Taking Action Express: Leapfrog Group Hospital Survey Results Just In, Dealing with Low Back Pain, Obesity, and Joint Replacement in the Workplace

July 29, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 9.40.53 PMThe Weekly Buzz: Results of the Leapfrog Group Hospital Survey Now Available

The Leapfrog Group has issued the Results of 2013 Leapfrog Hospital Survey, an in-depth examination of seven key areas of hospital quality and safety. The report is based on hospital performance data gathered through the Leapfrog Hospital Survey of 1,437 U.S. hospitals in 2013, the highest hospital participation rate to date in the annual survey. As the regional roll out leader in Minnesota when The Leapfrog Group was launched, The Action Group continues to encourage every state hospital to participate.

screen480x480Tracking Low Back Problems in a Major Self-Insured Workforce

Because up to 84 percent of adults report experiencing low back pain symptoms at some point during their lifetime, employers are making this a high priority issue, understanding the enormous effect it has on workforce health and productivity. And the annual cost of all care for low back pain is estimated to be a staggering $86 billion, rivaling the economic burden of treating cancer, which comes in at an estimated $89 billion.

From the June 2014 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine comes a study that gives excellent direction to employers about managing low back problems. Action Group members have exclusive access to the comprehensive Back Pain and Surgery Purchaser’s Guide to aid in making purchasing decisions that positively influence cost and quality outcomes.

21jauhar-master675Busy Doctors, Wasteful Spending

Overburdened medical doctors striving to find more efficient ways to treat patients commonly site low back pain as an area where costly specialist care does not contribute to improving patient outcomes.

“Through…Choosing Wisely®, medical-specialty societies recently released lists of tests and procedures that are not beneficial to patients, including MRIs for most lower back pain and stress tests when there are no signs of heart disease,” says Sandeep Jauhar, M.D., in this recent New York Times Editorial. “These criteria are essential for educating physicians and patients alike about wasteful medical services that they should avoid.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians makes this helpful patient education resource about imaging tests for low back pain available through Choosing Wisely.

purchasersguideJoint Replacement Purchaser’s Guide Cites Obesity as a Contributor to Dramatic Increases in Procedures

This article in the Huffington Post, featured in The Action Group’s new member-exclusive Total Joint Replacement Purchaser’s Guide, reveals that about 55% of patients under age 65 receiving knee replacements are obese, while about 43% of those over 65 are obese.

Endocrine Today discusses in its July issue a comprehensive expert panel report that lays the foundation for the obesity treatment guidelines compiled by The Obesity Society, American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology.

A variety of materials, including an Employer Action Plan Worksheet, became available following the recent member webinar, Closing the Gap in Obesity Management Solutions.” Because the prevalence of diabetes correlates to the obesity epidemic, The Action Group offers members and non-members complimentary access to the Cornerstones4Care diabetes website, designed to improve condition management and medication and preventive care compliance.

187Thought for the Week

“If you put yourself to bed with back pain, you rapidly decondition your muscles. The idea is to keep moving some. Walk. Do daily activities. Go slowly. Having done this myself, it’s hard, but it works.”

Dr. John Santa, Medical Director, Consumer Reports Health