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Despite Increased Use of Electronic Medical Records, Fewer U.S. Doctors Believe It Improves Health Outcomes, Accenture Survey Shows

June 25, 2015 Comments off

Despite Increased Use of Electronic Medical Records, Fewer U.S. Doctors Believe It Improves Health Outcomes, Accenture Survey Shows
Source: Accenture

A new survey by Accenture (NYSE: ACN) found that most U.S. doctors are more proficient using electronic medical records (EMR) than they were two years ago, but fewer believe that EMR has improved treatment decisions, reduced medical errors or improved health outcomes.

The U.S. findings, part of a six-country survey of more than 2,600 physicians, including roughly 600 in the United States, found that healthcare IT use among doctors has averaged double-digit growth, since Accenture conducted a similar survey in 2012. However, despite doctors increasing their use of technology over that time, fewer physicians believe that EMR has improved treatment decisions (46 percent in 2015 vs. 62 percent in 2012), reduced medical errors (64 vs. 72 percent) and improved health outcomes for patients (46 vs. 58 percent).

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured

May 21, 2015 Comments off

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured
Source: Deloitte

Are there enough physicians in the US to accommodate the millions of newly insured patients? If not, how will the health care system manage its growing (and aging) patient population?

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2014 Survey of US Physicians shows that 44 percent of physicians are treating more newly insured patients – an important finding for health care stakeholders and decision makers. More primary care physicians (PCPs) (56 percent) experienced an increase in the number of newly insured patients than did surgical specialists (40 percent), non-surgical specialists (38 percent), and other physicians (33 percent). Survey respondents report that this is causing longer appointment wait times and driving PCPs to work longer hours. To cope, some PCPs are adding new physicians and hiring clinical staff to help with care coordination.

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured

May 14, 2015 Comments off

Expanding coverage: How primary care physicians are accommodating the newly insured
Source: Deloitte

Are there enough physicians in the US to accommodate the millions of newly insured patients? If not, how will the health care system manage its growing (and aging) patient population?

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions 2014 Survey of US Physicians shows that 44 percent of physicians are treating more newly insured patients – an important finding for health care stakeholders and decision makers. More primary care physicians (PCPs) (56 percent) experienced an increase in the number of newly insured patients than did surgical specialists (40 percent), non-surgical specialists (38 percent), and other physicians (33 percent). Survey respondents report that this is causing longer appointment wait times and driving PCPs to work longer hours. To cope, some PCPs are adding new physicians and hiring clinical staff to help with care coordination.

How does this compare with the Massachusetts experience with coverage expansion? What impacts will expansion of health care coverage to the newly insured have at national and state levels? What effect will it have on the role of the US safety net system and hospital emergency departments? How will growth in the insured population affect mid-level providers and retail health and urgent care clinics?

Physicians are already experiencing increased demand from a larger patient population. Adapting to that demand is one of the next challenges, not only for physicians, but for many health care stakeholders and decision makers. States and other policy makers may want to consider policy solutions to alleviate physician pressure, including increasing Medicaid primary care service reimbursement rates, sponsoring patient-centered medical homes (PCMH), advancing scope-of-practice standards, and reducing barriers to technology adoption. While physicians will continue to play a critical role in the US health care system, they will likely need to adapt to ever-growing patient numbers and demands. And, they should adapt quickly and prepare to weather the storm. Physician practices should consider redesigning care delivery models, developing new relationships, using data and analytics, and improving patient engagement.

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health

May 13, 2015 Comments off

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Millions of previously uninsured Americans have gained access to health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace plans. The provider networks of the Marketplace plans determine where enrollees can seek medical care. Many of these individuals have received their care for years from safety-net providers, such as community health centers and family planning clinics. Recognizing the important role these providers play in promoting continuity of care as people transition from being uninsured and relying on safety net clinics to private insurance, and to meet the increased demand for medical care in underserved communities, Congress established general requirements to assure that these providers have the opportunity to participate in the health plans that are offered through the Marketplaces. These safety net clinics and hospitals are referred to as Essential Community Providers (ECPs), and the ACA specifically requires that Qualified Health Plans available through the federal or state insurance Marketplaces have a “sufficient number and geographic distribution of ECPs, where available, to ensure reasonable and timely access to a broad range of such providers for low-income, medically underserved individuals in the plan’s service area.”1 Because both the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and state regulators can have the authority to decide how to implement the broad ECP standard, there is considerable variation across the country in both the categories of providers included as ECPs as well as the standards required for inclusion in plan networks. This brief reviews the definition of ECP, examines the federal and state rules that govern the extent to which plans must include these providers in their networks, identifies the variation from state to state, and discusses the particular importance of these rules and providers for women’s access to care.

UK — National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness

March 27, 2015 Comments off

National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness
Source: University of Manchester

We found 18 deaths by suicide per year in in-patients under observation across the UK during 2006-12. We found that half of deaths examined occurred when checks were carried out by less experienced staff or agency staff who were unfamiliar with the patient. A common feature was that staff did not follow the observation plan because the ward was busy or poorly designed. We found that the current observation approach is not working safely enough. New models need to be developed and evaluated.

The Future of Home Health Care: Workshop Summary (2015)

March 26, 2015 Comments off

The Future of Home Health Care: Workshop Summary (2015)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Individuals with disabilities, chronic conditions, and functional impairments need a range of services and supports to keep living independently. However, there often is not a strong link between medical care provided in the home and the necessary social services and supports for independent living. Home health agencies and others are rising to the challenges of meeting the needs and demands of these populations to stay at home by exploring alternative models of care and payment approaches, the best use of their workforces, and technologies that can enhance independent living. All of these challenges and opportunities lead to the consideration of how home health care fits into the future health care system overall.

On September 30 and October 1, 2014, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council convened a public workshop on the future of home health care. The workshop brought together a spectrum of public and private stakeholders and thought leaders to improve understanding of the current role of Medicare home health care in supporting aging in place and in helping high-risk, chronically ill, and disabled Americans receive health care in their communities. Through presentations and discussion, participants explored the evolving role of Medicare home health care in caring for Americans in the future, including how to integrate Medicare home health care into new models for the delivery of care and the future health care marketplace. The workshop also considered the key policy reforms and investments in workforces, technologies, and research needed to leverage the value of home health care to support older Americans, and research priorities that can help clarify the value of home health care. This summary captures important points raised by the individual speakers and workshop participants.

Preparing for the inevitable: The path to physician success in a value-based world

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Preparing for the inevitable: The path to physician success in a value-based world
Source: Deloitte

The evolution of the U.S. health care system from volume- to value-based care (VBC) is under way, spurred by unsustainable costs, a push for improved outcomes, and the desire for more value for money spent. While this evolution impacts all health care stakeholders, VBC cannot work without the participation of physicians.

How are physicians faring in the inevitable shift to a value-based world? What resources, capabilities, and skills do they think could help put them on a path to success in VBC?

The Deloitte 2014 Survey of U.S. Physicians examines physicians’ current and expected levels of VBC engagement and what physicians feel they need to be more confident about their participation.

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