AssureCare Logo for population health management software

A team of medical professional working together.

Monthly Healthcare Buzz…


The healthcare sector is responsible for nearly 10% of greenhouse gas emissions and use up to 5 times more energy than a fancy hotel. By becoming more energy-efficient, some hospitals are seeing high cost savings. The former CEO of Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin said they were saving $1-$3 million a year. They utilize wind, wood chip, landfill produced methane gas, and cow manure to produce energy.

The FDA approved the first identical generic version of the EpiPen for allergic reactions. The EpiPen, made by Mylan, can cost up to $600 for a pack of 2. It’s too soon to know how much this generic version will drive down costs.

A study evaluating the effect of sending letters to clinicians informing them of patient deaths whom they had prescribed opioids to found that opioid prescribing decreased between 6.2 to 13.2 percent compared to clinicians who did not receive a letter. The letters did not increase the chances clinicians would cut their patients off addictive painkillers, but it showed a decrease in clinicians who introduced new patients to them.

Onpattro (patisiran) infusion is the first treatment approved by the FDA for patients with peripheral nerve disease (polyneuropathy) caused by the genetic disease hATTR. It is the first approved in a new class of drug called small interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) that silence a portion of RNA involved in causing a particular disease.

Last year, Stanford Medicine hired Dr. Tait Shanafelt as chief wellness officer to address the growing issue of physician burnout. About 300 to 400 doctors die by suicide each year. In an interview Shanafelt addresses the issues of physician burnout, how it affects physicians and patients, and ways to address the issue.

Time for the Quadruple Aim?

In 2007 the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) developed the Triple Aim framework. This initiative was designed to aid healthcare organizations improve the health of populations and an individual patient’s experience, while also reducing, or at least controlling, per capita cost of care. The goals of the Triple Aim have been widely accepted in the healthcare industry, but is it time to incorporate a fourth objective?

A Quadruple Aim Chart focused on preventing Physician burnout.

Healthcare providers experiencing burnout can impede patient-centered care and hinder progress towards achieving the Triple Aim. According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, physician burnout and satisfaction in the U.S. have worsened from 2011 to 2014.

  • Physicians experiencing at least one symptom of burnout increased from 45.5% to 54.4% (2011-2014).
  • Work-life balance satisfaction decreased from 48.5% to 40.9% (2011-2014).
  • Depression rates were 39.8% (2014).

When physicians suffer a burnout their patient’s care can also suffer; the chances for medical errors increase and quality of care decreases. Patients with dissatisfied physicians are less likely to adhere to their care plans, which can lead to health complications and increased expenditures. It may be time to shift from the Triple Aim to a Quadruple Aim, incorporating staff and provider satisfaction.