Providers Should Encourage Patients To Seek Second Opinions

According to new research, providers and consumers both benefit when patients get a second opinion about treatment. In 1,000 cases from 2012-2014, approximately 77 percent of “medical interventions” where a healthcare advisory company helped patients obtain a second opinion after initial diagnosis, led to changes in diagnosis and treatment or treatment physician. About 3 percent of patients seeking a second opinion ended up with a change of diagnosis and almost 21 percent decided to change their treatment plans. Another 41 percent of patients transferred their care to another provider. Experts say second opinions are crucial for patients, especially those diagnosed with complex condition, because “medicine is an art as much as a science.” Medical errors, such as misdiagnoses are an acute problem in the healthcare industry today. One report indicates that hospital mistakes may be the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

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Hospitals Turn To Social Media To Build Patient Relationships

Hospitals are turning to Facebook and Twitter, along with other social media engines; in order to improve their level of patient care. By doing this, they are creating “virtual advisory councils” made up of both patients and parents, creating an inside look into the hospital system. These efforts are part of a larger movement, introduced by the ACA to engage patients in their health and enhance the quality of care given by providers. By linking together with the growing social media culture, today’s technology allows hospitals to get feedback on a daily basis, stepping away from traditional means. These fresh ways of customer satisfaction may have an exceptional impact on the quality of patient care.

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CT Nursing Homes Struggle to Meet Occupancy

As state initiatives keep more elderly and disabled residents in home and community settings, less are occupying nursing homes. Only 11 of the 230 licensed nursing homes in the state were full to capacity as of this spring (2013). Currently, almost one third of CT nursing homes have less than ninety percent occupancy rates and are seeing less patients with high-acute illnesses. Financial and quality concerns are growing at a time of shrinking Medicaid and Medicare funding.

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Design May Improve Health Outcomes

NXT Health, a non-profit healthcare design organization is re-designing hospital rooms for the future. NXT Health is unconventionally using a systems approach to research and develop a hospital room that will actually improve health outcomes for individuals. The rooms will be highly engineered, highly technological and will be unveiled in New York City. The company itself thinks it can revolutionize healthcare and give the industry some of what it has been lacking.

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EHRs Transform Care Coordination

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services suggest that data shows electronic health HMS Healthcare Management Solutionsrecords (EHR) are helping facilitate better access to health information for both patients and providers. Using that information helps providers securely coordinate with patients, reduce duplicative tests and procedures and enables patients to take more control of their health which results in better overall health outcomes.

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Tansforming The Way Healthcare Is Paid For And Delivered

Currently, healthcare operates under a fee-for-service basis which may inhibit efficient doctor-patient communication.  In an effort to change the way healthcare is delivered and paid for, building a system revolved around rewarding those who keep patients healthy and out of the hospital rather than delivering more care may be the solution. New models in Connecticut will allow providers to make extra money by containing the cost of patient care while still meeting quality targets.  Some worry that new payment structures would compromise care for sicker patients due to providers avoiding them.

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Why America’s Doctors Are Struggling to Make Ends Meet

Scott Hammond is doing everything modern doctors are supposed to be doing. But now Dr. Hammond is wondering: Is this any way to keep a practice going?  The lanky 59-year-old’s Denver-area clinic has made significant upgrades over the past four years.

His family practice uses electronic health records, calls up patients at home to check on their progress, and coordinates with other specialists and hospitals—all the things that policy makers and insurers say should be done to improve patient care.  But many of these enhancements aren’t reimbursed under traditional insurance contracts that pay mostly for face-to-face visits with patients. What’s more, the practice gave up around $200,000 in revenue from patient visits that Dr. Hammond cut back as he worked to improve the practice.

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Panel On Doc-Payment Reform Launched

The Society of General Internal Medicine has launched the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform, a panel investigating how physicians are paid and how financial incentives affect patient care.

The panel will meet over the course of this year and, in early 2013, it will recommend how to reform physician payments and assess potential impacts of payment models such as accountable care organizations, medical homes and value-based purchasing.

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Center Aims To Cut Health-Care Costs

The Obama administration touts it as a key solution to the nation’s runaway health-care spending: a new national center set up by the 2010 health-care law to test and implement groundbreaking ways to cut costs while improving patient care.

This week, officials will release a report summarizing its progress: 16 recent initiatives, funded with more than $1.7 billion in federal money, that will involve more than 50,000 providers over the next five years.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is technically limited to experimenting with payment incentives and methods of delivering care within Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But the center will work with providers who also see a large share of private patients, to ensure that the models tested are effective for those populations as well.

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Medical Data Exchange Gains Momentum

Connecticut is inching closer to its goal of creating a statewide health information exchange, but many key policy and legal issues still need to be hashed out before patient data begins to flow among providers in the state.

In recent weeks, the he quasi-public agency charged with creating the exchange has made several significant decisions including hiring a new CEO to lead the group and putting out a call for providers to join an initial roll out of the exchange.

The goal of the statewide exchange is to streamline health care communication by allowing providers access to a patient’s medical records, which may be spread over multiple provider and payer networks. That could enhance the speed of the delivery of care and reduce health care costs by cutting down on duplicative services.

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