Just Read: Eliminating Racial Disparities in Medicare Advantage Plans

Yesterday I had the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, and specifically the current class of fellows in the “iconic” Yale Program (@RWJFCSP_Yale) 🙂

Our interaction took place both in the awesome Logan Circle neighborhood in Washington, DC, as well as a tour of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health (@KPTotalHealth).

This post is a follow-up to that discussion, to generate more discussion (hopefully). The scholars asked more than a few times “where’s the outcomes data?” Ok ok… it’s “know your audience.”

I’m following up with what’s in the literature, and there’s plenty of it. The questions spurred me to finally read several of the papers in my queue, I’ll post those here.

Here’s the first one, it’s a study of Medicare Advantage Enrollees in two key years, 2006 and 2011, by researchers at University of Michigan, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess.

Our findings in the West of nearly identical control of three major risk factors among black Medicare enrollees and white Medicare enrollees in Kaiser health plans and control of glycated hemoglobin in other health plans show the poten- tial to achieve equity in these key health outcomes.

Our findings build on observational and quasi-experimental studies from Kaiser health plans in California that showed substantial improvements in control of blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and glycated hemoglobin with implementation of an electronic health record, electronic messaging between patients and physicians, and a large-scale program to improve control of hypertension. These initiatives were also associated with reduced rates of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for enrollees who had diabetes and with a reduced incidence of acute myocardial infarction.

Plenty of references to other studies within.

The reality that we’ve discovered in health care transformation and innovation, is that change requires data and stories, not one or the other. Put another way, “innovation equals ideas and execution.”

The Center for Total Health is our social innovation center, where the sharing of both happen, with an emphasis on the visual and narrative. We think the world doesn’t need another windowless conference room with push to talk mics*. Or as my colleague Erin Meade (@erinm81) says, “If only you could find data somewhere else.”

See what you think, take a look, ask questions, let’s dialogue!

Push to Talk 17739

“Ted’s Kryptonite” – Let’s go for a walk instead (View on Flickr.com)

*The push to talk mic is my Kryptonite. Sit me in a room with one of these and watch any semblance of creativity and usefulness vanish.

Ted Eytan, MD