Posts by Catholic Benefits Trust

Population Health Management

population health management challenges and advantagesMany have recognized that population health is the next step in the advancement of healthcare management. Unfortunately, developing a sustainable population health management strategy requires overcoming several challenges. Not all providers have access to the necessary technology and other resources required to establish an effective strategy.

What Is Population Health?

Population health focuses on preventing health problems before they require more financially-draining treatment solutions. It could mean instigating a wellness program or a treatment plan designed to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. But simply hosting a wellness program isn’t enough. Population health management also means keeping track of patients and participants data for research and analysis. The aggregation of patient data into a single place for everyone to access and assess could lead to superior health and treatment solutions.

The Challenges of Population Health

Enabling strong communication amongst health professionals and providers is one of the biggest challenges of population health management. Physicians have been trained to diagnose and treat their patients in a single-minded fashion. Part of the new strategy requires experts to consider their patients more holistically. They would need to go beyond the traditional two-step process to collaborate with other professionals and consider other factors in their patients lives such as environment or occupation.

The effective and sustainable aggregation of patient data is another challenge to overcome when it comes to population health management. Having basic electronic health records isn’t always sufficient for high-level analytics required to develop effective health initiatives.

In order to transition to an effective population health management strategy, we have to develop a new culture in healthcare to encapsulate the needs of patients in alignment with this strategy. This involves training medical professionals and staff to adapt to a new system where the goal is to focus on the patient instead of the diagnosis. This evolving healthcare strategy wouldn’t be possible without modern technology. The infrastructure of population health management needs sophisticated platforms for aggregating and interpreting patient data.

The advantages to adopting population health management far outweigh the challenges. Population health would improve patient care while saving money and valuable resources to the benefit of patients, physicians, and providers. You can contact us to find out how the Catholic Benefits Trust is working to change our culture to encompass population health.

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Franciscan University of Steubenville to Join Catholic Benefits Trust

The Franciscan University of Steubenville

The Catholic Benefits Trust (CBT) is pleased to announce that the Franciscan University of Steubenville will be joining as an official member on January 1, 2016. The decision to join the trust was made after considering the cost benefits and Catholic values upheld by the trust.

“It will help us to effectively manage our health care costs while, at the same time, providing access to the best healthcare network in the U.S. and will also allow the University to offer benefits that are consistent with its Catholic identity,” said Brenan Pergi CPA, SPHR, Vice President of Human Resources at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

As a member of the CBT, the University will have access to a national network of Blue Cross/Blue Shield providers and other partner vendors along with several other additional services including lower fixed costs, a health improvement program and patient advocacy via a Personal Health Nurse. Patient advocacy means the employees of the University will be served by a Personal Health Nurse assigned to help them navigate the healthcare system. Pergi said the University is also looking forward to participating in telemedicine where members can access physicians, via audio or video, for common ailments from the convenience of their home or office.

About The Franciscan University

The Franciscan University, established in 1946, integrates academic excellence and Catholic intellectualism into a faith-based community. At the Franciscan University, students receive an exceptional education through faith-based learning. The school has a broad range of programs and majors for students to choose from as well as a student to teacher ratio of 15:1. If you’d like to learn more about the University, check out the school’s website.

Our Background

The Catholic Benefits Trust (CBT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to serving the Catholic Church through the improvement of group medical plans.  Any organization listed in the Catholic Kenedy Directory is eligible to become a member.  Each member organization has a seat on the Board of Directors to manage the vision and goals of the CBT.  Our services include the legal protection of funds intended for employee benefits.  We give our members ownership of their medical data and perform a robust analysis of that data. This information is used to provide a personal health management plan to specific individuals and provide feedback on performance with a full range of HIPPA-compliant management reports. The Trust assigns a team of Personal Health Nurses to assist our members. Your team of Personal Health Nurses are dedicated to your organization and will assist your employees (including priests, if applicable) in developing a care management plan.

We’re excited to begin our official relationship with the Franciscan University in the new year. If you’d like to learn more about the Catholic Benefits Trust, feel free to contact us!

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How Geographic Information Systems Can Improve Healthcare

improving healthcare with geographic information systems Maps have more to do with health care than you might think. Mapping patient data is becoming a major part of how we interpret illness and create treatment plans. Geographic information systems (GIS) is mapping software that allows users to connect data with locations. Seeing data visually displayed on a map is helpful for any number of industries, especially healthcare. Mapping occurrences of diseases and illnesses from patient demographic data gives users a whole new approach to studying medicine.

Finding Geographic Patterns

The mapping of illnesses, diseases, and other patient information lets researchers find geographic patterns in the data. As patients go about their daily lives, the geographic information of where they live, work, and visit is tracked. This information alerts researchers to problem areas. For example, if a residential area experiences an usually high number of cancer diagnoses then they can search for a cause related to the environment. This was the case for some agriculturally intensive areas in California where researchers found a link between the pesticides used by the nearby farms and prostate cancer.

Regional Treatment Plans

The mapping of patient data can also improve personalized healthcare options. GIS gives researchers the tools and information necessary to find long-term trends and patterns in the health of different demographics and regions. Especially with data from wearable technology to track heart rates, sleeping patterns and sun exposure, the possibilities for specialized treatment are innumerable.

Track Infectious Diseases

Not only can GIS be used to find existing patterns and trends, but it can also help identify areas where diseases are likely to spread next. This will help with the management of disease outbreaks by tracking where patients have been and who they may have been in contact with while contagious. For example, the 2014 outbreak of measles in Disneyland required mapping to find where the children lived and who else could be affected.

Social Media

In addition to wearable tech, researchers are also able to pull geographic data from social media. In 2012, researchers used Twitter to search for hashtags related to the flu such as #flu and #influenza to plot the geographic locations of flu symptoms and outbreaks.

Mapping systems are a great way to improve how healthcare is administered to patients. With GIS systems and data collecting technology, researchers can provide sophisticated healthcare options tailored to individuals based on location. How else do you think GIS can be used to improve healthcare?

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What is a Nurse Advocate?

Nurse advocates are proving to be an essential feature of the most effective health plans.  But many patients may not know what a vital role a nurse advocate fills.

You will make numerous health care decisions in your lifetime.  But you don’t need to make those decisions alone. Nurse advocates understand that numerous factors enter into each choice you make: your spiritual beliefs, your family obligations, your finances, and your need for the highest quality of life. They also understand that your health means more than just an illness of injury.  Advocates work with you to create a wellness program that can attend to your whole health. Advocates makes sure that the health care experience remain patient-centered.

The nurse advocate serves as a liaison between the doctor and the patient.  The advocate opens a line of communication that flows both ways.  Because of this, a nurse advocate serves two roles:

  1. The nurse advocate provides a resource of information to the patient, explaining diagnoses and treatment plans in terms a patient can understand.
  1. The nurse advocate also represents patient’s’ best interests and champions patient’s’ needs to their health care network.

Patient advocacy improves efficiency and enhances overall care.  Advocacy programs also ensure that individualized needs and preferences are given the respect that they deserve.  If a patient’s wishes conflict with a prescribed treatment plan, the nurse advocate serves as the patient’s voice.  In this event, the nurse advocate works with doctors and health care providers to come up with alternative treatment plans that best attend to a patient’s wishes as well as the patient’s health, making sure the patient is served mind, body, and soul.

Nurse advocates can also represent larger cohorts or populations. By championing the needs of larger groups with similar needs, tailored health programs can be created for these populations.  In a system where cost-effectiveness is key, nurse advocates can provide the insight and organization to serve individuals needs with cost-effective programs that serve populations at large.
If you have more questions about Catholic Benefits Trust nurse advocacy program, please reach out.  We’d love to answer your questions and help you secure a better health experience for you or your organization!

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What Is Population Health Management?

“Population Health” is fast becoming the buzzword for great health care plans.  But what exactly is population health and how does it translate into better care?

Simply put, different groups have different needs.  Some groups are more prone to genetic illnesses or certain infections than others.  Other groups require different on-going treatments and check-ups, such as prenatal or end-of-life care. A group is not necessarily one divided along ethnic or gender lines.  Think about your community: does your neighborhood have a growing elderly population? Or does it seem like every family around you has a kid on the way? Is your community rural or urban, working class or wealthy, family-oriented or full of young professionals on the go?

Population health management is a data-driven program that studies a certain population to discover trends in their health care needs. By analyzing a population and customizing a plan to suit their specific health requirements, we can create not only healthier individuals but healthier communities too!

Population health management also benefits customers in several other ways:

Cut Costs

By creating plans tailored to a group’s most common needs, a plan may not have to account for excess services that are unlikely to be utilized by that community.  By “cutting the fat,” plans can become more streamlined and cost effective.  As an added benefit to this, the cost certain treatments common to a demographic can be bundled and dispersed across this population reducing cost to every individual.

Customized Care

Population health management is all about finding a comprehensive health program that attends best to group’s specific needs.  By consolidating a population, a customized treatment and care plan can be created that more effectively accounts for that group’s medical requirements.

Data-Driven Programs

When picking a healthcare plan, we do a lot of guess work as to what types of care to prioritize.  Because population health management is data-driven, you can benefit from population studies that can better anticipate what your health care needs may be not only in the near future, but down the line.

Life-long Health

You do not belong to the same demographic your whole life. As you age, your needs change too.  Population health management acknowledges these changes to create programs that best serve your needs no just today, but your whole life long.

Still have questions about population health management? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or feel free to reach out to CBT anytime!

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