Employer Healthcare Focus of the Future

20130616094407293We, as Americans, have created the best healthcare system in the history of the world. But this “best” system faces some daunting challenges. The current employer must rethink their healthcare focus from just buying an insurance policy to a managed, data driven healthcare strategy.

Current Strategies used by Employers for the Past Five Years

  • Employers cost shifted to employees  or absorbed the cost themselves.
  • Employers monitored discounts (price) but not utilization.
  • Employers received claims data as reports.
  • Employers had no comparative information on the quality and cost of providers.
  • Employers reviewed large claim activity.
  • Employers sponsored health fairs and wellness screens for healthy well.
  • Employers focused on negotiating the 10-20% fixed costs.

Future Employer Strategies Going Forward

  • Employers will be directly involved in helping manage the healthcare delivery system.
  • Employers will closely monitor utilization patterns and cost of the 25% of the population driving 90% of the cost.
  • Employers will receive Executive Reports analyzing trends, demographics, actionable clinical information, chronicle disease reports, healthcare index factors, etc.
  • Employers will focus on Healthcare Provider Process Improvement Programs and know the value of specific providers.
  • Employers will know the healthcare index of their population and focus on large claim prevention.
  • Employers will implement chronic disease management programs, predictive analysis, nurse navigators, nurse practitioners and wellness coaches.
  • Employers will focus on managing the 80-90% of their health benefit cost which is claims.

Employers that make effective positive changes to the way they manage their healthcare will be rewarded with healthier more productive employees and lower cost for them and their employees.





How to Have a Stress Free Holiday Season

holiday-stress-womanThe holidays are officially here and the season for giving begins. It’s a wonderful time of year, but with all the activities, excitement and family obligations taking place at once, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, stressed and even a tad bit gloomy. Here are 8 simple steps to relax, let go and really enjoy a truly happy holiday!

  1. Focus on your connections. This holiday, reflect on the meaning and closeness of your relationships. It’s not the amount of money you spend, but how much love and joy you share that will create the quality of the season. The beautifully wrapped presents and bows are far less important than the people in your life.
  2. Entertaining? Make a time line and list. Being organized and prepared will save you from a lot of stress hormones. Prioritize and delegate tasks when you can. Enlist the help of professionals if need be (cleaning? catering?).
  3. Keep it simple. The food doesn’t have to be fancy and you don’t have to spend a small fortune on decorations. A fire in the fireplace can set the mood and fresh flowers or greens are beautiful anywhere in the house. The people make the party.
  4. Involve the whole family in your holiday planning and preparation. Children love to be a part of the process. Let them help with frosting cookies, making place cards, decorating your home or holiday table. Let go of perfection and have fun!
  5. Get plenty of sleep and eat healthy foods. Sleep may seem like an indulgence this time of year, but it is essential to good health and a positive holiday outlook. Rest, slow-down and take time to reflect. There will be plenty of treats and sweets – eat healthy meals to counteract the unhealthy choices.
  6. Let go and go with the flow. If you’re overwhelmed, imagine what would happen if you didn’t do “it”. What is the worst case scenario? Not sending your holiday cards on time probably won’t matter in the long run.
  7. Give out of joy vs. obligation. Don’t stress your budget. Be creative and come from your heart. It makes the gift much more meaningful.
  8. Perform a small act of kindness without expecting anything in return. A smile will spread some holiday cheer.

via How to Have a Stress Free Holiday Season: 8 Steps (with Pictures).

Combining Safety & Wellness = Total Worker Health

for-human-reource-consultancy-in-dorchester-call-01202-848-129-health-and-safetyToday, emerging evidence recognizes that both work-related factors and health factors beyond the workplace jointly contribute to many safety and health problems that confront today’s workers and their families. Traditionally, workplace safety and health programs have been compartmentalized. Health protection programs have focused squarely on safety, reducing worker exposures to risk factors arising in the work environment itself. And most workplace health promotion programs have focused exclusively on lifestyle factors off-the-job that place workers at risk. A growing body of science supports the effectiveness of combining these efforts through workplace interventions that integrate health protection and health promotion programs.

via CDC – NIOSH Total Worker Health.

Health Effects of Chronic Sleep Deprivation

drexel_sleep_deprivationThe consequences of sleep deprivation.

In the short term:

  • Decreased Performance and Alertness: Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
  • Memory and Cognitive Impairment: Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability — your ability to think and process information.
  • Stress Relationships: Disruption of a bed partner’s sleep due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship (for example, separate bedrooms, conflicts, moodiness, etc.).
  • Poor Quality of Life: You might, for example, be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.
  • Occupational Injury: Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
  • Automobile Injury: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

The good news for many of the disorders that cause sleep deprivation is that after risk assessment, education, and treatment, memory and cognitive deficits improve and the number of injuries decreases.

In the long term, the clinical consequences of untreated sleep disorders are large indeed. They are associated with numerous, serious medical illnesses, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression and other mood disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Mental impairment
  • Fetal and childhood growth retardation
  • Injury from accidents
  • Disruption of bed partner’s sleep quality
  • Poor quality of life

via Chronic Sleep Deprivation and Health Effects.

Injury & Illness Investigation

Xoros_Ergasias_0_1_nu_B69FFF3BWhen a work-related injury or illness occurs it is important to investigate the reasons why it happened so we can suggest changes to prevent a similar incident from happening again.   Most injuries and illnesses are preventable.  The purpose of an investigation is not to assign blame, but to identify contributing factors which can then be controlled.  By identifying the factors that led to the incident and then changing the conditions or actions, similar incidents can be avoided in the future.

via Injury & Illness Investigation.

Antibiotic Resistance Can Be Deadly

Antibiotic_resistanceAntibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat patients who have infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death from infectious diseases. However, these drugs have been used so widely and for so long that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective.

Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.

via CDC – Antibiotic / Antimicrobial Resistance.