Suppose one day you sit in front of your work computer, click on a link supplied by your employer, and set about the task of answering a hundred or more highly intrusive health questions. Setting aside the issue of financial penalties or rewards for doing the survey, you would trust that the instrument itself, called a health risk appraisal (HRA), would actually have a sound scientific basis, especially since its ultimate goal is to give you purportedly accurate health guidance.
Unfortunately, your trust in the validity of the tool would be quite misplaced.
HRAs are an essential screening tool in workplace wellness programs despite the fact that no body of evidence clearly demonstrates either their fiscal or clinical value and that no health services research has determined which HRA is the optimal tool. Indeed, a recent review of HRAs concluded that they increase spending, not reduce it, and that no one has any idea whatsoever whether taking an HRA has anything to do with the delivery of health value.
By masking essential methodological truths about HRAs, wellness vendors have essentially hustled their employer clients into believing that HRAs, which frequently ask clinical questions best left to primary care clinicians or restate platitudes (gosh, I didn’t know it’s safer to drive while not under the influence), are both probative and predictive of a person’s health future. This is just simply wrong.
Continue reading “The HRA Hustle”
Filed Under: THCB, The Business of Health Care
Tagged: corporate wellness, Employers, evidenced-based medical management, Health Risk Appraisal (HRA), Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL), NCQA, Vendors, Vik Khanna, Wellness
Apr 26, 2013
We’re all aware of the past criticisms of “disease management.” According to the critics, these for-profit vendors were in collusion with commercial insurers, relying robo-calls to blanket unsuspecting patients with dubious advice. Their claims of “outcomes” were based on flawed research that was never intended to be science; it was really intended to market their wares.
But suppose this correspondent alerted you to:
1. A company that had developed a patient registry to identify at-risk patients who had not received an evidence-based care recommendation? Software created mailings to those patients that not only informed them of the recommendation but offered them a toll-free number to call if there were questions. Patients who remained non-compliant were then called by coordinators, who made three attempts to contact the patient and assist in any scheduling needs. If necessary, a nurse was available to telephonically engage patients and develop alternative care options.
If you think that sounds like typical vendor-driven telephonic disease management, you’d be right. You’d also be describing an approach to care that was studied by Group Health Cooperative using their electronic record, medical assistants and nurses. When it was applied to colon cancer screening, a randomized study revealed each additional level of support progressively resulted in statistically significant screening rates.
Continue reading “Why Disease Management Won’t Be Going Away Any Time Soon”
Filed Under: The Business of Health Care
Tagged: CMS, Commonwealth Fund, Disease Management, Group Health, Insurers, Jaan Sidorov, Outcomes, Patients, PCMH, prevention, vendor-driven disease management, Vendors
Apr 2, 2013
Tomorrow the Presidential election process comes to an end and the advertising will finally stop. We’ll all be relieved. I especially look forward to a quiet dinner at home without robotic election-related calls.
What about healthcare IT? Will differences in the Obama and Romney platforms impact the momentum of Meaningful Use?
Here’s what I believe.
The Obama Healthcare IT platform builds on what we’ve created over the past few years. It will continue to leverage the federal advisory committees (Policy and Standards) to engage a wide array of stakeholders. It will persist the progression to Meaningful Use Stage 3 and possibly future stages. It will embrace certification now the temporary certification process has been replaced with a permanent one. It will support the initiatives of the Standards and Interoperability framework (S&I), although the end of stimulus funds from ARRA means that ONC will move some of the S&I initiatives to private/public partnerships. It will support the current leadership at ONC – Farzad and his delegates such as Steve Posnack, Doug Fridsma, and Judy Murphy.
The Romney Healthcare IT platform notes that Healthcare IT is an issue which has broad bipartisan support. No one argues that a foundation of healthcare IT implemented properly is essential for accountable care organizations. Quality, safety, and efficiency all benefit from the process enhancement afforded by healthcare IT. Michael Leavitt, former Secretary of HHS and chair of the American Health Information Community (AHIC) will lead the Romney transition team and Leavitt has years of experience with healthcare IT issues from the early days of ONC. As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported the early EHR rollout efforts of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative.
Continue reading “The Election and Healthcare IT”
Filed Under: OP-ED, THCB
Tagged: HITSP, Interoperability, Meaningful Use, Michael Leavitt, Obama, ONC, Regulation, Romney, Stimulus, Vendors
Nov 5, 2012
Research and Observation
Here we are going to talk about the second stage of shopping for an EHR. We are going to assume that you did your homework, defined your goals and constraints and prepared a comprehensive list of requirements for an EHR (if you have not done so already, go back and read Part I). To continue our car shopping analogy, we are now ready to go kick some tires, and we start by calling on each of the three to six EHR vendors on your list. To your folder of lists, add a blank page for each vendor, to log your interactions with the various representatives you will begin encountering shortly. If the sales person is unresponsive and if it takes weeks to have someone call you back, most likely the situation will only deteriorate after they get a hold of your money, so keep good notes.
Calling an EHR Vendor
Whether you start by filling out a form on a website or by sending an email, eventually you will be on the phone with a sales rep. You should be the one directing the conversation. Inform the sales person of your specialty and practice size and explain that you are conducting an EHR search and his company is one of your candidates. Do not disclose the remainder of your list unless you are interested in a “confidential” long lecture on how horrible the competition really is. Your goal here is to obtain contact information (phone and email) of the regional sales executive, inform him/her that you will be sending out a Request for Information (see below) and set a date for your first clinical demonstration of the product. You can listen patiently, if you wish, to the details of this month’s “special offer”, but stick to your agenda and commit to nothing other than a demo. Remember to log your impression from this call, including the vendor’s willingness to accommodate your schedule and the expediency of setting up a demo date. Continue reading “How to Meaningfully Shop for an EHR, Part 2″
Filed Under: Electronic Health Records
Tagged: EHR, EHR cost, Physicians, Vendors
Feb 17, 2011