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Concept: Health insurance



Payment for health care services, including oncology services, is shifting from volume-based fee-for-service to value-based accountable care. The objective of accountable care is to support providers with flexibility and resources to reform care delivery, accompanied by accountability for maintaining or improving outcomes while lowering costs. These changes depend on health care payers, systems, physicians, and patients having meaningful measures to assess care delivery and outcomes and to balance financial incentives for lowering costs while providing greater value. Gaps in accountable care measure sets may cause missed signals of problems in care and missed opportunities for improvement. Measures to balance financial incentives may be particularly important for oncology, where high cost and increasingly targeted diagnostics and therapeutics intersect with the highly complex and heterogeneous needs and preferences of cancer patients. Moreover, the concept of value in cancer care, defined as the measure of outcomes achieved per costs incurred, is rarely incorporated into performance measurement. This article analyzes gaps in oncology measures in accountable care, discusses challenging measurement issues, and offers strategies for improving oncology measurement. Discern Health analyzed gaps in accountable care measure sets for 10 cancer conditions that were selected based on incidence and prevalence; impact on cost and mortality; a diverse range of high-cost diagnostic procedures and treatment modalities (e.g., genomic tumor testing, molecularly targeted therapies, and stereotactic radiotherapy); and disparities or performance gaps in patient care. We identified gaps by comparing accountable care set measures with high-priority measurement opportunities derived from practice guidelines developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and other oncology specialty societies. We found significant gaps in accountable care measure sets across all 10 conditions. For each gap, we searched for available measures not already being used in programs. Where existing measures did not cover gaps, we recommended refinements to existing measures or proposed measures for development. We shared the results of the measure gap analysis with a roundtable of national experts in cancer care and oncology measurement. During a web meeting and an in-person meeting, the roundtable reviewed the gap analysis and identified priority opportunities for improving measurement. The group determined that overreliance on condition-specific process measures is problematic because of rapidly changing evidence and increasing personalization of cancer care. The group’s primary recommendation for enhancing measure sets was to prioritize and develop effective cross-cutting measures that assess clinical and patient-reported outcomes, including shared decision making, care planning, and symptom control. The group also prioritized certain safety and structural measures to complement condition-specific process measures. Further, the group explored strategies for using clinical pathways and devising layered measurement approaches to improve measurement for accountable care. This article presents the roundtable’s conclusions and recommendations for next steps.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health insurance, Cancer, Oncology, Chemotherapy, Tumor, Cancer patient


Tens of millions of people are currently choosing health coverage on a state or federal health insurance exchange as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We examine how well people make these choices, how well they think they do, and what can be done to improve these choices. We conducted 6 experiments asking people to choose the most cost-effective policy using websites modeled on current exchanges. Our results suggest there is significant room for improvement. Without interventions, respondents perform at near chance levels and show a significant bias, overweighting out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles. Financial incentives do not improve performance, and decision-makers do not realize that they are performing poorly. However, performance can be improved quite markedly by providing calculation aids, and by choosing a “smart” default. Implementing these psychologically based principles could save purchasers of policies and taxpayers approximately 10 billion dollars every year.

Concepts: Health insurance, Improve, Decision theory, Thought, Performance, Choice, Finance, Choice architecture


The role of public reporting in improving hospital quality of care is controversial. Reporting of hospital-acquired infection rates has been introduced in multiple health care systems, but its relationship to infection rates has been understudied. Our objective was to determine whether mandatory public reporting by hospitals is associated with a reduction in hospital rates of Clostridium difficile infection.

Concepts: Health care, Cohort study, Medicine, Health insurance, Longitudinal study, Clinical trial, Nosocomial infection, Clostridium difficile


With the commitment of the national government to provide universal healthcare at cheap and affordable prices in India, public healthcare services are being strengthened in India. However, there is dearth of cost data for provision of health services through public system like primary & community health centres. In this study, we aim to bridge this gap in evidence by assessing the total annual and per capita cost of delivering the package of health services at PHC and CHC level. Secondly, we determined the per capita cost of delivering specific health services like cost per antenatal care visit, per institutional delivery, per outpatient consultation, per bed-day hospitalization etc.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare reform, Public health, Health insurance, Health, Health science


BACKGROUND: Healthcare claims databases have been used in several studies to characterize the risk and burden of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia (FN) and effectiveness of colony-stimulating factors against FN. The accuracy of methods previously used to identify FN in such databases has not been formally evaluated. METHODS: Data comprised linked electronic medical records from Geisinger Health System and healthcare claims data from Geisinger Health Plan. Subjects were classified into subgroups based on whether or not they were hospitalized for FN per the presumptive “gold standard” (ANC <1.0x109/L, and body temperature >=38.30C or receipt of antibiotics) and claims-based definition (diagnosis codes for neutropenia, fever, and/or infection). Accuracy was evaluated principally based on positive predictive value (PPV) and sensitivity. RESULTS: Among 357 study subjects, 82 (23%) met the gold standard for hospitalized FN. For the claims-based definition including diagnosis codes for neutropenia plus fever in any position (n=28), PPV was 100% and sensitivity was 34% (95% CI: 24–45). For the definition including neutropenia in the primary position (n=54), PPV was 87% (78–95) and sensitivity was 57% (46–68). For the definition including neutropenia in any position (n=71), PPV was 77% (68–87) and sensitivity was 67% (56–77). CONCLUSIONS: Patients hospitalized for chemotherapy-induced FN can be identified in healthcare claims databases–with an acceptable level of mis-classification–using diagnosis codes for neutropenia, or neutropenia plus fever.

Concepts: Medicine, Health insurance, Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Thermoregulation, Hyperthermia, Fever, Febrile neutropenia


Although North American hospitals are switching from tuberculin testing (TST) to interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs), data are limited on the association between occupational exposure and serial QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT) results in healthcare workers (HCWs).

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Healthcare, Health insurance, Patient, United States, Alaska, North America


Pressure ulcers (PU) represent a widespread, painful, and expensive health care problem directly associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and length of hospital stay. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of PU in hospitalised patients in public and private Brazilian institutions and the ulcers' associations with nutritional status and other risk factors.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Health insurance, Health, Epidemiology, Patient, Hospital, Medical statistics


The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which was introduced in 2008 in India, is a social health insurance scheme that aims to improve healthcare access and provide financial risk protection to the poor. In this study, we analyse the determinants of participation and enrolment in the scheme at the level of districts. We used official data on RSBY enrolment, socioeconomic data from the District Level Household Survey 2007-2008, and additional state-level information on fiscal health, political affiliation, and quality of governance. Results from multivariate probit and OLS analyses suggest that political and institutional factors are among the strongest determinants explaining the variation in participation and enrolment in RSBY. In particular, districts in state governments that are politically affiliated with the opposition or neutral parties at the centre are more likely to participate in RSBY, and have higher levels of enrolment. Districts in states with a lower quality of governance, a pre-existing state-level health insurance scheme, or with a lower level of fiscal deficit as compared to GDP, are significantly less likely to participate, or have lower enrolment rates. Among socioeconomic factors, we find some evidence of weak or imprecise targeting. Districts with a higher share of socioeconomically backward castes are less likely to participate, and their enrolment rates are also lower. Finally, districts with more non-poor households may be more likely to participate, although with lower enrolment rates.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Health insurance, Politics, Sociology, Socioeconomics, Public finance, Political party


Taking medications as prescribed is imperative for their effectiveness. In populations such as Medicare, where two thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have at least 2 or more chronic conditions requiring treatment with medications and account for more than 90% of Medicare health care spend, examining ways to improve medication adherence in patients with comorbidities is warranted.

Concepts: Health care, Pharmacology, Medicine, Health insurance, Pharmaceutical drug, Pharmacy, Health science, Diagnosis-related group