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#WWBR Week of February 23, 2015

by John Moore lll | February 27, 2015

Study Urges Greater Financial Disclosure by Nonprofit Integrated Health Systems
Jill Bronstein in National Academy of Social Insurance
“A study came out from the National Academy of Social Insurance looking at the societal value of IDNs. The study had several findings but the main finding was that little evidence was found to support the claim that integrating hospital and physicians care has helped promote quality and reduce costs. In fact, the evidence suggests that greater hospital-physician integration has led to higher physician and hospital costs. The study authors acknowledged that the limited disclosure of operating and financial data made it possible there were undetected societal benefits but it was yet another study that shows ‘bigger is not better’ regarding provider consolidation. ” – Matt

The Patient Access Imperative: A Potential Triple Win For Payors, Providers, And Patients
Pooja Kumar, Vaneesh Soni, and Saum Sutaria for Health Affairs
“Great read from HealthAffairs on the complexities involved with improving patient access to care. From easier scheduling systems that use phone and web more effectively to smarter back end booking management to predict/count for no-shows, much is involved with setting up new patient appointments. Yet deeper issues, from clinical/administrative workforce management (measurement, incentives, leadership) to broader financial strategy are also key to broad organizational success. All in all an important read – shows that simply enabling e-scheduling in a patient portal is not nearly sufficient on its own if a HCO is to enable better scheduling for patients (and develop a more efficient business in the process).” – Naveen

For now, Spark looks like the future of big data
Derrick Harris for GigaOm
“Plenty of action in the data analytics universe with Apache-based tools continue to get the limelight. The latest, Spark looks particularly interesting. Currently, the only healthcare IT company we know of building with Spark is Orion Health, but I’m sure there will be others.” – John

Doctors say data fees are blocking health reform
Arthur Allen for Politico
“HIEs are once again the subject of general news coverage. Interface costs that render interoperable EHRs out of reach for providers is not a new story. This article talks specifically about congressional action to “remedy” this situation. It does not spell out what that remedy would look like and I fear that this effort is more handwringing and/or posturing to make it appear that the problem is being addressed, or at least taken seriously.” – Brian

The Cost of Snow: An Inch-By-Inch Analysis
Nick Stepro for Arcadia Health Solutions
“With a crazy month of snowfall here in Boston, many health care facilities shut down their operations for a day or two (or more). I asked a friend, Nick Stepro, over at Arcadia Solutions to do a quick back of the napkin assessment of what the impact might be on revenues. This is his first crack at it, the result of crunching EHR and claims data together from a host of MA practices.” – Naveen

What Too Many Hospitals Are Overlooking
Craig Kamins for Gallup
“Physician engagement is not something you read about every day. Hospitals need community physicians more than ever and the data presented in this article says that the payback is there. It also seems to suggest that disengaged physicians are the norm for a whole lot of different reasons. But the bottom line is that hospitals can and should do more to foster higher levels of engagement and buy-in from their community of physicians.” – Brian

Looking Up Symptoms Online? These Companies Are Tracking You
Brian Merchant for VICE Motherboard
“Nothing particularly new when it comes to risks of tracking code, but doesn’t change the fact that most people would prefer not to have their personal health information being shared with third parties. Especially when there is no regulation about the use of that potentially very embarrassing information.” – John 3

Telehealth Services Surging Despite Questions About Value
Darius Tahir for Modern Healthcare
“A great overview of the burgeoning but still complex telehealth market. With a handful of established players and a loosening set of reimbursement regulations, it seems poised to take off. Yet the X’s and O’s of setting up telehealth programs remains uncertain – there is not yet a blueprint for pricing and service offerings, particularly across different segments of employer-sponsored programs, direct to consumer plays, and the provider/care delivery system.” – Naveen

Health Care Opens Stable Career Path, Taken Mainly by Women
Dionne Searcey, Eduardo Porter and Robert Gebeloff for The New York Times
“NY Times ran a series of articles last Sunday on the changing composition of ‘middle class jobs’ (defined as $40-$80k in 2014 dollar) from ’80 to ’14. One of them looked at healthcare and how women generally benefited from this trend more than men as a number of positions that have experienced robust growth are held largely by women. This contrast that to a number of manufacturing positions which have greatly contracted since ’80. The issues that the NY Times article really didn’t cover was that if healthcare costs are going to be actually reduced then US labor input costs need to meaningfully reduced. This comes from reduced wages and or a reduced number of workers. Additionally, it doesn’t point out that the BLS projects most of the healthcare employment over the next 10 years to be in low-skill, low-wage occupations such as home health workers and personal aides.” – Matt

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