The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: 4/14/16 

News stories you won't want to miss!

Higher patient ratings equal fewer readmissions, lower mortality

The scores patients assign their hospitals appear to correspond with the quality of the hospitals' patient outcomes, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed the scores patients assigned to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' star-rating system for more than 3,000 hospitals. Hospitals' star ratings were inversely proportional to their rates of death within a month of discharge. 

Hospitals reap $1.6M from specialists, including cardiologists

While the average primary care physician is generating less income for hospitals ($1.4 million in 2016 versus $1.56 million in 2013), that’s offset by specialist doctors, whose contribution to hospital revenues jumped 14% to $1.6 million, compared with $1.42 million three years ago. Among specialists, orthopedic physicians bring in the most business ($2.75 million each), followed by invasive cardiologists ($2.45 million) and neurosurgeons ($2.44 million.

5 ways make employees happy in a healthcare workplace

Healthcare organizations named to Fortune's 20 Best Workplaces in Health Care share a sense of camaraderie and pride in their work, and offer lessons to other hospitals and systems that strive to create a positive work environment that can attract and retain the best talent. The winning organizations overcame the natural hierarchy of a healthcare organization to create a friendly, emotionally supportive workplace where coworkers feel as though everyone is equal and they can count on coworkers to support them.

Heart, vascular department at Aurora St. Luke’s receives top accreditations

Building on its rich history as the premier heart hospital in Wisconsin and a global destination for heart care, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center has received two prestigious accolades from the Accreditation for Cardiovascular Excellence (ACE). Both acknowledgments from ACE reinforce Aurora St. Luke’s positioning as a global leader in cardiovascular excellence.

Momentum building for national unique patient IDs

As digitization of the healthcare system increases, issues around data exchange and medical records exchange make patient identification more challenging than ever. In the absence of a unique patient identifier system, doctors use a patient’s name and birth dates to identify them, and there can be hundreds or thousands of identical or similar names and dates in EMR systems. Get it wrong, and a diagnosis or treatment may be missed — sometimes with dire consequences.

The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: Week of 3/28/16 

A sampling of this week's healthcare stories that you won't want to miss.

Female cardiologists remain underrepresented, report more work-life challenges than men

Two decades have brought little change for women in cardiology, according to a new study. Women account for only 20 percent of cardiologists who see adult patients, and are more likely than their male counterparts to face professional discrimination. 

Study eases concerns about antidepressants and cardiovascular risk

Patients who take antidepressants are not increasing their risk of arrhythmia, MI, stroke or transient ischemic attack, according to new study. Prior research had suggested a link between depression and negative cardiovascular outcomes.

ACC honors 18 people for their contributions to cardiology

Eighteen people have been selected for a Distinguished Award from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The recipients will receive their awards on April 4 during the ACC’s annual scientific session in Chicago. 

Integrated approach slashes ER use for heart failure

One health system is using coordinated teams to cut emergency room visits and improve medication management for heart failure patients. A new blog post details how Geisinger Health System built on its record of care integration and coordination to address emergency and inpatient care for heart failure patients.

Can healthcare learn safety lessons from aviation model?

To reduce medical errors, providers should look to the skies, one physician writes. Following a 1977 airline disaster, the industry developed a "culture of safety" that could be worth emulating, writes David Nash, M.D., founding dean of Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University.

The Best of Health IT News: Week of 3/21/16 

Interoperability, EHRs, McKesson layoffs and more

EHRs: Interoperability is all the rage. Why don't we have it?

Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell recently announced that HHS is behind a major push to achieve interoperability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). "Companies that provide 90 percent of EHRs used by U.S. hospitals, including Epic and athenahealth, have agreed to increase patient access, no information blocking, and adoption of federally recognized interoperability standards," reports Healthcare Dive. But will those goals improve patient care and EHR workflow?

McKesson announces layoffs, to shed 1,600 U.S. employees

McKesson plans to lay off about 1,600 employees, or about 4 percent of its U.S. workforce. The restructuring move is predicted to cost the company $300 million to $330 million.

AHIMA petitions White House on national patient identifier

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is petitioning the White House to recognize the need for a national patient identifier. "The petition asks that legislative language be removed that stops the Department of Health and Human Services from funding efforts to find a national patient ID solution," reports FierceHealthIT. "AHIMA also wants leaders in the government to work with the private sector and security experts on a path to a voluntary patient safety ID."

Another legal defeat for faith-based health systems with pension plans

Federal appeals courts continue to side against faith-based health systems, which may soon be forced to contribute millions into underfunded employee pension plans. The issue of whether those pension plans are subject to federal protections involves major health systems including Dignity Health, Presence Health and Catholic Health Initiatives. It could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

5 ways artificial intelligence is changing the face of healthcare

A recent report by Frost & Sullivan predicts the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market in healthcare will reach $6 billion by 2021, up from just $600 million two years ago. With the shift to a value-based reimbursement model, hospitals and providers are looking for new ways to increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes, according to Healthcare Dive. "Cognitive solutions such as IBM’s Watson system can assess huge amounts of patient data, provide guidance and decision support, and improve clinical workflow."

The Best of Health IT News: Week of 3/14/16 

Best workplace rankings, ACOs, and CEO turnover

Fortune releases annual list of best medical workplaces

Baptist Health South Florida, Southern Ohio Medical Center, and St. Jude's  Children's Research Hospital are among the 100 best places to work, according to Fortune. Fortune's annual list of the 100 best places to work included 11 hospitals this year, with Baptist Health South Florida in the No. 1 spot among medical workplaces. The rankings take into account workplace culture, benefits offered, and career paths, among other considerations.

Integrated health technologies have a bright future, HIMSS survey says

The trend toward connectivity within healthcare systems has a positive future, according to the 2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey. More than 50 percent of hospitals surveyed reported using at least three connected technologies, and many plan to improve engagement and quality of care by implementing additional technologies.

ACOs serving sickest patients may be penalized under proposed new benchmarks

A Harvard department of healthcare policy analysis "shows such wide variation in baseline spending levels  from one ACO to the next that any future benchmarking efforts, including those performed within single given  regions, must roll out parity measures only gradually—or pay the price in the form of participation falloffs," HealthExec asserts. That’s because transitioning to a common payment model using average regional fee-for-service spending as the basis for the benchmark for all ACOs in an area would probably discourage less efficient organizations—including those serving sicker-than-average populations—from continuing in ACO programs (especially in two-sided risk contracts) if the model were implemented within a few years of participation.

High hospital CEO turnover reported

Upheaval in the healthcare industry may be keeping CEO turnover rate high. This is the third year in a row that the turnover rate has been 18 percent. "ACHE President and CEO Deborah Bowen blamed ongoing organizational consolidation, Baby Boomer retirements, internal transfers within healthcare systems and the emergence of new models of care for the high turnover rates," Fiercehealthcare.com reported.

Posted by Monday, March 14, 2016 12:09:00 PM Categories: careers data electronic health records health information technology health IT hospitals

New dashboard facilitates near-real-time performance monitoring 

Check out LUMEDX's HealthView STS Adult Dashboard

By collecting outcomes data for submission to the STS Adult Cardiac Surgery Database, cardiac surgery providers are committing to improving the quality of care that their patients receive. High-achieving providers use the data they collect for this national registry to drive performance improvements on an ongoing basis. 

And what a lot of data there is to collect! From risk factors to discharge medications to readmission rates and more, providers are charged with keeping track of it all. They need tools that are up to the task.

LUMEDX's HealthView STS Adult Dashboard enables cardiac surgery suites to set performance objectives and track metrics against objectives, identify outliers and trends, and work to improve patient care and business outcomes—all in one place. The dashboard allows for efficient, automated monitoring of performance in near-real time, so providers can see, understand, and act on their data. 

Want to learn more? LUMEDX's Complete STS Adult Dashboard InfoPak includes information and ideas for efficient and highly effective management of cardiac surgery data. Click here to download a complimentary Complete STS Adult Dashboard InfoPak.

 

Posted by Wednesday, March 09, 2016 10:26:00 AM Categories: cardiology data health information technology industry news

The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: Week of 3/7/16 

Readmissions, Obamacare, and more

CMS targets hospital readmissions after CABG 

A proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) would penalize hospitals that perform an index coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and then have an unexpected 30-day readmission, even if the patient was discharged from a different hospital. "The proposed CABG 30-day readmission measure includes Medicare beneficiaries who are 65 years old or older who at the time of the index admission had been enrolled in a Medicare fee-for-service program for at least 12 months," Cardiovascular Business reports. "CMS intends to add CABG to its readmissions reduction program in 2017."

Most support keeping, building on Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) continues to have public support, with 36 percent of those surveyed saying it should be expanded, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. That's the position advocated by presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Nearly a quarter of respondents would like to see a single government plan, as advocated by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, while 16 percent would repeal the ACA and not replace it. Repealing the act and replacing it with a Republican alternative was favored by 13% of respondents.

Analysis: U.S. health spending wouldn't be substantially decreased by price transparency

"Menu-izing the costs of care doesn’t turn the average American into a skilled healthcare shopper, but don’t blame the consumer," says Health Exec. "While some 43 percent of U.S. healthcare spending does indeed go into 'shoppable,' non-emergent care—everything from flu shots and blood tests to colonoscopies and electively timed surgeries—only around 7 percent of out-of-pocket spending goes to such services. The result, according to a new analysis from the Health Care Cost Institute, is that the healthcare system as a whole wrings little cost benefit out of the push for price transparency."

Cardiovascular risk increases with heavy alcohol consumption

Drinking alcohol is associated with higher cardiovascular risk immediately after consumption, according to systematic review and meta-analysis. "After 24 hours, there was a lower risk for moderate drinkers," Cardiovascular Business reports. "But the risk increased in heavy drinkers for the following day and week."

Major markets could see mega-regional healthcare systems

Consolidation is a trend expected to continue in the healthcare industry, according to Fierce Healthcare. The trend, with increased leverage and revenues, has led to the creation of super-regional system in several large markets. "In Chicago, consolidation reached a crescendo in 2014 when fully integrated health system Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Winfield, Illinois' Cadence Health finalized a merger, with Northwestern expanding to include four hospitals under the deal," reported Becker's Hospital Review. Since then, Northwestern has expanded its reach, finalizing a deal with KishHealth in Dekalb, Illinois. The system now boasts six hospitals and more than 4,000 workers.

This Week in Cardio and Health IT News 

EHR developments, top hospitals list, and more

Here are some of this week's top stories in cardiology and health IT.

Big names in healthcare pledge to facilitate interoperability, EHR accessibility

The Obama administration has announced an agreement to increase interoperability by top U.S. health information technology developers and many of their larger customers. Signing on to the pledge--which requires signees to ease patient access to electronic health records--were Allscripts, Athenahealth, and Cerner Corp., among others. About 90 percent of U.S. hospitals use at least one of the vendors who signed on. 

Top 100 Hospital List released by Truven

Truven Health Analytics has released its list of the 100 top hospitals in the United States. In researching the hospitals, Truven discovered a trend toward reduced expense per patient among the majority of top-performing hospitals. This year's trend appeared for the first time in the awards' 23-year history. 

More patients survive when hospitals adhere to cardiac arrest protocol

Hospitals that closely followed recommended care protocols after in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) had the highest survival rates. That's the conclusion of a new study published in JAMA Cardiology, which found that more than 24,000 lives could be saved annually if all hospitals operated at the level of the highest-scoring provider. 

Payer-provider collaborations called key to improved patient outcomes 

Payers and hospitals must overcome their differences to reduce readmissions, according to a special report by FierceHealthcare.com. "As providers increasingly move toward value-based care models, they must work with their counterparts in the payer sector to coordinate care and prevent readmissions," the report says. "But the transition is proving bumpy in some cases due in part to the historic mistrust between payers and providers."

Questioning whether readmission rates are a reliable care quality measure

Hospital readmission rates are not an outcome, but a measure of utilization, says one Harvard School of Public Health professor. He pointed to new federal research demonstrating that hospitals don't use observation status as a way to create the appearance of decreased readmissions, which had been a concern prior to the research. Readmission rates can decline for a number of reasons, including difficulty in being readmitted or better hospital-to-patient communication, he says.

The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: Week of 2/22/16 

Security breach, telehealth, and Obamacare

LUMEDX does the research for you! Here are some of the top stories in healthcare this week.

Security: Hospital pays ransom to get its data back from hackers

Security experts are concerned that a Southern California hospital paid a $17,000 ransom in bitcoins to hackers who infiltrated and disabled its network, saying that agreeing to the ransomers' demands could set a bad precedent. The hackers had encrypted the hospital's computer network and demanded the ransom to provide a digital decryption key to unlock it.

Healthcare could be major issue in presidential race

The future of U.S. healthcare--especially Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid--will be determined in this year's presidential election, and the candidates are offering starkly different visions. Democrat Hillary Clinton would uphold and expand the Affordable Health Act, while her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, would replace it with a single-payer system. Republican Donald Trump expressed support for some facets of the ACA, while Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz vow to end it.

51 hospitals settle with Justice Department in ICD case

The Department of Justice has reached settlements with 51 hospitals that allegedly improperly implanted implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in Medicare patients. The department said it had reached settlements worth a total of more than $23 million with hospitals in 15 states for allegedly improperly implanting the cardiac devices.

Forbes blogger predicts expansion of concierge healthcare model

An opinion piece in  Forbes suggests that hospitals should consider offering concierge healthcare. The concierge model could help financially struggling providers by making them more attractive to wealthier patients who will pay for expedited access to high-caliber physician talent.

Experts call Zika 'the scariest virus since HIV'

As experts learn more about the mosquito-borne Zika virus, they are becoming more alarmed. The American Council on Science and Health referred to Zika as  "possibly the scariest virus since HIV" because it is carried by hard-to-escape mosquitoes and causes serious birth defects.

The Best of Cardio and Health IT News: Week of 2/15/16 

Don't miss out on this week's top stories


CMS and health insurers announce alignment and simplification of quality measures

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and America's Health Insurance Plans (the health plans' trade group)  announced that they have agreed on seven sets of clinical quality measuresThe standardized measures are designed to help payers and consumers shopping for high-quality care. "These measures support multi-payer alignment, for the first time, on core measures primarily for physician quality programs," according to the CMS. This work is informing the CMS’s implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Supreme Court: What will happen to healthcare cases after Justice Scalia's death?

A number of healthcare-related cases are in limbo following the death of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Feb. 12. "The court is weighing a case about data sharing with potential implications for insurers and state healthcare reform efforts," Modern Healthcare reports. "Another case has the potential to reduce—or increase—the number of False Claims Act suits brought against healthcare providers and other companies." Also before the court is a case involving the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. 

CMS anticipates giving out $7.7 billion in ACA reinsurance payouts

Healthcare insurance companies could receive as much as $7.7 billion as part of the Affordable Care Act's reinsurance program. Reflecting data from the 2015 benefit year, the payouts are to be issued this year. "The Affordable Care Act created the temporary, three-year reinsurance program to protect insurers during the early years of the new individual marketplaces," according to Modern Healthcare"Insurers pay into the reinsurance pool, and those funds are then paid out to health plans that had members with extremely high medical claims." 

Still stalled: Federal healthcare rule that ties Medicare, Medicaid payments to disaster-preparedness plans

A proposed federal rule that would require healthcare facilities and hospitals to create emergency-preparedness plans in order to receive Medicare and Medicaid funding is stalled in the Office of Management and Budget, undergoing a legally required review. It would affect more than 68,000 providers, according to a New York Times news analysis."Industry groups have been critical of the time and expense they said would be involved in steps such as test backup power generators more frequently and for longer periods, or to pay staff overtime during drills," according to FierceHealthcare.com.

Harvard researchers say PCI readmission metric could be model

A model for improving the quality and value of cardiology care may be found in a pilot program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR), according to Harvard researchers. The program evaluated and reported risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rates after PCI. "The researchers noted that preventing readmissions could improve the quality of care and reduce costs for cardiology patients," according to CardiovascularBusiness.com.

 

The Best of HealthIT News: Week of 2/8/16  

Population health, Obamacare, and cost containment

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the healthIT community? Let us help keep you up to date on the stories you won't want to miss.

Companies Form New Alliance to Target Healthcare Costs

Hoping to hold down the cost of healthcare benefits, 20 large companies—including American Express, Macy’s  and Verizon—have come together to use their collective data and market power. Members of the new alliance will share data about employee healthcare spending and outcomes, possibly using the data to change how they contract for care. "Some members say they could even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or try to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers," Yahoo news reports.

Federal Insurance Marketplace Signs Up Millions of New Obamacare Users

The Obama administration reports that approximately 12.7 million new patients signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or automatically renewed their policies during Obamacare's third annual open enrollment season. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the New York Times that the signups show that “marketplace coverage is a product people want and need.” Most of the plan selections were for people in the 38 states—more than 9.6 million—who used the federal website, HealthCare.gov, the Times reported. The other 3.1 million people were enrolled in states that run their own marketplaces.

Healthcare Economics: Court Allows Some Hospitals to Save Money by Classifying Themselves as Both Rural and Urban

While an earlier Health and Human Services (HHS) rule had barred both urban and rural classifications at once, a new federal appeals court ruling removed the barrier for dual hospital classification. The recent court decision applies only to hospitals within the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but some hope that—combined with an earlier similar decision in a different circuit—the 2nd Circuit Court's ruling will inspire HHS to change the regulation across the country. "The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services allows hospitals to classify themselves as rural (which providers typically leverage for discounts on drug purchases) while also classifying themselves as urban, (an important factor to attract qualified clinicians)," according to Reuters. 

Population Health: Hospital-based Wellness Centers Are Changing the Healthcare Model

Wellness centers housed in hospitals are helping communities prioritize preventive care and management of chronic conditions. The centers are part of the population health management model that focuses on preventing illnesses rather than simply treating them when and if they occur. The idea is to get patients to seek treatment before their conditions worsen, thus easing the burden on emergency rooms and acute care centers—and saving money.

Cost Control: Surgical Safety Checklists Can Save Lives and Reduce Hospital Stays

Surgical safety checklists—if implemented correctly—can save time, lives, and money. After the checklists were implemented, one study found, the average length of a hospital stay dropped from 10.4 days to 9.6 days. In addition, the checklists led to a 27 percent drop in the risk of death following surgery. Proper and consistent implementation is critical, however, for the checklists to work.

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