Former Gundersen Health System CEO Jeff Thompson says initiatives that allowed the Wisconsin system to produce more energy than it consumes led to savings of $1 million to $3 million annually. Systems looking at ways to become more energy efficient include Kaiser Permanente, which wants to become carbon-neutral by 2020 using solar energy at 100 facilities.
Brighton Health Plan Solutions is testing its Create program, which has people choose their health systems during open enrollment, in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. A similar program has been used in the Midwest for several years, and Brighton CEO Simeon Schindelman said it creates competition and motivates providers to improve cost and quality.
Some of the strategies hospitals use to reduce patient readmissions include rapid follow-up after discharge, patient navigator teams, home monitoring and collaborations with nursing homes, a report said. Hospitals also provide empathy training for clinicians, focus on treating the whole patient, get nurses more involved and help patients understand their post-discharge care plans.
The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration want to cut next year's production quotas for six of the most commonly abused opioid drugs by an average of 10%. The agencies said the proposal would support the administration's goal to reduce opioid prescribing by one-third in three years, and it "marks the third straight year of proposed reductions, which help reduce the amount of drugs potentially diverted for trafficking and used to facilitate addiction."
A Government Accountability Office report found there are too few physicians and nurses on American Indian reservations to provide quality health care to patients. The report said there is a 25% practitioner vacancy rate in the Indian Health Service, which has difficulty matching local market salaries and lacks housing.
Two EHR-integrated, web-based tools that use Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies on the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard are being launched by Geisinger Health System and Merck. The Family Caregiver app is designed to support communication between health care providers and caregivers, while the MedTrue app is meant to improve medication adherence and reconciliation by integrating medication data with clinical workflows.
Value-based care encourages medical professionals to prioritize outcomes and efficiency with preventive health care, but the strategy can be difficult to incentivize for health professionals. Analytics could help solve this problem by collecting patient data, indicating where there are gaps in the patient's care and creating priority and outreach lists, says Jennifer Carney of Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization.
Patient access to health records remains a challenge, with a survey finding that 63% of Americans are unaware of where their health care data is stored or who has access to it. The CMS has launched the MyHealthEData Initiative for Medicaid and Medicare's EHR programs, and the agency has started using Medicare Blue Button 2.0, a new software protocol for developers.