Thursday
Mar302017

Driving Consumer Engagement with Powerful Provider Directories

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By Claire Thayer, March 30, 2017

First impressions really do matter, especially with the millennial generation. A recent article published by Modern Healthcare tells is that “millennials are more than twice as likely as older patients to research providers on websites such as Yelp, Consumer Reports and Angie's List. A third of millennials said they have switched providers when dissatisfied, 12 percentage points higher than that of other generations.” The provider directory is often the vehicle for the patients’ first impressions on the scope of the provider health care network and related facilities.  Additionally, Medicare providers are putting revenue at risk when not getting first impressions right, with quality scoring now being tied to overall patient satisfaction.

This week, a special edition of the MCOL Infographic, co-sponsored by LexisNexis Health Care, highlights the role of the provider directory and its importance in overall consumer engagement:

 
Wednesday
Mar292017

Disobey, Please

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By Kim Bellard, March 29, 2017

 

The M.I.T. Media Lab is taking nominations for its Disobedience Award, which was first announced last year.  As the award's site proudly quotes Joi Ito, the Director of the Lab and who came up with the idea: "You don't change the world by doing what you are told."

I love it. 

 

The site, and the award's proponents, make clear that they are not talking about disobedience for the sake of disobedience.  It's not about breaking laws.  They're promoting "responsible disobedience," rule-breaking that is for the sake of the greater good.  The site specifies: This award will go to a person or group engaged in what we believe is an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society."   

 

In Mr. Ito's original announcement, he elaborated: The disobedience that we would like to call out is the kind that seeks to change society in a positive way, and is consistent with a key set of principles. The principles include non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one's actions." 

 

The creators of the award are probably not thinking much about health care -- despite disavowing it is about civil disobedience, many examples they've given revolve around people resisting what they think are improper government actions -- but they should be. 

If there's a field where lots of stupid, or even bad, things happen to people , through design, indifference, or inaction, health care has to be it.

The list of disobedient acts in health care that would serve society is longer than my imagination can produce, but here are some examples:

·         The nurse who says, no, I'm not going to wake up our patients in the middle of the night for readings no one is going to look at.

·         The doctor (or nurse) who knows a doctor that they believe is incompetent and decides, I'm going to speak up about it.  I'll make sure patients know.

·         The billing expert who decides, no, I'm not going to keep up the charge master, with this set of charges that aren't based on actual costs and which almost never actually get used (except by those unfortunate people without insurance).  Instead, we'll have a set of real prices, and, if we give anyone any discounts, they will be based on ability to pay, not on type of insurance.

·         The EHR developer who realizes that, it's silly that this institution's EHR can't communicate with that institution's EHR, even though they use the same platform and/or use the same data fields.  .

·         The insurance executive who vows, I'm tired of selling products that are full of jargon, loopholes, and legalese, so that no one understands them or knows what is or isn't covered.  We're going to sell a product that can be clearly described on one page using simple language.

·         The practice administrator who understands that patients' time is valuable too, and orders that the practice will limit overbooking and will not charge patients if they have to wait longer than 15 minutes. 

·         The medical specialty that commits to being for patients, not its physician members, by developing measures, specific to patient outcomes, in order to validate ongoing competence.

 

Going back to the award's principles of non-violence, creativity, courage, and taking responsibility for one's actions -- well, the above would all seem to fit.  They're all achievable.  It only takes someone to stand up and decide to do them.

This post is an abridged version of the posting in Kim Bellard’s blogsite. Click here to read the full posting

 
Friday
Mar242017

What Hashtag to Use When Firing Off a Post on Healthcare Reform?

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By Clive Riddle, March 24, 2017

 

You want more people to read everything you have to say about whichever side of the wall you’re on in the great repeal and replace debate. Or you just want to know what trendy term to search on so you can read what everyone else is saying on the subject. What hashtag to use…what hashtag to use?

 

We compiled a list of the hashtags surrounding the debate and had them analyzed using keyhole.co, which tracks twitter usage during the past 36 hours or so. As of noon Eastern time today, here’s what we found for twenty one selected hashtags that had surfaced the most during our research, presented in alphabetical order:

 

·         #aca 705 posts | 2,191,075 reach

·         #ahca 405 posts | 18,106,544 reach

·         #BecauseOfMedicaid 500 posts | 302,037 reach

·         #coveragematters 272 posts | 448,981 reach

·         #fullrepeal 50 posts | 1,400,049 reach

·         #healthcarebill 94 posts | 4,154,646 reach

·         #healthcarereform 595 posts | 4,472,503 reach

·         #IfILoseCoverage 391 posts | 1,232,293 reach

·         #killthebill 729 posts | 2,153,734 reach

·         #MakeAmericaSickAgain 703 posts | 935,553 reach

·         #NoRepealWithoutReplace 31 posts | 28,318 reach

·         #obamacare 85 posts | 43,583,728 reach

·         #passthebill 704 posts | 48,210,419 reach

·         #ProtectOurCare 707 posts | 2,217,826

·         #readthebill 589 posts | 1,871,228 reach

·         #RepealAndReplace 706 posts | 44,990,188 reach

·         #ryancare 706 posts | 2,365,314 reach

·         #saveaca 705 posts | 2,234,518 reach

·         #SaveMedicaid 43 posts | 124,503 reach

·         #SaveTheACA 711 posts | 2,061,039 reach

·         #trumpcare 736 posts | 1,741,593 reach

 

The number of posts vs reach reflects the number of tweeters vs the number of tweetees. One tweet from @realDonaldTrump of course goes a long ways in reach.

 

The top ten hashtags in order of posts during this period were: #trumpcare, #killthebill, #savetheaca, #protectourcare, #repealandreplace, #ryancare, #aca, #saveaca, #passthebill, #makeamericasickagain. These were the only hashtags with 700+ posts, with a range of 703-736, so all are being used with similar frequency, and usage of other  hashtags in this genre really drop off after these top ten.

 

With regard to reach, #passthebill, #repealandreplace, and #obamacare were the top three, each exceeding 40 million. #ahca was fourth with 18+ million. #Healthcarereform and #healthcarebill were next, each with 4+ million and it drops off from there.

 

A number of the hashtags (#killthebill, #passthebill) will fall out of use once the #ahca legislative debate is over, while other monikers will likely have legs for some time to come.

 

So pick your hashtag and start posting or browsing.

 
Friday
Mar172017

Taking a Peek at the Irish Healthcare System on Saint Paddy’s Day

Clive Riddle, March 17, 2017

 

In observance of St. Patrick’s Day – that day on which we are all Irish – let’s take a quick peek at the Irish healthcare system. Ireland’s Health Service Executive provides all of Ireland's public health services in hospitals and communities across the country. Here’s what their website has to say about their public services:

 

“Who can access health services in Ireland? Ireland has a comprehensive, government funded public healthcare system. A person living in Ireland for at least one year is considered by the HSE to be 'ordinarily resident' and is entitled to either full eligibility (Category 1) or limited eligibility (Category 2) for health services. People who have not been resident in Ireland for at least one year must satisfy the HSE that it is their intention to remain for a minimum of one year in order to be eligible for health services. Dependants of such individuals must also contact the HSE to confirm their eligibility.” The website informs us that over 30% of people in Ireland are Category 1.

 

A recent article in Irish Times: Ireland worst of 36 countries for ease of access to healthcare – details recently released negative findings from the annual Euro Health Consumer Index report. The report states “the fact that Ireland has the highest percentage of population purchasing duplicate healthcare insurance – over 40 per cent, down from 52 per cent three years ago – also presents a problem. Should this be regarded as an extreme case of dissatisfaction with the public system, or simply as a technical solution for progressive taxation?”

 

The article cites these negative findings from the report:

  -  Irish patients spend longer waiting for emergency treatment in hospital than any others in Europe

  -  Ease of access to the Irish healthcare system is the worst of the 36 countries surveyed, with longer waiting times for minor operations and CT scans

  - Overall, the Irish system ranks 21st [out of 36] in the 2016 Euro Health Consumer Index, the same as in the previous year.

  - The Irish health service is also fifth-worst – on a composite “bang for your buck” measure included in the report.

 

MCOL’s Global Member website includes an archive of International Healthcare Factoids. Here’s some recent selected Irish healthcare factoids from the archive:

 

Healthcare Spending in Ireland

* Health accounted for 9.91% of Irish gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014.

* Government spending on health has increased by at least €1 billion since 2014.

* Total health spending came to more than €19 billion in 2014.

* €13.3 billion was spent by the Government on health in 2014.

* Household out-of-pocket spending was almost €3 billion in 2014.

* Ireland spent €4,147 per person on health in 2014, the sixth highest total in Europe.

Source: Irish health spending among highest in Europe

 

 

Cancer in Ireland

* 38,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year in Ireland.

* In Ireland, 8,700 people die of cancer annually.

* 1 in 3 Irish men, and 1 in 4 women, will be diagnosed with cancer at some point.

* The chances of Irish women getting cancer is 16% above the EU average.

* The incidence of cancer among Irish men is 10% higher than the EU average.

* 6 out of 10 people will now survive at least five years after diagnosis.

Source: Risk of Irish men and women developing cancer levels off

 

Hospital Wait Times in Ireland

* More than 530,000 people are on public hospital waiting lists in Ireland.

* 435,000 patients were waiting for an outpatient appointment at the end of August.

* More than 74,000 of these outpatients have been waiting for an appointment for over a year.

* 43,000 have been waiting longer than the 15-month "maximum" waiting time set by the government.

* The hospital with the longest waiting list is University Hospital Galway, at 33,000.

* 78,500 people are waiting for inpatient or day case procedures.

Source: Record 530,000-plus patients on hospital waiting lists

 

Prevalence of Undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes in Ireland

* An estimated 24,000 to 40,000 people in Ireland have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

* The risk of having undiagnosed type 2 diabetes increased by 89% for every 5kg/m2 increase in weight.

* Men were nearly 3X more likely to have abnormal blood sugar and undiagnosed diabetes than women.

* 17% of participants in a 30,000-person study had abnormal initial fasting blood sugar levels.

* Pre-diabetes was confirmed in 10% of study participants.

Source: Up to 40,000 people have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, charity says

 

Under-Age-Six Physician Visitation Rates, Ireland

* Research carried out by the Department of Health last year shows that fee-paying children under the age of six have an annual GP visitation rate of 2.7

* Medical/GP visit cardholders under the age of six have a visitation rate of 3.1

*  GP numbers in Ireland have been increasing since 2010. At December 31 2013, there were 2,840 GPs in Ireland compared to 2,731 at the end of 2012, 2,562 at the end of 2011 and 2,270 at the end of 2010.

Source: Under-six visitation data revealed

 

Private Health Insurance in Ireland

* 2.123 million people – or 46.3% cent of the population – held private health insurance in September 2012. This represents a drop of 16,000 since March and a decrease of 61,000, or 4%, since June 2011.

* The number of people holding private health insurance peaked in 2008 at 2.3 million, but has been in decline since.

*  Aviva increased its share of the health insurance market last year. In 2011 Aviva grew its market share in Ireland to 17.7%, up from 13.7% the previous year.

* Over the same period VHI Healthcare’s market share fell from 61.6% to 57.3%.

*  Quinn Healthcare's – renamed Laya Healthcare earlier this year – share of the market remained steady at just under 21%.

Source:  Private health insurance numbers fall another 61,000

Friday
Mar172017

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week:

 

GOP’s 3-Bucket Strategy To Repeal And Replace Health Law Is Springing Leaks

Kaiser Health News reports: Republicans in Washington working to overhaul the Affordable Care Act say their strategy consists of “three buckets.” But it appears that all three may be leaking.

 

Price dodges on Medicaid rollback, immunization

Politico reports: Confronted by Medicaid recipients during a televised town hall event on CNN, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price offered few details Wednesday when asked to explain the reasoning behind the GOP's plan to roll back the health care program.

 

GOP Health Bill Narrowly Clears House Budget Committee

Morning Consult reports: The House Budget Committee on Thursday narrowly advanced the Republican health care bill to repeal and replace significant parts of the Affordable Care Act, with three Republicans voting against the measure.

 

By The Numbers: Trump’s Choice For FDA Chief Is Versatile, Entrenched In Pharma

Kaiser Health News reports: President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration has deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry as a consultant, investor and board member. Scott Gottlieb, 44, also has worn many hats in a career that included two previous stints at the FDA, practicing as a physician, and writer/editor roles at prestigious medical journals.

 

Deciphering CBO’s Estimates On The GOP Health Bill

Kaiser Health News reports: The Congressional Budget Office is out with its estimate of what effects the Republican health bill, “The American Health Care Act,” would have on the nation’s health care system and how much it would cost the federal government. The GOP plan is designed to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act passed during the Obama administration.

 

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.