Internal Memo: Amazon Care to shut down, ‘not a complete enough offering’ for corporate customers

Excerpt – Amazon will stop offering its Amazon Care primary health-care services at the end of this year, according to an internal memo, after determining that it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers.” The surprise move Wednesday is a major course correction in Amazon’s broader foray into healthcare. Amazon says the decision impacts only Amazon Care, and not its other health-care initiatives. “This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” said Neil Lindsay, Amazon Health Services senior vice president, in the email to Amazon Health Services employees. “Although our enrolled … Read More

Small Solutions for Primary Care Are Part of a Larger Problem

“At a time when patients require whole-person care to improve their overall health and well-being, efforts to improve the quality of narrow processes in the primary care setting may instead lead to fragmentation of care and clinician burnout. We believe that truly patient-centered, integrated, whole-person care in the primary care setting would comprehensively address patient concerns during any given office visit, whether those concerns include chronic disease management, acute issues, or preventive health care. [..] The annual wellness visit exemplifies a piecemeal initiative focused on specific components of care that fails to meet patient expectations of comprehensive care. [..] Widely … Read More

The Telehealth Era is Just Beginning

“Having analyzed health outcomes data from the independent National Committee for Quality Assurance, health plan member satisfaction surveys from J.D. Power, and internal data from our own organizations, we are confident that full implementation of five opportunities would improve clinical quality nationwide by 20%, increase access to care by 20%, and reduce health care spending by 15% to 20%. Reduce expensive and unnecessary trips to the ER – [..] Kaiser Permanente members in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC [..] can access a 24/7 video health center that connects them with a doctor who can quickly assess the problem and offer … Read More

Value-based payment has produced little value. It needs a time-out

“The concept of value-based payment became widespread among U.S. health policymakers and analysts during the 2000s. It collectively refers to interventions that offer doctors and hospitals financial incentives that, in theory, induce them to improve both components of health-care value — cost and quality — without generating the hostility provoked by managed care insurance companies during the HMO [health maintenance organization] backlash of the late 1990s. [The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation reviewed 54 models of value-based payment. Only four were certified to be expanded:] The Home Health Value-based Purchasing Model demonstration cut Medicare spending by 1% with mixed … Read More

FDA rule would facilitate prescription-to-OTC switches but nix a third class of drugs

“The proposed rule would establish an Additional Condition for Nonprescription Use [ACNU] category for prescription products the FDA says consumers currently can’t appropriately self-select and use without a prescription. This is somewhat analogous to the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, which allow certain prescription drugs with potential safety issues to be approved for patients with additional requirements for use, such as verifying a negative pregnancy test for a drug that can cause birth defects or requiring a monthly lab test before the drug can be dispensed. With an ACNU, a drug company must meet several FDA-approved conditions to ensure that … Read More

The Telehealth Era is Just Beginning: More gains in quality, affordability, and accessibility are on the way

“Having analyzed health outcomes data from the independent National Committee for Quality Assurance, health plan member satisfaction surveys from J.D. Power, and internal data from our own organizations, we are confident that full implementation of five opportunities would improve clinical quality nationwide by 20%, increase access to care by 20%, and reduce health care spending by 15% to 20%. Reduce Expensive and Unnecessary Trips to the ER Reverse America’s Chronic-Disease Crisis – For members of large multispecialty medical groups such as Kaiser Permanente [KP], high blood pressure is a much more manageable problem [outside of KP, control rates hover around … Read More

Checklists work well for complicated health care problems. But they don’t work to solve complex ones, like pandemics

Excerpt – In 2001, I developed a checklist for health care workers to reduce infections from catheters, tubes that are widely used to deliver fluids and critical medicines to people who have been hospitalized. At the time, catheter infections resulted in approximately 31,000 deaths a year in the U.S, putting it in the top 15 leading causes of death. The checklist included measures such as washing hands and wearing masks. When tested at Johns Hopkins, where I worked at the time, and then adopted in Michigan, and overseen by a diligent nursing staff, use of the checklist eliminated almost all … Read More

Preventing Delayed and Missed Care by Applying Artificial Intelligence to Trigger Radiology Imaging Follow-up

“[..] artificial intelligence (AI) is well suited to the detection and reporting of follow-up recommendations because of the large volume of imaging studies requiring screening and the relatively standardized language employed by radiologists in preparing reports. Natural language processing (NLP) methods, including text pattern-matching and traditional machine-learning techniques, have been developed for this task. In this article, we use the term traditional machine learning to refer to all machine-learning methods that are not deep learning, and these terms will be defined in detail in the sections that follow. More recently, novel deep-learning methods for NLP have shown great promise for … Read More

Experiences of Health Centers in Implementing Telehealth Visits for Underserved Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Before the pandemic, most health centers did not offer telehealth visits for primary care or behavioral health, in large part because of reimbursement policy. In spring 2020, dramatic policy changes removed many of the restrictions on telehealth delivery, and health centers responded by standing up large telehealth programs. This sudden and dramatic change in health care delivery posed numerous challenges. Health centers had to quickly make changes to technology, workflows, and staffing to accommodate telehealth visits. To support health centers in these efforts, the California Health Care Foundation established the Connected Care Accelerator (CCA) program, a quality improvement initiative that … Read More

Learning from Real-World Implementation of Daily Home-Based Symptom Monitoring in Patients with Cancer

“Routine use of home-based symptom monitoring and management using electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePRO) to improve care delivery is on the horizon. Randomized clinical trials demonstrate that use of patient-reported symptoms can have marked impact on patient outcomes, including minimizing symptom burden, enhancing quality of life, reducing hospitalizations, increasing time receiving cancer treatments, and, in some studies, improving survival. [..] few health systems have successfully, fully integrated ePRO. [..] In the study by Daly and colleagues, the authors begin to tackle an important question of frequency of assessment administration in ePRO. This study used daily symptom assessment in contrast to the … Read More