Communities with a high density of pharmacies have lower hospital readmission rates, according to an Oregon study published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. Rural hospitals all occupied low-density areas, tending to affect more non-Hispanic white people, older people and those with less education, while pharmacy density was high around most urban hospitals.
Home health care providers who answered a short telephone questionnaire at the end of each shift detected changes in their patients' clinical conditions and in some cases averted hospital admission, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Caregivers most frequently detected changes in behavior and skin condition and in one case enabled prompt treatment of a diabetic foot ulcer.
Patients who had myocardial infarction but fully complied with guideline-recommended treatments had fewer major adverse cardiovascular events and lower health costs, compared with those who were nonadherent or partially adherent, researchers reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study showed patients had to adhere to their treatment plan more than 80% of the time to achieve the full benefit.
The CMS proposed allowing primary care providers who are not physicians to provide some services under the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, an integrated care model for people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid and meet certain other criteria. The CMS also proposed allowing individual care team members to fulfill more than one role on the team and participate in more aspects of patients' care.
Poor access to transportation is a major barrier to health care as well as a drain on provider finances, so a number of health systems and hospitals are starting partnerships with ride-service companies to help patients keep appointments. MedStar Health in Maryland, Hackensack UMC in New Jersey and Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida have partnered with Uber, while National MedTrans Network worked with Lyft to expand its services in New York, California and Nevada.
Population health starts outside of hospitals. Social, environmental, and behavioral factors determine about 60% of a person's health status. To address these social factors, healthcare programs must integrate a community's non-medical data with clinical insights to yield positive results.
Seventy-three percent of hospitalized hepatitis B surface antigen antibody positivity patients were referred to a hepatologist after the implementation of an EMR-based "sticky note," or a comment left in the EMRs, compared with 28% of patients before the system was implemented, according to a study in BMC Infectious Diseases. Researchers also found that 65% of anti-hepatitis C antibody positivity patients were referred to a hepatologist after the system's implementation, compared with 17% referred before the implementation.
Researchers at the University of Maryland developed the Public Health Information Technology Maturity Index to help public health departments across the US overcome health IT barriers in their fight against the Zika outbreak. PHIT systems include EHRs, health information exchanges and other ancillary systems, and surveillance systems and other public health reporting data systems, and the index enables public health officials to evaluate their IT capabilities and address shortcomings.
A study published in Health Affairs found people insured through Affordable Care Act plans filled more prescriptions for medications, compared with before they had an ACA plan, but generally had lower out-of-pocket spending for drugs. Researchers said not having health insurance is a barrier to accessing care, but the study lacked the evidence to show how an increase in prescriptions might affect long-term outcomes.
The second year of the patient-centered Independence at Home Demonstration project yielded more than $10 million in savings and seven practices will share $5.7 million in incentive payments, the CMS said. All 15 participating practices saw improvements in quality of care, the report said.
Participating in Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise – a unique collaboration of health care professionals and industry focused on improving the way computer systems in health care share information – is crucial to achieving electronic health record interoperability, according to a new ACC health policy statement developed in conjunction with several society partners and published Aug. 15 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “The lack of interoperability of health information technology prevents the field of health care from realizing the full potential of the Information Age that has revolutionized so many fields of human endeavor. Using internationally recognized standards, IHE provides a construct to create the technical frameworks to exchange health care data while maintaining the granular syntactic and semantic attributes needed to accommodate the needs of the diverse consumers of health care information,” write the authors. Read more on ACC.org.
I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear.
Rosa Parks, civil rights activist
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