5 ways to fuel patient engagement

“We can’t just say we need more and more people engaged, we need to have particular targets” There’s little question that patient engagement is one of the most promising trends in healthcare today. Indeed, the potential – in terms of cost-savings, personalized patient care and healthier populations – is unmatched. The reality, however, is that the industry has a long way to go before reaching the Holy Grail of patients harnessing technologies to own their own healthcare and more effectively interact with caregivers and clinicians. Those were the overarching themes at the HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Patient Engagement Summit in San Diego this week. Among the takeaways are these five things that need to happen for patient engagement to move from the abstract to the concrete: 1. It’s time to end information asymmetry. Why? “It’s a burden,” according to Danny Sands, MD, and it must be displaced, pronto. The problem is that patients and providers don’t have the same information very often – let alone at the same time. Sands didn’t stop there: “We have this visit-based system that developed 100 years ago. People didn’t develop chronic conditions, everything was acute. That doesn’t make sense in a world of chronic conditions.” No one said it would be easy but Clark Kegley, assistant vice president for information services for Scripps Health, pointed out that “patient engagement is not how much money I can make in the next 30 minutes. It’s how much of an impact I can have over the next 30 years.” 2. Less engagement, not more. Neither blaming, nor shaming, nor bombarding patients with reminders is going...

Hips don’t lie: A look inside CMS’ joint replacement bundled payment rule

Brief: HHS and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center have finalized the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model. The model will test bundled payment and quality measurement for hip and knee replacements and/or major leg procedures. The model is to encourage hospitals, physicians, and post-acute care providers to work together to improve quality and coordination of care throughout an entire episode of care. The model is set to go live April 1, 2016, unless the federal agencies have a cruel sense of humor. This model is being tested in 67 geographic areas throughout the country, and nearly all hospitals in those geographic areas are required to participate. Insight: Hip and knee replacements are the most common inpatient surgery for Medicare beneficiaries. In 2014, there were more than 400,000 procedures, costing more than $7 billion for the hospitalizations alone. However, the quality and cost of care for these hip and knee replacement surgeries still varies greatly. The average total Medicare expenditure for surgery, hospitalization, and recovery ranges from $16,500 to $33,000 across geographic areas. Under this model, the hospital in which the hip or knee replacement and/or other major leg procedure takes place will be accountable for the costs and quality of related care from the time of the surgery through 90 days after hospital discharge. Depending on the hospital’s quality and cost performance during the episode, the hospital will either earn a financial reward or, beginning with the second performance year, be required to repay Medicare for a portion of the spending above an established target. According to CMS, this payment structure gives hospitals an incentive...

Medicare Launches Major Payment Shift for Hip, Knee Surgery

Striving for better quality and more predictable costs, Medicare on Monday launched a major payment change for hip and knee replacements, the most common inpatient surgery for its 55 million beneficiaries. Starting April 1, hospitals in 67 metropolitan areas — from Akron, Ohio, to Wichita, Kansas — will be held responsible for the results of hip and knee replacements. The aim is better coordination that starts with the surgery itself, and continues through recovery and rehabilitation. For the Obama administration, it’s part of a turn away from paying for a piecemeal approach to care, regardless of results. The new direction aims to foster accountability among hospitals, doctors, nursing homes and home health agencies. It mirrors shifts occurring in employer-sponsored insurance and has support, in principle, from lawmakers of both parties. Under the new system, hospitals can receive additional financial rewards by meeting certain targets for quality and overall costs. If they fall short, eventually they will be financially liable. Medicare recipients will still be able to pick doctors and hospitals for their surgeries. Beneficiaries had about 400,000 hip and knee replacements last year, ranging in cost from $16,500 to $33,000 across the nation. Quality also varied, with rates of complications more than three times higher for some hospitals than others. Researchers believe such wide disparities reflect inefficiency and waste in the health care system, not just regional differences in the cost of doing business. Research has shown that patients usually fare better with surgeons who perform a high volume of hip and knee replacements, and who are operating in hospitals that handle a large number of the procedures. Medicare...

Mike Sebek, PA-C Joins miTRAX

miTRAX announced the appointment of Mike Sebek as Technology Specialist – Physician Assistant. Sebek a Nebraska native, completed his undergraduate studies at Nebraska Wesleyan University and his medical training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. In his role, Mike will serve as a clinical process and procedural resource to...

Experienced Executives Join miTRAX

miTRAX announced the appointment of Bob Slone as Executive Vice President – Operations and Jerry Whelan, Executive Vice President – Sales. Slone an experience operations executive will be responsible for the implementation and support functions within miTRAX. Specifically, he will have ownership for the miTRAX customer experience. Whelan, will serve as the Executive Vice President – Sales for miTRAX and have responsibility for new business development across several different sales channels throughout the North America and...