NCMS Morning Rounds 12-5-19

Happy Thursday. Enjoy your

NCMS Morning Rounds

Dec. 5, 2019

The Latest on the Flu in NC

North Carolina is not among the 10 states reporting widespread cases of the flu, according to the latest FluView report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report covers flu activity nation-wide for the week ending Nov. 23. For that week, the state influenza data shows one death, bringing the total deaths in the state for this flu season, which started Sept. 29, to three.

This CDC graphic shows where the flu cases are most prevalent at the moment.

A recent survey taken by NORC, the non-partisan research organization at the University of Chicago, revealed that 37 percent of adults nationally don’t plan to get a flu shot this year despite public health and physician recommendations to do so. As of early November, 44 percent of adults reported they received a flu vaccination. Another 18 percent had not yet been vaccinated but intended to get a vaccination this season, the survey of 1,020 adults showed.

People over age 60 had the highest vaccination rate of 65 percent over all other age groups. One particularly startling survey result showed that Among adults with children under age 18 living in their home, 43 percent said they do not plan to vaccinate their children. When asked why survey respondents were most likely to cite concerns about side effects from the vaccine (37 percent). Thirty-six percent do not think the vaccine works very well. Read more about this survey and its results.

If your – or your patients’ — holiday festivities include flying, this useful illustration shows how to help avoid the flu when airborne, including the ‘germiest’ parts of the plane. Note to self – stock up on hand sanitizer!

NCMS Policy Committee Meeting Recap

The NCMS’ new Policy Committee held its first meeting in October and discussed its role in helping to shape NCMS policy. The committee is charged with recommending policies to the NCMS Board of Directors that will uphold the NCMS’ mission to be leaders in medicine and enhance the health of North Carolinians.

The discussion, led by committee co-chair, Lisa Shock, DrPH, PA-C, largely focused on the key elements the group will use when considering a proposed policy. The group agreed that ‘health and well-being for everyone in North Carolina’ is a valid guiding principle for any policy consideration. The committee discussed other key elements to consider when shaping future policies including health equity, access, collaboration and leadership. Staff is working to hone the elements based on committee input and will present the revised guidelines at the committee’s next meeting in February.

Since the NCMS suspended the House of Delegates in 2015, the NCMS Board of Directors serves as the policy-making body. The Policy Committee will review issues submitted to it by the NCMS Board/President and make recommendations back to the Board for consideration and decision.

Data Makes the Difference: PCPI Conference Recap

Last month the Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement, now known as PCPI, held its annual conference in Chicago. The 3-day gathering focused on population and patient-centered care and how to use data for maximum impact.

NCMS Senior Vice President for Health System Innovation and Deputy General Counsel Melanie Phelps, JD, serves on the PCPI Board of Directors and found the conference sessions outstanding, particularly David Lansky, PhD, senior advisor and former CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health. He spoke about what he termed the ‘Walmart effect.’

“With family health plan costs approaching $20,000 annually, large national employers and employer coalitions are increasingly using data to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth,” he said.

The conference highlighted how quality measurement is shifting rapidly toward quantifiable, value-based outcomes. Many of the sessions addressed how those developing the quality measures as well as the users can better harness clinical data to improve care quality and patient outcomes.

Read a good summary of the ‘Data Makes a Difference’ track at the conference, including more about Lansky’s ‘Walmart effect.’

For more about what PCPI is all about and its work in quality improvement, see the Learning Opportunity section below.

In the News

Social Isolation and Loneliness Are America’s Next Public Health Issue, Becker’s Hospital Review, 12-2-19

Learning Opportunity

PCPI Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Donnelly presents this engaging webinar reviewing what PCPI does and its role in quality improvement, such as utilizing clinician level performance measurement for process improvement. Donnelly provides an overview of PCPI’s current policy work in various areas, including interoperability and physician fee schedules, and shares an example of work done to close the referral loop in ambulatory care, featuring an award-winning collaborative project with a toolkit that has been utilized by hundreds of organizations. Watch the 53-minute webinar.


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