In the News: May 16–23

Two Health Systems Standardize Sepsis Care

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlights how Ascension Health and Baylor Scott & White (BSW) developed standardized sepsis care to reduce both mortality and costs. Sepsis, an infection often noticed too late given there is no specific way to diagnose it, is an inflammatory response that causes organs to shut down.

The health systems were interested in improving sepsis outcomes, including ALOS and mortality. Ascension’s strategy focused on reducing central line infections and reducing and standardizing medication use, which lowered sepsis patient mortality by 6.5% and saved the health system $9.3 million from June 2018 to March 2019. BSW developed evidence-based care bundles for sepsis patients to improve efficiency, ultimately causing mortality to decline by 30% and LOS to decline by 20%.

In 2017, approximately 1.6 million people were diagnosed with sepsis, and Sg2 forecasts inpatient septicemia discharges to grow by 21% over the next decade. To learn more about epidemiological trends in infectious diseases, including septicemia, watch the on-demand Sg2 webinar Medicine Update 2017: Transmissible Strategies for Infectious Diseases.

Behavioral Health Care Access Differs by Insurance Type

A recent Health Affairs study compared 3 insurance sources: Medicaid, Marketplace coverage and employer-sponsored insurance, finding that regardless of insurance source, adults with psychological distress reported a higher level of difficulty in accessing health care when compared to adults without psychological distress.

Although individuals with Medicaid coverage were less likely to report health-related financial strain compared to those with employer-sponsored insurance, recent research shows that there are many potential barriers to accessing mental and behavioral health specialists, partially due to narrow provider networks within Medicaid and Marketplace health plans.

While the need for mental and behavioral health services increases, there continues to be a lack of necessary coverage for individuals requiring them. Limited access to outpatient services can potentially increase the severity of these illnesses if they are left untreated. To learn more about how your organization can prepare for the increasing demand for behavioral health services, please register for Sg2’s upcoming service line webinar Behavioral Health Landscape 2019.

EHRs Can Help Address Social Needs in Primary Care

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlights a Medical Care study that aimed to understand the feasibility of implementing a systematic clinical strategy that uses EHR technology to help screen, record and refer patients that would benefit from social services.

The study’s authors found that between August 2017 and January 2018, the use of the THRIVE screening tool at Boston Medical Center resulted in 70% of new primary care patients being screened. 82% of the patients who screened positive for a social need had ICD-10 codes added to their diagnosis, with 86% receiving an automatically generated resource referral guide. The study suggests that EHRs can enable screening and referral for social needs in primary care.

Screening for patients that require a nonmedical intervention is a necessary step to identifying the patient population that may have unmet social needs. For case studies on how two safety-net providers ensured access to social services, read the Sg2 Expert Insight Extending Health Care Beyond the Medical Campus: Addressing the Social Determinants of Health.

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