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Concept: Health insurance

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The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults accumulate moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in bouts of ≥10 minutes for substantial health benefits. To what extent the same amount of MVPA accumulated in bouts versus sporadically reduces mortality risk remains unclear.

Concepts: Health insurance

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Risk sharing arrangements between hospitals and payers together with penalties imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are driving an interest in decreasing early readmissions. There are a number of published risk models predicting 30 day readmissions for particular patient populations, however they often exhibit poor predictive performance and would be unsuitable for use in a clinical setting. In this work we describe and compare several predictive models, some of which have never been applied to this task and which outperform the regression methods that are typically applied in the healthcare literature. In addition, we apply methods from deep learning to the five conditions CMS is using to penalize hospitals, and offer a simple framework for determining which conditions are most cost effective to target.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Medicare, Health insurance, Hospital, Prediction, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid

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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

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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

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To estimate obesity prevalence among healthcare professionals in England and compare prevalence with those working outside of the health services.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Healthcare, Public health, Health insurance, Health, Massachusetts

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Background The 340B Drug Pricing Program entitles qualifying hospitals to discounts on outpatient drugs, increasing the profitability of drug administration. By tying the program eligibility of hospitals to their Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) adjustment percentage, which reflects the proportion of hospitalized patients who are low-income, the program is intended to expand resources for underserved populations but provides no direct incentives for hospitals to use financial gains to enhance care for low-income patients. Methods We used Medicare claims and a regression-discontinuity design, taking advantage of the threshold for program eligibility among general acute care hospitals (DSH percentage, >11.75%), to isolate the effects of the program on hospital-physician consolidation (i.e., acquisition of physician practices or employment of physicians by hospitals) and on the outpatient administration of parenteral drugs by hospital-owned facilities in three specialties in which parenteral drugs are frequently used. For low-income patients, we also assessed the effects of the program on the provision of care by hospitals and on mortality. Results Hospital eligibility for the 340B Program was associated with 2.3 more hematologist-oncologists practicing in facilities owned by the hospital, or 230% more hematologist-oncologists than expected in the absence of the program (P=0.02), and with 0.9 (or 900%) more ophthalmologists per hospital (P=0.08) and 0.1 (or 33%) more rheumatologists per hospital (P=0.84). Program eligibility was associated with significantly higher numbers of parenteral drug claims billed by hospitals for Medicare patients in hematology-oncology (90% higher, P=0.001) and ophthalmology (177% higher, P=0.03) but not rheumatology (77% higher, P=0.12). Program eligibility was associated with lower proportions of low-income patients in hematology-oncology and ophthalmology and with no significant differences in hospital provision of safety-net or inpatient care for low-income groups or in mortality among low-income residents of the hospitals' local service areas. Conclusions The 340B Program has been associated with hospital-physician consolidation in hematology-oncology and with more hospital-based administration of parenteral drugs in hematology-oncology and ophthalmology. Financial gains for hospitals have not been associated with clear evidence of expanded care or lower mortality among low-income patients. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and others.).

Concepts: Medicine, Health insurance, Patient, Hospital, Surgery, Drug, Physician, Illness

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Despite the well-recognised health benefits of fresh fruit consumption, substantial uncertainties remain about its potential effects on incident diabetes and, among those with diabetes, on risks of death and major vascular complications.

Concepts: Health insurance, Nutrition, Diabetes mellitus, The Canon of Medicine, Hypoglycemia, Uncertainty

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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

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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