HEALTH

Rexam’s Pill Timer seeks to improve medication adherence

BY Alaric DeArment

PERRYSBURG, Ohio Rexam is marketing a programmable pill timer that fits on its prescription vials that was developed under a partnership with Med Time Technology.

 

The two companies announced Tuesday the introduction of the Pill Timer, which uses software that can be programmed with audio and visual alerts to help people properly take their prescription medications. The Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System is one of the first healthcare organizations to adopt the product.

 

 

“The use of the Pill Timer will enable Henry Ford to help chronically ill patients manage their medication more effectively,” Henry Ford director of pharmacy Steve Duda said. “It’s an important breakthrough for our patients.”

 

 

Every year, poor medication management is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $300 billion and claim 300,000 lives, Rexam said.

 

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Gallup study shows clinics know how to ‘Take Care’

BY DSN STAFF

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. —Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, built its retail-based clinics around a patient-centric model, and the success of that model is evident in the results of recent Gallup research.

The research on customers and customer engagement found that Take Care Clinics ranked among the top 10% of all organizations that Gallup measures globally in engaging their patients and customers. The research is based on a measure of customer engagement Gallup has developed that quantifies the strength and nature of a customer’s connection to a company. Gallup’s metric assesses the emotional bonds of confidence, integrity, pride and passion that reflect a company’s customer relationships. Gallup has found that without a strong emotional bond, satisfaction is meaningless.

The data found:

Take Care Clinics received the highest satisfaction ratings from more than 9-out-of-every-10 patients, compared with the typical company in Gallup’s database that receives the highest satisfaction from just 1-in-every-3 customers;

More than 9-out-of-every-10 patients strongly felt that the nurse practitioner or physician assistant spent enough time with them, and a similar number strongly felt that the nurse practitioner or physician assistant carefully listened to them and explained things in a way that was easy to understand; and

Take Care Clinics strongly engaged more than 3-outof-every-4 patients. The typical company in Gallup’s database strongly engages less than 1-in-5 customers.

The results of the study are important for several reasons. In today’s consumer-driven healthcare environment, simply satisfying a patient is not enough. Patients want to feel a personal connection; they want to be engaged. Furthermore, the role of retail-based clinics will become increasingly important since healthcare reform means that about 30 million people who currently are uninsured will have health-care coverage, and this comes against the backdrop of a physician shortage and overflowing emergency rooms.

The opinions of more than 50,000 Take Care Clinic patient respondents have been captured to date via on-site kiosks at more than 350 clinic locations. Gallup validated these results through a nationwide, random outbound phone study. Results of that study indicated that the on-site kiosk data provided an accurate portrait of Take Care Clinics’ patient-engagement performance.

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HHS: States must ask for more Medicaid funds

BY Jim Frederick

When President Barack Obama signed an emergency federal spending bill Aug. 13, it gave cash-strapped states a chance to share $16.1 billion to extend an enhanced Medicaid spending program, not to mention $10 billion in stopgap funds for teachers in danger of being laid off. But the states still have to ask for it.

That was the message from Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to all 50 state governors. In an Aug. 16 letter, Sebelius told every state chief executive that the emergency spending measure “can stave off the deep cuts to Medicaid that many had feared, and sustain jobs in hospitals, health centers and communities across the country.” However, she added, “these funds are only available for your state if you request them within 45 days of enactment, or by Sept. 24, 2010.”

The spending bill extends for six months the enhanced federal medical assistance percentage. “The FMAP increase was initially authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act … and is set to expire this December,” the HHS secretary told the governors. “Under the new law, states that request these funds will receive a 3.2 percentage point increase in their FMAP from January to March 2011, and a half percentage point increase from April to June 2011. Additional FMAP increases are available for each calendar quarter during this period for states with high unemployment rates,” Sebelius added.

“I encourage you to take advantage of extended Medicaid support available to you through the Education Jobs and Medical Assistance Act,” Sebelius told the governors. “This new law, along with the Affordable Care Act, will help support jobs and build a healthcare system with lower costs, more choices and higher-quality health care for all Americans.”

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