The number of messages physicians at ambulatory care clinics receive rose between March 2020 and June 2021, with physicians in surgical specialties experiencing the steepest rise, potentially due to a backlog of elective procedures to be cleared, according to a research letter in JAMA Network Open. The average number of patient requests for medical advice rose for primary care, medical and surgical physicians, while the number of patient calls also rose, and researchers warned about the growing burden on physicians.
Norwalk Hospital significantly reduced the number of repeat visits to its emergency department after staff began holding weekly meetings for case reviews, developed tailored care plans and implemented a system to connect repeat patients with community resources, according to clinical social worker Eileen Kardos. Meetings are brief and target a specific patient population, social determinants of health are discussed, teams of nursing and social work students from a local university are involved, and handoffs to community resources are "warm," Kardos says.
A new coding and billing strategy and artificial intelligence software increased revenue by 25% at AFC Urgent Care in Memphis, Tenn., which put the new system in place after losing revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and new Current Procedural Terminology coding and documentation guidelines for evaluation and management visits. Physician Alice McKee, the clinic's medical director, worked directly with physicians to help them understand the importance of changing outdated coding habits and installed software that analyzes data from EHR and practice management systems to spot potential revenue gaps and automatically alert physicians about missing data.
Patients with type 2 diabetes reduced their blood glucose levels and adhered to medication regimens after pharmacists at St. Joseph's/Candler Health System began using audio-only telehealth and remote patient monitoring services, according to a report in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. A greater percentage of patients met the Merit-based Incentive Payment System standard of an A1C lower than 9% after the telehealth and RPM program was implemented, according to the report.
Seven of eight published studies comparing telehealth with in-person addiction treatment found telehealth noninferior, and one associated telehealth with better patient retention in methadone medication management programs, according to a review in Psychiatric Services. An online survey and interviews found addiction treatment specialists see some advantages to telehealth, but the majority believe telehealth group counseling is less effective than in-person counseling.
A group of large health systems joined an advocacy group called the Advanced Care at Home Coalition founded by the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente and Medically Home. The coalition is urging Congress to extend regulatory leeway granted for hospital-at-home models during the pandemic while the CMS Innovation Center develops a framework for testing and implementation of advanced in-home care.
The pandemic has made the open enrollment process more complex, but employers and advisers can make the process smoother by focusing on clients' wants and needs before offering solutions, and leaning on technologies and tools that makes the process easier without losing the personal touch, experts said. Emphasizing voluntary benefits and helping workers understand how their decisions will affect both their finances and well-being can make the enrollment process easier.
Anthem Blue Cross and Providence St. Joseph Health System have partnered with tech firm Vim to strengthen their value-based care program, allowing the partners to scale their tech solutions for improved payer-provider collaboration. Vim's EHR-integrated application suite, which includes referral guidance solutions, digital scheduling, care gaps identification and benefits navigation tools, enables better data and workflow connections to boost patient outcomes, and the platform will be rolled out across Providence hospitals in Southern California.
The CMS announced that it won't enforce compliance of the payer-to-payer data exchange provision, which was supposed to take effect in January as part of the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule, until additional rulemaking is released. The agency said the move would reduce tension related to data exchange implementation and prevent the flow of discordant data.
Breast cancer risk prediction models should be tailored to Black people, but until now, too few Black people had enrolled in breast cancer epidemiology studies to derive accurate models. A predictive model developed and validated at Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center may help primary care providers identify Black people at high risk for breast cancer, potentially resulting in earlier screening and fewer diagnoses at a late stage.
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