The graph [below] shows the U.S. death rate for infectious diseases between 1900 and 1996. The line starts all the way at the top. In 1900, 800 of every 100,000 Americans died from infectious diseases. The top killers were pneumonia, tuberculosis and diarrhea. But the line quickly begins falling. By 1920, fewer than 400 of every 100,000 Americans died from infectious diseases. By 1940, it was less than 200. By 1960, it’s below 100. When’s the last time you heard of an American dying from diarrhea?
“For all the millennia before this in human history" [Ken Coburn says] "it was all about tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases and all the other infectious disease. The idea that anybody lived long enough to be confronting chronic diseases is a new invention. Average life expectancy was 45 years old at the turn of the century. You didn’t have 85-year-olds with chronic diseases.”There you have it.
With chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease you don’t get better, or at least not quickly. They don’t require cures so much as management. Their existence is often proof of medicine’s successes. Three decades ago, cancer typically killed you. Today, many cancers can be fought off for years or even indefinitely. The same is true for AIDS, and acute heart failure and so much else. This, to Coburn, is the core truth, and core problem, of today’s medical system: Its successes have changed the problems, but the health-care system hasn’t kept up.
3rd Annual AJMC HIT Special Issue
It has been 4 years since Congress and the Obama Administration authorized as much as $27 billion in new funding under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to support the meaningful use of health information technology (HIT). Since that time, there has been a dramatic growth of interest in the potential for HIT to improve health and healthcare delivery.
To continue to help facilitate this growing interest, The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) is publishing its 3rd Annual HIT special issue that will feature scholarly articles and perspectives from policymakers, payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies, health IT vendors, and health services researchers with the goal of improving efficiency and outcomes in implementing HIT. The Editors seek original research papers and informed commentary on HIT and its impact on the following topics:
- Medical Care (general and special populations)
- Healthcare Costs
- Comparative Effectiveness Research
- Health System Strategy
- Healthcare Delivery
All papers will undergo the Journal's customary rigorous peer-review process. Due to space constraints, please limit the text to 2500 words (excluding references) and the graphic elements to a combined total of 3 figures/tables. Final decisions regarding ultimate acceptance and inclusion in this special issue rest solely with the Editors. Papers submitted before May 3, 2013, will have the best chance for consideration in this special issue. High-quality papers not selected for this special issue may be considered for one of the regular, monthly issues of the Journal.NEWS ERRATUM:
Please submit all manuscripts through AJMC’s online submission system at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ajmc. If you have questions or want to speak to an Editor, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
DUMPING PSYCH PATIENTS?
Feds Demand Answers From Nevada Psychiatric Hospital Accused Of Busing Patients Out Of StateThis bears watching, being in my service areas. My former Sup Erick Maddox might have some views on this, coming to HealthInsight from Behavioral Health.
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The federal agency that oversees Medicaid and Medicare compliance has put Nevada on notice of "serious deficiencies" at a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital following reports of patients being improperly discharged.
A letter Thursday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, first reported by The Sacramento Bee and obtained Friday by The Associated Press, gave Nevada 10 days to correct problems in its mental health discharge policies at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital or risk the loss of federal funding, potentially tens of millions of dollars.
The move follows an investigation launched by the Bee after James F. Brown, a patient at Rawson-Neal, was put on a bus alone in February and sent on a 15-hour trip to Sacramento, Calif., where he knew no one. Brown suffers from schizophrenia and depression.
The newspaper then reviewed bus ticket receipts dating to 2008 and found the hospital, part of the Southern Nevada Ault [sic] Mental Health Services, had transported about 1,500 patients to other states. Roughly 500 went to California.
Last year alone, Rawson-Neal bused out patients at a pace of more than one per day, shipping nearly 400 patients to a total of 176 cities and 45 states across the country, the Bee reported.
City attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco this month launched their own criminal investigations into whether Nevada engaged in "patient dumping."...
NEW CANADIAN EHR BENEFITS STUDY
Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) commissioned PwC to conduct a Benefits Evaluation Study (“the Study”) to determine the current and emerging effects of implementing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) in community- based practices in Canada. Within scope for this Study was an assessment of the effects of EMR use by family physicians and specialists (medical or surgical) who work in private offices or clinics, community clinics and community health centres, and free-standing walk- in clinics.
Adoption of EMRs by primary care physicians in Canada has more than doubled between 2006 and 2012 from 23% to 56% (Commonwealth Fund Survey, 2012). The adoption of EMRs by community-based specialists has also increased from 28% of physicians in 2007 to 41% in 2010 (National Physician Survey, 2010). This increase in adoption has been supported to a large extent through investments by the provinces and territories in EMR programs, physician practices, and Infoway. As expected, there is variability in EMR adoption across the country, and those jurisdictions with defined EMR programs have experienced the most significant gains. Despite these gains, the use of EMRs in primary care in Canada lags behind that of many other countries – Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands all report use of EMRs by over 90% of their primary care physicians...
3.3 Advanced use of EMRs can improve health outcomes and patient safety through preventive care and chronic disease management.
The costs of managing chronic diseases currently account for 58% of all health care spending in Canada and are estimated at $68 billion annually and growing; in addition, the indirect costs associated with income and productivity loss are estimated at $122 billion, or double the costs of managing chronic diseases (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2011). As such, with advanced use of EMRs (i.e., use of a broader range of available functionalities) there is a significant opportunity to support improved CDM and preventive care and potentially reduce the associated costs to the health care system. However, self- reported survey responses revealed that only 3% –18% of primary care physicians in Canada were estimated to effectively use EMRs for this purpose...
This Study has demonstrated some of the benefits that have been realized with the implementation of EMRs in community- based care practices. In practices demonstrating advanced EMR use, further emerging benefits at the practice and health system level are being realized. The evidence indicates that there is a compelling reason to continue to advance EMR adoption and maturity of use across Canada.
With the implementation of a number of focused recommendations and with the ongoing engagement and involvement of clinicians, the potential for wide ranging and transformative benefits can be further realized by providers, patients and the health care system as a whole...
by Ken Terry, iHealthBeat Contributing Reporter
Recent studies point to significant and growing problems with the usability of electronic health record systems and their effect on physician productivity. Some of these issues appear to be related to the addition of extra features to meet the meaningful use requirements, such as quality reporting and patient portals. Many physicians also have trouble documenting patient encounters in EHR drop-down boxes, which is an example of the poor usability of user interfaces. Moreover, current EHRs do not fit clinical workflow well, and practices have had to develop numerous workarounds to get their daily tasks accomplished.
Software design is not to blame for all of these problems. Inadequate training and poor preparation for switching from paper to electronic records are also factors, experts say. The rapid adoption of EHRs in response to the government's EHR incentive program has exacerbated these pain points, as doctors scramble up the steep learning curve to EHR mastery. Nevertheless, even many physicians who are experienced EHR users are dissatisfied with their systems...
The sharp increase in the percentage of physicians who did not find that EHRs had reduced their workload, and the equally marked rise in those who had not seen their productivity return to the level they had achieved before adopting EHRs.
Cindy Dunn, a senior consultant with MGMA Consulting, is not surprised by these results. Many physicians feel they were sold a bill of goods, she said, because they were told that "the EHR was supposed to make it faster and easier for me and my patients, and it doesn't."
Computer-generated visit notes are often voluminous and difficult to read, and it's much harder to enter data in EHR templates than to simply dictate the note, she pointed out.
Moreover, if a doctor misses a step, somebody is looking over his shoulder and will tell him to correct it.
Physicians are waiting for a "Star Trek computer" that will be able to parse their dictation and enter discrete data into the system automatically, she said. That's what natural language processing is supposed to do, but it's still not there yet.
Both Dunn and Brookstone said physicians and practice staff need better training on how to use EHRs. Today, many physicians receive three days of training or less, or perhaps none at all.
"Practices need realistic training to make these systems work," Dunn said. "They need somebody who understands the workflow and can work with the docs."...These complaints are nothing new. Not a whole lot being done thus far systematically to mitigate the problems. And, just as the RECs are maturing enough to be able to help address these issues more effectively, we kill the REC program.
Interesting doc. Read on.
More to come...