Preliminary results from a new survey by URAC, a national leader in health care accreditation, reveals that the medical management industry is continuing to focus resources on health information technology, but the ability of consumers to access their information on-line remains low due to the cost of developing appropriate web-portals and other business and security-related concerns.
The URAC 2010 Population Health/Care Management Survey is the third survey of medical management organizations conducted by URAC to periodically assess current industry trends and identify potential issues coming in the near future. Two prior surveys were conducted in 2001 and 2005. The survey looks at the current status of medical management, including products and services offered, populations served, staffing models and information management systems utilized.
“The medical management industry continues to innovate to meet the needs of the changing health care system,” said Alan P. Spielman, President and CEO of URAC. “Changes outlined in recent health care reform legislation emphasize the delivery of high quality care and promote integration of services across the care continuum. These preliminary results suggest that progress is being made to integrate the use of technology for care coordination. The next step must be to share this information with patients to empower them to make informed decisions regarding their health care.”
Preliminary analysis of the survey data URAC has received so far shows the following:
— A majority of respondents predict an increase in demand for consumer-directed programs through internet portals. However, the percentage of companies indicating that consumers can currently access their cases through an online portal remains low. The cost of developing these portals was reported as a significant challenge facing organizations.
— Medical management organizations continue to automate their processes.
– The number of companies scanning medical records into their medical information systems is growing.
– Respondents project an increase in the use of data from Electronic Health Records for care management review.
— Organizations are implementing numerous patient safety initiatives. The most common initiative identified was training of both clinical and non-clinical staff on how to handle crisis calls.
URAC is continuing to collect information, and will be looking at additional areas including trends for average caseloads in case management, approaches towards staffing and demands for a highly skilled workforce.