United Preference Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness tailored for the consumer


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Patients With Online Access Increase In-Person Visits to Doctor

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A study published in the Nov. 21 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association found that  patients who had online access to their physicians and other health care professionals increased their use of in-person and telephone clinical services.8

Online access included communicating with physicians through e-mails and the authors wrote, “The presumption is if patients could look up health information such as their test results, request prescription refills, schedule appointments, and send secure e-mail to clinicians, then their use of clinical in-person and telephone calls may decrease.”

The findings were not what the authors were expecting, in fact they were the complete opposite.  They came up with a few hypotheses to support their findings.  Palen, the physician manager for clinical reporting at the Institute for Health Research at the Colorado Permanente Medical Group in Denver, said the team already had developed several hypotheses for further investigation.   “One is that perhaps patients with online access may be more engaged in their health care and therefore use more clinical services initially. We want to see if that leads to better health outcomes for these patients down the road.” Eventually, that scenario could mean a diminishing need for in-person clinical services by some patients.

The authors also considered that perhaps online users had more severe illnesses and therefore required more clinical care. Lastly, “Another hypothesis that deserves investigation is that perhaps those who signed up for the patient portal did so because they anticipated the need for more clinical care,” said Palen.

The authors Study authors called for further investigation to explain why access to patient portals would increase patient use of clinical services.


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Survey shows how patients use Web for health care

According to Manhattan Research, which surveyed 5,210 adults who use the Internet as a health resource, 54% of respondents said they did online research to decide what services they might need and who they would see.  Various surveys have said that roughly 75% of American adults search for health information online.

Manhattan Research said 79% of patients diagnosed with a chronic disease in the previous three months, and already active online, used the Internet to influence their care decisions compared with 53% who were diagnosed a year earlier.

The survey did not ask patients what sites they visit to find information, but other surveys have found that the most popular online place for people to start health-related information gathering is a search engine, Malloy said. Search engines also are good places for physicians to start when they want to see if their online presence needs help, said Howard Luks, MD, an orthopedic surgeon in Hawthorne, N.Y., who consults on digital media and medicine issues.

Analysts said the number of patients using the Internet to pick their physicians and treatments could go up significantly when the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. The ACA is expected to add 30 million to the insured rolls starting in 2014, and many of those patients will be looking for a primary care doctor for the first time.

Source: http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/11/05/bisb1105.htm


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Fruit and Vegetable Produce Prescription

Here’s how it works:

“Health care providers and farmers market partners work together to identify and enroll overweight and obese children and pregnant women in FVRx as participants. A primary care provider and nutritionist meet with each participant monthly to discuss and reinforce the importance of healthy eating. During each health care visit, the participant receives an FVRx prescription redeemable only for locally grown produce and valued at $1 per day per family member. The participants redeem the FVRx prescription for fresh fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets at least every two weeks throughout the 4-6 month program.”

“FVRx™ is designed to provide assistance to overweight and obese children and pregnant women who are at risk of developing preventable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Fruit and vegetable prescriptions are distributed by community healthcare providers and redeemed at participating farmers markets for fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Each dollar invested in the FVRx program benefits the community three ways by: nourishing the consumer, boosting farmers’ revenue and supporting overall community health.”

Visit FVRx’s website to learn more.


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United Preference Webinar

We will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, October 23 at 1 PM (Eastern Time) 10 AM (Pacific) on ROI and Incentive Based Wellness Programs.

It is clear incentives can work and can reduce or curb the rise in  health care costs.  The American Institute for Preventive Medicine reviewed more than 140 studies around wellness initiatives and found an average ROI of more than three dollars per dollar invested in the area of health care costs, absenteeism and workers compensation.

In this webinar we’ll discuss:

  • Achieving ROI with Incentives
  • The Emotional Side of Incentives
  • The Impact of Incentives on Behavior Change
  • 2012 Trends in Incentives and Rewards

We will also take a look at a few examples of successful incentive programs from well known large employers. You’ll hear about United Preference’s unique approach as well.  The webinar presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

You can sign up here.


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United Preference Speaks with New Yorkers about Health & Wellness

It was a gloomy and rainy day during the Union Square Farmer’s Market, luckily for us there were still plenty of people around to talk to. We spoke with New Yorkers about their opinions on Healthy Living, Health Incentives, & Healthcare Reform.  The above video is uncensored footage of their thoughts and opinions.