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.

The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 2/1/16 

Trending topics in HealthIT

Leave the researching to us! LUMEDX surveys the top healthcare and health IT stories of the week.

Healthcare economics: Basing healthcare decisions on Medicare data might not be best practice

A recent study found that the correlation between total spending per Medicare beneficiary and total spending per privately insured beneficiary was 0.14 in 2011, while the correlation for inpatient spending was 0.267. “What that suggests is that policy for Medicare doesn’t necessarily make better policy for the privately insured,” one researcher told Health Exec.

Reducing readmissions among minorities: 7 population health strategies

A new guide from Medicare gives hospitals methods for addressing ethnic and racial healthcare disparities in readmissions. The guide comes amid increasing concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes, and frustration about federal penalties that some say unfairly punish providers in high-risk communities. 

Sharing of medical-claim data would be allowed under proposed #CMS rule

"Some medical data miners may soon be allowed to share and sell Medicare and private-sector medical-claims data, as well as analyses of that data, under proposed regulations the CMS issued," Modern Healthcare reports. "Quality improvement organizations and other 'qualified entities' would be granted permission to perform data analytics work and share it with, or sell it, to others, under an 86-page proposed rule that carries out a provision of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015" (#MACRA). 

Federal gender pay equity rule: What will it mean for healthcare industry?

Nearly 80 percent of hospital employees are women. How might they be affected by President Obama's recent announcement that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will begin requiring companies that employ 100 or more people to report wage information that includes gender, race, and ethnicity?

The price of healthcare miscommunication: $1.7B and nearly 2,000 lives

New research shows that healthcare miscommunication has cost nearly 2,000 lives, and was a contributing  factor in 7,149 cases (30 percent) of 23,000 medical malpractice claims filed between 2009 and 2013. Communication failures were also to blame for 37 percent of all high-severity injury cases.

Physical fitness can decrease mortality risk following first heart attack

Being physically fit may not only help to reduce the risk of heart attacks, but may also decrease the risk of mortality following a first heart attack, according to a new study. The study used multivariable logistic regression models to assess how exercise affected the risk of mortality at 28, 90, and 365 days after a heart attack.

 

Case study: CV Analytics Solution Ensures Consistent Quality Care for UnityPoint Health--Des Moines 

"Best outcome for every patient, every time"

High-Level View of Performance in a Few Clicks

With new analytics software, #UnityPointHealth -- Des Moines can set parameters and run the reports it needs with a few clicks of the mouse. The reports enable CV leadership to see and understand how service lines are performing in near-real time.

 

Posted by Friday, January 29, 2016 1:15:00 PM Categories: analytics cardiology data health information technology healthcare analytics performance

The Best of HealthIT News: Week of 1/25/16 

ERHs, ACOs, healthcare hackers, and more

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.

 

Healthcare execs advised to focus on consolidations, emergency preparedness, value-based care for 2016

Healthcare trends to watch this year include hospital consolidations and the continued shift away from fee-for-service payment models to value-based care, say hospital executives surveyed by FierceHealthcare. “'Providers will come together in a range of affiliations/partnerships as part of growth and cost reduction strategies, short of full-on mergers and acquisitions,’ according to Chris Van Gorder, CEO and president of Scripps Health in San Diego.”

Ambulatory EHRs should gain steam through 2020

There are many reasons to shift toward ambulatory inpatient electronic health records, according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan. The report predicts that low returns and on-premise EHR limitations will motivate healthcare providers to explore cloud-based, affordable products in their quest to achieve population health goals. The new records systems would benefit both patient-centered medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations as they negotiate the continuum of care for their patients. 

5 healthcare IT enemies to watch out for

A new report calls out five types of healthcare hackers and categorizes them based on their targets and other characteristics. Some are unsophisticated “script kiddies,” while others have the finesse of nation states, according to a Critical Infrastructure Technology report. They’re after everything from patient records to employee personnel files, and any records that can help them steal identities, the report says.

Out-of-network integration, interoperability among problems facing ACOs

Interoperability and integration problems plague Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) despite the fact that many systems have made health IT a major focus, according to a survey. Integrating data from out-of-network providers is the most daunting challenge they face, according to 80 percent of ACO representatives surveyed.

Give patients control of their data, researchers argue

Hospitals should make changing to a patient-controlled records system a priority, say researchers at Boston Children's Hospital in the New England Journal of Medicine. They argue that the benefits of patient-controlled records are far-reaching, and that the technology needed to make the shift is already in place. They admit, however, that the incentives to make the change are lacking. 

Building a Comprehensive, Customizable STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database Module 

A Case Study

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta built a customizable STS Congenital Heart Surgery Database Module that improves the quality of patient care through the use of STS National Database benchmarks and evidence-based medicine. By adding additional fields to those defined by STS, Children’s has a more complete, patient-focused congenital database. Find out more.
 

Posted by Thursday, January 21, 2016 1:33:00 PM Categories: best practices case study data health information technology health IT hospitals pediatric cardiology

Top health IT and healthcare stories: Week of 1/18/16 

Cybersecurity, population health, reducing readmissions, and more

Leave the researching to us! LUMEDX surveys the top healthcare and health IT stories of the week.

Mobile health apps particularly vulnerable to hacking

Although most executives believe their applications are secure, eight out of 10 mobile health applications are open to HIPAA violations, hacking, and data theft, according to a new study.

FDA advises medical device manufacturers on cybersecurity

The Food and Drug Administration has issued draft guidelines that outline how medical device manufacturers can prevent cybersecurity threats. In addition to incorporating controls in device designs, makers must also consider ongoing improvements because risks could occur over the devices’ lifecycles.

How to improve population health management

“The sickness, hospital-centric model of healthcare, which has been in place in this country since the mid-1960s, is giving way to an ‘anywhere care’ model that centers on population health management,” according to Executive Insight, which lays out four leadership imperatives to improve population health management.

Reducing readmissions and mortality centers on identifying risk factors

Better coordination between hospitals and post-acute care facilities could decrease the number of patient readmissions to hospitals, and could also reduce mortality rates. A new study by researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine identified specific risk factors that led to hospital readmissions. Almost 50 percent of those readmissions happened within two weeks of patients’ being released from hospitals.

Population health management for older patients

Hospitals are making changes in certain departments and service lines with the needs of older patients in mind. From the emergency department to the OR, healthcare organizations are looking at new ways to treat the aging population.


 

Moving Up to the Cloud 

Case Study: Upgrading to a Cloud-Based Reporting System

The Heart Center of Greater Waterbury used to maintain its patient records with a server-based model that required administrating and upgrading by the IS Department. Since transitioning from that client-server model to a cloud-based system, the Heart Center has seen myriad benefits, including lower costs for maintenance and improved efficiency. Read more.
 

Posted by Wednesday, January 13, 2016 9:23:00 AM Categories: analytics best practices case study Lumedx Users

The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 1/11/16 

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

Heart attack outcomes may improve when treatment sought earlier

Restoring blood flow quickly after heart attack symptoms begin is key to less heart damage, according to a new study published in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. The study found that failure to recognize and seek treatment for early heart attack symptoms can cause increased damage to the heart. 

Heart failure cell therapy trial gets FDA approval

The FDA has authorized Celyad’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a CHART-2 trial in the United States. The phase III heart failure trial will initiate clinical testing of Celyad’s C-Cure cardiopoietic cells delivered via the C-Cath proprietary catheter. CHART-2 is designed to test the efficacy of C-Cure as a treatment for heart failure of ischemic origin. 

Coronary stenting often followed by additional surgery

Nearly 15 percent of patients who received coronary stents during a PCI underwent another surgery within a year of the procedure, and nearly half had more surgery within five years, according to cardiovascularbusiness.com. The website reported that nearly 80 percent of the subsequent surgeries were noncardiac in nature.

Cardiac Assist  device preserves LV function in cardiogenic shock

XENiOS’ i-COR Synchronized Cardiac Assist system protects left ventricular (LV) function compared to continuous-flow ECLS (extracorporeal life support) in cardiogenic shock, according to data presented at the recent American Heart Association annual meeting. Synchronized cardiac assist, which superimposes a physiological pulse wave onto the patient’s weakened pulse, is intended to be a less invasive treatment than the current standard.

Optimism may lead to increased physical activity, reduced readmissions following acute coronary syndrome

Two weeks after an acute coronary syndrome, patients who were optimistic were more likely  to be physically active and less likely to be readmitted to a hospital for cardiovascular reasons, according to an observational study. But gratitude didn’t help, according to researchers, who reported that gratitude following an acute coronary syndrome was not associated with improvements in readmission or more physical activity.

 

Posted by Monday, January 11, 2016 1:01:00 PM Categories: best practices cardiology data heart failure mortality outcome

An End to the Era of Dictation 

Case Study: From Dictation and Transcription into Real-Time Reporting

Orlando Health, a Central Florida healthcare system with more than 2,000 beds, until recently used dictation and transcription for all its physician reports. It was costly, time-consuming and fraught with the potential for errors. But after rolling out a new workflow, Orlando Health has trimmed 10-14 hours from report-completion time. Here’s how.
 

Posted by Wednesday, January 06, 2016 8:20:00 AM Categories: analytics best practices case study Lumedx Users
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