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Integrated Health Ecosystem Key To Creating Better Health Outcomes And Managing Costs For Employers And Health Plans

ATLANTA, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Finding the strategies that will help employers and health plans successfully adapt to the changing healthcare environment will be a focal point of a presentation given by Gordon Norman, MD, MBA, chief innovation officer for Alere, at AHIP's Institute 2010 June 9–11 in Las Vegas.  Alere is a patient-centered health management company serving large employers and health plans nationwide.

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Norman's presentation, "Beyond Theory: Implementing a Patient-Centric Health Ecosystem", describes the complex health ecosystems facing individuals today and the challenges they pose for navigating and understanding today's complex healthcare environment. The presentation is scheduled for Thursday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m.

A health ecosystem is described as the interplay of myriad factors, including the environment, personal attributes and relationships, cultural influences, technology, and health resources that affect individual health status.

Norman notes that emerging patient-centric ecosystems can provide the structure needed to meet the challenges of today's healthcare environment including rising costs, poor outcomes, discrepancies in care and misalignment of priorities.

"The solution to many of the healthcare challenges we face as individuals, employers, health plans and the nation as a whole is to find ways to ensure a more collaborative approach to developing healthcare programs and services," said Norman. Examples of beneficial programs – those that promote patient-centric ecosystems – include benefit programs that fully integrate disease management, wellness and disability for all employees or participants, not just those with chronic illnesses, according to Norman.  

Norman's presentation will also highlight the quality of life, health improvement and cost savings such approaches can bring.  For example, studies conducted by Alere have shown that every dollar of medical & pharmacy costs is matched by $2.30 of health-related productivity costs(1).

In addition, a recent article in Health Affairs notes that medical costs fall by about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs and that absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent(2).

Norman also stresses that to obtain and improve savings, health plan sponsors need to take additional steps, such as expanding their incentive programs and leveraging technology by implementing medical technologies like patient health records and health portals that integrate health management services on one easily accessible platform. They also need to promote collaborative care platforms that will better connect primary care physicians, nurses, case managers and others directly involved in patient care. Most importantly, Norman will highlight the value of a personalized approach to healthcare, including programs tailored specifically for the needs of individual participants. That includes nurses, dieticians and other healthcare providers working with participants as health coaches.

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