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The Behavior Change Puzzle of Medication Non-Adherence

The Behavior Change Puzzle of Medication Non-Adherence

Non-adherence to a prescribed medication regime for chronic disease management is known to lead to poor health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. A number of studies have shown that adherence is usually around 50% or less, even when medications are provided free of charge. What seems to be less clear is how best to address poor adherence; one study points out that most of the current interventions meant to improve adherence rates are too complex or ineffective, and that the research in this field is rife with weaknesses and bias.

But as with most quality improvement initiatives, understanding the source of the problem is an important first step. In this case, identifying the reasons for non-adherence is an important starting point for reducing barriers and improving patient outcomes. Many factors may affect whether a person takes their medications, including the patient themselves, the disease being treated, the health system and team, and the type of therapy involved. One study’s survey of 10,000 patients found that the most cited barrier to taking one’s medications was simply forgetfulness (24%). This was followed by perceived side effects (20%), high drug costs (17%), and a perception that their prescribed medication will have very little effect on their disease (14%).

The same study illustrated the various patient, provider, and external factors that can play a role in medication adherence using the figure below (Figure 1). If any one of these factors were to present a challenge for the patient, then they are at risk of not taking their prescribed medications on time and any related medical issues.

Figure 1.

While some interventions such as pill box aids and electronic reminders have helped patients when forgetfulness is the issue, these do not address factors such as concerns about side effects and medication-related harm, or uncertainty about the importance of taking long-term prescribed medications. These issues have the potential to be addressed through shared decision-making and education from clinical experts such as pharmacists and nurses.

One review analyzed the impact that social determinants of health has on medication adherence. Disadvantageous circumstances in social and living conditions are associated with an increase in chronic disease, and it is believed that these same challenges impact a person’s ability to manage their health. When an individual is facing food insecurity, unemployment, and unstable living conditions, they are sometimes unable to address their health concerns emotionally or financially. The review found that medication adherence was negatively impacted by food insecurity and housing instability, although few studies identified other specific social determinants that influence non-adherence to medications beyond these two. In fact, education, income, and employment status did not significantly correlate with adherence to a medication regime.

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) would like to hear how your institution is addressing medication non-adherence, especially in the chronic disease patient population. This will be an upcoming topic at a chronic disease management workgroup. Please contact MVC at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com for information about attending.

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Condition Selection Process Announced for MVC Component of BCBSM P4P Program

Condition Selection Process Announced for MVC Component of BCBSM P4P Program

This week the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) Coordinating Center announced the condition selection process for program year (PY) 2022 and PY 2023 of the MVC Component of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) Pay-for-Performance (P4P) program. The timeline for each program year’s stages are detailed in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

In the announcement, hospitals were tasked with selecting two conditions for which they will be evaluated and returning their condition selection form to the Coordinating Center by Friday, August 13, 2021. The announcement also outlined changes to the scoring methodology, cohort assignments, and bonus points available.

The Coordinating Center’s recent announcement included condition selection reports with targets for each condition option that may help inform hospitals’ selection decisions. Each participating hospital will choose two of the seven available conditions for PY22 and PY23: spine surgery, joint replacement, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), congestive heart failure (CHF), colectomy (non-cancer), and pneumonia. When selecting conditions, the Coordinating Center recommends reviewing your data in the registry and considering several factors for each condition, including case counts and identifiable areas with the greatest cost opportunities. The Coordinating Center also recommends considering where resources are currently being directed in your facility and potentially aligning with those efforts.

One notable change from prior program years is the methodology by which hospitals earn achievement and improvement points. Hospital scores will continue to be based on a hospital’s risk-adjusted, price-standardized total episode payments for two selected conditions, and they can still earn a maximum score of 10 points. However, the improvement and achievement scores will become more similar in order to be placed on the same scale. As such, the achievement equation will change from being based on rank within MVC cohort at performance year to being based on distance from MVC cohort mean at baseline year. Similarly, the improvement equation will utilize the distance from the hospital’s mean at baseline. These new equations (see Figure 2) as well as complete descriptions of the updated methodologies are reviewed at length with examples in the technical document.

Figure 2.

P4P cohorts have also been reassigned for PY22 and PY23. These changes are also detailed in the technical document, and the new cohort assignments can be found on the MVC website. The cohorts are not intended to group hospitals that are exactly alike; rather, they create a reasonably-comparable grouping from which MVC can complete statistical analysis.

The final change is to the awarding of bonus points. In place of the previous 5% cohort reduction bonus, participants can instead earn bonus points by completing two questionnaires (one per selected condition) and submitting these to the Coordinating Center by November 1st of each program year. The purpose of this is to gather examples of quality improvement initiatives in operation at MVC member hospitals to share with the Collaborative. Moving forward, this will help support members in reducing costs through collaboration.

Each of the changes mentioned above are designed to deliver a more transparent, intuitive, flexible, and fairer P4P program. The Coordinating Center will offer an explainer webinar to answer questions and walk through the details of these changes in more detail. The webinar will be offered on two dates: the first is scheduled for Thursday, July 29 from 11:00-12:00 pm, and the second is on Tuesday, August 3 from 1:00-2:00 pm. Both webinars can be accessed using the following Zoom link: https://umich.zoom.us/j/95502303999. Participants can also call +1 301 715 8592 (meeting ID #955 0230 3999). For those interested in the explainer webinar who are unavailable on both dates, a recording of the first webinar will be available. If you are interested in receiving a link to this recording, please email the MVC team at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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Introducing Carla Novak, MVC’s Administrative Assistant

Introducing Carla Novak, MVC’s Administrative Assistant

I am excited to be joining the MVC team as the Administrative Assistant. I was born in Ohio (Go Buckeyes!) and moved to Michigan when I was young. I have always had a desire to work on the clerical side of healthcare, which led me to several roles within Michigan Medicine.

Most recently, I worked as a Referral Coordinator for the U-M Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, where I obtained insurance authorizations for various procedures. Prior to this I worked as an Administrative Assistant on an inpatient unit within the hospital, providing support to roughly 90 employees and our management team. I also processed payroll, reimbursements, PTO requests, and more.

As MVC’s Administrative Assistant, I look forward to assisting with the day-to-day needs of the Coordinating Center. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with this great team and look forward to getting to know each and every one of you!

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MVC Sepsis Workgroup Review

MVC Sepsis Workgroup Review

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) holds bi-monthly virtual workgroups on six different clinical areas of focus. The goals of these workgroups are to help bring collaborative members together to discuss current quality improvement initiatives and/or challenging areas of practice. These six different clinical areas include chronic disease management (CDM), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure (CHF), diabetes, joint, and sepsis. At the most recent MVC sepsis workgroup, the discussion centered around post-sepsis syndrome and how organizations are identifying and caring for patients that are diagnosed with this condition.

The group learnt that for several organizations, post-sepsis syndrome is not well understood, identified, or diagnosed which prompted some interesting discussion around this topic and the topic of sepsis itself. A number of studies have suggested that due to an aging population with an increased number of comorbidities, frequent use of immunosuppression therapy, expanded use of invasive procedures and medical devices, and multi-drug resistance, the incidence of sepsis has increased. However, the same studies share that in-hospital mortality has decreased. Credit for this decrease in mortality is associated with improved detection, establishing treatment earlier, improvements in critical care, and the implementation of evidence-based guidelines established by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign.

While survivors of sepsis have increased, identification of post-sepsis syndrome is garnering attention as many patients can suffer from a number of serious and long-lasting complications including delusions, debilitating muscle and joint pains, extreme exhaustion, poor concentration, reduced cognitive functioning, as well as mental health issues and concerns. Certain patients, such as the elderly, those with a preexisting condition, or those diagnosed with severe sepsis are more likely to develop post-sepsis syndrome.

Currently, the most effective method of treatment for post sepsis syndrome is to prevent an initial incidence of sepsis. Primary prevention includes hand washing, vaccination uptake, and managing any chronic conditions. Pharmacological strategies for the treatment of sepsis and the prevention of post-sepsis syndrome include:

• Antibiotic stewardship, to improve the use of antibiotics and using prolactin levels to decide when to stop antibiotic use.
• The use of H2-receptor agonists over proton pump inhibitors to prevent stress ulcers.
• Low dosage and short-term use of medications.
• Early mobility to prevent functional decline.

Non-pharmacological strategies for the prevention and treatment of sepsis to avert post-sepsis syndrome include:
• Sepsis treatment and the identification of post-sepsis syndrome education for frontline workers.
• Post-sepsis education for family and caregivers of sepsis survivors along with available resources.
• Vision/Hearing Aids to reduce the risk of delirium, as well as adaptive equipment.
• Referral for rehabilitation post sepsis survival.

MVC collaborative members from multiple facilities including Michigan Medicine, Henry Ford Wyandotte, Sparrow, and Spectrum Health discussed different ways in which they are working to identify sepsis as early as possible within their facilities. Many organizations have instituted a sepsis program, and some are looking to onboard a sepsis navigator. Dr. Jessie King, Program Director, shared information about the Post-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) research and treatment clinic (PULSE) now screening discharged ICU patients for post-sepsis syndrome, and the Michigan Medicine return on investment analysis which helped initiate a sepsis program. You can find the recording of the workgroup here.

The MVC Coordinating Center is interested in hearing how you are treating sepsis and the prevention and treatment of post-sepsis syndrome. We would like more hospitals to share the work they are doing around these important topics so if you would like to present at or attend an upcoming MVC workgroup, please email MVC at the michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com

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Introducing MVC’s Newest Analyst, Kristen Palframan, MPH

Introducing MVC’s Newest Analyst, Kristen Palframan, MPH

I am excited to have joined the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) this month as a data analyst. I’m really looking forward to working with the MVC team and using my experience in data management and analysis to support the goal of improving the quality and value of healthcare in Michigan.

My background is primarily in research and data analysis. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behavior from Bucknell University. After conducting behavioral research and wildlife disease fieldwork with animals throughout and following college, I developed an interest in disease prevention and came to Michigan to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. During my MPH program I took a variety of epidemiology and statistics courses, and I particularly enjoyed those that involved programming in SAS and SQL. After graduating from the University of Michigan with an MPH degree in Epidemiology in 2018, I worked for three years as an epidemiologist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. At the VA, I worked on analyses, reports, dashboards, and manuscripts focused on supporting suicide prevention among U.S. Veterans. My work for the VA primarily used electronic medical record data from the Veterans Health Administration as well as mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Death Index.

Now I am thrilled to use my experience in healthcare data analysis to support MVC’s mission and I’m looking forward to growing as an analyst and gaining experience working with claims data. If you have any questions or would like to contact me, please feel free to email me at kpalf@med.umich.edu.

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Continuous Glucose Monitoring Has Potential in Inpatient Setting

Continuous Glucose Monitoring Has Potential in Inpatient Setting

One of the most prevalent comorbidities in the United States is diabetes; as many as 1 in 10 Americans are diagnosed with this condition, and 90-95% having potentially preventable Type 2 diabetes. It is well documented that unstable blood glucose levels can contribute to increases in morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs.

In the inpatient setting, the current standard of care for monitoring and testing blood glucose levels in diabetic patients is point-of-care (POC) testing, which combines a specific testing schedule and approved devices to measure blood glucose levels. A recent study involving 110 adults with Type 2 diabetes looked at implementing real-time continuous glucose monitoring (RT-CGM) in order to better manage inpatient glycemic levels. The patients were on a non-intensive care unit (ICU) floor, and received either the standard of care or the RT-CGM with Dexcom G6 monitoring—where a tiny sensor wire is inserted just beneath a person’s skin using an automatic applicator. Data was transmitted from the bedside wirelessly, and monitored by hospital telemetry. The bedside nurses were notified of any abnormal glucose levels or trends and the patients were treated accordingly. The results indicated that patients in the RT-CGM group demonstrated lower mean glucose levels and less time in hyperglycemia.

Another study that evaluated the efficacy of RT-CGM discussed the effect that uncontrolled glycemic levels can have on clinical outcomes and healthcare costs. Currently, hospitals use POC glucose testing in order to monitor and treat hypoglycemia, and it is recommended that POC testing occur four to six times per day. However, this leaves many hours throughout the day where hypoglycemia can go undetected. RT-CGM using a glucose telemetry system (GTS) offers an alternative method to monitor these glucose values. A total of 82 patients participated in this study. Patients in the RT-CGM group experienced 60.4% fewer hypoglycemic events compared to the POC group. Figure 1 below illustrates the number of hypoglycemic events per patient for both the CGM/GTS and the POC.

Figure 1.

RT-CGM has yet to be implemented in inpatient settings for several reasons. The primary reason is the lack of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Additionally, institutional challenges may act as a significant barrier. For instance, staff need to be prepared for increased workload and educated on appropriate protocols and procedures. Technological support is required to ensure hardware compatibility and maintain a robust internet network with minimal interference in transmission of results and alerts. Additional factors within the hospital setting include certain medications, procedures, nutrition, acute illness, and any other condition that may affect glucose control. All of these challenges have the potential to impact CGM and its associated workload because of the effect they may have on the patients’ blood glucose levels. Although challenges remain to the implementation of RT-CGM in the inpatient setting, the benefits may outweigh the risks; thus, it is worth considering, especially given the successes in the outpatient arena.

The Michigan Value Collaborative hosts diabetes workgroups where topics such as continuous glucose monitoring are discussed by Collaborative members. If you are interested in attending the next MVC diabetes workgroup, please connect with the MVC Coordinating Center at: michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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Custom Hospital Analytics Result in Case Study for Collaborative

Custom Hospital Analytics Result in Case Study for Collaborative

The Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) Coordinating Center encourages its members to seek out custom analytics to inform and support ongoing quality improvement activities. These requests can help hospitals and physician organizations dig deeper into specific aspects of their administrative claims data and, as a result, better understand areas for improvement.

As custom analytics have been prepared and shared with respective members, the Coordinating Center has endeavored to learn the extent to which these analytics have been utilized. The resulting feedback has enriched MVC’s understanding of its members’ quality initiatives, and presents a great opportunity for MVC to educate its members about the successes and lessons learned of their peers.

In that spirit, the Coordinating Center has sought the permission of various hospitals to generate case studies based on this collaborative work. One such case study featuring McLaren Port Huron Hospital was created this past year and shared with the entire Collaborative via the MVC Newsletter (Figure 1). It features a custom analytics request about the rates and adherence of follow-up visits in their congestive heart failure (CHF) population as well as readmission rates for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The resulting custom analytics reports prepared by the Coordinating Center were also accompanied by best practice sharing sourced from other Collaborative members.

Figure 1.

The Coordinating Center plans to continue to generate shareable case studies about similar requests if those facilities have provided their permission. Similarly, MVC will continue to identify such opportunities for information sharing and networking across facilities in order to support its members.

If any members of the Collaborative are interested in pursuing custom analytics in the future or have ideas to share across hospitals, please contact the Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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Virtual Site Visits Underway with MVC Members

Virtual Site Visits Underway with MVC Members

The COVID-19 pandemic affected hospital operations in a myriad of ways, with many Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) members experiencing circumstances that could impact their score on the MVC Component of the BCBSM Pay-for-Performance (P4P) program. In order to mitigate some of the effect of COVID-19, the MVC Coordinating Center introduced two extra bonus points to be earned for Program Year 2021 only. One bonus point can be achieved by attending both MVC semi-annual events; the first was held in May and the second will be held in October. The second bonus point can be earned by undertaking a virtual site visit with the MVC Coordinating Center.

To date, the Coordinating Center has completed 26 site visits, and a further 25 “visits” are scheduled with a variety of hospitals around the state. During these 90-minute virtual visits, MVC provides an overview of the collaborative, our data, and engagement activities. Hospitals receive a quality improvement slide (Figure 1) in advance that they complete and return prior to their scheduled date. These responses drive the main discussion of the site visit.

Figure 1.

Much has been learned about various quality improvement projects being implemented and what hospitals are focusing on for 2021 and 2022. MVC plans to use the information from these slides to connect hospital members with peers interested in implementing similar projects.

In addition, the Coordinating Center is interested in learning: who is utilizing the registry and any individualized reports, the types of MVC data that are most useful, and any challenges hospitals have with using the data. This feedback will help MVC make improvements to the registry and individualized reports to make them more actionable for members.

Finally, the hospital relationship with physician organizations (POs) is discussed. One of MVC’s goals is to help facilitate collaboration between POs that have patients attributed to each hospital, especially in the patient outcomes and quality of care arenas.

If you have not yet scheduled a site visit, please do so here. Slots are available between now and October. If you have any questions or would like further information on a site visit, please contact the MVC Coordinating Center at michiganvaluecollaborative@gmail.com.

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Identifying and Solving Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations

Identifying and Solving Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations

As hospitals continue to work on reducing readmissions, another area of focus to reduce costs is through preventing potentially preventable hospitalizations, especially in chronic conditions. Potentially preventable hospitalizations, known as PPHs, are unplanned hospitalizations that have the potential to be avoided if timely and appropriate outpatient care had been received. However, in order to reduce these admissions, there has to be a means of identification. A number of methods have been reviewed to try and develop a way to identify those patients at risk of having a PPH.

In Australia, a Preventability Assessment Tool (PAT) was developed to attempt to identify patients at high risk of PPH The use of the tool compared to a similar assessment performed by an expert panel was assessed to learn if the tool identified appropriate patients. The  findings were recently published in a journal article. The expert panel consisted of a hospital physician, a primary care physician (or general practitioner (GP)), and a community nurse with expertise in the chronic conditions. The publication identified that the carefully constructed and developed PAT, when compared to the assessment of the expert panel, did not effectively identify those at risk of a PPH.

Another method to potentially identify these types of admissions is a hospital outreach program, also implemented in Australia. In the program, the patient record is flagged for areas of concern such as general health, medication, and wellness. Red flags are specific to disease or symptoms that have the potential for hospitalization. Trained telehealth guides reach out on a frequent basis (greater than weekly), while patients and caregivers can call in to the program at any time. Analysis of the flags being triggered through these phone calls may alert personnel to a deterioration in patient health, concerns about medications or a lack of support, and allow for outpatient care to be provided in a timely manner to avoid a hospitalization.

A study within the United States compared deep learning against a logistical regression model to identify prediction models for preventable hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and costs in heart failure patients. The study found that deep learning approaches identified these preventable areas more accurately than the traditional methods, indicating that outcomes are contributed to by clinical, demographic, and socioeconomic factors. The study found the main predictors for preventable hospitalizations in heart failure patients were diuretic usage, orthopedic surgery, and age (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Research suggests that although hospitals can work to identify who is at risk for a preventable hospitalization or preventable emergency department visit, a more preferable method of reducing these is improving not only quality of care but also access to care within the primary sector of the community. By reducing barriers to healthcare and improving local community services, population health outcomes can potentially be enhanced which, in turn, may lead to a reduction in potentially preventable hospitalizations.

The Michigan Value Collaborative is interested in hearing how your facility is working towards identifying potentially preventable hospitalizations and ED utilization. Please contact us at michiganvaluecollaboarative@gmail.com.

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Introducing Jana Stewart, MPH, MS Communication Specialist for MVC

Introducing Jana Stewart, MPH, MS Communication Specialist for MVC

I am excited to join the Michigan Value Collaborative (MVC) as Communications Specialist. This new position will help highlight MVC’s success stories, support MVC member events and engagement activities, and promote MVC services throughout the state of Michigan. I look forward to getting to know MVC members and hearing their feedback in the coming months.

I have worked in communications in various capacities over the past 10 years, and as a result my writing has been published in academic journals, newspapers, magazines, and K-12 curricula. I started out in journalism as a sports writer, copy editor, and then managing editor of a regional newspaper, during which I earned writing awards from the Michigan Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. My time as a journalist allowed me to write about a wide range of topics, from city government and local business to high school sports and crime.

When I left journalism for a position at the University of Michigan, I continued to provide broad communications support to administrative offices and research labs. Through this work I developed a strong interest in programs that sought to improve the long-term health of people and places. As a result, I also enrolled as a dual-degree master’s student in public health and environmental science. I have three degrees from the University of Michigan in total, including a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology, a Master of Science in Environmental Psychology, and a Master of Public Health (MPH).

Following the completion of my MPH program, I spent several years in the field working for primary prevention programs. I worked for a hospital-based farm in the St. Joseph Mercy/Trinity Health network, and then with Michigan Medicine’s Project Healthy Schools program. Implementing interventions in the field helped me to see first-hand the impact that such programs can have on a population or institution. Now I am truly excited to support the mission and vision of the MVC as I return to communications full-time. I know there are tremendous untold stories about the impact of MVC’s efforts on Michigan hospitals and patients. If you have a story to tell or a question to ask, please reach out to me at janaemil@med.umich.edu. I would love to hear from you!