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The BioIQ Blog

February 10, 2017

The Friday Five: Top Population Health News, Feb. 6–10

man running by a building

Workplace wellness programs may reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease; An ACA replacement may not be ready until 2018, and more.

1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 99 percent of the population has at least one of seven cardiovascular health risks, reports MobiHealthNews. It’s also costly – amounting to $207 billion per year in medical expenditures and lost productivity. But there’s hope: A new study suggests workplace programs that address heart disease risk factors in daily, working life could be effective in lowering the prevalence of the condition. With approximately 151 million U.S. adults in the civilian non-institutionalized workforce, researchers found the workplace to be an ideal setting for improving heart health. “This study represents the start of a major effort to address the types of organizational interventions that employers can introduce to improve heart health and financial outcomes that benefit both workers and businesses,” the researchers wrote in the study published in Health Affairs.

2. A recent Health Affairs study found that federally funded health centers in states that underwent Medicaid expansion through the ACA experienced higher levels of insured patients and improved care quality compared to their peers in non-expansion states. Health Payer Intelligence reports that the health centers also experienced significant care quality improvements for four out of eight measures, including asthma treatment, Pap testing, BMI assessment and hypertension control. “Our findings suggest the possibility of further gains in quality at community health centers as additional states expand eligibility for Medicaid and as more patients acquire insurance after 2014,” wrote study authors. “Gains in quality may be even greater for newly expanding states, since baseline uninsurance rates in these states were higher than rates in states that previously expanded, while quality may erode at centers in states that elect not to expand.”

3. In an interview that aired on Sunday night, President Trump said a replacement to the ACA would not likely be ready until either the end of this year or in 2018, reports The New York Times. “Maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year, but we’re certainly going to be in the process,” Mr. Trump said during an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, after Mr. O’Reilly asked the president whether Americans could “expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year.” Trump acknowledged that replacing former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is complicated, though he reiterated his confidence that his administration could devise a plan that would work better than the law — despite having provided few details of how such a plan would work.

4. According to a new report from Technavio Research, the global wearable devices market is expected to reach almost $6 billion by 2021. It was valued at more than $2 billion in 2016. The report cited the decline in the cost of these products – smartwatches, wearable bands, wristbands and medical devices – as a major driving force behind the adoption of wearable devices in the U.S. and Western Europe. Health Data Management reports that many companies have launched programs encouraging their employees to use wearable devices to track their health and fitness.

5. The New York University School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health has developed a City Health Dashboard to help cities understand, compare and take action to improve health status and health risks in their municipalities, reports Healthcare Informatics. The dashboard, which is being piloted in four cities, includes 26 measures related to health across five domains: Health Outcomes, Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Social and Economic Factors, and the Physical Environment. By bringing together data on health status, behavioral risks, and social determinants of health, calculated to the city, this tool has the potential to be a new resource for cities seeking to improve population health.

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