Entries in Data & Technology (61)

Thursday
Mar092017

Inaccurate Provider Directories Have a Direct Impact on Patients

By Claire Thayer, March 8, 2017

Provider directories are important tool for consumer engagement with health plans and provider networks. And in many instances, the provider directory is the vehicle for the patients’ first impressions of providers and the network they represent.  The consequences of directory inaccuracies create barriers to care as well as impact patient satisfaction. And while state and regulatory agencies are imposing stiff fines for non-compliance, a new report from the California Department of Managed Care finds that most insurers still have a ways to go in this regard as many have directories that contained “data inaccuracies significant enough to render them unusable.”

A recent special edition of the MCOL Infographic, co-sponsored by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, highlights the impact of directory inaccuracies on patients:

 

 

 

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.

Thursday
Mar022017

How Health Plans Impact Revenue Performance and Improve Quality Outcomes

By Claire Thayer, March 2, 2017

The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures developed by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) are now used by over 90% of health plans to measure quality performance.  HEDIS consists of 81 measures across 5 domains of care and address a broad range of important health issues, including:     

  • ·         Asthma Medication Use
  • ·         Persistence of Beta-Blocker Treatment after a Heart Attack
  • ·         Controlling High Blood Pressure
  • ·         Comprehensive Diabetes Care
  • ·         Breast Cancer Screening
  • ·         Antidepressant Medication Management
  • ·         Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Status
  • ·         Childhood and Adult Weight/BMI Assessment

Many health plans report HEDIS data to employers or use their results to make improvements in their quality of care and service.  Each year, NCQA publishes The State of Health Care Quality Report to raise awareness on key quality issues and drive improvement in the delivery of evidence-based medicine. This report documents performance trends over time, tracks variation in care and recommends quality improvements.  Additionally, HEDIS data is also incorporated into many health plan ‘report cards’ and increasingly used by consumers and purchasers to track and compare health plan performance.

This week, a special edition of the MCOL Infographic, co-sponsored by DST Health Solutions, focused on strategic trends and key elements of performance improvement for health plans: 

 

 

 

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.

Wednesday
Feb222017

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Health Care

By Kim Bellard, February 22, 2017

 

I hate being a patient.

 

My exposure to the health care system has mostly been through my professional life or through the experiences of friends and family.  The last few days, though, I unexpectedly had an up-close-and-personal experience as a hospital inpatient.

I offer what I consider the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the experience.

The Good:  The People
The various people involved in my care, from the most highly trained physician to the person who delivered meals, were great. I loved my nurses.  I liked my doctors a lot.  The aides, the lab techs, the imaging tech, the transportation specialists -- all of them doing jobs that I wouldn't be able to do -- were each friendly and helpful, taking pride in what they did and how it helped my care. 

The Bad: The Processes
On the other hand, on the lists of criticisms about our health care system, many of its rules and processes truly do deserve a place.  They're like part of an arcane game no one really understands. 

I'll offer three examples:

 

  • ·         Check-in
  • ·         NPO
  • ·         Discharge

 

The Ugly: The Technology

Oh, health care technology.  It is equally capable of delighting as it is of frustrating.  It is truly remarkable that the doctor could go up my arm to perform a procedure in my chest, just as the detail an MRI provides is simply astonishing.  

 

Let's start with the perennial whipping boy, EHRs.  On many occasions, EHRs did not mean that people did not still often have to drag in other electronic equipment or even paper in order for them to do their job.

 

MRIs are a wonderful technology, but as I was laying in that claustrophobic tube getting imaged, I kept thinking: what the heck are all those clanging noises?  

 

I was on various forms of monitoring devices, the smallest of which was the size of a 1980's cell phone and still required countless wires attached to numerous leads.  I kept wondering, hmm, have these people heard of Bluetooth?  Do they know about wearables?

 

My favorite example of ugly technology, though, came when I had to fill out a form, so that it could be faxed to the appropriate department.  

 

No health care system is perfect.  Every system has its own version of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Our system can do better.  Let's give all those great people working in health care a better chance to help us.


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

Friday
Feb172017

The Scourge of Healthcare Ransomware to Loom Larger in 2017

By Clive Riddle, February 17, 2017

 

CynergisTek has just released Redspin’s annual cybersecurity Breach Report:  2016: Protected Health Information (PHI). Their 21-page seventh annual report “provides in-depth analysis of the causes of PHI breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services and the overall state of cybersecurity in healthcare.”

 

 

 

The report cites that in 2016 there were:

  • ·         325 large breaches of PHI, compromising 16,612,985 individual patient records
  • ·         3,620,000 breached patient records in the year’s single largest incident
  • ·         40 percent of large breach incidents involved unauthorized access/disclosure
  • ·         over a dozen providers reported in media as having been victims of ransomware attacks with PHI breaches

 

The report lists the largest 2016 hacking attack on providers as affecting Banner Health with 3.62 million patient records breached, followed by 21st Century Oncology with 2.2 million records breached. Of large breaches, they state 78% involved providers, 16% health plans and 6% healthcare vendors.

 

The report makes particular note of “the scourge of Ransomware” and cite that in 2016 there was $1 billion overall in ransomware payments worldwide impacting all types of businesses and consumers The report cautions this will get worse in 2017, as “late last year, disturbing reports surfaced regarding the rise of ‘ransomware as a service’ (RaaS) – a business model in which malware authors enlist ‘distributors’ to launch the initial attacks (likely weaponized phishing emails) and then share in any profits. The potential accomplices do not need much technical expertise or capital to get started. Some ransomware kits cost as little as $100 dollars.”

 

Becker's Health IT & CIO Review featured an article: Get ready for hospital ransomware attacks 2.0 also cautions about a growing ransomware threat this year, stating "here are three tactics we've seen in the wild that are likely to become more widespread in 2017. Beyond encryption: 3 ways criminals are making their attacks more disruptive," and they go on to list and describe:

1) Developing ransomware strains that spread like a virus

2) Creating new versions of ransomware that disable the victim systems

3) Turning ransomware attacks into data breach events

 

The Department of Health and Human Services has weighed in, offering an eight page FACT SHEET: Ransomware and HIPAA, in which they cite “a recent U.S. Government interagency report indicates that, on average, there have been 4,000 daily ransomware attacks since early 2016 (a 300% increase over the 1,000 daily ransomware attacks reported in 2015).

 

The healthcare ransomware threat certainly isn't focused just on the U.S., and is a global issue. New research based on a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that 34% of NHS trusts in the UK have suffered a ransomware attack in the last 18 months.

Friday
Feb032017

Healthcare Bowl 2017: Atlanta vs New England

By Clive Riddle, February 3, 2017

 

The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots square off this Sunday in Houston during a Lady Gaga concert (the halftime show.) But another performance between this two cities is playing out on a daily basis – healthcare indicators. Let’s see how Atlanta vs. New England stack up in a healthcare bowl.

 

Instead of the venue for this comparison being NRG stadium in Houston, we find ourselves at The Big Cities Health Coalition, a “forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments to exchange strategies and jointly address issues to promote and protect the health and safety of the 54 million people they serve.” Their playing field is a Data Platform that features over 17,000 data points across 28 large cities.

 

Here’s the selected results from their data platform. Let’s score 7 points when one city’s indicator bests the US average and the other city is below the US average, and 3 points the better city when both or neither best the US average. Data is from 2013, and represents Fulton County for Atlanta and the Boston metropolitan area for New England.

 

  • ·         Uninsured Rate: Atlanta 16.9%; Boston 4.4%; US 14.5%. New England takes a 7-0 lead.

 

  • ·         Adult Obesity Rate: Atlanta 25.4%; Boston 21.7%; US 28.3%. New England extends their lead to 10-0.

 

  • ·         Heart Disease Mortality per 100,000:  Atlanta 157.3; Boston 133.6; US 169.8. New England goes up 13-0.

 

  • ·         Diabetes Mortality per 100,000: Atlanta 19.3; Boston 19.4; US 21.2. To close to call. The score at halftime remains New England 13, Atlanta 0.

 

  • ·         Asthma Annual ER visits per 10,000: Atlanta 49.8; Boston 125.8%; No US average provided. Atlanta now trails 13-3.

 

  • ·         Opioid related unintentional drug overdose mortality rate per 100,000: Atlanta: 9.4; Boston 16.8; US 4.2. Atlanta cuts further into the lead, now trailing 13-6

 

  • ·         Smoking: Atlanta 16.0%; Boston 18.4%; US 17.9%. Atlanta ties the score 13-13.

 

  • ·         All Cancer Mortality per 100,000: Atlanta 159.3; Boston 176.1; US 163.2. Atlanta wins 20-13.

 

There you have it – Atlanta wins the Healthcare Bowl 2017 by a score of 20-13.