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Category: CMHC

Cardiometabolic Health Congress

The Burden of the Prior Authorization Process

In December 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) fielded a web-based, 27-question survey distributed to 1,000 physicians. The national sample was comprised of 40% primary care physicians and 60% specialty physicians, all of whom provide 20 or more hours of patient care per week, and routinely complete prior authorizations (PAs) in their respective practices. The collective results of the survey indicated “the significant impact that prior authorization policies can have on both patients and physician practices.”

From a physician impact standpoint, 84% of physicians claim that the burden associated with PA for both physicians and staff is very high. Moreover, 86% report that PA burdens have increased over the past five years, with 51% reporting a ‘significant’ increase. Results further demonstrated that the average total PAs per physician each week totaled 29.1, translating into approximately 14.6 hours spent by physicians/staff to complete the workload. A staggering 79% of physicians claim that they are ‘sometimes, often, or always’ required to repeat PAs for prescription medications, when a patient is stabilized on a treatment regimen for a chronic condition.

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Heart Health from the Sauna

A visit to the sauna is more than just relaxing; it seems to have real heart and cardiovascular benefits, as well. A group of researchers from the University of Eastern Finland—who previously found that people who regularly used saunas had lower rates of hypertension, cardiac death and dementia compared to infrequent users—now find in a new study that sauna bathing can have a direct effect on blood pressure, heart rate and vascular health.

The team’s earlier studies on the health benefits of saunas, published in 2015 through 2017, were observational—meaning they could only find associations, and not cause-and-effect relationships, between sauna use and health outcomes. This time, however, the Finnish researchers recruited 102 people and monitored them immediately before and after a 30-minute sauna session to see what happened.

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