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● Roundup: Disease Management Solutions Better health begins with

better understanding Industry experts discuss disease management solutions.

By Phil Colpas

with healthcare IT vendors scrambling for a piece of the proverbial pie. T ey really have their work cut out for them. According to a National Assessment of Adult Literacy


survey, two in fi ve American adults have diffi culty process- ing health information and services needed to make ap- propriate health decisions. T at’s an estimated 90 million people, and those with poor health literacy also are more likely to have a chronic disease and less likely to get the healthcare they need. T e survey goes on to state that 75 percent of Americans

who reported having a long-term illness had limited health literacy and knew less about their conditions or how to handle symptoms. T e need for awareness and adherence

s the U.S. healthcare model changes from re- warding for quantity to rewarding for quality, disease management is projected to be one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry,

to health literacy principles has become a public health concern, estimated to cost the U.S. economy in the range of $106 billion to $238 billion annually, according to the survey. “T e widespread but often unrecognized public health challenge of health literacy serves as both a warning and a call to action,” says Jack Harris, M.D., vice president of Eli Lilly and Company’s U.S. medical division. “Overcoming health disparities is a transformational and important jour- ney. At Lilly we are working to develop communication and health education that connects with patients in a way that’s meaningful and understandable.” If a chronic disease suff erer doesn’t understand his or her diagnosis or treatment plan, it’s easy to see how that lack of information could lead to recurring hospital readmittances for the same condition. As vendors, hospitals and physician practices formulate their disease management plans, health literacy should be top of mind.

James B. McGee, M.D., co-founder, Decision Simulation

Improved decision making can help prevent readmissions Last year, more than 2,000 hospitals were fi nancially penal-

ized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for excessive readmissions. Many of these readmissions were related to recurring or escalating chronic conditions, such as diabetes or congestive heart failure. Until now, healthcare has focused primarily on responding to immediate problems. New care models, however, require clinical decisions that focus on long-term patient outcomes. T is shift is a signifi cant transformation and requires new ap- proaches to challenges, such as reducing readmissions. Some chronic-condition readmissions are the result of pa- tient behavior; others are the result of decisions by care teams. To address these issues, healthcare systems should consider training programs to enhance decision making. Web-based

6 March 2013

clinical simulation platforms off er one proven approach. For care teams, clinical simulations sharpen decision mak- ing in a safe environment, through deliberate practice. T ey ensure providers understand how to apply the correct protocols, in the right situations and with the right patients, to manage chronic illness. Simulations provide immediate, individualized feedback that demonstrates the impact of both correct and incorrect care decisions. Simulations can also help providers clearly outline to pa- tients the importance of treatment plan adherence. Customized case scenarios can illustrate the consequences of non-adherence, including negative eff ects on quality of life. T rough proper education and training, providers can ensure that patients are better prepared for managing chronic disease. Although simulation training for care teams and patients

cannot prevent all readmissions, it is an important component of any program. Simulations that leverage adaptive learning can benefi t broad groups of learners, cost-eff ectively allowing them to quickly reach competency. Leveraging Web-based clinical simulations can help hospitals avoid short-term fi nancial penal- ties, while improving long-term outcomes and quality of care.


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