As reported in the Daily Briefing, tools that allow congestive heart failure (HF) patients to take personal readings at home and then submit the data electronically to their physician or medical case manager are gaining popularity among health insurance companies as a way to cut costs, the Wall Street Journal reports.
At least four major health insurers—Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and WellPoint's Anthem Blue Cross in California—are conducting trials or have announced plans for programs that allow patients to wirelessly and remotely send data, such as weight, blood pressure and other vital sign readings, to a health care professional for tracking and follow-up purposes.
Insurers May Back Remote Heart Failure Care
As reported by the Daily Briefing, patients who undergo coronary bypass grafting (CABG) at hospitals that perform the fewest CABG procedures incurred 18.3% higher costs than those who underwent the procedure at higher-volume facilities, according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine.
For the study, researchers from the University of California-San Francisco assessed data on 81,289 CABG patients cared for by 1,451 physicians at 164 hospitals between 2003 and 2005. Specifically, the researchers analyzed three data measures: hospital volume, physician volume and quality measures—including antimicrobial use on day of surgery and administration of beta-blockers, aspirin or statins following surgery. Overall, 12% of patients received all the recommended treatments, MedPage Today notes.
CABG Costs Less at Higher-Volume Hospitals
According to a study published in the July issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, facilitating direct transport of patients from the pre-hospital setting to the cath lab can reduce door to balloon time from 64 minutes to 22 minutes during daytime hours and 86 minutes to 44 minutes after hours.
To expedite pre-hospital triage and reduce ED delays for STEMI patients requiring PCI, physicians at United Hospital empowered EMS personnel to interpret the prehospital-ECG and then activate the cardiac catheterization lab without physician overreads or computer algorithm confirmation of ECG results. Three critical factors to the success were identified:
Bypassing ED Reduces D2B Time by More Than 40 Minutes