Here are some other local, state or national stories we are reading that may impact you, your practice or your patients.
State Lawmakers Eye Federal Dollars To Boost Mental Health Counseling By Peers | It’s 1 p.m. on a balmy Oakland afternoon as residents of Great Expectations Residential Care, a home for people with mental illness, gather in an activity room for a game of bingo. Lee Frierson, an unpaid volunteer, introduces himself as he and his team leader, Charlie Jones, unpack chips, soda, batteries and shampoo that they will hand out as prizes. “I’m Lee with Reach Out,” Frierson says. “I’m a peer. I suffer from depression. It helps me to help you guys.” “And I’m Charlie the angel,” Jones says. “We go to board-and-cares and psychiatric and wellness facilities to inspire hope and model recovery.” A few rounds into the game, Frierson calls B-5, and a dark-haired man shouts, “Bingo!” “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” Frierson calls back, prompting chuckles. What unfolds in this room is not exactly therapy, but it is something that mental health advocates and research suggest can be healing in its own right: people who have struggled with mental illness helping others who are experiencing similar struggles. Frierson and Jones are former mental health patients who now work with the Reach Out program, part of the nonprofit Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients, which provides what is called peer support.
Potential for AI tools in healthcare lies in the long game | The potential for artificial intelligence tools in healthcare is often overhyped, but its long-term impact should not be underestimated. That's according to artificial intelligence expert Anthony Chang, M.D., a speaker at the recent HIMSS event "Machine Learning & AI for Healthcare" in Boston. Healthcare organizations anxiously awaiting results from machine learning and AI tools should prepare themselves: The real pay-off won't come until much later, he said. Chang is a pediatric cardiologist who serves as chief intelligence and innovation officer at the Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange County, Calif. He believes industry stakeholders have only tapped the surface forAI and machine learning in healthcare, and stressed the importance of balancing the potential for AI with the reality of what AI can do right now. "The best thing is to have a tempered excitement about AI, and, at the same time, realize that we tend to over expect from technology in the short term and under expect the dividends in the long term," he said.
Why You Should Take A Peek At Your Doctor’s Notes On Your Health | When Pamela DeSalvo read the clinical note from her doctor’s visit, the words on the page hit her hard: “clinically morbidly obese.” She knew she was overweight, but seeing those three words together shocked her. It also inspired her to start losing weight. “I needed to see it in black and white, what I actually in my heart already knew. It forced me to get honest with myself,” DeSalvo said. “Reading that note saved my life.” Studies show that, indeed, reading your doctor’s notes can improve your health. DeSalvo lives in Metuchen, N.J., and works in health information technology. In the years after reading her doctor’s notes, DeSalvo kept that experience in mind as she helped Atrium Health implement a system that allows doctors to share clinical notes. Many patients go home with a summary of their office visit. That recap often includes a list of medications or reminders to schedule a follow-up. The full doctor’s note has many more details —all the stuff the physician types into the computer during and after your medical appointment. Your medical history. The complaint that brought you to the office. Sometimes, physicians write down exactly what patients say. Mixed in are billing codes and the doctor’s thoughts about what might be happening with the patient.
Out-of-pocket costs rising even as patients transition to lower-cost care settings | A new TransUnion Healthcare analysis has found that most patients likely felt a bigger pinch to their wallets as out-of-pocket costs across all settings of care increased in 2018. The new findings were made public yesterday [June 25] at the 2019 Healthcare Financial Management Association Annual Conference in Orlando. The analysis reveals that patients experienced annual increases of up to 12% in their out-of-pocket responsibilities for inpatient, outpatient and emergency department care last year. In 2017, the average inpatient cost was $4,068; the average outpatient cost was $990; and the average emergency department cost was $577. In 2018, the average inpatient cost was $4,659; the average outpatient cost was $1,109; and the average emergency department cost was $617.
Telemedicine apps are thriving because working moms love the convenience of their smartphones | When Laika Kayani started to lose her voice late one night last year, she picked up her iPhone and got connected to a doctor through a video-chat service called American Well. Kayani, who works at a health-tech company in San Francisco, used the app because her young son and husband were asleep and there were no clinics open at that late hour. It was a fast and efficient way for her to get some answers and peace of mind. Telemedicine, as this burgeoning practice is known, is gaining particular traction with working mothers like Kayani, who are juggling child care with a full-time job and struggle to find time to go to the doctor unless it’s truly an emergency. “If there’s a convenient option that I don’t need to spend extra on, I’m open to exploring it,” Kayani said. Many such services are covered by employers or health plans.