Week of May 30 – June 4, 2016

HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH REPORTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

Health Care IT, Leadership and Management 
Burned by negative reviews, some health providers are casting their patients’ privacy aside and sharing intimate details online as they try to rebut criticism.  Doctors fire back at bad Yelp reviews — and reveal patients’ information online,

Computer programs can now help physicians better predict illness in patients, but that doesn’t mean doctors want technology to do their jobs for them.  One such physician, a family doctor in Verona, Wisconsin, tells the WSJ that he often ignores the diagnosis calculator that pops up on his screen. Doctors Test Tools to Predict Your Odds of a Disease, 

Listening—really listening—is a vital and frequently underutilized leadership tool.  Listening Is an Overlooked Leadership Tool,

ACA Implementation
The I.R.S. denied a tax exemption sought by an accountable care organization that coordinates care for people with commercial insurance. The tax agency said the organization did not meet the test for tax-exempt status because it was not operated exclusively for charitable purposes.  I.R.S. Ruling Is Obstacle to Health Care Networks Promoted by Obama,

The news that UnitedHealthcare has decided not to participate next year in most of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces has led to intense discussions about marketplace stability.  Beyond UnitedHealthcare: How Are Other Publicly Traded Insurers Faring on the Marketplaces?  

New research from The Commonwealth Fund finds that insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces appear to be competing well on price and are increasingly selling their individual health plans through the exchanges, instead of outside them.  Promoting Value for Consumers: Comparing Individual Health Insurance Markets Inside and Outside the ACA’s Exchanges,  

This early look at one hospital’s experience with Medicare’s bundled payment for total joint replacement shows improvements in both clinical and financial performance.  How to Succeed in Bundled Payments for Total Joint Replacement,

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

As opposed to the majority of conditions that are the focus of much of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, gene therapies often center on rare disorders affecting a very small fraction of the population—and, often disproportionately, children. Science,

The National Institutes of Health announced that it will award the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., $142 million to create the world’s largest research-cohort biobank for President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program.  Becker’s,

A program created at a California hospital has cut opioid prescriptions by physicians by half and reduced recurrent emergency department visits for opioid abuse by close to 60 percent.  AHA,

In the latest effort to quantify the burden of expensive medicines, a new study found that the cost of two widely used hepatitis C treatments remains out of reach for people in many poor countries and poses a “financial and ethical dilemma” for payers and doctors.  Plos Medicine,

The long decline in Americans’ death rates has reversed course, according to preliminary 2015 numbers for all causes of mortality as compiled by the CDC. Washington Post, 

Last month, Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center officially separated from Vanderbilt University.  Should Vanderbilt University’s divorce from VUMC serve as an example to other universities? Here are four thoughts on the matter.  Becker’s

Dr. Emanuel states that lower prices cause a reduced barrier for physicians to prescribe antibiotics and a high patient demand for the drugs. These factors lead to overprescribing, which spurs resistance to antibiotics.  Ezekiel Emanuel, Washington Post,  

Catheters are quite commonly used in hospitals but they can put people at risk of urinary tract infections. New findings suggest, though, that there’s a way to kill two birds with one stone, reducing both catheter use and UTI rates.  NEJM,

Drug developers could gain a better understanding of their drug’s potential side effects with the help of big genetic databases, and that could help reduce the number of clinical trials that fail during later stages.  Science Translational Medicine (abstract), 

More than a dozen websites and apps are vying to help U.S. consumers find the lowest prices for prescription drugs by comparing prices and searching for deals.  New York Times, 

A new policy brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discusses efforts to address ambulance diversion, a controversial strategy for temporarily relieving overcrowding in emergency departments (EDs).  Health Affairs,

Over the last decade, insurers have increasingly used step therapy, or “fail-first,” policies as a strategy to contain pharmaceutical costs. The rapid growth in the use of step therapy policies in recent years indicates a misunderstanding about the direct and indirect harms of this “one-size-fits-all” approach. Health Affairs Blog, 

Despite the substantial burden borne by informal caregivers, our society has only recently recognized that our conception of illness as solely an individual experience is too narrow. NEJM Catalyst,

 

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