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Industry News

NCQA-AAFP tensions over medical home may be easing

Tensions between the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the American Academy of Family Physicians may be easing, according to Amy Mullins, MD, AAFP medical director for quality improvement. At issue is patient-centered medical home recognition. AAFP told NCQA that its staff should be available to facilitate transformation when they receive payment from a practice, and should answer questions about applying. NCQA responded. Mullins said planned changes include practices being assigned an NCQA "navigator" to lead them through the PCMH process and to answer application questions. Additionally, sustained recognition will not require renewal--just annual submission of certain information. (AAFP News editorial)



About 800,000 taxpayers who enrolled through HealthCare.gov received erroneous tax information from the government; they have been urged not to file tax returns until the error is corrected. According to The New York Times, this is the first major glitch of the second enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, CMS has announced a special HIX enrollment period for those individuals and families who "were unaware or didn't understand the implications of this new requirement" to enroll. (The New York Times; CMS)



Report: Strategic partnerships may outpace M&As

Traditional mergers and acquisitions may be falling into disfavor, soon to be overtaken by strategic partnerships, HealthLeaders Media reports. "Mergers and acquisitions are no longer seen as a tool to solve all scale or market share issues. In fact, when one refers to healthcare consolidation, traditional M&A is no longer necessary." According to HealthLeaders Media's "The M&A and Partnership Mega-Trend," 44 percent of respondents said their most recent deal was either a merger or an acquisition. But 38 percent indicated they pursued "a contractual relationship, but not M&A." (HealthLeaders Media)

Innovation & transformation

PCMH may decrease cancer screening disparities

Patient-centered medical homes may raise cancer screening rates, especially for those of lower socioeconomic status, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers compared PCMH implementation scores and their socioeconomic context, then looked at rates of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening. In the lowest socioeconomic group, implementation of the PCMH model was associated with a higher rate of screening for all three. In the highest economic group, there were no significant differences in screening for breast or cervical cancer, but there was a higher rate for colorectal cancer. (Medscape Medical NewsJAMA Internal Medicine; editorial)


OpenNotes promotes patient contributions to medical records

OpenNotes hopes to make patient records interactive, WBUR reports. Researchers plan to develop an interface that will invite patients to contribute to their own medical notes. "As we invite patients to contribute to their records [and] upload data from home devices into their records, there are going to be many new inputs of data into the medical records, from technologies that probably don't even exist yet," says Jan Walker, RN, MBA, co-director of the OpenNotes project and a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess and Harvard Medical School. (WBUR)


Consumers & Providers

Patient requests are mostly reasonable, despite doctors' complaints

A new paper in JAMA Oncology suggests--contrary to doctors' perceptions--patients aren't demanding medicine they don't need. Analyzing the records of more than 5,000 cancer patient visits, researchers found patients requested additional treatment in 9 percent of conversations with doctors. Only 1 percent were for "clinically inappropriate" treatment. "Most of the demands or requests are clinically appropriate and many seem reasonable," researchers wrote. Some are even desirable. "For instance, requests for additional palliative interventions, such as pain medications or insomnia treatments, accounted for 1 in 6 of the demands or requests (15.5%) and provide insight into patients' symptoms." (VOX; JAMA Oncology)

Study: Physician clothing choice influences patient trust

The University of Michigan Health System has concluded patients feel more trusting and confident with a physician dressed in a suit or a white coat, based on recent analysis of more than 30 international studies. While age and culture affected the importance of physician attire to the patient, the authors suggest hospital systems take a closer look at the "voice of the customer" and plan to launch their own studies on the impact of physician clothing choices. (Psych CentralBritish Medical Journal Open)

Survey: Many docs don't counsel patients about meds

Despite the fact 96 percent of physicians consider drug adherence to be crucial, only 48 percent routinely counsel patients when giving new prescriptions and only 58 percent do so during follow-up visits, according to a survey by HealthPrize Technologies. The survey focused on diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Physicians were also asked about various interventions designed to improve adherence rates and clinical outcomes. Education ranked low on the list; the two solutions ranked highest were rewards (40 percent) and co-pay discounts (39 percent). (Becker's Hospital Review; company announcement; infographic)

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New & Noted   

Top 10 employee questions: Towers Watson compiled--and answered--the top 10 questions asked by full-time active employees who enrolled though its private exchange, OneExchange. (Employee Benefit News)



Cox, Cleveland Clinic and telemedicine: Cleveland Clinic and Cox Communications have announced a partnership--Vivre Health--to improve in-home patient monitoring and treatment services. Cox will provide broadband services for video consultations, while Cleveland Clinic offers expertise on how to create the patient services. (FierceHealthIT)


ONC guide to e-prescribing: The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released "A Prescription for e-Prescribers: Getting the Most Out of Electronic Prescribing." It's intended to help prescribers learn more about what to expect from e-prescribing and how to improve their use of the functionality throughout eight stages of the process. (Clinical Innovation + Technology; guide)


Case managers and integrated behavior health

In a recent Commission for Case Manager Certification webinar, Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, and Robert Fortini, PNP, discussed the importance of integrated behavioral health and explored the role of the professional case manager. The webinar is entitled "Healthy in mind, body and spirit: The case manager's role in behavioral health care integration." (CCMC)


MarketVoices...quotes worth reading


"Disparities in care have been well documented but rarely successfully addressed. It is heartening to see that a key intervention in health reform--the creation of patient-centered medical homes--may finally help us to narrow the gaps in our health care system that exist across socioeconomic status." -- Mitchell H. Katz, MD, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, in a JAMA Internal Medicine editorial that accompanies a study showing the impact of medical homes on cancer screening


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Editorial Team
Roxanna Guilford-Blake
Sandy Mau




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Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015























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