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CMS demands technology utopia in hospitals

by Joneigh Khaldun, MD, MPH in Health IT

The advancement of health information technology is surely becoming one of the foremost changes in the American health care system. Assuming the adoption of more advanced [...]

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Quality of Care

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  • Source: Flickr/CC

    Arming the informed consumer

    In most sectors of the economy, the more you pay, the higher quality you get. Medical diagnostics and imaging are an exception to this rule, with some tests priced at 10 times the cost of other facilities in the same region with no difference in quality. Yet, consumers are generally unable to comparison shop for prices due to a lack of freely available data. Source: Flickr/CC In this study, researchers compared trends in the cost of MRIs through traditional insurance to an insurance plan which [...]
  • Source: Waldo Jaquith (Flickr/CC)

    Incentivizing health over fee-for-service

    In 2006, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services started the Physician Quality Reporting System, or PQRS. PQRS operates on the premise that required reporting of specific delivery-of-care metrics will induce the necessary behavioral changes and infrastructural investment to better align delivery of care with evidence based guidelines. This system offers a unique opportunity to eligible physicians allowing them to compare their performance on a given measure to their peers in the market. [...]
  • Courtesy Colleen Kazar (All Rights Reserved)

    Brenda’s Got A Baby

    In 2013, the United States had the highest rate of teen births of all developed countries, with 274,641 girls aged 15-19 giving birth in that year alone. Only 38% of women who have a child before 18 years of age finish high school, and the children born to teenage mothers have a higher risk of illness. Courtesy Colleen Kazar (All Rights Reserved) However, the long-term consequences of teen pregnancy impact not only the young parents and their children, but the public as well. In 2010, taxpayers [...]
  • Source: davitydave (Flickr/CC)

    Doctors punished for protecting children

    A 9-year-old girl in Arizona accidentally fatally shot her shooting range instructor last month after he set her Uzi to automatic and allowed her to hold the weapon on her own. The incident garnered national attention and became part of the debate over gun-control laws, specifically children’s access to firearms. Source: davitydave (Flickr/CC) Over 7,000 children and adolescents are hospitalized every year for firearm-related injuries. For children ages 0 to 4, the mortality rate is 17 times [...]
  • Source: Juhan Sonin (Flickr/CC)

    Do EHRs Improve Quality of Care?

    Over the past few years, use of electronic health records (EHRs) have grown exponentially. However, there has not been definitive proof that EHRs help improve quality and lower costs of health care. This article reviews whether having complementary incentives to EHRs (clinical decision support, technical assistance, and financial incentives) help in improving quality of care. Source: Juhan Sonin (Flickr/CC) The Primary Care Information Project (PCIP), a part of the NYC Department of Health and [...]
  • Source: Francois Karm (Flickr/CC)

    States opt for lower smoking fees

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50% higher premiums than nonsmokers. However, this study found that most insurance companies are charging much less than the 50% maximum surcharge allowed. Source: Francois Karm (Flickr/CC) All states included in the study offer at least one plan with a less than 50% surcharge, and 89% of plans overall charge less than 50%. Many states (41%) have at least one plan with no tobacco surcharge at all. The states that [...]
  • Source: Ged Carroll (Flickr/CC)

    CMS demands technology utopia in hospitals

    The advancement of health information technology is surely becoming one of the foremost changes in the American health care system. Assuming the adoption of more advanced technologies will improve quality and efficiency, several recent federal policies have encouraged (if not demanded) that hospitals and physicians get on the bandwagon and incorporate health IT into their clinical practice. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, meaningful use [...]
  • Source: Marc Dalmulder (Flickr/CC)

    Will Medicaid gains offset DSH cuts?

    The Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) program was developed to provide financial assistance for hospitals that care for large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients. During the development of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), policymakers reevaluated the program’s funding as they expected the Medicaid expansion to decrease hospitals’ frequency of uncompensated care. Subsequently, Congress predicted health systems would require fewer DSH payments and scheduled funding cuts to finance [...]
  • Source: Nate Smith (Flickr / CC)

    The Patient-Centered Medical Home

    In a 2014 article published in Health Services Research, researchers compared health care utilization and payments between the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) recognized patient-centered medical home (PCMH) practices and practices without such recognition. The study conducted three annual observations between 2008 and 2010, in which the authors compared selected outcomes between practices. Source: Nate Smith (Flickr / CC) Variation in difference estimates indicated that relative [...]
  • Source: Flickr (Creative Commons)

    The cost-sharing sweet spot

    Value-based insurance designs (VBID) provide cost incentives to encourage individuals to utilize certain highly effective medications in order to cut costs while improving quality and health outcomes. While this has mostly been done in the private market, less is known about the impact of increased cost sharing for prescription drugs for Medicaid patients. Medicaid patients, who are likely to be more financially sensitive to small increases in out-of-pocket costs, could be encouraged to use [...]

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