iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

They may be ‘satisfied’ but are they getting the value they need?

Most Health-Insured Adults are Satisfied With Their Primary Care Physician

Salesforce recently released its 2016 Connected Patient Report on adults who have health insurance and a primary care physician. Here are some key findings from the report:

  • 91% of patients are satisfied with their primary care physician.
  • 3 in 4 patients (76%) use phones to communicate with their doctors and set appointments.
  • 62% of patients rely on their doctors to manage their data, while 29% keep their records at home.
  • Half of health-insured patients (48%) report having the same doctor for the past 10 years.
  • 1 in 3 patients feel their doctors would not recognize them walking down the street.
  • 62% of patients would be open to virtual care treatments as an alternative to in-office doctor visits.

Source: Salesforce, June 27, 2016

New From AHRQ: Evidence-Based Strategies for Developing Effective Physician Feedback Reports

Performance feedback reports help physicians assess the care they provide with the ultimate goal of improving quality, patient experience, and optimum use of resources. However, their effectiveness depends on how they are designed and implemented. AHRQ’s new funded resource, Confidential Physician Feedback Reports: Designing for Optimal Impact on Performance tackles this situation and offers a wide variety of healthcare organizations (hospitals, medical groups, health plans, professional societies, regional collaboratives, and dissemination and implementation campaigns), the evidence-based strategies needed to optimally support quality improvement.

Whether you are refining or creating a new physician feedback report system, this AHRQ resource will help your team implement these four evidence-based strategies: identify a clinical focus to improve, ensure the input data supports the report aims, optimize the functional use of the reports, and deliver reports to promote impact. The report can be found at


EHRs: My How Things Have Changed

According to a recent analysis:

  • 74.1% of office-based physicians had a certified electronic health record (EHR) system in 2014, up from 67.5% in 2013.
  • The percentage of physicians who had a certified EHR system ranged from 58.8% in Alaska to 88.6% in Minnesota.
  • 32.5% of office-based physicians with a certified EHR system were electronically sharing patient health information with external providers.
  • Among physicians with a certified EHR system, 14.0% shared patient health information electronically with behavioral health providers, 13.6% with long-term care providers, and 15.2% with home health providers.

Source: “Adoption of Certified Electronic Health Record Systems and Electronic Information Sharing in Physician Offices: United States, 2013 and 2014,” NCHS Data Brief No. 236, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 2016,

IOM: Improving Diagnosis in Health Care

The 2015 report Improving Diagnosis in Health Care says that patients and their loved ones should be central members of the diagnostic team; they provide vital input that informs diagnosis and decisions about the path of care. Yet for a variety of reasons, patients may not be effectively engaged in the diagnostic process.Visit this page with resources to facilitate communication between patients and clinicians.

Reimbursement is beginning to change in important ways

Effective January 1st, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began reimbursing providers who actively manage care delivery for Medicare patients who have two or more chronic conditions. According to a recent health care provider survey, 76% of respondents planned to organize and structure to meet Medicare’s chronic care management program requirements within the next six months.



If did what we know how to do . . . imagine the impact

Most postsurgical infections in heart patients avoidable, study saysClose to 80% of bloodstream infections, pneumonia or C. difficile colitis cases that follow heart surgery could be avoided, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. However, researchers said chlorhexidine scrubbing before surgery, prophylactic treatment with second-generation cephalosporin, and protocols that limit the need for blood products or additional lines all were linked to reduced risk of infection. (7/29)

Building a closed loop process enabling in effective hospital discharges

This is a project funded by AHRQ that is building an infrastructure to support initiatives to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions.

Buffalo, N.Y., university to develop follow-up care pilotThe University at Buffalo School of Nursing received a two-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for a care transitions program. The grant is to be used for the development of a pilot project designed to ensure appropriate follow-up care after patients are released from the hospital to reduce the need for readmissions and emergency care. Healthcare Informatics online (7/29)

We do we continue to do tests and procedures of little or no value

Researchers evaluated the prevalence in Medicare of 26 tests and procedures that have been found to offer little or no clinical benefit, and calculated:

  • There were 21.9 million instances of the 26 low-value treatments during 2009
  • 42% of beneficiaries received at least one such service
  • This cost Medicare $8.5 billion, or 2.7% of overall spending

Using more specific definitions of inappropriate treatments, the researchers calculated:

  • 9.1 million low-value services were provided in 2009
  • 25% of beneficiaries received at least one such service
  • This cost Medicare $1.9 billion, or 0.6%of overall spending

Source: “Harvard: Overused Medical Services Cost Medicare Billions,” Kaiser Health News/Capsules, May 12, 2014,

HMO Redux ? Have we learned our lessons?

“As the role of primary care expands in the evolving healthcare landscape, there has been increasing discussion about expanding the team, and re-tasking members of those teams to allow everyone to “practice up to their licence.” This is a major part of the patient-centered medical home, and integral to making any such transformation successful.”

Then there is this…

“The patient needs to call and reach my office. A telephone encounter is created in the EHR. Now I have to stop what I’m doing, and “create” a referral to the dermatologist, as if this was some sort of magical, healing, useful thing. More often than not we need to select some benign (or made up) diagnosis (“dermatitis” or “nevus, non-neoplastic”) that will allow the patient to be seen, since we most likely do not know why they are there, and allow the dermatologist to be reimbursed by the insurance company.

It’s not just that I don’t want to do this work, it’s not just that it’s tedious work, but it’s work that no one should have to do. A ridiculous administrative burden has been created that prevents every one of us, no matter the level of our licensure, from being able to do the jobs in healthcare that we are desperately trying to do, and that we desperately want to do.”

So are ACO and patient-centered care just recreating the very reasons that HMOs failed? Of course there are all of the improvements and tools that are now being applied, that didn’t exist in the 1990’s HMO era. But from a public relations perspective, have we learned the lessons of the past on the parts of the physician, the physician’s office and the patient?

Emailing with your Doctor

Most adults want doctors who offer e-mail communicationA survey by Catalyst Healthcare Research found 93% of responding people said they would choose a physician who offers e-mail communication. Researchers also found one-quarter of those people would select the practice even if they were charged $25 per episode. (5/13)

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