In the News: Dec 5–12

Study Reveals Key Takeaways for Opioid Alternatives

A FierceHealthcare article discusses the recent Partnering for a Healthier America study that explored alternatives to opioid prescriptions by examining consumer priorities and preferences for pain treatment. The study comes from a concerted effort to reduce the number of opioid-related substance disorders, which sat at a staggering 1.7 million people in 2017. Fortunately, researchers found two-thirds of respondents were open to trying opioid alternatives—even if they are less-effective—suggesting room for change in the culture around prescription drugs.

There is an impetus for health care providers and payers to search for new ways to combat the opioid crisis, especially when 63% of respondents said they expect the health care system to take charge in fixing the issue. Companies like Cigna, Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield have publicly committed to tackling the crisis and doing their part to research meaningful solutions. The study suggests insurance companies willing to combat the crisis could take the lead in ensuring coverage and access to effective nonopioid options for pain management.

Responding to the opioid crisis with improved quality, costs and care coordination is a facet in excelling in value-based care. To learn more about strategies to help address the opioid crisis and produce dividends for value-focused hospitals and health systems, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Opioid Stewardship Programs for Surgical Patients Produce Strategic Value Dividends.

Recommended Vaccines During Pregnancy Are Underused

A recent JAMA article highlights a CDC report that found approximately 65% of pregnant US women are not vaccinated for both influenza and pertussis. The CDC recommends women receive the pertussis vaccine in the early part of their third trimester and the influenza vaccine at any point during their pregnancy. By receiving these vaccines during pregnancy, 79% of whooping cough cases can be prevented in infants and infants’ hospitalization risk due to influenza is reduced by 72%.

According to the CDC’s report, 54% of pregnant women receive the influenza vaccine and 55% of pregnant women receive the pertussis vaccine individually; however, just over one-third of pregnant women receive both. According to the 2,100 women surveyed, 75% said their providers offered vaccination or a referral for vaccination, but approximately 33% of women who were offered both vaccines did not receive them. The most frequent barriers to vaccination cited by pregnant women were concern about the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccine and the lack of awareness that a pertussis vaccine was needed during each pregnancy.

Women’s health service lines provide core services to a crucial patient demographic. To learn more about utilization and trends in obstetrics, gynecology and gender-specific medicine, please watch the on-demand Sg2 webinar Women’s Health Landscape 2019.

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