Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Health Care System by Country’ Category


Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

This report is entitled, “REDEFINING YOUR VALUE TO WIN THE EMPOWERED PATIENT. Six Steps for Life Sciences Firms to Stay Relevant in the New Healthcare Ecosystem,” which was published by Strativity Group, LLC in 2019. Please find an excerpt below.

Patients have taken charge of their lives, and they are empowered by increasingly more sophisticated and accessible tools. They still require physicians, hospitals, insurance companies, and life sciences companies to support them, but the dialogue, expectations, and engagement are changing radically as patients approach their healthcare with confidence and knowledge rather than fear and submission.

Today’s Patient Is the New Industry Authority Changing consumer expectations and behaviors have brought just about every industry to a tipping point, where consumers – not traditional experts, companies, or brands – have appointed themselves as the new authority. While the trend may have started in less expert-dependent industries like travel and banking, it’s now also penetrating areas where consumers have historically had much less power and influence, including healthcare. The healthcare industry itself also emboldened patients to redefine their roles in response to rising healthcare costs, shrinking provider availability, and increased skepticism of the medical insurance and life sciences industries. Macro- and micro-trends have come together to create a perfect storm in healthcare, and that means life sciences firms need to seriously rethink their roles and value in the new patient centered landscape. To get a deeper understanding of the new environment, consider the following trends that are putting patients in the driver’s seat: • Knowledge abundance The wealth of knowledge available online has made health information both broadly accessible and much more understandable. Hospitals, nonprofit associations, and bloggers transformed professional jargon and made it accessible to billions of consumers who are now turning to the web before they turn to traditional experts, such as physicians. In fact, a dotHealth Consumer Health Online 2017 Research Report that found 57% of consumers consult the internet for information before visiting a doctor and only 32% consult with their doctor first. iv • Evolution of peer groups Patients are establishing local and global support groups of peers in similar situations. They find this authentic support system trumps traditional knowledge sources such as physicians and pharmaceutical companies. Patients find more strength and support in those groups and amplify their roles in the overall ecosystem.

About Strativity Strativity is a strategy activation firm that partners with organizations that want to differentiate through consistently exceptional customer and employee experiences during a time of ever-evolving expectations and digital disruption. With a deep understanding of human motivation and a proven methodology, we engage the hearts, heads, and hands of executives, employees, and customers to deliver rapid and lasting change. Our philosophy, approach, and results have inspired industry leaders like BMW, FedEx, GSK, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, The New York Times, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Teleflex, and Walmart to rely on Strativity to transform their organizations and enhance their performance.

Source:

https://pages.questexweb.com/rs/294-MQF-056/images/Strativity%20-%20Redefining%20Your%20Value%20to%20Win%20the%20Empowered%20Patient_revised_to%20Fierce_041519.pdf?aliId=eyJpIjoiWU1NdHFMbzJONkd1VldLMCIsInQiOiJaM2NUdUY3eVJKalhxdERtWElBMUlRPT0ifQ%253D%253D



Advertisements

Read Full Post »


Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Research about marijuana and fertility is limited but some previous studies suggested that it might harm semen quality. Smoking of any type is also known to be a risk factor for male infertility. So, men who have smoked cannabis are expected to have worse measures of fertility but the data from a recent study suggested the opposite. The finding contradicts all conventional knowledge on how weed affects sperm. This may be because previous research typically focused on men with drug abuse history but this present study simply asked men if they had smoked more than two joints in their life.

 

Analysis of 1,143 semen samples from 662 men collected between 2000 and 2017 at the Fertility Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital showed that those who had smoked weed at some point in their life had a mean sperm concentration of 62.7 million sperm per milliliter (mL) of ejaculate, while men who avoided marijuana entirely had mean concentrations of 45.4 million/mL. Added to this only 5% of weed smokers had sperm concentrations below the 15 million/mL threshold the World Health Organization has set for a “normal” sperm count, versus 12% of men who never smoked marijuana.

 

The study has some imperfections such as the participants are not necessarily representative of the general population. They were predominantly college educated men with a mean age of 36, and were all seeking treatment at a fertility center. Further research is needed to support the findings. Two possibilities are put forward by the researchers as the reason behind such data. The first is that low levels of marijuana could have a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system, the neurotransmitters in the nervous system that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and are known to regulate fertility. The second is that may be weed-smokers are just bigger risk takers and men with higher testosterone levels and thus have better sperm count.

 

But, there’s certainly no medical recommendation to smoke weed as a fertility treatment but this study, at least, suggests that a little marijuana doesn’t hurt and might benefit sperm production in some way. But, the researchers specified that their finding does not necessarily mean that smoking cannabis increases the chances of fatherhood.

 

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30726923

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-02-06/cannabis-smoking-associated-with-higher-sperm-count-study-finds?__twitter_impression=true

 

https://qz.com/1543564/smoking-weed-linked-to-higher-sperm-count-in-a-harvard-study/

 

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2019/02/06/cannabis-smoking-associated-with-higher-sperm-count-study-finds/

 

http://time.com/5520421/smoking-marijuana-sperm-fertility/

 

https://www.health.com/infertility/marijuana-sperm-count

Read Full Post »


Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

 

Stroke is a leading cause of death worldwide and the most common cause of long-term disability amongst adults, more particularly in patients with diabetes mellitus and arterial hypertension. Increasing evidence suggests that disordered physiological variables following acute ischaemic stroke, especially hyperglycaemia, adversely affect outcomes.

 

Post-stroke hyperglycaemia is common (up to 50% of patients) and may be rather prolonged, regardless of diabetes status. A substantial body of evidence has demonstrated that hyperglycaemia has a deleterious effect upon clinical and morphological stroke outcomes. Therefore, hyperglycaemia represents an attractive physiological target for acute stroke therapies.

 

However, whether intensive glycaemic manipulation positively influences the fate of ischaemic tissue remains unknown. One major adverse event of management of hyperglycaemia with insulin (either glucose-potassium-insulin infusions or intensive insulin therapy) is the occurrence of hypoglycaemia, which can also induce cerebral damage.

 

Doctors all over the world have debated whether intensive glucose management, which requires the use of IV insulin to bring blood sugar levels down to 80-130 mg/dL, or standard glucose control using insulin shots, which aims to get glucose below 180 mg/dL, lead to better outcomes after stroke.

 

A period of hyperglycemia is common, with elevated blood glucose in the periinfarct period consistently linked with poor outcome in patients with and without diabetes. The mechanisms that underlie this deleterious effect of dysglycemia on ischemic neuronal tissue remain to be established, although in vitro research, functional imaging, and animal work have provided clues.

 

While prompt correction of hyperglycemia can be achieved, trials of acute insulin administration in stroke and other critical care populations have been equivocal. Diabetes mellitus and hyperglycemia per se are associated with poor cerebrovascular health, both in terms of stroke risk and outcome thereafter.

 

Interventions to control blood sugar are available but evidence of cerebrovascular efficacy are lacking. In diabetes, glycemic control should be part of a global approach to vascular risk while in acute stroke, theoretical data suggest intervention to lower markedly elevated blood glucose may be of benefit, especially if thrombolysis is administered.

 

Both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia may lead to further brain injury and clinical deterioration; that is the reason these conditions should be avoided after stroke. Yet, when correcting hyperglycaemia, great care should be taken not to switch the patient into hypoglycaemia, and subsequently aggressive insulin administration treatment should be avoided.

 

Early identification and prompt management of hyperglycaemia, especially in acute ischaemic stroke, is recommended. Although the appropriate level of blood glucose during acute stroke is still debated, a reasonable approach is to keep the patient in a mildly hyperglycaemic state, rather than risking hypoglycaemia, using continuous glucose monitoring.

 

The primary results from the Stroke Hyperglycemia Insulin Network Effort (SHINE) study, a large, multisite clinical study showed that intensive glucose management did not improve functional outcomes at 90 days after stroke compared to standard glucose therapy. In addition, intense glucose therapy increased the risk of very low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and required a higher level of care such as increased supervision from nursing staff, compared to standard treatment.

 

References:

 

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-provides-answer-long-held-debate-blood-sugar-control-after-stroke

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27873213

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19342845

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20491782

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21211743

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18690907

 

Read Full Post »


Morbid Obesity linked to socioeconomic status was in a Twin Pairs Research on effects of genes and environment in 560 common conditions – Disease and Health by ZIP code (Environment) and genetic code (Human Genome)

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

  • Senior study author Chirag Patel, assistant professor of biomedical informatics in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS.
  • Co-investigators were Braden Tierney and Arjun Manrai of Harvard Medical School, and
  • Jian Yang and Peter Visscher of the University of Queensland, Australia.

Data sets for the study were provided by Aetna insurance company. Aetna had no funding role in the study. The research was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (grants 1078037 and 1113400), National Science Foundation (grant 1636870), and Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation.

 

Detailed study results available here: http://apps.chiragjpgroup.org/catch/

Conclusions 

Nearly 40 percent of the diseases in the study (225 of 560) had a genetic component, while 25 percent (138) were driven at least in part by factors stemming from sharing the same household, social influences, and the like. Cognitive disorders demonstrated the greatest degree of heritability — four out of five diseases showed a genetic component — while connective tissue diseases had the lowest degree of genetic influence. Of all disease categories, eye disorders carried the highest degree of environmental influence, with 27 of 42 diseases showing such effect. They were followed by respiratory diseases, with 34 out of 48 conditions showing an effect from sharing a household. The disease category with lowest environmental influence was reproductive illnesses, with three of 18 conditions showing such effect, and cognitive conditions, with two out of five showing an influence.

Overall, socioeconomic status, climate conditions, and air quality in each twin pair’s ZIP code had a far weaker effect on disease than genes and shared environment — a composite measure of external, nongenetic influences including family and lifestyle, household, and neighborhood.

In total, 145 of 560 diseases were modestly influenced by socio-economic status derived by ZIP code. Thirty-six diseases were influenced at least in part by air quality, and 117 were affected by changes in temperature. The condition with the strongest potential link to socioeconomic status was morbid obesity. While obesity undoubtedly has a genetic component, the researchers said, the findings raise an important question about the influence of environment on genetic predispositions.

“This finding opens up a whole slew of questions, including whether and how a change in socioeconomic status and lifestyle might compare against genetic predisposition to obesity,” Patel said.

Lead poisoning was, not surprisingly, entirely driven by environment. Conditions such as flu and Lyme disease were, again unsurprisingly, affected by differences in climate.

When researchers looked at classes of diseases by monthly health care spending, they found that both genes and environment significantly contributed to cost of care, with the two being nearly equal drivers of spending. Almost 60 percent of monthly health spending could be predicted by analyzing genetic and environmental factors.

Large-scale analysis like this study can help forecast long-term spending for various conditions and inform resource allocation and policy decisions, the researchers said.

Detailed study results available here: http://apps.chiragjpgroup.org/catch/

SOURCE

http://apps.chiragjpgroup.org/catch/

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/01/researchers-able-to-determine-the-effects-of-genes-and-environment-in-560-common-conditions/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Gazette%202%20stories%201%20event%20(no%20Seen%20or%20Heard)%20(1)

Read Full Post »


Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

From The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com)

Published January 9, 2019

Health-Care CEOs Outline Strategies at J.P. Morgan Conference

Chiefs at Johnson & Johnson, CVS discuss what’s next on a range of industry issues

One of the biggest health conferences of the year for investors, the J.P. Morgan Health-Care Conference, is taking place this week in San Francisco. Here are some of the hot topics covered at the four-day event, which wraps up Thursday.

BioMarin Mulls Payment Plans

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé said he would consider pursuing installment payment arrangements for the biotech’s experimental gene therapy for hemophilia. At the conference, Mr. Bienaimé told the Wall Street Journal that the one-time infusion, Valrox, is likely to cost in the millions because studies have shown it can eliminate bleeding episodes in patients, and current hemophilia treatments taken chronically can cost millions over several years. “We’re not trying to charge more than existing therapies,” he said. “We want to offer a better treatment at the same or lower cost.”

Johnson & Johnson Warns on Pricing

As politicians hammer drug prices, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky suggested companies need to police themselves. At the conference, Mr. Gorsky told investors that drug companies should price drugs reasonably and be transparent. “If we don’t do this as an industry, I think there will be other alternatives that will be more onerous for us,” Mr. Gorsky says. Some drugmakers pulled back from price increases in mid-2018 amid heightened political scrutiny, but prices went up for many drugs at the start of 2019.

Marijuana-Derived Drugs Show Promise

 

CVS Discusses New Stores

CVS Health Corp. Chief Executive Larry Merlo began showing initial concepts the company will be testing as it begins piloting new models of its drugstores that incorporate its Aetna combination. The first new test store will open next month in Houston, he told investors, and it will include expanded health-care services including a new concierge who will help patients with questions. 

Aetna Savings On the Way

Mr. Merlo also spelled out when the company will achieve the initial $750 million in synergies it has promised from the CVS-Aetna deal. In the first quarter, he said the company will see benefits from consolidating corporate functions. Savings from procurement and aligning lists of covered drugs should be seen in the first half, he says. Medical-cost savings will start affecting results toward the end of the year, he noted. 

Lilly Cuts Price

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. expects average net US pricing for its drugs–after rebates and discounts–to decline in the low- to mid-single digits on a percentage basis this year, Chief Financial Officer Josh Smiley told the Journal. Lilly’s net prices had risen during the first half of 2018, but dropped in the third quarter as the company took a “restrained approach,” Mr. Smiley said. Lilly, which hasn’t yet reported fourth-quarter results, took some list price increases for cancer drugs in late December but hasn’t raised prices in the new year, he said.

Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com and Anna Wilde Mathews at anna.mathews@wsj.com

Read Full Post »


Non pure motives for pushing recertification: The American Board of Internal Medicine attempted to expand its recertification process and keep its medical monopoly that abuses its immense power.

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

“It is incumbent upon The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and/or the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to engage a respected independent party to assess the impact of The Maintenance of Certification, (MOC) program and make the findings publicly available” required by The American College of Rheumatology

ABIM’s survival as a medical monopoly that abuses its immense power seems less probable with each passing day. And, because of its arrogance and the appearance of corruption it allowed to metastasize inside the organization, the officials there have no one to blame but themselves.

It’s a horror story that has played out for years throughout the U.S. as the ABIM abuses its monopoly power to force doctors to do whatever it decrees, while ignoring the many doctors who have demanded for years that independent researchers conduct comprehensive studies to determine if ABIM’s requirements do anything to improve patient care. This medical protection racket has made millionaires of ABIM top officers, financed a ritzy condominium, limousines and first-class travel, all while sucking huge sums of cash out of the health care system.

But now, after decades of unchecked rule by ABIM, cracks are appearing in the organization’s facade of power. Thousands of doctors began a widespread revolt months ago and, in the last few weeks, evidence that their efforts are succeeding has started rolling in. ABIM officials have proclaimed that they are rushing to make changes—and indeed have announced some changes—but it seems they waited too long and are changing too little.

Rheumatologists, who must fulfill ABIM’s requirements for maintenance of certification, or MOC, recently slapped down the process—and hard.

“There is evidence that many of the MOC requirements have no beneficial impact on clinical care,” the statement says. “Moreover, the direct and indirect costs of the MOC program to physicians and the health care system is excessive.”

The study concluded that internists incur an average of $23,607 in MOC costs over 10 years—with doctors who specialize in cancers and blood diseases out $40,495. All told, the study concluded, MOC will suck $5.7 billion out of the health care system over 10 years, including $5.1 billion in time costs (resulting from 32.7 million physician-hours spent on MOC) and $561 million in testing costs. And remember—all that time and expense is for a program that has not been proven to accomplish anything.

And the NBPAS process is completely different than the one required by ABIM. A two-year recertification through NBPAS costs $169 (a single review course for the ABIM test costs more than $1,000.) It requires that physicians obtain initial certification through ABIM or one of its affiliated organizations. Then, for recertification, it requires physicians to attend 50 hours of what are known as qualified continuing medical education programs every two years. That way, doctors choose what education programs most benefit their practice by attending about 25 hours of those courses and conferences each year. No time is wasted learning about items that have no relevance to the work of a particular doctor.

And the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) process is completely different than the one required by ABIM. A two-year recertification through NBPAS costs $169 (a single review course for the ABIM test costs more than $1,000.) It requires that physicians obtain initial certification through ABIM or one of its affiliated organizations. Then, for recertification, it requires physicians to attend 50 hours of what are known as qualified continuing medical education programs every two years. That way, doctors choose what education programs most benefit their practice by attending about 25 hours of those courses and conferences each year. No time is wasted learning about items that have no relevance to the work of a particular doctor.

SOURCE

https://www.newsweek.com/abim-american-board-internal-medicine-doctors-revolt-372723

What’s ruining medicine for physicians: MOC costs and requirements

Read Full Post »


CMS initiative in Modernizing Medicare to lead to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

 

CMS Takes Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs by Modernizing Medicare

 

     

CMS Takes Action to Lower Prescription Drug Costs by Modernizing Medicare 
Proposed regulation for Medicare Parts C & D would strengthen negotiations with prescription drug manufacturers to lower costs and increase transparency for patients

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed polices for 2020 to strengthen and modernize the Medicare Part C and D programs. The proposal would ensure that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have more tools to negotiate lower drug prices, and the agency is also considering a policy that would require pharmacy rebates to be passed on to seniors to lower their drug costs at the pharmacy counter.

“President Trump is following through on his promise to bring tougher negotiation to Medicare and bring down drug costs for patients, without restricting patient access or choice,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “By bringing the latest tools from the private sector to Medicare Part D, we can save money for taxpayers and seniors, improve access to expensive drugs many seniors need, and expand their choice of plans. The Part D proposals complement efforts to bring down costs in Medicare Advantage and in Medicare Part B through negotiation, all part of the President’s plan to put American patients first by bringing down prescription-drug prices and out-of-pocket costs.”

In the twelve years since the Part D program was launched, many of the tools outlined in today’s proposal have been developed in the commercial health insurance marketplace, and the result has been lower costs for patients. Seniors in Medicare also deserve to benefit from these approaches to reducing costs, so today CMS is proposing to modernize the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs and remove barriers that keep plans from leveraging these tools.

“In designing today’s proposal, foremost in the agency’s mind was the impact on patients, and the proposal is yet another action CMS has taken to deliver on President Trump and Secretary Azar’s commitment on drug prices,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Today’s changes will provide seniors with more plan options featuring lower costs for prescription drugs, and seniors will remain in the driver’s seat as they can choose the plan that works best for them. The result will be increasing access to the medicines that seniors depend on by lowering their out-of-pocket costs.”

Private plan options for receiving Medicare benefits are increasing in popularity, with almost 37 percent of Medicare beneficiaries expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage in 2019, and Part D enrollment increasing year-over-year as well. The programs are driven by market competition; plans compete for beneficiaries’ business, and each enrollee chooses the plan that best meets his or her needs. Consumer choice puts pressure on plans to improve quality and lower costs.  Premiums in both Medicare Advantage and Part D are projected to decline next year.

Today’s proposed changes include:

  • Providing Part D plans with greater flexibility to negotiate discounts for drugs in “protected” therapeutic classes, so beneficiaries who need these drugs will see lower costs;
  • Requiring Part D plans to increase transparency and provide enrollees and their doctors with a patient’s out-of-pocket cost obligations for prescription drugs when a prescription is written;
  • Codifying a policy similar to the one implemented for 2019 to allow “step therapy” in Medicare Advantage for Part B drugs, encouraging access to high-value products including biosimilars; and
  • Implementing a statutory requirement, recently signed by President Trump, that prohibits pharmacy gag clauses in Part D.

CMS is also considering for a future plan year, which may be as early as 2020, a policy that would ensure that enrollees pay the lowest cost for the prescription drugs they pick up at a pharmacy, after taking into account back-end payments from pharmacies to plans.

Medicare Advantage and Part D will continue to protect patient access, as both programs are embedded with robust beneficiary protections. These include CMS’s review of Part D plan formularies, an expedited appeals process, and a requirement for plans to cover two drugs in every therapeutic class.

CMS looks forward to receiving comments on these proposals and other policies under consideration.

For a blog post on the proposed rule by Secretary Azar and Administrator Verma, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/blog/proposed-changes-lower-drug-prices-medicare-advantage-and-part-d.

For a fact sheet on the proposed rule, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/contract-year-cy-2020-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-drug-pricing-proposed-rule-cms-4180-p.

The proposed rule (CMS-4180-P) can be downloaded from the Federal Register at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2018-25945.pdf

###

Get CMS news at cms.gov/newsroom, sign up for CMS news via email and follow CMS on Twitter CMS Administrator @SeemaCMS

SOURCE

https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-takes-action-lower-prescription-drug-costs-modernizing-medicare?mc_cid=ca8901d1c5&mc_eid=32328d8919

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »