Health Dialog

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Health Dialog
Type Private
Industry Disease management (health)
Founded 1997
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts
Key people Web Golinkin, CEO
Products Care management and analytic services
Website www.healthdialog.com

Health Dialog is a care management, employee wellness, and decision support provider, and wholly owned subsidiary of Rite Aid Corporation. The company is based in the United States and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1997 to address the unwarranted variation research done by Dr. John Wennberg and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Dr. Wennberg's research found that the amount of healthcare services consumed per capita varies significantly between different regions of the United States, and that areas that deliver more care or higher-cost care do not necessarily show improvements in health quality outcomes.[1] The company seeks to reduce unwarranted variation in the U.S. healthcare system through care management and shared decision making.

History: Dartmouth Atlas and Unwarranted Variation[edit]

In 1967, Dr. John Wennberg began documenting geographic variation in healthcare. In 1988 he founded the Center for Evaluative Clinical Services (CECS) at Dartmouth Medical School. Wennberg's work has shown that that patients in regions of the United States that spend more and provide more healthcare services per capita often experience worse outcomes than lower-spending areas that provide less care. Through his research, Wennberg has argued that "the Medicare system could reduce spending by at least 30% while improving the medical care of the most severely ill Americans." For his contributions to the study of the healthcare system and health policy, Wennberg was named by Health Affairs as "the most influential health policy researcher of the past 25 years."[2]

Founded in 1997, Health Dialog collaborates with the non-profit Informed Medical Decisions Foundation to produce patient decision aids that seek to address unwarranted variation in healthcare and improve medical decisions through shared decision making.

Shared Decision Making[edit]

Shared decision making is a process with the aim of increasing patients' understanding of their conditions and treatment options, as well as their involvement in the choices that decide their care. 82 percent of adults over the age of 40 have made a decision about having surgery, undergoing a screening test, or tasking a new medication in the past two years. 54 percent of these adults have faced two or more of these types of medical decisions.[3] Roughly one-third of medical decisions are about surgeries, tests, treatments, and procedures that have two or more treatment options.[4]

Peer-reviewed research[edit]

On September 23, 2010, a randomized controlled trial study led by Dr. David Wennberg entitled "A Randomized Trial of a Telephone Care-Management Strategy" was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study followed 174,120 individuals over 12 months and compared the annual medical costs of those who received enhanced care management provided by Health Dialog to those who received "standard" care management services. The study found that the overall medical and pharmacy costs of those in the intervention (enhanced) group were $7.96 per member per month lower than the control group. The study reported that much of the savings were derived from a 10.1% reduction in hospital admissions among the intervention group.[5]

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