In the News: August 3–9

US Has First Genetically Modified Human Embryos via CRISPR

A recent Nature article made waves in the scientific community, as researchers at Oregon Health & Science University became the first to modify human embryos in the United States using the gene-editing technique CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). The researchers genetically modified human embryos to correct a mutation that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that can remain undetected until it causes sudden cardiac death.

Despite some media headlines indicating the imminent arrival of “designer babies,” scientists “see the paper as a significant scientific, but not necessarily medical advance,” as summarized by the highly regarded Knoepfler lab at UC Davis. That said, it may not be too early to consider the ethical use of CRISPR, as researchers continue to take incremental, yet significant steps in advancing the possibility of modifying human embryos. To learn more, listen to Sg2 experts Henry Soch and Justin Cassidy, PhD, discuss CRISPR in the Sg2 netcast: Health Tech Weekly: The CRISPR Conundrum.

VA to Roll Out Virtual Health App, Expanding Provider Access

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the rollout of VA Video Connect, a telehealth app that will connect veterans from any mobile or web-based device to health care providers from all VA facilities. VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, also announced that they will be issuing a regulation that will allow “VA providers to provide telehealth services from anywhere in the country to veterans anywhere in the country.”

While virtual health tools are becoming increasingly utilized by the health care industry, many organizations struggle to transform siloed pilots into one comprehensive program. Join Sg2 virtual health expert Chris Pagano and Director of Telemedicine Programs at Lurie Children’s Hospital Katie Bohling for the August 30 Sg2 webinar: Virtual Health Update 2017, where they will explore the process of turning a handful of telehealth projects into a business unit.

High-Need Adults Experience Care Variances by State

A recent analysis of the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey data by the Commonwealth Fund found significant size differences in high-need populations (those with multiple chronic diseases) and their care experiences among different states in the US. In states that expanded Medicaid, the uninsured rate for high-need adults was lower than in nonexpansion states; high-need adults were also found less likely to have unmet medical needs in states that expanded Medicaid than in those that didn’t. In all states, high-need adults delayed needed care and were less satisfied with care than adults overall.

Patients with multiple chronic diseases drive service utilization and costs. Sg2 believes that organizations need a systematic, data-driven approach to chronic care management that can target efforts to where they will have the most impact. To learn about how to expand and elevate your chronic care management strategy, read the June 2016 Sg2 Letter: Chronic Care Strategy—A Cure for What Ails Us?

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As of February 11, 2016, Vizient, Inc. has completed its purchase of MedAssets Sg2 and spend and clinical resource management segments from Pamplona Capital Management, LLC. MedAssets revenue cycle business will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pamplona Capital Management LLP.

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