Study finds cancer treatment costs often exceed Medicare allowable amount | Public, private payers explore options to advance precision medicine | Patient transfers increase infection risks, study says
An analysis of billing records from over 3,000 US hospitals in 2014 revealed outpatient cancer treatment costs vary widely and were often two to six times higher than the Medicare allowable amount, according to a report from the American Journal of Managed Care. Pathology had the highest price markup ratio at 4.1:1, followed by radiology at 3.7:1 and radiation oncology at 3.6:1, and estimated cancer treatment expenses ranged from $50,000 to $500,000.
Genetic testing goes together with precision medicine, but genetic test results are often difficult to interpret, and many corresponding treatments are experimental or have not been clinically validated, creating a barrier to coverage. Some payers have set up outcome-based reimbursement contracts for genetic testing and treatments, and a House bill would allow state Medicaid programs to apply for coverage waivers to expand access.
Interhospital patient transfers increase the risk of Clostridium difficile infection, according to a Canadian study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers said antimicrobial stewardship programs can reduce the C. diff risk.
Intermountain Healthcare's Partners in Healing program, which includes family members in providing patient care, helped reduce 30-day readmissions by 65% at Intermountain Medical Center, according to a study in the journal Chest. A survey found 92% of patients said it enhanced their transition from hospital to home.
St. Anthony Hospital in Chicago used a "hospitalwide huddle" to reduce the duration of catheter use and hospital-acquired infections. Reductions in device utilization rates were associated with a 90% decrease in HAIs and a savings of almost $500,000.
A collaboration among public health agencies and organizations, EHR vendors and the health care sector, called Digital Bridge, has developed an approach to electronic case reporting to help improve outbreak response and public health monitoring of infectious diseases. The collaboration aims to reduce costs for information sharing, encourage partnerships for improving data for public health and clinical partnerships, and streamline interoperability between EHR systems and public health agencies' IT systems.
Patients with breast or colon cancer who participated in a supervised exercise intervention while undergoing treatment were more likely to be physically active after therapy ended, compared with patients receiving usual care, researchers reported at the Cancer Survivorship Symposium Advancing Care and Research. The study found participating in an exercise program during cancer treatment also may reduce long- and short-term fatigue.
Adults with overweight or obesity assigned to a healthy low-carbohydrate diet lost an average of 6.0 kg at one year, compared with 5.3 kg lost by those on a healthy low-fat diet, which was not a statistically significant difference, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers evaluated 609 adults with overweight or obesity, ages 18 to 50, and also found no association between genotype pattern or baseline insulin levels and weight loss.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel at Institute & Expo Learn how we can improve health care in America when he takes the general session stage at Institute & Expo, June 20 through 22 in San Diego. He'll share what his work as a physician has taught him about high-value care. Register today.
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