E-Visits Highlighted in AJMC’s Annual Issue on Health IT

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Each year, The American Journal of Managed Care devotes an issue to health information technology. The growing importance of this healthcare field is reflected in the diversity of topics covered in the 13 papers in this year’s issue.

Each year, The American Journal of Managed Care devotes a special issue to Health IT.

Information and communications technology has become an essential tool for patients to both learn about health and find healthcare services, said special guest editor Jeffrey S. McCullough, PhD

Adoption and use of electronic health records, new ways to use technology in clinical practice, and the use of data to manage healthcare delivery are the top issues covered in the 2015 special issue of The American Journal of Managed Care devoted to health information technology.

Special guest editor-in-chief Jeffrey S. McCullough, PhD, assistant professor of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, opens the issue with an introduction that explains how health IT has become ubiquitous for both providers and patients.

“Information and communications technology has become an essential tool for patients to both learn about health and find healthcare services,” McCullough writes, “Many websites facilitate cross-patient communications and support, while patient portals provide new venues for interactions between patients and providers.”

McCullough reports that the 13 articles in the issue cover three main topics: the growing adoption and utilization of electronic health records, or EHR, the new and different ways that technology is being used as a communication tool in clinical practice, and the ways that data analytics are being used to better manage patient care. These trends occur as payers, including CMS, are pressing for greater use of value-based payment models in 2016.

Two important articles on e-visits show how this form of communication has the potential to change the provider-patient encounter in meaningful ways. A study led by Mary E. Reed, DrPH, of Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research found that a third of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes who exchanged emails with their physicians improved their overall health.

A study led by Stephen M. Albert, PhD, that looked at patient interest in e-visits for mental healthcare found that while younger patients and especially female patients were more likely to be interested in this kind of care, physicians curiously took longer to respond to these patient requests than for other electronic requests for care.

Finally, AJMC Associate Editor Dennis Scanlon, PhD, of Penn State University concludes the yearlong 20th anniversary commentary series with his essay, “A Health Systems Improvement Research Agenda for AJMC’s Next Decade.” Much of what researchers will explore, Scanlon writes, will boil down to some aspect of the question, “Has Obamacare worked?” But with so many moving parts, some at the state and some at the federal level, there will be endless aspects for scholars to examine.

“With so many changes in play, stakeholders involved, and different timelines for implementation, the answer to the question of whether the Affordable Care Act has worked is incredibly complicated, and more definitive answers will require more time and more research,” Scanlon writes. He offers AJMC as the perfect place to publish results.

About the Journals and AJMC.com

The American Journal of Managed Care celebrates its 20th year in 2015 as the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. AJMC.com distributes healthcare news to leading stakeholders across a variety of platforms. Other titles in the franchise include The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision-makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care, and The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary on innovative healthcare delivery models facilitated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s Evidence-Based series brings together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in oncology and diabetes management. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

CONTACT:     Nicole Beagin (609) 716-7777 x 131

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Mary Caffrey
The American Journal of Managed Care
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Nicole Beagin
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