The Rundown | Week of 5.20.2019

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Medical Records Lack Patient Accessibility

Slightly more than half of patients were offered online access to their medical records, according to a new report from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT. This percentage remains essentially unchanged from the previous year. However, nearly 60 percent of those with access to their viewed it within the past year. Donald Rucker, MD, the Office’s chief, stressed the importance of the “app economy” to improve accessibility. Dr. Rucker proposed third-party interfaces could improve interoperability.
>> Read More: Trends in Individuals’ Access, Viewing and Use of Online Medical Records and Other Technology for Health Needs: 2017–2018

Report: ACOs with Single EHR Coordinate Care Better

A study from the Office of the Inspector General found that accountable care organizations (ACOs) coordinate patients’ care more efficiently when the organizations use a single electronic health record (EHR) system. Researchers analyzed six ACOs that had spent more than three years. Those ACOs on a single EHR platform were better able to share real-time data and access a portal. However, integrating out-of-network data was a universal challenge for all parties. Researchers noted that adopting a shared EHR has drawbacks, such as costs and time spent training personnel and transferring records.
>> Read More: Using Health IT for Care Coordination: Insights From Six Medicare Accountable Care Organizations

Youth’s Mental Health Claims Doubled in a Decade

A recent analysis by Fair Health discovered behavioral health diagnoses in those younger than 22 doubled from 2007 to 2017. The 108 percent increase in diagnoses accounted for 2.7 percent of all medical claims. Anxiety rose by 441 percent. Researchers correlated the increases to the Mental Health Parity Act, which was passed in 2008, and a 2010 Affordable Care Act policy. Interestingly, a recent study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health found that adults “who had close contact with natural spaces during their childhood could have better mental health than those who had less contact.”
>> Read More: Spotlight on National Behavioral Health Trends

Poor Diet Linked to Cancer Diagnoses

A study published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum estimated that more than 80,000 new cancer diagnoses in 2015 were the result of a poor diet. Researchers broke diet down into seven factors: a low intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and dairy as well as a high intake of processed meats, red meat, and high-sugar beverages. From there, researchers ran a comparative risk assessment based on data collected between 2013 and 2016. The rates of dietary-related cancers were especially high in men, the middle-aged, and racial/ethnic minorities.
>> Read More: Preventable Cancer Burden Associated with Poor Diet in the United States

More Practices Interested in Downside Risk

A recent survey from the American Medical Group Association found that nearly three-quarters of physician groups are interested in pursuing downside-risk contracts. This number is up from 42 percent in 2015. Furthermore, 56 percent of “member revenues were risk-based in the federal setting” and 28 percent “of revenues were risk-based in the commercial setting.” Federal fee-for-service payments declined by 20 percent between 2015 — the first year of the survey — and 2018. One of the largest hurdles is commercial payers’ lack of or limited offering of risk products. Data submission and issues with physician compensation were additional obstacles.
>> Read More: Taking Risk, 4.0: Clearing a Pathway to Value-Based Care

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