What’s the Outdoor Industry’s Role in Healthcare Reform?

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What’s the Outdoor Industry’s Role in Healthcare Reform?

An article recently published by RootRated.com, explores what efforts have been made to define the outdoor industry’s role in health care reform.

The article highlights how Kaiser Permanente is a leader in integrating health care with outdoor activity:

“We believe being outdoors is critically important for good health,” says Dr. Jennifer Bass, a pediatrician with Kaiser in Portland, Oregon. She says Kaiser Permanente’s practitioners treat “exercise as a vital sign.”

But it’s not just about numbers: the physical setting for exercise is key. “There are benefits of outdoor [activities] versus indoor,” says Bass, noting that outdoor runners enjoy health benefits that treadmill users do not, and the former are more likely to continue with the activity in the longer term.

Launched in 2011, Kaiser’s Rx Play program in Portland is “a partnership between the healthcare system and the recreation department,” says Bass. The doctor writes a prescription for activity, and the patient gets a copy, as does the appropriate rec center, and an advocate places an outreach call to foster participation.

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“They’ve had great success getting people in,” says Bass. “Having a navigator to help families through the system is a critical part of the program.”

Messaging and marketing are also important. “Raising awareness is the first step,” says Bass. “Kaiser is in definitely in that phase.”

Now focused on kids in the city, Rx Play is being revised to focus on outdoor activities in a broader geographic region, with an all-ages goal. There’s a solid business case for the expansion. “We know there are cost savings,” says Bass. “It’s really about preventing and delaying chronic illnesses.”

Read more of this article here.

Germ-free flying

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It’s Spring Break and you’re about to board a metal tube flying 40,000 feet above the ground at 575 mph, and you’re feeling a bit nervous. The good news is that you can stop worrying — flying remains one of the safest forms of travel out there.

The bad news: Disease-causing germs love aircraft.

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For more information and tips on how to fly germ-free, read the full article here.

You can also download an infographic to share with others:

Infographic Text: Germ-Free Flying

Taking Predictive Analytics to the Next Level

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Using Predictive Analytics in health care holds huge promise for improving care quality and outcomes for patients.

This type of data science can help care teams and hospital systems manage population care for chronic conditions, proactively identify patients at risk for disease, infection or hospital readmission, and observe trends in quality and outcomes. There is no shortage of information; the tough part is making the information actionable and knowing in advance what you are going to do with it, such as having a care management team in place to receive and take action on the data.

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Kaiser Permanente has been using predictive analytics for years, leveraging our robust electronic health record, integrated systems and coordinated care teams. Two articles, Taking Predictive Analytics to the Next Level and How Predictive Analytics Can Help Prevent Infection describe the challenges and opportunities for working with this type of data, and ways it is currently used at Kaiser Permanente and other institutions to identify and target patients at risk for preventable events such as hospital readmissions and central line infections.

(Photo:Michael Kanter, M.D)

The tough part of predictive analytics is making the information actionable, says Michael Kanter, M.D., executive vice president of quality and chief quality officer of the Oakland, Calif.-based Permanente Federation.

To learn more about predictive analytics, check out the following links:

Taking Predictive Analytics to the Next Leveland How Predictive Analytics Can Help Prevent Infection

Healthy Meeting’s Tip – Red Wine & Chocolate Bites

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According to The Heart Foundation, February has been designated at Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both ment and women in the United States.  The good news?  It is also one of the most preventable.  Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspect of saving lives for this silent killer. Reinforcing healthy behaviors is possible when organizing important business meetings and events.

At the Center for Total Health, we work with groups think about every aspect of their meetings and how to incorporate more positive choices in their planning.  For example, at dinner events, people often expect heavy desserts loaded with fats and sugars. A simple way to satisfy the taste buds is to add a red wine and dark chocolate dessert bar.  For our guests, a sommilier from our caterer can prepare matching red wines with varying degrees of dark cocoa bites.  One ounce tastings of various wines are offered and small bites of chocolate are paired.  Guests leave informed with not only the facts about new wines or chocolates but are reminded that — in moderation – red wine and chocolate is healthy for your heart.  For more information on suggested healthy food menus, check out our healthy meetings page on this website.  For a sample menu, check out this information card provided to guests: KP CTH Red Wine Chocolate Menu

 

What Women Need to Know About Heart Disease

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A stomach ache, jaw pain, fatigue.

Each symptom on its own may not prompt a woman to call her doctor. But combined, they could signal that a woman is having a heart attack.

There’s a myth that heart disease is a “man’s disease,” but the statistics tell a different story. The American Heart Association reports 44 million women in the United States are affected by heart disease, and heart disease and stroke kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds.

Peter Miles, MD, regional chair of the chiefs of cardiology for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, answers questions about what women need to know about heart disease and the steps everyone can take to maintain a healthy heart.

Peter Miles, MD

Peter Miles, MD

How serious is heart disease for women?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women. In fact, heart disease kills more women than men, but 4 out of 5 women don’t know that.

How do heart attack symptoms differ between men and women?

Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom, but it is not the only one. Women often experience different symptoms than men, and it’s not always the dramatic, crushing chest pain you may see on TV.

Women may feel a burning or numbness that can radiate to the back or shoulders. Because women’s symptoms can differ from men’s, it can be easy for women to think their symptoms aren’t serious. The more symptoms a woman experiences, the more likely it is that she is having a heart attack.

If pain or discomfort lasts more than 5 minutes, isn’t relieved by lying down, and travels through the back, shoulder, neck, or jaw, it’s important to get medical treatment right away. Getting treatment quickly can lower the amount of heart muscle that’s damaged.

Women who are busy with family and work responsibilities may ignore the first signs of a heart attack. They may be preoccupied with taking care of others and may ignore their own health needs. But it’s important to change that trend. We can do that with education and information.

How can women and men reduce their risk of heart attack and heart disease?

To take care of your heart, you need to take care of the whole you. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins (such as fish, beans, chicken, nuts, and low-fat dairy), and whole grains to help keep your heart and blood vessels in good shape.

If you drink alcohol, drink it in moderation. Women should limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day.

We recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week or at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days. If you can’t do all 30 minutes at once, do 10 minutes at a time. Brisk walking, swimming, or cycling are all good for the heart.

Lowering your weight by just 10 percent can also make a significant difference in reducing your risk for heart disease, and so can lowering your stress. Anger, anxiety, and depression may keep your blood pressure high and increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other illnesses. Try meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises to help control the stress in your life.

Finally, if you smoke, it’s time to quit. Talk to your doctor about resources such as medication and classes to help you kick the habit.

Visit www.kp.org/heart for more about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and heart disease. To learn more about KP’s efforts to eliminate disparities in care, visit the Center for Total Health by scheduling a tour and submit a tour request form.

Consumer Driven Models can Transform Care

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Healthcare IT News interviewed Kaiser Permanente CIO Dick Daniels and he shared his perspective on Kaiser Permanente’s holistic model and the value of the consumer in the care equation.

“Consumer expectations and needs are a primary consideration for everything we do,” Daniels said. “We believe that individuals need to have access to information and services in ways that are welcoming and convenient to them in order to manage their health effectively. We consider all aspects, including how patients experience the selection of the health plan that best meets their needs, the care they receive when they come to one of our facilities, and the access they have to care from wherever they may be.”

Daniels will present “Transforming Care Through a Consumer-Driven Model” at HIMSS 17, running from February 19-23, 2017.

To read the full story, click here.

Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health

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The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) hosted its annual membership meeting and reception at The Center for Total Health,  prior to its 29th Annual Policy Research Conference on January 26.

Joy Lewis, senior health policy leader of Kaiser Permanente’s Institute for Health Policy served on the panel that looked at Medicaid’s role as an insurer of more than 70 million people and its capacity to address the underlying social determinants of health.

“We approach today’s discussion with the belief that Medicaid will continue to serve a pivotal role as an insurer of low-income populations. More and more, health care leaders, providers, and others in the health care ecosystem are giving recognition to the fact that health is greatly influenced by complex social factors,” said Lewis.

The report, Strengthening Medicaid as a Critical Lever in Building a Culture of Health, is the result of a study panel that included state Medicaid program directors, public health and health policy experts, health researchers, medical and health professionals, and health plans, and was convened by the nonprofit NASI.

“The panel approached this project with several key goals in mind,” said Trish Riley, co-chair of the study panel and Executive Director at the National Academy of State Healthy Policy. “We aimed to discuss strategies that could increase Medicaid’s potential to help move the dial on individual and population health, while improving health care quality and program efficiency.”

To learn more about the report: https://www.nasi.org/sites/default/files/research/Strengthening_Medicaid_as_a_Critical_Lever_Low_Res.pdf

To read the entire press release about the conference and highlights of the repor:https://www.nasi.org/press/releases/2017/01/press-release-nonpartisan-expert-panel-recommends-steps

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to advance solution challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security.

Pictured above keynote speaker: Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director, Caring Across Generations

NBA and Kaiser Permanente to Host Second Annual Total Health Forum

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The National Basketball Association and Kaiser Permanente, will hold the second annual Total Health Forum on Thursday, Jan. 26 in Los Angeles. Participants include NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson, NBA All-Star Chris Paul, Hall of Famer Jerry West, NBA Legends Rick Fox and James Worthy, and two-time WNBA Champion Sue Bird.

Bringing together leaders across health, business, community and sports, the Total Health Forum will explore a variety of health and wellness issues affecting families across the country. Through interactive panel discussions and insightful Q&A’s, this year’s forum will address opportunities and strategies for achieving total health of mind, body and spirit, including strengthening both community and personal resiliency. Panelists also will include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and Playworks founder Jill Vialet.nba-fit-week-250x179

NBA FIT Week presented by Kaiser Permanente will feature programs and events designed to inspire the NBA family to be active, eat healthy and play together, while teaching values of the game like hard work, discipline, leadership and teamwork. NBA FIT Team members will help encourage fans of all ages to participate through fitness events and social media.

Learn more here.

Honoring National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day

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In honor of National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day, we wanted to highlight important research available at the Center for Total Health.  The study is one of the largest and most ethnically diverse to look at maternal diabetes as a risk factor for autism.  Many have probably heard of other suspected causes, but time and time again guests at the center are surprised to hear that children whose mothers developed gestational diabetes by the 26th week of pregnancy were at increased risk of developing autism later in life, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on April 14, 2015.  And that’s just a sample of the power of an electronic health record (EHR).

“Kaiser Permanente is uniquely qualified to conduct large scale studies in a real-word setting with the power of our integrated, comprehensive electronic health record,” said lead author Anny Xiang, of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.  “We can follow many women through the electronic health records and assess potential links between historical information and their own health outcomes, and their children’s health outcomes. The large size is particularly important to study rare diseases such as autism spectrum disorders. Appropriate analysis of these data can reveal important findings which could impact our approach to patient care.” She noted that this was an observational study, therefore the findings reveal associations between gestational diabetes and risk of a child developing autism rather than proving a cause and effect relationship.

Researchers examined the electronic health records of more than 322,000 ethnically diverse children born between 28 and 44 weeks at Kaiser Permanente Southern California medical centers between January 1995 and December 2009.  They followed the children for an average of 5.5 years and found that those exposed to gestational diabetes by the 26th week of pregnancy had a 63% increased risk of being diagnose with an autism spectrum disorder than children who were not exposed.  After taking into account maternal age, education, race and ethnicity, household income and other factors, the increased risk of autism associated with gestational diabetes was 42 percent.

For more information on the study, click here.

To learn more about this and other innovation at Kaiser Permanente, visit the Center for Total Health.

The dirty truth about receipts

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Guest blogger Joel Sigler is senior manager for Kaiser Permanente National Environmental, Health & Safety

The Center for Total Health has a self- service health assessment machine that provides visitors a printed receipt indicating their weight and body mass index (BMI). Recently, a visitor asked a great question about whether the receipt paper is coated with Bisphenol A (BPA).

BPA is an endocrine disrupter that mimics estrogen in the body. Studies have found that BPA exposure is potentially linked to a number of health concerns including breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, sexual dysfunction, and obesity (kind of ironic if present in a machine that tells you your BMI). There are many sources of BPA exposure, it is found in many products including food can linings and plastic bottles. Unfortunately, receipt paper is one of the many items that can also potentially contain BPA. Receipt paper is of particular concern because it can easily be absorbed into the body when the receipt is handled. Absorption of BPA is sped up even more if hand sanitizer has been applied before handling a receipt.

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We promptly called the manufacturer of the self-service health assessment machine to find out if they knew if the receipt paper contained BPA. The good news is that the manufacturer was very responsive. Within a day they had contacted their receipt paper supplier and verified that it was “BPA free.” They even provided KP a letter from the receipt paper supplier. Kaiser Permanente is continuing to communicate with them to find out about any BPA alternatives that they may be using. Bisphenol S (BPS) and Bisphenol F (BPF) are chemicals commonly used as substitutes for BPA. They are less studied than BPA and haven’t gotten the same attention. But because BPS and BPF are similar in chemical structure to BPA, experts have concern that they could represent similar health risks.

It is important to recognize that product manufacturers aren’t always this responsive. It often takes a lot of effort to get an answer to whether a product contains chemicals of concern, either because they don’t know, or because they don’t think it is important enough to find out. In this case, the question had gotten to the President of the manufacturing company and apparently he had gotten similar questions from other customers. So just asking the question helps drive action. It is unfortunate though that when it comes to chemicals of concern, the onus is on the customer/consumer (and not on manufacturers) to drive efforts to find out if a product is “safe.” Kaiser Permanente puts significant effort into identifying and eliminating chemicals of concern like BPA in the products that the organization purchases and uses.

The Environmental Working Group provides the following recommendations to reduce exposure to BPA from receipt paper:

-Minimize receipt collection by declining receipts at gas pumps, ATMs and other machines when possible.

-Store receipts separately in an envelope in a wallet or purse.

-Never give a child a receipt to hold or play with.

-After handling a receipt, wash hands before preparing and eating food (a universally recommended practice even for those who have not handled receipts).

-Do not use alcohol-based hand cleaners after handling receipts.

-Take advantage of store services that email or archive paperless purchase records.

-Do not recycle receipts and other thermal paper. BPA residues from receipts will contaminate recycled paper.

More information on all of Kaiser Permanente’s environmental stewardship program can be found at kp.org/green