The Rundown | Week of 4.15.2019

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Sugar Label Could Save Billions (And Lives)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has mandated manufacturers label foods and beverages containing added sugars. A study published in Circulation highlights the public health and economic impact of the measure. Researchers estimate the label could prevent or postpone approximately one million cases of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes over the next 20 years. The labeling policy could also prevent three million cases of cardiovascular disease. The improved health would save an estimated $31 billion in healthcare costs as well as $61.9 billion in societal costs, such as informal care and lost productivity.
>> Read More: Cost-Effectiveness of the US Food and Drug Administration Added Sugar Labeling Policy for Improving Diet and Health

Digital Health Investments Strong — For Now

In a recent survey from Venrock, 92 percent of respondents predicted the creation of healthcare IT companies will continue or increase. Talent and hiring were the primary challenges, while funding was the least concerning. Researchers noted, “While people are upbeat on the sector overall, most are pessimistic on specific deals.” Respondents deemed “unicorns,” startups valued at more than $1 billion, as overvalued. Finally, respondents were optimistic that drug prices will lower through bipartisan laws, though “the pharma industry is unlikely to do it voluntarily.”
>> Read More: 2019 Healthcare Prognosis

Capitation Results in Better Quality, Lower Costs

According to a recent report, clinical quality improves for commercially insured patients when their providers share financial risk with payers in a paid capitation model. Patients in capitated models were 11 percent more likely to use preventive screenings. The out-of-pocket costs were also 60 percent lower for patients cared for by risk-sharing providers. Researchers concluded: “Considering both clinical quality and clinically risk and geography adjusted the total cost of care, risk sharing appears to offer better value than fee-for-service arrangements.”
>> Read More: How Does Provider FInancial Risk Sharing Affect Cost and Quality?

Reading Reviews Raises Patient Satisfaction

A study from PatientPop found that addressing patients’ negative feedback doubles the rate of patient satisfaction. Three-quarters of the 839 respondents look online to find information about a doctor, dentist, or medical care. Nearly 70 percent of respondents “consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important” when choosing a healthcare provider. The most active age group seeking providers are patients between the ages of 30 and 44 and are more likely to check reviews but less likely to post reviews.
>> Read More: The Patient Perspective 2019: Online Reputation Survey

Aggressive Treatment Still Common in Late-Stage Cancer

A retrospective analysis shows aggressive therapies were as high as 30 percent for cancer patients who died within one month of diagnosis. Eleven percent of patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer received chemotherapy, and 18.7 percent underwent radiation therapy. Researchers noted that, overall, aggressive therapies declined between 2004 and 2014. Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH, lead author of the study, told MedPage Today: “Hospice care and palliation are options that should be discussed for these types of patients.”
>> Read More: Treatment Patterns Among De-Novo Metastatic Cancer Patients Who Died Within One Month of Diagnosis

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