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The Truven Health Blog


The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Five Questions EMPAQ Can Help You Answer


By John Azzolini/Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The National Business Group on Health®, in partnership with Truven Health AnalyticsTM, an IBM Company, will be collecting EMPAQ® data until May 20, 2016. EMPAQ® (Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality™) is an online survey-based measurement tool ― developed by employers for employers ― that helps quantify the costs of poor health, low productivity, and absence. It provides employers with a framework by which to measure and monitor the return on investment they’re receiving from their human capital investments. 

Here are five questions you’ll be able to answer with the customized, benchmarking data you’ll receive when you participate:

If you would like to participate in the EMPAQ® program, you’ll need to submit your data to http://submission.empaq.org/ by May 20, 2016. Once the survey is initiated, you can authorize a consultant or vendor to complete the form on your behalf. We’ve set up a dedicated phone line and email to assist you with your submission. Call 855-878-8367 (855-TRUVENQ) or email empaq@truvenhealth.com.


 


EMPAQ® Is Open for Data Submission Through May 20


By John Azzolini/Friday, May 6, 2016

The National Business Group on Health®, in partnership with Truven Health AnalyticsTM, will be collecting EMPAQ® data between March 1 and May 20, 2016.  EMPAQ (Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality™) is an online survey-based measurement tool ― developed by employers for employers ― that helps quantify the costs of poor health, low productivity, and absence.

Why Should I Submit Data?

Your participation in EMPAQ will give you:

     A framework to monitor and measure your ROI from human capital investments

     Valuable insights to help you manage your health and productivity programs

     An individualized report that details how your program performs compared with similar employers and all respondents

     Specific recommendations based on your results

Read More About EMPAQ Data

Read the results from the 2014 data submissions to learn how the EMPAQ program can help you.

If you would like to participate in the EMPAQ® program, you’ll need to submit your data to http://submission.empaq.org/ by May 20, 2016. Once the survey is initiated, you can authorize a consultant or vendor to complete the form on your behalf.

We’ve set up a dedicated phone line and email to assist you with your submission. Call 855-878-8367 (855-TRUVENQ) or email empaq@truvenhealth.com.

John Azzolini
Senior Consulting Scientist


Congratulations to the 2016 Advantage Award Winners


By Mike Boswood/Wednesday, May 4, 2016

At our annual customer conference last week, I had the honor of presenting the 2016 Advantage Awards to clients who documented significant results from projects that required innovative thinking and analytics, and produced greater value in healthcare.

Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) was the overall winner this year. GaHIN created a “network of networks” wherein patient information remains with the treating provider and flows only when there is authorization. Caregivers can now instantly access information from a multitude of sources through their EMR, enabling more informed decisions about treatments and avoiding unnecessary, expensive tests.

In addition to the overall winner, the following organizations were honored with Advantage Awards for their impressive results:

  • DeKalb Regional Health System: achieved reduced lengths of stay and cost savings from a systemic commitment to greater quality.
  • IASIS Healthcare: reduced readmissions through near-real time analytics and by improving the transition of care from hospital to home.
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance: exceeded enrollment goal by enabling members to understand their likely costs if they switched to the CDHP or stayed in a PPO.
  • Lockheed Martin: used analytics to understand costs of various treatments for lower back pain and to identify targeted intervention opportunities.
  • Prime Healthcare Services – Centinela Hospital Medical Center: turned a negative margin positive and improved patient satisfaction, with pervasive quality-oriented management.
  • State of Michigan: reduced invoice-to-claim discrepancies by over $30 million by automating the comparison process.
  • Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals: realized over $14M in cost reductions by guiding all departments to operate off standardized definitions, metrics, benchmarks and goals.

We support our clients’ commitment to building greater value in healthcare with our expanding range of solutions and services; we anticipate that as part of IBM Watson Health we will be able to provide ever more compelling solutions to the evolving challenges facing healthcare across the U.S. and globally.

Our congratulations to the success of all this year’s Advantage Award winners.

Mike Boswood
President and CEO
Truven Health Analytics


Specialty Pharmacy Trends for Employers


By Truven Staff/Friday, April 29, 2016

The pharmacy benefit landscape today is complex and rapidly changing. This infographic leverages data from our MarketScan Research Databases to give an overview of how the marketplace has changed from 2014 to 2015. Find out more here. 

Want to learn more about specialty pharmaceuticals? Read our blog or contact us at payersolutions@truvenhealth.com


A Closer Look at Post-Acute Care Variation for Total Joint Replacements


By Bob Kelley /Wednesday, April 20, 2016

 

At Truven Health AnalyticsTM we’ve been researching cost variation in simulated bundled payments for privately insured total joint replacement (TJR) patients for several months now. (Visit the landing page for more information and recently released briefs.)

In an earlier blog post, we reported that cost differences across U.S. Census regions for the post-acute care portion of a bundle ranged from an average of $3,907 to $5,292.

 

I’d like to make a few additional points about these differences.

First, there is no apparent link between hospitalization cost and post-acute care cost.

We know from our previous research that anchor hospitalization costs were the main driver of the variation in overall bundle cost. Post-care services were the next most impactful driver. But we’ve found no clear relationship between the average post-acute care cost in a division and the average anchor cost.

The highest cost variation was found in rehabilitation facility costs.

Our study found substantial differences across divisions in the average cost by type of post-acute care service a patient received. For home healthcare costs, the difference in the average cost per patient was just $1,300. For skilled nursing facility care, the difference was more than $5,000. And for care at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, the difference was more than $10,500 per patient.

This information definitely points to the importance of discharging a patient to the right care option to keep costs down, while still providing the best care and achieving the best outcomes.

 Of course, regional preferences play a role.

Because of our study’s large sample size, it is unlikely that post-acute cost variations result from differences in patient characteristics. However, simple geographic-area preferences — such as historical patterns, post-acute care facility availability, or health plan contract rules and payment rates — could play a role. More research would be needed to identify those patterns.

You can read more about our findings by downloading the full research brief, Bundled Pricing for Total Joint Replacements in the Commercially Insured Population: Cost Variation Insights by Bundled Care Components.

Stay tuned for a new brief coming soon on the role of readmissions in TJR bundled costs.

Bob Kelley
Senior Research Fellow, Advanced Analytics


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