April 11, 2017
Jen Marie Robustelli

How 4 Systems Cut Costs with Tech | Oncology Download April 11, 2017

How 4 Healthcare Systems Cut Costs with Tech—The Transformation Imperative—Immunotherapy Has Opposite Effect for Some Cancer Patients

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Every Tuesday morning, we send the Oncology Download newsletter out to thousands of oncology professionals. The newsletter is designed to be skimmable for the busy professional—our team curates 3-5 top stories from policy, research, industry, and mainstream media sources, and summarize these stories with takeaways geared toward cancer professionals dedicated to using data and technology to improve the lives of cancer patients. 

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How four healthcare systems are using tech-based solutions to cut costs

An evaluation of 10 hospital systems that were awarded funding by CMS quantified millions in cost savings by integrating technology and data analytics. 

Here are the case study highlights from Fierce Healthcare:

  • Christus Health System: By combining nurse training with mobile device technology designed to help clinicians recognize early warning signs of high-risk conditions like sepsis and congestive heart failure, Christus Health System in Texas reduced Medicare costs by $1.31 million among hospitalized patients and $2.2 million among long-term post-acute care patients.
  • Mayo Clinic: Incorporating a cloud-based analytics system to synthesize patient information within EHRs, lab results and physician orders, clinicians at the Minnesota-based system were able to prioritize ICU patients based on their needs, saving more than $4.2 million in Medicare costs during a two-year period.
  • Emory University Healthcare: An eICU program at the Atlanta-based system saved $4.6 million during a 15-month span by ensuring patients were healthy enough to be discharged home rather than to long-term care settings.
  • Mount Sinai Health System: With the help of a clinical decision support tool embedded into the New York system’s EHR, Mt. Sinai saved more than $7.5 million in Medicare costs by reducing inpatient admissions and return visits to the ED for patients 65 and older.

The Transformation Imperative: Why the social and economic forces disrupting healthcare are here to stay

A Modern Healthcare report is out for your long read of the week, covering how innovators are driving improvements in everything from operational efficiency, to quality, safety and outcomes of care, to patient relationships. 

Quickly skim over the value sections (yes, it’s The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care, but you likely already knew all that…) and dive into “The Promise of Big Data,” where things get much more interesting: “When [Kathy Halamka] was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the end of 2011, she and her husband—who happens to be Beth Israel Deaconess’ John Halamka—turned to data to come up with a treatment plan, which included a reduced chemotherapy regimen. Using the Shared Health Research Information Network search tool, her providers went through 6.1 million records to look at similar patients’ outcomes from various treatments and choose the one that would best serve her. Nine months after Halamka’s diagnosis, she was cancer-free.”

Cancer researchers worry immunotherapy may hasten growth of tumors in some patients

Despite a very famous success story, immunotherapy drugs are not a miracle cure for all patients.

This Stat article seems to be popping up all over newsletters and social feeds lately. A recent study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research of 155 cases studied, eight patients who had been fairly stable before immunotherapy treatment declined rapidly, failing the therapy within two months. Six saw their tumors enter a hyperactive phase where the tumors grew by between 53 percent and 258 percent. While genomic testing appears to help identify some characteristics in patients who experience hyperprogession in their tumors, limited data available across more patient demographics and cancer types means there are more questions than answers right now.

Quick Take: An image of medical complexity

Amy Compton-Phillips, MD, gets right to the point in this short essay about trying to make sense of the overly-complicated documentation of care.

“Selling care by the bundle, and keeping the complexity of care behind the curtain for the end user—the way we do with other highly complex products purchased every day in the U.S.­—would go a long way to simplify health for everyone.”

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