Medicare dashboard advances ACA goals for chronic conditions
WASHINGTON — A new Medicare Chronic Conditions Dashboard announced today by Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), furthers the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s goals for health promotion and the prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions.
“More than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, and that number will rise with an aging population,” said acting administrator Tavenner. “The Affordable Care Act addresses these health problems by making people with Medicare eligible for recommended preventive care without Part B deductibles or copayments. The healthcare law also promotes better healthcare coordination and management of chronic conditions through analysis of current data.”
The dashboard offers researchers, physicians, public health professionals, and policymakers an easy-to-use tool to get current data on where multiple chronic conditions occur, which services they require, and how much Medicare spends helping beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.
It is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Initiative on Multiple Chronic Conditions, established in 2009.
“The Dashboard is a major step forward to help people living with multiple chronic conditions,” said assistant secretary for Health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. “This web-based tool provides new and critical data that can help us develop better patient-centered approaches to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and maximize quality of life.”
In calendar year 2011, spending for Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions was about $276 billion, about 93 percent of all Medicare spending. Analytics based on Dashboard data can be an important tool to support policies to help slow the growth in costs for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in years ahead.
The Dashboard helps users find, analyze, and apply summarized data from CMS’ Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse, as well as promote better understanding of overlapping medical conditions related to overall patient health, helping to identify common concurrent conditions and areas where prevention and treatment can improve care and lower costs.
CMS’s Medicare Chronic Conditions Dashboard may be accessed at http://www.ccwdata.org/business-intelligence/chronic-conditions/index.htm.
Study: Text-message reminders do not boost flu shots in pregnant women
NEW YORK — According to a study by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, text-message reminders do not increase the likelihood an expecting mother will receive a flu shot, Reuters reported this week.
In the study, "Improving Influenza Vaccination Rates in Pregnancy Through Text Messaging: A Randomized Controlled Trial," and appearing in the journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers sent weekly text messages to 158 pregnant women to take prenatal vitamins and to focus their diets on healthier, nutritious foods, but half of the women, who were mostly poor, black, uninsured and had previously declined to receive a flu shot, were also sent text-message reminders to get vaccinated.
Researchers found that despite the additional encouragement, only around 30% of women in either group received flu shots.
Other studies focused on the degree to which text messages can influence a person’s medical behavior have shown positive results, like helping patients quit smoking and managing chronic health conditions Reuters points out. But it seems not all text messaging works.
"Text messaging may be effective in some contexts and not in others," lead study author Dr. Michelle Moniz, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, told Reuters Health.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends all pregnant women get flu shots.
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Ahold appoints former IBM executive as chief information officer
CARLISLE, Pa. — Ahold USA has appointed Paul Scorza as its chief information officer, the supermarket operator said Friday.
Ahold USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal Ahold, said Scorza would assume the new position on Monday, based in Quincy, Mass., overseeing all Ahold USA information management functions, with a focus on systems and business processes to improve efficiency, effectiveness, controls and operations, reporting to EVP finance and CFO Paula Price.
Scorza previously worked for IBM for 30 years, starting as a programmer, project manager, director and VP.
"Paul will play a crucial role in supporting the Ahold USA leadership team, helping to modernize our technology tool set and simplify the way we do business to position the company for future growth," Price said.
Ahold USA operates the Stop & Shop, Giant-Carlisle and Giant-Landover supermarket banners and the Peapod online grocery service.
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