iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Will you participate in the Precision Medicine Initiative?

According to a recent survey, 79% of respondents supported the proposed Precision Medicine Initiative’s planned national cohort study, which aims to tailor targeted treatments to specific diseases, and 54% said they would definitely or probably participate if asked. Source: “A Survey of U.S Adults’ Opinions about Conduct of a Nationwide Precision Medicine Initiative® Cohort Study of Genes and Environment,” PLOS One, August 17, 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.

Let’s get on with providing useful information to patients and their caregivers

Leapfrog is clearing the path forward and is a huge lever in our efforts to provide useful information to patients and their caregivers.


Healthgrades’ rankings website allows searches by experience A new version of the website that launches this week uses data from 500 million claims and patient reviews to rank physicians on complication rates, patient satisfaction and experience. Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder said the website is “game changing” because people can search for physicians based on experience in a specific medical area or procedure. USA Today (10/19)


One day, patients and their caregivers will have the important information they need to make important health decisions. Clearing that path and enabling appropriate measurement in both quality and resource utilization is among the most important things that health care stakeholders of all types need to be engaged in.

The next big issue: use of socioeconomic status in health care

Socioeconomic status, functional ability affect readmission risk, data show Socioeconomic status and functional capacity at home influence a patient’s risk for readmission, and adjusting for these factors addresses some variation in clinical readmission rates, according to research reported in Health Affairs. The Establishing Beneficiary Equity in the Hospital Readmission Program Act, introduced by Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, would address differences in patient populations that affect readmission risk. The Hospitalist

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)

Patient-generated data in comparative effective research will enhance quality of care

Patient-generated data and comparative effectiveness research hold the key to greatly improving both individual and population health, according to a study published in Health Affairs . Read more here:


The evidence continues to mount – EHRs are having a positive impact

EHR use lowers clinical trial costs, study findsA British study found that electronic health record adoption helped researchers attain better understanding of more diverse medical patterns and identify the appropriate treatments. EHR use was also associated with greater efficacy and less cost compared with current clinical trial process, researchers wrote in the journal Health Technology Assessment. Healthcare Informatics online (7/11)

How do you know the provider referral is best one for you

Online tool lets patients compare health care services,, an online resource that nabbed the second spot in the Health Datapalooza’s Code-a-palooza challenge, was developed by karmadata to help patients locate the best surgeon in their area by comparing surgeons’ volumes and hospital quality information. “ is our opening salvo in creating free tools for patients, putting them in the driver’s seat for making informed decisions that impact their own healthcare,” said karmadata CEO and founder Sean Power. (6/9)

Scientists embark on unprecedented effort to connect millions of patient medical records

Nothing of this scale has been built before, and researchers say the potential of the network to speed up research efforts and to answer questions that have long vexed scientists cannot be overstated. But the creation of the network presents tricky ethical questions about who owns and controls the data, how to protect patient privacy and how research questions will be prioritized.

“Both the opportunity and the anxiety are pretty electrifying,” Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said in an interview.

The origins of the patient project lie in an obscure part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. As part of the nation’s health-care overhaul, Congress created an independent nonprofit group to help patients and their doctors make better-informed decisions about care. Dubbed the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, and based in the District, the organization’s mandate is to launch, fund and coordinate research on “comparative effectiveness” — to find out which drugs, devices and treatment options are more effective than others.

Read more here from the Washington Post

Does this improve outcomes or provide incremental revenue?

Is point-of-care ultrasound the new stethoscope?
A new paper espouses the benefits of hand-held ultrasound devices over the iconic stethoscope, arguing the convenience and power of ultrasound will improve diagnosis. Writing in the journal Global Heart, Drs. Jagat Narula and Bret Nelson of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine question why sonography isn’t used more widely. However, Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, says the stethoscope remains valuable and warns wider use of sonography could bring additional costs — both for equipment and the tests that might follow the initial assessment. CBS News (1/24), (1/23), USA Today (1/24)

So, I am not against advances, but is there evidence that the outcomes are better than with a stethoscope? I know it will be more expensive. The article talks about it leading to more tests, too.

On the other hand, how about personal medicine and getting these devices as apps with sophisticated computer software that links to a ‘benchmark’ database to inform patients of potential next steps? Does that lower the number of office visits and procedures vs. putting the technology only in the hands of the clinician?

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