iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

The Use of Telehealth Continues to Grow

According to a recent survey of family physicians, 15% use telehealth in their practices overall; 29% use telehealth in rural practices versus 11% in urban practices. Source: “A First Look at Attitudes Surrounding Telehealth,” The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP),ThinkAnthem and the Robert Graham Center; November 13, 2015,

Providing a written plan. . . of care

Most cancer patients enter survivorship with little direction from oncologists or primary care providers, according to a national survey.

Two-thirds of 1,130 oncologists said they always or almost always discuss survivorship with patients, but only a third told patients where to seek cancer-related or other care. Fewer than 5% of oncology respondents provided patients with a written plan for survivorship care.

Read more here: Of 1,020 primary care providers surveyed, 12% reported regular discussions about recommendations for survivorship care or provider responsibility, as reported online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Most who follow me know that I have a vision for how health care will evolve. The next two big things that need to occur are transparency of pricing – what patients are expected to pay for the services they receive – estimates if not actual prices based on the insurance they have and the current terms of that insurance. And not necessarily in this order a plan of care.

Let me explain what is meant by a plan of care. It goes well beyond the story in the Journal of Clincal Oncology. That is just one example.

It is a plan that every person should have. It is the equivalent of a financial plan. It is something that the patient has the key to access, a portal and a document through which to view and understand their medical condition and the actions that they or their caregivers need to take to optimize the outcomes that patient is seeking. It is something that the patient enables others including their providers and caregives to view and to add to with their special knowledge and information. It spans every episode of care. Whether that is a prevention episode, a wellness episode, an acute episode, a chronic episode, even a secondary prevention episode.

It enables hospital discharge instructions to be cleanly handed off to family caregivers, rehabilitation caregivers, other physcians or nurses caring for the patient. It enables the primary care physician to view what all other parts of the health system are contributing to the health of the patient. It provides a means of communicating with the patient while in the office and to be sure that the instructions are clear when they leave the office. It helps turn the office visit into a counselling session rather than simply a visit and script.

It links physician to nurse, pharmacy to physician, hospital to rehab or nursing facility. It helps turn siloed health care services into a system of organized and informed health processes focused on the patient.

The changing face of office visits

A new national survey finds that most parents want online options from kids’ health care providers, but half say it should be free, according to a new University of Michigan Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

In the poll, 77 percent of parents said they would be likely to seek email advice for their children’s minor illness if that service were available. Only 6 percent of parents said they could currently get that email advice from their child’s health care provider.

But about half of those polled felt any charge for an email consultation should be less than that of an office visit. And 48 percent of those polled felt an online consultation should be free.

The poll surveyed 1,420 parents with a child aged 0 to 17 years old.

Read the story here:

What consumers value from their health insurers

In a recent survey, consumers were asked about what they value from health insurers, and responded:

  • 87%      value coverage of over 90% of health care providers
  • 60%      want claims processing within two weeks of service
  • 49%      want information provided to them in both paper and online formats
  • 43%      value website content that provides information about providers and plan information

Source: “Moment of truth for healthcare: why the customer experience matters, according to new PwC Health Research Institute Report,” PwC’s Health Research Institute Press Release, July 26, 2012,

September 4, 2012 | Categories: Benefits,healthcare,insurance | Tags: , , , , | Comments (0)

Provider Payment Reform – A collection of articles

Provider Payment Reform

What’s Behind Value Based Purchasing?

Online Patient / Provider Communications are Beginning to Take Hold

Percent of Americans Who have Communicated with a Provider Online










Data Source: 2010 PULSE Healthcare Survey, Thomson Reuters
Source: HealthLeaders Media, August 2011

ACOs: More than half of provider organizations have yet to begin work

A recent survey of more than 200 provider organizations found:

  • 92% of respondents are in the development or pre-planning stages for an accountable care organization (ACO)
  • Only 15%t are very familiar with ACOs; 61% are somewhat familiar, but 48% don’t know how an ACO will affect their organization
  • 53% of the respondents had not yet created a department or executive role to develop an ACO

Source: “Beacon Partners Accountable Care Organization Readiness Study,” Beacon Partners, September 2011,

Communicating with your provider on line – in 5 years will it be something you don’t know how you lived without?

Percent of Population That Says Being Able to Communicate With Provider Online is Important or Very Important

Age Group










Data Source: 2010 PULSE Healthcare Survey, Thomson Reuters
Source: HealthLeaders Media, August 2011

Percent of Americans That Use the Internet to Obtain Lab or Test Results

Age Group














Data Source: 2010 PULSE Healthcare Survey, Thomson Reuters
Source: HealthLeaders Media, August 2011


Robert Wood Johnson launches state-by-state directory of health care providers

 LA Times piece:  

 By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau / For the Booster Shots blog – Los Angeles  Times June 27, 2011

 Consumers looking to compare doctors and hospitals are getting a new resource as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launches an online state-by-state directory of healthcare providers.

 The directory features an interactive map of the 50 states that consumers can click on to access 197 state-level and 27 national quality databases set up by nonprofits, health plans and government agencies nationwide.

Though some of these databases have been available for years, such directories have been proliferating as patient advocates, healthcare leaders and public officials intensify efforts to improve the quality of care that Americans receive.

 The new healthcare law that President Obama signed last year includes several initiatives to increase quality reporting by healthcare providers. Some of the data are already available to the public at a Department of Health and Human Services website.

 But to date, there has been a lag in public use of online resources to compare providers and choose medical care.

 Dr. Michael Painter, a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said that may reflect the relative novelty of such databases.

 Like many experts, Painter said the increased transparency can serve as a powerful tool for patients and medical providers. “If you don’t know about the quality of the care you receive, you can’t really improve it,” he said.

 The foundation, which has funded several efforts nationwide to improve healthcare quality, excluded databases that do not rely on objective quality measurements or that charge a fee.

 Not all of the databases are comprehensive, since some cover only providers that are participating in local quality reporting initiatives.

 There are no state-level quality reports in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii and Idaho.

Finding health care facilities is becoming easier

California insurer launches alternative ED finder app
Anthem Blue Cross has unveiled the California ER Alternative Finder designed to find cheaper emergency department alternatives. The free online application will allow individuals to locate nearby health establishments by plugging in addresses and ZIP codes through Google Maps. Los Angeles Times/Money and Company Blog (7/7)

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