiene in healthcare settings and its practical application in the healthcare facility. It covers methods of hand hygiene, the advantages of using alcohol-based handrubs, the risks associated with artificial nails and data on disease transmission that has been attributed to poor hand hygiene. This program has been written so that it is appropriate for staff in all departments.

Learn more about this resource.

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5.) Healthcare Business White Paper: Decision Support Tools in Benefit-Plan Design and Enrollment — The Compelling Advantages for Enrollees and Plan Sponsors

Healthcare choices, costs and complexities are overwhelming virtually all employees who face important life decisions. Today, a new breed of decision support tools presents an unprecedented opportunity to engage and empower employees as healthcare consumers. Employees who use these tools are more likely to make “better fit” choices that increase their satisfaction and lower costs for employee and employer alike. Discover the effectiveness of decision support tools and how to encourage their use in this new white paper.

Download this complimentary white paper.

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6.) Screening, Education Hallmarks of New Postpartum Depression Program

Up to 80 percent of women experience depressive symptoms postpartum, with one in eight reporting the emergence of major depression within weeks of delivery. To better identify and address postpartum depression, Prentice Women’s Hospital has implemented a new protocol to standardize screening and education of depression for patients and their families.

Get the full story.

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7.) Depression Management Benchmarks: Trends in Integration of Behavioral and Physical Health

Depression Management Benchmarks This resource provides actionable information from 260 organizations that are targeting depression as part of a disease management initiative. Organizations planning to focus on depression management in the near future or already utilizing an integrated approach to mental and physical health will benefit from a review of these industry metrics and measurements to evaluate and plan programs and compare performance and utilization data. This is the one-of-a-kind resource to evaluate the offerings of your depression management program against peer efforts in order to launch and retool programs that integrate mental and physical health and take aim at depression-related healthcare costs.

Learn more about this resource.

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8.) Doctors Distressed About Surrogate Decision-Making

A growing number of hospitalized adults are incapable of making their own health decisions, but little research has explored how doctors feel about making medical decisions with a patient's surrogate decision-maker. A study published in the September 2009 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that one in five doctors are not comfortable working with a surrogate decision-maker.

Get the full story.

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9.) Health Coaching in Primary Care: Persuading Physicians to Prescribe Behavior Change and Self-Efficacy

Health Coaching in Primary Care In this special report, three health coaching thought leaders detail their models for incorporating health coaching into the primary care paradigm. While acknowledging existing demands on busy physicians, they recommend that PCPs school themselves in health promotion and make coaching a team effort to foster behavior change in members and patients.

Learn more about this resource.

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10.) Medicare May Cover HIV Screenings as Preventive Services

A new proposal from HHS’ CMS will cover HIV infection screening for Medicare beneficiaries who are at increased risk for the infection, including women who are pregnant and Medicare beneficiaries of any age who voluntarily request the service.

Get the full story.

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11.) Bloodborne Pathogens — Inservice Program

Bloodborne Pathogens This program provides orientation and annual training on bloodborne pathogens (HIV, HBV, HCV) as required by OSHA. It covers epidemiology, signs and symptoms, modes of transmission, personal protective equipment, standard precautions and handling occupational exposures.

Learn more about this resource.

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12.) HealthSounds Podcast: Successful Models of Care for the Medical Home — Staffing and Roles of the Care Team

Successful Models of Care for the Medical Home Although Group Health Cooperative's increased their primary care staff, patients are still successful in connecting with their caregivers, says Michael Erikson, vice president of primary care services for Group Health Cooperative. In fact, the key to a patient's understanding of his care team lies in the physician's hands. In this podcast, Erikson discusses the effect Group Health's staff expansion has had on its patients, as well as the many benefits of contacting patients via phone and e-mail in lieu of in-person office visits.

Listen to this podcast.

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