Dispatches from the Field – January 2, 2008

2 01 2008

Hospitals Slow in Heart Cases, Research Finds

In nearly a third of cases of sudden cardiac arrest in the hospital, the staff takes too long to respond, increasing the risk of brain damage and death, a new study finds.

Researchers estimate that the delays contribute to thousands of deaths a year in the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/03/health/research/03heart.html?ex=1357016400&en=3d9a627e28ec54c9&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Fewer Small Firms Offer Health Insurance

Fewer small employers offered health insurance this year, despite the widespread availability of new, lower-cost high-deductible insurance plans, a survey released today by benefit firm Mercer shows.

Advocates of the high-deductible plans touted them as one solution to the growing number of uninsured, expecting the plans to appeal to small employers, who would continue to offer health insurance as a result.

“That’s not happening,” says Blaine Bos, a Mercer partner and one of the study authors. “In fact, the reverse is happening.”

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/insurance/2007-11-19-health-insure_N.htm

 

Students Face Health Issues Without Insurance After College

Patrick Rastelli ’08 had hoped to take a year off after graduating from Brown this spring. But after some thought, Rastelli decided to travel last summer instead, and when he graduates, he wants to get a job as quickly as possible. He’s not seeking prestige or money, but rather something most college students take for granted: health insurance.

http://media.www.browndailyherald.com/media/storage/paper472/news/2007/10/29/CampusNews/Graduating.To.The.Ranks.Of.The.Uninsured-3061887.shtml

Report Links Higher Rates of Uninsured and Suicide

The higher the percentage of residents in a state who say they can’t afford health care, the greater the prevalence of serious depression and the higher the suicide rate in that state, suggests a report released to USA TODAY.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-11-28-healthcare-suicide_N.htm





The Medical Home

28 06 2007

The Commonwealth Fund released this study that connects having a “Medical Home” with improved health outcomes for minorities. While creating a medical home for all consumers is an important goal, I have to ask myself if this is an area where we should be putting more thought into enabling technology. The obvious items like secure e-mail and access to personal health records are one piece, but is there a way to enable even more accessible forms of communication to remind consumers when it is time for tests, exams, etc.? Let’s talk about auto dialing systems for phones, proactive data mining so we know who is not coming in and generating bulk mailings and coming up with tools to empower case managers and clinicians to work with patients remotely. For example, I remember somewhere along the way hearing about behavioral health specialists doing therapy over the phone in order to reach rural patients. We need a medical home for patients to be sure, and we have to address physical access to facilities as well, but are we leveraging technology enough?