U.S. Soldiers Have Worse Heart Health Than Civilians

Researchers compared a group of more than 263,000 active duty Army soldiers, age 17-64, who had a health examination in 2012 with a similar group of U.S. civilians participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2011-2012.The groups were evaluated on four criteria current tobacco smoking, weight, blood pressure and diabetes, which represent four of the seven health factors and behaviors that correspond to the American Heart Association’s definition of ideal cardiovascular health. Army data as of 2012 were not sufficient to assess the remaining three metrics diet score, physical activity and total blood cholesterol.

Spotlight

Altius Group

Since establishment in 2001, Altius Group has always strived to stay ahead of emerging needs to deliver support services to organisations across the lifecycle of their people’s employment. At Altius Group, we engage with our clients to provide tailored, holistic solutions across workplace health and safety, wellbeing, employment, risk and claims support services to enable organisations and their people to optimise their physical and mental health.

OTHER ARTICLES
Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Why Including Anesthesia Services in a Single-Bill Strategy Makes Sense

Article | August 16, 2023

As competition for patients intensifies, more hospitals and health systems are embracing a consolidated, single-bill approach for services rendered. Creating a single bill for the patient’s portion of inpatient or outpatient services can help eliminate confusion and reduce the ill will that frequently results when patients receive multiple invoices for a single care event. Yet incorporating anesthesia charges into a consolidated invoice is often problematic due to the unique nature of the anesthesia billing compliance. Anesthesia Billing Service Hurdles A few weeks ago, I met with the CEO of a 300-bed hospital. We discussed anesthesia billing, and he explained that his hospital traditionally outsourced this portion of its billing due to the more complex nature of anesthesia coding and the need to collect anesthesia minutes for billing. Unlike most inpatient services, anesthesia charges are not directly derived from CPT codes but instead utilize minutes and modifiers unique to the specialty. That means coders must use a CPT crosswalk to account for ASA codes, base and time units, emergency- and physical-status monitors, split anesthesia units reflecting CRNA involvement, and other specialty-specific nuances. Most coders and hospital billing staff are not trained in these complexities, and hiring and retaining capable staff in today’s competitive market can be difficult. Moreover, many billing platforms are simply not equipped to incorporate all the variables necessary to produce an accurate anesthesia bill. As a result, producing a consolidated patient bill that includes anesthesia is tricky. Yet leaving anesthesia off a single bill can undercut its value since, after facility and surgical charges, anesthesia often is one of the largest cost items patients incur. Fortunately, we at Change Healthcare know how to roll anesthesia charges into existing hospital billing systems to produce an accurate and timely single patient bill. Helping to Reduce Costs The benefits of consolidated billing extend beyond an improved patient experience. Producing just one bill reduces costs and repetition at both the front and back end of the revenue cycle management process. It can also ease staff burden when collecting on self-pay accounts, since there’s only one bill per patient. Finally, consolidated bills can help increase revenue by simplifying collections when patients present for follow-up care. Here’s an example: When the patient comes back for post-surgery physical therapy, a hospital employee at the registration desk can remind them that they still owe $150 for anesthesia and ask if they’d like to take care of that now. In my experience, patients usually hand over their credit card and settle their bill on the spot when asked at the time of care about a balance due. System-Agnostic Billing Across Hospital Platforms Change Healthcare has a long history of providing full-service, outsourced anesthesia-billing services to hospital and health-system clients. Unlike most other billing vendors, we’ve developed what we call a system-agnostic approach. That means we’ll provide billing services on our proprietary system or on the hospital’s existing billing platform, regardless of type, to generate accurate anesthesia-billing results. In practical terms, we’ll function as part of your billing team and use the same system your coders and billing staff rely on to generate anesthesia charges that can be included in a single patient bill. System-agnostic billing also allows us to provide clients with custom anesthesia reporting that wouldn’t otherwise be available with an outsourced billing solution. This helps clients gain far greater visibility and insight into anesthesia-billing charges. And by incorporating our anesthesia coding and billing capabilities into your existing billing system, you’ll be spreading the platform’s fixed costs across a greater number of departments. The bottom line? It’s not a heavy lift for us to virtually embed our trained anesthesia coders and billing professionals into your system. Our specialists will review your existing platform and provide, at no obligation, a return-on-investment analysis that can help you determine whether outsourcing anesthesia billing to capture claims on a single hospital bill makes sense for you. We expect the answer will be yes. Not only will you enjoy greater system efficiencies, but you’ll be in a position to produce a single bill that truly reflects the entire episode of care.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

The Need for Cost Clarity

Article | August 21, 2023

With consumers’ share of healthcare costs expanding, we need to do a better job making charges more transparent and more predictable My husband recently stubbed his toe. Badly. Badly enough that I encouraged him to go see a doctor. He was reluctant. While I suspected he’d rather just garner sympathy by complaining to me while limping around the house (just kidding, honey), his stated reason was all too familiar: “I have no idea what we’ll have to pay. They’ll want to do anX-ray,it might need surgery, and I have no idea what it’ll cost.” All true. We have good health insurance; but like most Americans, when we go to the doctor or have a procedure, what we will actuallyhave topay out of pocket remains a mystery.This is something that we can and should change. As consumers we are shouldering more and more of the cost of healthcare. And the biggest increases are for those of us with employer-sponsored plans. According to an analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund,deductibles in employer plans more than doubled between 2008 and 2017, from $869 to $1,808. Especially troubling, an accompanyingCommonwealth Fund survey revealed that only 62% of adults were very or somewhat confident in their ability to afford healthcare. This increasing burden is also evident when you look at the crushing levels of medical debt in the United States. According to a new studyby JAMA, medical debt is now the largest contributor to personal debt. And the data for this study was collectedbeforethe COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this debt is driven by unpredictability—if the heart procedure you needed costs several thousand dollars more out of pocketthan you thought it would, you may not be prepared, emotionally or financially, to pay it. This is a bad outcome, obviously. The risk of nonpayment rises for the provider; and a recuperating patient is burdened with the stress of a large,unexpected bill. More skin in the game Soas consumers are paying more out of pocket, some may become reluctant to seek care (like my husband) or seek more information about what they willhaveto pay for the care they receive. Consumers are also armed with incredible levels of price transparency with other products—everything from hotel rooms to clothing to household items. With so much skin in the game, and the internet providing so much information, consumers’ expectations are changing when it comes to healthcare. State and federal regulators are also beginning to take action, a trend that will likely accelerate. Most hospitals are now required to publicly disclose the prices they charge. This does not, however, solve the issue for consumers. While it provides a measure of visibility into pricing for insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid, it doesn’t show what share the patient will ultimately pay. Making the complicated simple The complexity of pricing in healthcare is well documented. Niall Brennan, CEO of the Health Care Cost Institute, a nonprofit that analyzes medical costs, suggests that healthcare costs are too high.As a recent Wall Street Journal article reported, a price of a C-section varied from $6,241 to$60,584 at one hospital. This all has to do with the vagaries of the agreements that hospitals sign with multiple insurance companies and government payers. In turn, each insurance company will have its own deductible and out-of-pocket schedules, which providers don’t have access to. We are seeking to change this at Change Healthcare. We are piloting our Care Cost Estimator with a few innovative providers. With the Care Cost Estimator, weleverage our unique dataset, and the largest eligibility network in the industry, to make the unpredictable, predictable.Because we’ve managed 15 billion healthcare transactions—and our network covers 1 million physicians, 6,000 hospitals, and 2,400 payers—we have an unmatched ability to analyze what real-world patients are paying for practically any procedure, performed at almost any hospital or clinic. With a cloud-based transaction engine, providers will now be able to tell their patients how much they will have to pay out of pocket for a given procedure.And this analysis takes place in real time. Removing unpredictability in pricing This gives providers the opportunity to offer added value for their patients, taking some unpredictability out of whatis often a stressful transaction. In addition, it accelerates patient payment cycles which, as the patient’s share of the cost burden increases, is becoming more and more important. We’re not talking $50 co-pays anymore; it’s thousands of dollars per transaction. If necessary, providers can also help the patient plan for the expense, offering financing options, thus reducing unpaid bills. For the patient, it allows more informed decision-making and peace of mind. Testing the beta version of our Care Cost Estimator with our partners will allow us to receive real-world feedback and collaborate with customers on how to continuously improve the product as we scale it. We expect the ROI for providers, in addition to the payment-cycle improvements, will include greater patient satisfaction and loyalty. For the patient, it provides information necessary to help make proper decisions and plan emotionally and financially; in other words, giving the consumer the same information for vital healthcare transactions that’s available to them for practically any other purchase. This kind of win-win solution is at the core of Change Healthcare’s mission to improve the healthcare experience for everyone—including my husband and his broken toe!

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

8 Trends for Healthcare in 2021

Article | September 7, 2023

Momentum in digital healthcare transformation… it’s massive, and much needed. As organizations adapt to new modes of care, demands on resources, and consumer expectations, payors and providers are eyeing opportunities to reduce costs, improve care, build awareness, and expand relationships.Here are 8 trends we’re currently tracking into 2021: TREND 1 The evolution of healthcare will be characterized by a reengineering of clinical care and operations around digital health and pervasive real-time use of data and advanced analytics.​ Gartner TREND 2 The current landscape has underscored the importance of improving workflows, achieving greater clinical efficiencies and better integrating data across organizations through tools like natural language processing, remote process automation, and cloud-based technologies. Becker’s Hospital Review TREND 3 Now more than ever, healthcare organizations must build a multi-channel digital experience portfolio to deliver personalized consumer-centric experiences that drive engagement and reduce costs. Becker’s Hospital Review TREND 4 With increasing emphasis on cross-platform (EHR, CRM, CMS, virtual health, etc.) and cross-organizational data portability, advanced APIs and interoperability should ensure secure and efficient data exchanges between EHR systems, devices, and various channels of care. Forbes TREND 5 COVID-19 has pushed telehealth into the mainstream, and adoption has gained impressive traction. Expect expansions of asynchronous virtual care leveraging integrated wearable technologies. Business Insider Intelligence / Research and Markets TREND 6 With more healthcare data available, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will provide greater speed and insights to analyze and predict outcomes that drive change in patient care. Gartner / Forrester TREND 7 Organizations will continue looking to Social Determinant of Health strategies to help understand health disparities – including those highlighted through COVID-19 infections – and alleviate some of the financial strains while delivering high quality care. Fierce Healthcare / Healthify TREND 8 Successfully making the transition to offering greater price transparency will not only put healthcare organizations in compliance, but help satisfy patient demand, increasing patient engagement and even point-of-service payments. Health Leaders Media The strategy imperative With so much call for transformation, it’s vital to resist the pull of “shiny object” point solutions and to, instead, build a fully-considered digital strategy. Need help getting started? Our healthcare experts help the nation’s largest providers and payers navigate and execute their north star strategy, tackling specific challenges through assessments, best-practice advice, strategy, and roadmaps. Explore our thought leadership and connect with us to learn more today.

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Health Technology

Components and Relevance of EHRs in Rural Hospitals

Article | December 8, 2022

Contents 1. Knowing The Basics 2. Importance Of EHR In A Rural Setting 3. Features That An EHR Must Have In A Rural Area Today, we will discuss the crucial featuresof electronic health records (EHR) in rural hospitals. However, before listing out the key components, let us first understand what EHR is and how it can help the smooth functioning of medical treatment in a rural setup. 1. Knowing the Basics! As the name suggests, an electronic health record is a computer file that stores a patient’s medical history, such as diagnosis, treatment, test results, etc. In short, an EHR is a digital version of a patient’s paper health record. It also includes previous appointments, billing details, and other general documentation. The need for an EHR popped up due to its easy and secure availability compared to patients' paper files. In addition, patients and doctors can easily access lab reports through an EHR that is updated in real-time and downloaded on any device with an internet connection. 2. Importance of EHR in a Rural Setting! Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines EHR usability as “The effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specific users can achieve a specific set of tasks in a particular environment.' In essence, a system with good usability is easy to use and effective. It is intuitive, forgiving of mistakes, and allows one to perform necessary tasks quickly, efficiently, and with a minimum of mental effort.” A patient's electronic health records can be beneficial in an era of digitization. It can improve patient care by minimizing the chances of medical errors, reducing test duplication, and making doctors and patients well-informed by fetching medical records anytime, thereby reducing delays in treatment. 3. Features That an EHR Must Have in a Rural Area EHRs can prove beneficial in all areas situated far off by accessing the real-time, up-to-date data of patients’ health records and making timely decisions. When the distance between the clinics and specialists is more, an EHR report can easily be sent to look into a patient’s history before delivering treatment. In a rural setup, EHR helps promote health awareness as patients' data can be monitored without needing to be physically present. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Solutions can be easily deployed in places with slow internet and help maintain a lightweight EHR that can support immediate patient care and easy documentation. Next comes the option of configuration over coding. At the Rural Health Clinic (RHC), an EHR that the local IT team can handle would be of more use than one that may require a specialist’s check or additional coding. An EHR, equipped with the ability to configure and customize as per the clinic’s workflow, will give more control to the RHCs and enable them to function efficiently. Another significant point of an EHR in a Rural Health Clinic will be the inclusion of applications that support instant communication, like Telehealth and patient portals. These applications enable direct consultation and virtual care of patients and specialists located far off, thereby reducing the dependency of RHCs on city or urban-based facilities. When we are discussing rural hospitals, we need to look for an application that is both affordable and functional, as rural areas mostly struggle with problems regarding budget and resources. Hence, keeping this in mind, RHCs should install a cloud-based EHR that does not require buying servers or employing IT staff. RHCs must use an EHR application with innovative analytic tools to access and develop reports for quick patient care decisions. In addition, the system must be able to pull large chunks of data and generate reports daily. Enjoyed reading this? Want to read more related articles? Click the link for more information! https://healthcare.report/trending-news/electronic-health-records-ehr-software-market-2019-foreseen-to-grow-exponentially-by-2026 Happy Reading!

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Spotlight

Altius Group

Since establishment in 2001, Altius Group has always strived to stay ahead of emerging needs to deliver support services to organisations across the lifecycle of their people’s employment. At Altius Group, we engage with our clients to provide tailored, holistic solutions across workplace health and safety, wellbeing, employment, risk and claims support services to enable organisations and their people to optimise their physical and mental health.

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2020 Elections Healthcare Debate Truths, Half-Truths, And Falsehoods

forbes.com | July 08, 2019

Healthcare may emerge as the number one issue in the 2020 election. In itself this isnt surprising, given that for many decades the electorate has considered healthcare a key issue.And, the truth is healthcare access continues to be a major problem in the U.S., along with inequalities in outcomes, relatively high prices for healthcare services, and high out-of-pocket spending. Democratic presidential candidates have weighed in on these issues.Without more clarity, however, the debate runs the risk of unraveling into exercises in sophistry.Politicians in America have had a knack for telling half-truths or even untruths about healthcare. For example, in 2012, John Boehner claimed that the U.S. has the best healthcare delivery system in the world. And, just prior to signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, President Obamastated if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.

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Adelaide IT services provider Chamonix lands $8 million govt healthcare software deal

Nico Arboleda | July 08, 2019

Adelaide-based IT services provider Chamonix IT Management Consulting has scored an $8 million contract with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).The contract is to develop and support a Health Identifier and PCEHR System HIPS, and a PCHER is a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.HIPS is a My Health Record (MHR) integration software that is owned by ADHA. The software is used by hospitals and private diagnostic providers to connect to the national My Health Record infrastructure.An ADHA spokesperson told CRN that Chamonix was picked out from an open tender process.Chamonix was founded in 2010 in Adelaide and was a CRN Fast50 lister in 2014 due to its work with Microsoft, achieving Gold Partner status in 2012. The company also has an office in Brisbane, which opened in 2016.

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3 exciting small cap ASX healthcare shares to watch in FY203 exciting small cap ASX healthcare shares to watch in FY20

Unified Health care Home Healthcare COPD | July 08, 2019

Because of positive tailwinds such as ageing populations, increased chronic disease burden, and better technologies, I believe demand for healthcare services will grow strongly over the next decade. In light of this, I think the healthcare sector could be a great place to look for small cap shares to buy and hold.Three growing healthcare shares that I think are worth looking closely at are listed below. Heres why I like them. Alcidion is an informatics solutions provider which develops and sells healthcare analytics software for hospitals and other healthcare providers. This software aims to improve the efficacy and cost of delivering services to patients and reduce hospital-acquired complications. Earlier this year the company won its first major contract with the Dartford and Gravesham National Health Service (NHS) Trust in the United Kingdom. Given how the NHS is currently transitioning to a paperless environment, I wouldnt be surprised to see more and more large contracts being won over the coming 12 months.

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2020 Elections Healthcare Debate Truths, Half-Truths, And Falsehoods

forbes.com | July 08, 2019

Healthcare may emerge as the number one issue in the 2020 election. In itself this isnt surprising, given that for many decades the electorate has considered healthcare a key issue.And, the truth is healthcare access continues to be a major problem in the U.S., along with inequalities in outcomes, relatively high prices for healthcare services, and high out-of-pocket spending. Democratic presidential candidates have weighed in on these issues.Without more clarity, however, the debate runs the risk of unraveling into exercises in sophistry.Politicians in America have had a knack for telling half-truths or even untruths about healthcare. For example, in 2012, John Boehner claimed that the U.S. has the best healthcare delivery system in the world. And, just prior to signing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, President Obamastated if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.

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Adelaide IT services provider Chamonix lands $8 million govt healthcare software deal

Nico Arboleda | July 08, 2019

Adelaide-based IT services provider Chamonix IT Management Consulting has scored an $8 million contract with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA).The contract is to develop and support a Health Identifier and PCEHR System HIPS, and a PCHER is a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record.HIPS is a My Health Record (MHR) integration software that is owned by ADHA. The software is used by hospitals and private diagnostic providers to connect to the national My Health Record infrastructure.An ADHA spokesperson told CRN that Chamonix was picked out from an open tender process.Chamonix was founded in 2010 in Adelaide and was a CRN Fast50 lister in 2014 due to its work with Microsoft, achieving Gold Partner status in 2012. The company also has an office in Brisbane, which opened in 2016.

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3 exciting small cap ASX healthcare shares to watch in FY203 exciting small cap ASX healthcare shares to watch in FY20

Unified Health care Home Healthcare COPD | July 08, 2019

Because of positive tailwinds such as ageing populations, increased chronic disease burden, and better technologies, I believe demand for healthcare services will grow strongly over the next decade. In light of this, I think the healthcare sector could be a great place to look for small cap shares to buy and hold.Three growing healthcare shares that I think are worth looking closely at are listed below. Heres why I like them. Alcidion is an informatics solutions provider which develops and sells healthcare analytics software for hospitals and other healthcare providers. This software aims to improve the efficacy and cost of delivering services to patients and reduce hospital-acquired complications. Earlier this year the company won its first major contract with the Dartford and Gravesham National Health Service (NHS) Trust in the United Kingdom. Given how the NHS is currently transitioning to a paperless environment, I wouldnt be surprised to see more and more large contracts being won over the coming 12 months.

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