This Week in Managed Care: January 5, 2018

This week, the top managed care stories included an analysis of how healthcare spending has changed in the United States; a study finds people willing to try e-cigarettes smoke less and are more likely to quit; and a new cholesterol test that doesn't require fasting gives more accurate results.

A study tracks soaring health spending, e-cigarettes help people smoke less, and a new cholesterol test gives accurate results without fasting.

Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, I’m Kelly Davio.

US Health Spending Changes

Spending on healthcare has climbed nearly 30-fold since the 1970s, according to an analysis from the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker.

In 1970, spending on items such as insurance, health research and public health totaled about 75 billion dollars. By 2000, that figure had climbed to 1.4 trillion dollars, and in 2016 it was 3.3 trillion dollars.

Health spending has consistently grown faster than the rest of the economy, although it has slowed down in recent years.

And, although the average person spends more out of pocket on healthcare today, personal spending accounts for just 10 percent of healthcare costs, compared with 34 percent in 1970.

For more, read the article.

E-Cigarettes and Smoking Cessation

A pilot study from South Carolina finds that smokers who use e-cigarettes while trying to quit, smoke less and make more attempts to kick the habit. Sixty-eight smokers were studied, with 46 randomized to use e-cigarettes and 22 assigned to a control group.

Even without any instructions, every person in the e-cigarette group tried them at least once, and more than half of those using the higher strength product went on to buy their own e-cigarettes after the three week study.

The researchers found: “Many people rated the e-cigarettes similar to their usual product, which further suggests that these products might promote switching. Anything that gets smokers off combustible cigarettes is a good thing.”

The study at the Medical University of South Carolina was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Nonfasting Cholesterol Test

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed a new cholesterol test that doesn’t require fasting, and a new study finds it is more accurate than the traditional test.

The results, published in the journal Circulation, found that the new test was 92 percent accurate when people did not fast, compared with 71 percent accuracy using the old method of calculation. The results could mean screening for elevated LDL cholesterol will become more convenient for most people.

Said Seth Martin, MD, of Johns Hopkins, who helped develop the test: “Since nonfasting samples are now accurate, it’s more convenient for patients because they can come in anytime and don’t need to return for a second appointment if they have eaten.”

For more on the new test, see an interview with lipidologist Dr. Eliot Brinton of the Utah Lipid Center in the current issue of Evidence-Based Diabetes Management.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome and ADHD

Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome have higher rates of adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Pain Medicine, found that 44.7% of the 123 patients with fibromyalgia screened positive for adult ADHD.

Study author Roland van Rensburg, MBChB, told AJMC, “There are many aspects of fibromyalgia syndrome that we do not yet fully understand, such as the exact pathophysiology, and the association with numerous other conditions.”

Both Fibromyalgia syndrome, a chronic pain disorder, and ADHD affect neurotransmitter activity, and these results suggest that patients with fibromyalgia syndrome should be screened for ADHD.

MIPS Webinar

Finally, join AJMC January 31 for our webcast series on Quality Practice Programs in Oncology.

The webcast “Implementing the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System for Improved Population Health” features insights from Dr Stephen Grubbs and Dr Robin Zon, of ASCO, with moderator Dr Kavita Patel.

For more information and to register, visit our webcast page.

For all of us at the Managed Markets News Network, I’m Kelly Davio. Thanks for joining us.