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Industry News

Researchers: Rethink "never events"

The way the health system defines, collects information about, and analyzes "never events" must change, according to a paper published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. Among the recommendations: Policymakers and patient safety organizations should agree on standard definitions of never events, the number and severity should be transparently reported, and health care policy makers, insurers, providers and patients should create mechanisms to share best practices for reducing all types of never events. (HealthLeaders Media; The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety)



IOM collecting more input on Future of Nursing report

The Institute of Medicine's groundbreaking Future of Nursing report, released in 2010, has been downloaded more than 115,000 times--more than any other IOM report. And now, the IOM is seeking more comprehensive information about this report's impact. To conduct an assessment, the IOM has convened a committee of experts--chaired by economist and health policy expert Stuart Altman, PhD--and is holding a series of meetings to gather information from stakeholders. The first two were held this spring; the third is scheduled for July 27 and 28. (Robert Wood Johnson FoundationIOM report; meeting details)

Food insecurity, defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods, affects nearly 16 million children in the U.S. According to a recent Health Affairs Blog, clinical collaboration with community programs may be an effective means of connecting those in need to food assistance. Proper nutrition may be seen as a source of preventative health care, relevant to clinical providers as it both directly and indirectly affects clinical outcomes. (Health Affairs Blog)


Innovation & Transformation 

Price transparency tools continue to catch on 

Six years ago, Surgery Center of Oklahoma began posting comprehensive prices online. It's now added a "price widget" that allows patients to find prices for medical procedures. "One of the reasons we put our prices online was to expose the scam of health care prices in the United States," says founder Dr. Keith Smith, adding that his approach has drawn hospitals' ire. Tom Kelly, CEO of HealthSmart, a firm that administers health plans for self-insured companies, gives his clients another tool: the Healthcare Bluebook, an online service that gathers rates charged across a community for hundreds of procedures performed there. (WFAA) 


The Conversation Project: an easier way to talk about dying 

The Conversation Project, a non-profit organization founded by Ellen Goodman, in partnership with The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, aims to transform the conversation about end-of-life care and create a culture of communication regarding how a person would want to live at the end. Survey results indicate 90 percent of Americans believe it is important to discuss these matters but only 30 percent actually do, mostly citing that it's just "too soon." The Conversation Project has created a Conversation Starter Kit, intended to ease the discomfort of such discussions. (NY Times Opinionator Blog)


IBM studying ways to improve workplace well-being 

IBM is studying how technology can improve worker retention by monitoring the work environment in an effort to make employees feel a sense of belonging and well-being, and more physically comfortable. IBM researcher Robert-Jan Sips said the goal is to create a system that automatically recommends the best working conditions for individual employees."Inclusive Enterprise" seeks to help companies better retain workers by helping them feel a sense of belonging. For example, researchers are training the system to proactively predict how the temperature will be perceived by individuals, since some may feel hot and others cold in the same area. (The Wall Street Journal; Engineering the Web in the Big Data Era)


Consumers & Providers

Patient-engagement tools, especially messaging, can impair workflow

Health IT applications that engage patients can have both positive and negative effects on clinicians' workflow, according to a new Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report. Secure messaging was found to have the most negative impact on workflow; problems included inappropriate patient use and usability issues. Electronic forms and portals were more helpful to clinicians and had less negative impact on workflow, but many patients stopped using portals. The report finds most clinicians think secure messaging has a positive effect on patient satisfaction and that it could improve quality of care and patient safety. (FierceEMR; AHRQ report)



Patients' out-of-pocket costs have risen for most office-based visits following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and the trend may lead patients to cut back on needed care, according to research published in Health Affairs. Most of the increase was in deductibles. The researchers determined that these rose an average of 9.5 percent for established patients and 7.9 percent for new patients. Copayments generally fell, while changes in coinsurance were a mix of small increases and decreases. (MedPage Today;Health Affairs) 



Blog: Reduce NP barriers to improve primary care workforce

A recent HealthAffairs blog calls for eliminating barriers to nurse practitioners practicing to the full extent of their training, in order to minimize the impact of the growing primary care shortage. Large increases in primary care NP graduation rates stand in sharp contrast to the lackluster increase in the primary care physician workforce. The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis predicts a primary care shortage of as many as 20,400 physicians by 2020, NPs may aid in bridging the gap. (HealthAffairs Blog)


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New & Noted   

Cutting teen births, abortions: The New York Times looks at the Colorado state program that offers teenagers and poor women free IUDs and birth control implants. It has led to a 40 percent drop in teenage birth rates, and a 42 percent decline in the rate of abortions, but it faces a funding shortfall. (New York Times)



NPs top $100K: Nurse practitioners are seeing annual net incomes exceeding $100,000, according to a new report by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. NPs roles are expanding amid a doctor shortage, changing state regulations and the push toward team-based approaches to keeping patients healthy and costs in check. (Forbes; report)



Bad news on weight loss: Fewer than 1 percent of obese people will attain normal weight, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health. The  chances are about one in 210 for obese men and one in 124 for obese women. (American Journal of Public Health; MedPage Today)

As Medicaid marked its 50th birthday, and enrollment surpassed 70 million people, Health Affairs hosted a forum on featuring authors from the latest journal issue, on how the program is shaped by, and has reshaped, care delivery. (Health Affairs)



MarketVoices...quotes worth reading



"The rising salaries documented by AANP reflect growing understanding that nurse practitioners are vital to today's health care system. Their care is safe and effective, with outcomes that are equivalent to those of physicians, and their commitment to primary care has expanded health care access." -- Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, president-elect, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, quoted in Forbes


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Roxanna Guilford-Blake
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015





































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