Week of February 29-March 4, 2016

HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH REPORTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

Strategic Communication
“Digital communications and social media use continue to increase in popularity among the public and the medical profession,” said Phyllis Guze, MD, FACP, chair, Board of Regents, ACP. “This policy paper provides needed guidance on best practices to inform standards for the professional conduct of physicians online.” American College of Physicians, Online Medical Professionalism: Patient and Public Relationships: Policy Statement from the American College of Physicians and the Federation of State Medical Boards,

Physicians across the United States routinely offer medical advice on social media — but often fail to mention that they have accepted tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars from the companies that make the prescription drugs they tout. STAT, 

While it’s important to grasp the basics of a social media program (such as regular posts, engaging content and transparency), there are other key elements that need to be in place for health care organizations to truly optimize their social media efforts.  How Health Care Organizations Should Manage Social Media,

The landscape for researching and developing new medical products continues to become more patient centric. Stakeholders are increasingly demanding that, in addition to demonstrating a product’s safety and effectiveness, sponsors of new products more specifically address patient needs and demonstrate how their product will enhance patient outcomes. To keep up and meet this growing demand, drug developers, researchers, regulators, and patient organizations are exploring ways to more thoroughly incorporate the patient perspective into drug research, development, and approval.  Dialogue / Advancing Meaningful Patient Engagement in Research, Development, and Review of Drugs, 

The convergence of these two fields—genomics, marked by the rapidly plummeting cost of sequencing a person’s entire genetic code, and wireless, with its flurry of innovative health-care apps—led Dr. Topol to write “The Creative Destruction of Medicine,” a book that offers an illuminating perspective on the coming digitization of health care. WSJ, The Wireless Revolution Hits Medicine,

Effective communication and collaboration among all members of the diagnostic team—with patients and their families at the center—are essential to improve health care and outcomes and to reduce the risk of diagnostic error.  A new IOM video, “Sue and Pat’s Story” , highlights the critical role of communication and information sharing in the diagnostic process.

Cleveland Clinic has a long history of measuring and reporting data on health outcomes, most famously in our Outcomes Books, the yearly reports on how patients treated in our different departments fare. We’ve realized that you cannot improve something if you don’t measure it and share what you find — so in that vein, I’d like to share some of our experiences in building this system at Cleveland Clinic.  Why Cleveland Clinic Shares Its Outcomes Data with the World,

As a central feature of their digital strategy, companies made huge bets on what is often called branded content. The thinking went like this: Social media would allow your company to leapfrog traditional media and forge relationships directly with customers. If you told them great stories and connected with them in real time, your brand would become a hub for a community of consumers. Businesses have invested billions pursuing this vision. Yet few brands have generated meaningful consumer interest online. In fact, social media seems to have made brands less significant. What has gone wrong? Branding in the Age of Social Media

Health Care Leadership and Management
For too long, employers have outsourced management of their employees’ health care benefits to those with little incentive to improve value. In a departure from this norm, 20 major corporations earlier this month announced that they were joining forces to create the Health Transformation  Alliance (HTA) to help them take a much more active role in the health and health care of their employees and beneficiaries.  This Coalition of 20 Companies Thinks it Can Change US Healthcare, 

What does it take to really make change at the level needed to impact the health of whole populations and communities? Changes in the health care delivery system, certainly.   And, more than that, new partnerships between health care and others in the community in order to tackle the social determinants of health.  Taking a Comprehensive View of Population Health Management, 

Achieving health equity in the United States will require an alignment of resources and unparalleled collaboration between two key funding partners—the federal government and philanthropy. To address systemic conditions that exacerbate health disparities and advance a health equity agenda at the federal level, these partners will need to dedicate significant time and resources. This paper from the National Academy of Medicine discusses opportunities and methods to foster movement building and culture change to support this complex work. Building a Culture of Health Equity at the Federal Level, 

We founded Oak Street Health in 2012 to be an at-risk network of primary care clinics exclusively for older adults. We started with a single clinic and, with backing from venture capital, have grown to 15 locations across the Midwest.  Read the case study, Caring for Older Adults in a Value-Based Model,

Leaders strive to be decisive. But all too often their well-reasoned decisions are reopened by bosses and colleagues, or worse ignored, which slows down progress and breeds resentment, confusion, and paralysis. How can you make sure that your decisions stick? In the course of researching our new book, Simple Sabotage, we identified three of the most common reasons why they don’t and pinpointed actions you can take to ensure that people follow the plan you’ve set out.   Why Decisions get Second-Guessed and What to do About it, 

Since Clayton Christensen published The Innovator’s Dilemma, in 1997, management scholars have focused on innovations that disrupt customer demand patterns. A new entrant develops an innovative product that is initially attractive only to a niche segment of customers and may underperform mainstream products on traditional measures. At first, customers reject the innovation, but as it improves rapidly along performance dimensions that they care about, they begin to embrace it, and the new entrant becomes a real threat to incumbents. The Other Disruption,  https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-other-disruption

ACA Implementation
In a major win for the industry, health insurers will not be forced to have minimum quantitative standards when designing their networks of hospitals and doctors for 2017, nor will they have to offer standardized options for health plans.  CMS issues final marketplace rule,

A new United Hospital Fund snapshot report focuses on the Transitional Reinsurance Program, which was created by a provision of the Affordable Care Act and has improved the affordability of coverage for consumers by reducing premiums in the individual market. The report examines policy issues that will arise from the program’s expiration in 2016, as well as offering options to consider to prevent significant premium increases for individual market enrollees.  After the Reinsurance Is Gone: A New Challenge for New York’s Individual Market, 

A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that sign-ups in Affordable Care Act marketplace plans could continue to grow modestly over the next few years to 16.3 million (up 28%), based on the experience of the top-performing states.  Assessing ACA Marketplace Enrollment, 

A new study throws cold water on the popular idea that consumers can save themselves and the health care system loads of money if they become savvier shoppers for health care services.  Issue Brief: Spending on Shoppable Services in Health Care, 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Thursday it reached its goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to value, instead of volume, with 10 months left in 2016.  Obama administration beats goal on Medicare payment reform,  

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
The head of Aetna Inc., the nation’s third-largest health insurer, said he supports insurance exchanges, even though he questioned their sustainability earlier this month and lost money in the marketplaces last year. Commonwealth Fund, 

Few lobbyists have walked into the kind of political inferno that greeted Stephen J. Ubl when he became the top pitchman for the pharmaceutical industry. Mr. Ubl, the 47-year-old president and chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.  NY Times, 

The Zika virus is a health threat not just to Latin America, but also to parts of the U.S. It’s already a problem in Puerto Rico where there are nearly 120 cases so far, including five pregnant women.  NPR, 

Climate change is a critical public health issue — one that hospitals need to do more to address. Every year, U.S. hospitals are emitting 8 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases, generating more than 5.9 million tons of waste annually, and spending more than $6.5 billion on energy costs. Health Affairs Blog,

Even though reducing waste in healthcare is a top priority, analysts have missed the waste that can be created when expensive infused drugs are packaged containing quantities larger than the amount needed. Drug companies will earn around $1.8B from leftover cancer drugs in the United States in 2016, BMJ, 

Meet the Tugs — a team of 27 robots now zooming around the hallways of the new University of California-San Francisco hospital at Mission Bay. They look a bit like R2D2, dragging a platform around behind them. Instead of drones, think of them more as little flatbed trucks, ferrying carts of stuff around the vast hospital complex — food, linens, medications, medical waste and garbage. And they do it more efficiently than humans. Kaiser, 

One of the most exciting and promising developments in the history of medical science may bypass the U.S. if Congress fails to act. It needs to lift the ban on federal spending on research involving human embryos. Bloomberg, 

The Supreme Court says state officials can’t force certain health insurers to turn over reams of data revealing how much they pay for medical claims. NY Times,

The New York state attorney general has asked 16 health insurance companies for information on their coverage of hepatitis C treatments, amid concerns that some companies are restricting coverage of the expensive medications.  Bloomberg, 

New York’s public hospital system, the largest in the U.S., projects it will end the fiscal year with its lowest cash level in at least 15 years, and its “imperative” that city officials come up with a plan to stabilize it, according to the state comptroller’s office.  Bloomberg, 

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