What We’re Reading: September Edition

September was certainly a busy month for healthcare news—and not just because of the highly anticipated and awe-inspiring Apple Watch updates. Some of the biggest players in the healthcare industry, including HCA and Cerner, have announced changes in leadership, and we’ve seen healthcare organizations from either end of the spectrum publish survey data and results that pose some interesting questions.

Here are a few stories from September we feel are worth sharing. Happy reading!

More Patients Side Stepping the ED for Low-Acuity Problems
A study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that more patients are choosing to treat low-acuity conditions in lower-cost urgent care centers and retail clinics, decreasing demand for emergency department (ED) services. The shift away from EDs didn’t translate to lower overall utilization, however. Whether an ED or an urgent care center, it is clear that patients are increasingly turning to alternative sources for their non-emergent care needs. As such, healthcare organizations would be wise to consider the ease for which patients can access their facilities for care.

13% of Americans Live in a County with a Shortage of Primary Care Physicians
According to UnitedHealth Group, forty-four million people, or 13 percent of Americans, live in a county with a primary care physician (PCP) shortage, defined as less than one primary care physician per 2,000 people. Stakeholders across the industry are looking for opportunities to increase PCP capacity, including expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. Self-scheduling and referral coordination can also help to optimize providers’ calendars, allowing for more patients to be seen by a single physician.

EHR Design, Interoperability Top List of Physician Pain Points
Nearly 40% of physicians surveyed by the Physician’s Foundation identified the current state of EHR design and interoperability as primary sources of dissatisfaction. This dissatisfaction is nothing new, but maybe the rate of frustrations is still surprising considering vendor’s efforts to make this technology more user-friendly over the years.

For-Profit Hospitals Show Higher Rates of Readmission
The University of Chicago published a study claiming that for-profit hospitals have higher readmission rates for patients across six major diseases compared to nonprofit or public facilities.

MyHealthDirect has also had some news to share this month:

  • Beacon Health System, the regional leader in world-class care throughout North Central Indiana and Southwestern Michigan, announced that it will be using MyHealthDirect to enhance patient access. Learn more about our partnership with Beacon Health System from stories in HIStalk and HealthDataManagement.
  • Our work with The Milwaukee Health Care Partnership was also featured in an interview with PatientEngagementHIT. In the interview, Greg Stadter, the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership’s program director, explores how digital care coordination helped the community group connect patients with primary care physicians, while driving down avoidable emergency department visits.

For an up-to-date look at where MyHealthDirect has been in the press, be sure to check out our ‘In The News’page.