In a continued slowdown of the skyrocketing rates of health premiums that occurred for much of the past decade, annual health insurance premiums rose at the modest rate of 4 percent in 2013, according to national data figures.
For employer-sponsored health plans, the small uptick in annual premiums is good news for employers and employees, who have been bombarded with an aggregate 80 percent increase in premiums since 2003.
A new set of federal data shows that more providers are using electronic health records (EHRs) than ever before, while these electronic-based systems are coaxing subtle transformations in the method of care delivery. According to recently published data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), approximately 80 percent Continue reading
As health reform ramps up in advance of the implementation of key provisions in 2014, including health insurance exchanges and the “employer mandate,” some small employers are dropping coverage in the face of uncertainty, according to WellPoint, the nation’s second biggest health insurance company.
A recent study of more than 7,000 Medicare beneficiaries found that those who skipped medications, took wrong doses or delayed filling their prescriptions were more likely to visit the emergency room (ER) than their counterparts who abided by their prescription regimen.
The study findings reveal that this is particularly true for a specific subset of Medicare patients – those under 65 with a disability.
Increasing numbers of physicians are discontent with their profession and would not recommend it to future generations, according to a recent study by Jackson Healthcare.
Bold claims, but the study features a series of alarming data, including 47 percent of respondents reporting they are dissatisfied with their medical practice and 17 percent claiming they are “very dissatisfied.” Fifty-nine percent of respondents in the study reported being unwilling to recommend the medical field to those interested in the profession.
More than four in 10 physicians use an electronic health record (EHR) in their day-to-day practice, says new literature published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Yet rates of adhering to meaningful use – the federal government’s standards that aim to provide higher levels of EHR functioning – remain woefully low, with just 9.8 percent of responding physicians meeting meaningful use criteria despite the government’s monetary incentives for physicians who reach these standards.
Following a premature release in May that was quickly pulled, RAND has finally made available the full report on workplace wellness programs. Unfortunately for employers, employees and the Affordable Care Act, the results are somewhat lacking.
The report found that workplace wellness programs were largely ineffective at both of their intended goals – improving employee health and lowering costs on medical spending. Participants in the study lost only one pound per year for three years. Similarly, healthcare costs savings for participants averaged $2.38 less per month versus those who did not participate in a workplace wellness program. This mildly increased to $3.46 less by the fifth year. The report also notes that workplace wellness programs did not catch early warning signs of disease or prevent hospital admissions in any statistically significant fashion.
A new study reported from Modern Healthcare finds that U.S. hospitals recorded about 70,000 fewer cases than expected of Medicare patients being readmitted for inpatient care last year. The findings are likely to hearten policymakers and health system leaders who have pushed for financial incentives and procedures to improve post-discharge care and coordination as a way to avoid readmissions. But the study does not definitively show the decline in readmission rates was directly caused by those payment and quality reforms.
To read the article and download the report, click here.
When patients participate in the decision-making process about their health and treatment options, their overall care experience and end-game outcomes measurably improve. Yet this practice of open communication with a doctor or other health professional – known as shared decision making (SDM) – occurs far less than it should.
That is the takeaway of a series of new studies published in the May issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, which tracked patient communication patterns across five highly prevalent medical conditions, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, prostate cancer, breast cancer and back and knee issues.
An unprecedented release of hospital-billing data reveals that the place where a patient calls home can have a tremendous effect on the price of the healthcare services they receive, according to information that the federal government published online last week.
As part of an effort to improve the transparency of the historically nebulous healthcare marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a wide-ranging data set comparing the prices for treatments of 100 common ailments as they are priced in more than 3,400 hospitals across the country.