In the News: March 22–29
Smartwatches Could Improve Care for Cardiac Patients
A recent Modern Healthcare article discusses a team from the University of California-San Francisco’s Division of Cardiology that found a machine-learning algorithm paired with an Apple Watch could effectively serve as a continuous sensor to detect atrial fibrillation. Several research groups are studying the heart-monitoring capabilities of smartwatches, including a newly launched Apple Heart Study at Stanford that also provides participants with free telemedicine consultations when atrial fibrillation is detected.
Usage of wearables to track and monitor vital signs and health data is rapidly expanding. As researchers continue to develop the evidence base, hospitals—cardiology programs in particular—should prepare for future implications of wearables across the System of CARE. For further information on wearables, read the Sg2 report, The Next-Generation Technology Platform.
Acquiring Physician Practices Bolsters MA Plans
A Forbes article highlights a recent trend: insurers purchasing physician practices to effectively manage the care of Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries. Insurers look for practices with the necessary staff, technology and information systems to manage complex elderly care as value-based care becomes increasingly important. Owning strong physician practices allows insurers to market their brand and grow their MA business by signing up more members.
This recent wave of insurer activity around MA is a reaction to enrollment growth of MA plans—the number of beneficiaries has increased by 71% since 2010. Sg2 expects this growth to continue, which means health systems must adopt a strategy for this segment as MA becomes an increasingly large part of their revenue. For more on key drivers of MA growth and essential competencies for success, read the new Sg2 report, Medicare Advantage: Too Big to Ignore.
Suicides Remain Third Leading Cause of Youth Deaths
A recently published CDC report found that suicide is still the third leading cause of death among persons aged 10 to 17 years, and in Utah, the age adjusted suicide rate was higher than the national rate during the past decade. Collaboration between the CDC and the Utah Department of Health identified precipitating circumstances of mental health, relationship troubles, family conflict and experience with forms of violence to be common among the Utah youth victims. This data suggest there are opportunities for prevention strategies to promote mental health, especially among at-risk youth.
Providing access to behavioral health services continues to be a challenge for many providers due to limited financial resources, staffing shortages and strained relations with primary care delivery models. Sg2 believes that innovative care models emphasizing expanded access to pediatric behavioral health can meet the increasing demand. To learn more about strategies used to address rising behavioral health care demand and service gaps, watch the Sg2 on-demand webinar, Pediatric Update 2017: Deeper Dive into Pediatric Behavioral Health.