Consortium News

  • 04 Jan 2016 11:01 AM | Brian Kelley (Administrator)

    "Health IT-Assisted Population-Based Preventive Cancer Screening: A Cost Analysis"
    Published in Latest Edition of American Journal of Managed Care

    BOSTON, MA and FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwired - Dec 21, 2015) - SRG Technology, developer of cutting-edge data collection and analysis solutions designed to drive performance improvements, announced today that a peer-reviewed manuscript published in the latest edition of The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) titled "Health IT-Assisted Population-Based Preventive Cancer Screening: A Cost Analysis" analyzes the costs and benefits achieved while implementing TopCare Powered by Blender™, a population health management technology platform, for automated breast, cervical and/or colorectal cancer screening outreach at Massachusetts General Hospital. The paper was co-authored by Douglas E. Levy, PhD, Vidit N. Munshi, MA, Jeffrey M. Ashburner, PhD MPH, Adrian H. Zai, MD PhD MPH, Richard W. Grant, MD MPH, and Steven J. Atlas, MD MPH.

    The study compared three screening strategies, two of which were novel information technology (IT)-based population health strategies using TopCare. One of these approaches employed an algorithm to automate outreach processes (AUC), while the other leveraged physician input to streamline cancer-screening outreach (AUCPI). The third comparator was baseline usual care (BUC).

    Using data from a randomized trial conducted previously by members of the study team showing similar benefits in cancer screening from AUC and AUCPI strategies, the authors estimated that the TopCare interventions would decrease overall costs, primarily by reducing physician time devoted to cancer screening relative to usual office-based care. Total costs of cancer screening efforts over the one-year study in a primary care network with 160,000 adult patients were $3.83 million for AUC, $3.88 million for AUCPI, and $4.10 million for BUC. Ongoing per-patient costs were lower for both AUC ($35.63) and AUCPI ($35.58) relative to BUC ($39.51). The results suggest that physician networks capable of monetizing savings in physician time could achieve savings through the use of the IT-based strategies.

    "Successful health IT-based strategies harness patient registry data with the ultimate goal of continuously improving care at a population level," said Dr. Adrian Zai, CMIO at SRG Technology and Clinical Director of Population Informatics at the Massachusetts General Hospital's Lab of Computer Science. "Using TopCare as the population health management platform, we were able to analyze the costs and benefits of two health IT strategies in improving cancer screening compared to usual care in the primary care network."

    Jointly developed by Massachusetts General Hospital's Laboratory of Computer Science and SRG Technology, TopCare is a software solution revolutionizing value-based care models that drive results through patient outcomes, quality performance, and real cost savings. TopCare enables the entire health provider team to collaborate on the patient's care, providing role based task management tools to enable proper task assignment, timely patient outreach, and improved patient adherence through appropriate referrals and follow-up; all designed to drive value-based care outcomes within patient populations.

    This study was supported by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ R03-HS020308, R18-HS018161), the Controlled Risk Insurance Company/Risk Management Foundation, and by institutional funding through the Massachusetts General Hospital Primary Care Operations Improvement program and the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization.

  • 29 Dec 2015 1:04 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    Researchers at UMass Medical School and UMass Lowell are collaborating on a new cyberinfrastructure technology with the aim to allow patients, researchers and physicians to transport and store large quantities of data, including sensitive information, through a secure system.

    Read more...


  • 25 Dec 2015 10:17 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    Four foundations jointly fund three-year, $10 million expansion of the OpenNotes movement...

    Read more...


  • 18 Dec 2015 1:20 PM | Denny Brennan (Administrator)

    By Andy Metzger

    STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

    BOSTON, DEC. 18, 2015....Dolores Mitchell, the executive director of the Group Insurance Commission who has served under seven governors, plans to retire, she announced Friday morning.

    "I have come to the conclusion that it's better to leave when people are either honestly or dishonestly telling you they're sorry you're going to go, than stay too long and have them say, 'It's time for her to leave already.' So I'm going to retire," Mitchell told commissioners Friday, creating a few expressions of shock from people on the 17-member commission.

    Mitchell has been executive director of the state-employee health plan since 1987, starting in her post under former Gov. Michael Dukakis.

    Her retirement announcement led to a disagreement among commissioners about how to replace Mitchell.

    Katherine Baicker, the chairwoman of the commission, initially told her colleagues she didn't plan to advertise the position, had already talked to "one exceptional candidate" and encouraged others to recommend candidates with the hope of a making a decision in January.

    Melvin Kleckner, a commission member from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and Timothy Sullivan, of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, led calls for a formalized, extensive search process.

    "You gotta do some kind of an extensive search," said Sullivan.

    Before the commission entered a closed-door executive session on an unrelated matter, Baicker encouraged commissioners to alert her if they want to participate on a subcommittee that will develop a process to select Mitchell's successor.

    Mitchell said she could stay on while a new director is sought, though she indicated she did not want to stay longer than a few months.

    The self-described "card-carrying liberal" presided over a meeting of the commission Friday morning, peppering wonky health insurance discussion with trademark quips. Discussing drug prices - which have an impact on the commission covering hundreds of thousands of people - Mitchell noted controversial pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli had been "hauled off to the pokey yesterday in handcuffs."

    Explaining the reasons for her departure, Mitchell said she had a "secret bet" or "contest" with Queen Elizabeth II over who would "be first."

    "But then when I saw a picture of her recently, and I said, 'You know. She's going to go on strong. She'll live to be 103.' And I said, 'You've got to know when to hold them and when to fold them," said Mitchell, who said she had never played poker. "So for all of those reasons I decided that the time is now."

    According to the Group Insurance Commission, about 262,500 people were covered by the commission when Mitchell arrives, and the commission now covers more than 430,000. Mitchell also sits on the Greater Boston Big Sister Association Board and on the board of the Massachusetts Health Connector, which oversees the state's health insurance exchange.

    "I have known Dolores since I first began working in state government and certainly appreciate all of the hard work she has done to make sure state and municipal employees have access to exceptional health insurance plans. I wish her all the best as she begins retirement," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.

    -END-

    12/18/2015

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