Helsana Group

Zürich, Switzerland

Helsana Group

Zürich, Switzerland

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Reich O.,Helsana Group | Rosemann T.,University of Zürich | Rapold R.,Helsana Group | Blozik E.,University of Hamburg | Senn O.,University of Zürich
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Objectives: To describe the prevalence and determinants of potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use and association with hospitalizations in an elderly managed care population in Switzerland. Methods: Using health care claims data of four health insurers for a sample of managed care patients 65 years of age and older to compare persons on PIM with persons not on PIM. Beers' 2012 and PRISCUS criteria were used to determine the potential inappropriateness of prescribed medications. The sample included 16′490 elderly patients on PIM and 33′178 patients not on PIM in the time period of January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012. Prevalence estimates are standardized to the population of Switzerland. Associations between PIM and hospitalizations were examined by multivariate Cox regression analyses controlling for possible confounding variables. Results: The estimated prevalence of PIM use in our managed care sample was 22.5%. Logistic regression analysis showed that number of different medications used in the previous year, total costs in the previous year and hospitalization in the previous year all significantly increased the likelihood of receiving PIM. Multiple Cox regression analysis revealed that those on cumulative levels of PIM use acted significantly as a factor related to greater hospitalization rates: the adjusted HR was 1.13 (95% CI 1.07-1.19) for 1 PIM, 1.27 (95% CI 1.19-1.35) for 2 PIM, 1.35 (95% CI 1.22-1.50) for 3 PIM, and 1.63 (95% CI 1.40-1.90) for more than 3 PIM compared to no PIM use. Conclusions: The prevalence of PIM in managed care health plans are widely found but seem to be much lower than rates of non-managed care plans. Furthermore, our study revealed a significant association with adverse outcomes in terms of hospitalizations. These findings stress the need for further development of interventions to decrease drug-related problems and manage patients with multiple chronic conditions. © 2014 Reich et al.


Blozik E.,Swiss Center for Telemedicine Medgate | Blozik E.,University of Hamburg | Rapold R.,Helsana Group | Von Overbeck J.,Swiss Center for Telemedicine Medgate | Reich O.,Helsana Group
Drugs and Aging | Year: 2013

Background: Polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) are associated with adverse outcomes such as hospitalization, loss of productivity, and death. Objective: This study evaluates the prevalence of polypharmacy and PIM in the adult community-dwelling population in Switzerland. Methods: The analysis is done based on claims data from the largest health insurance in Switzerland. We calculated the number of medications submitted for reimbursement, the proportion of persons with polypharmacy, and the proportion of persons receiving PIM according to the 2003 Beers criteria and the PRISCUS list. Additionally, we estimated cost for medications and PIM, and identified the most prevalent groups of PIM according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC). Results: 17 % of the adult community-dwelling population in Switzerland received 5 or more medications which is one of the common definitions of polypharmacy, and over 21 % of adults aged more than 65 years had a PIM according to 2003 Beers criteria or the PRISCUS list. The most prevalent classes of PIM were psycholeptics, sex hormones, psychoanaleptics, and antiinflammatory drugs. Conclusion: Although the present study has a number of limitations, we conclude that the prevalence of polypharmacy and PIM in Switzerland is high. A broad spectrum of interventions on the individual level as well as on the population level is urgently needed. © 2013 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Reich O.,Helsana Group | Reich O.,UMIT University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology | Signorell A.,Helsana Group | Busato A.,University of Bern | Busato A.,University of Zürich
BMC Health Services Research | Year: 2013

Background: There is a growing interest in examining the current state of care and identifying opportunities for improving care and reducing costs at the end of life. The aim of this study is to examine patterns of health care use at the end of life and place of death and to describe the basic characteristics of the decedents in the last six months of their life. Methods. The empirical analysis is based on data from 58,732 Swiss residents who died between 2007 and 2011. All decedents had mandatory health insurance with Helsana Group, the largest health insurer in Switzerland. Descriptive statistical techniques were used to provide a general profile of the study population and determinants of the outcome for place of death were analyzed with an econometric approach. Results: There were substantial and significant differences in health care utilization in the last six months of life between places of death. The mean numbers of consultations with a general practitioner or a specialist physician as well as the number of different medications and the number of hospital days was consistently highest for the decedents who died in a hospital. We found death occurred in Switzerland most frequently in hospitals (38.4% of all cases) followed by nursing homes (35.1%) and dying at home (26.6%). The econometric analysis indicated that the place of death is significantly associated with age, sex, region and multiple chronic conditions. Conclusions: The importance of nursing homes and patients' own homes as place of death will continue to grow in the future. Knowing the determinants of place of death and patterns of health care utilization of decedents can help decision makers on the allocation of these needed health care services in Switzerland. © 2013 Reich et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | Helsana Group and Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Type: | Journal: Therapeutics and clinical risk management | Year: 2016

Transitions between different levels of health care, such as hospital admission and discharge, pose a significant threat to the quality and continuity of medication therapy. This study aims to explore the role of hospitalization on medication changes as patients are transferred from and back to ambulatory care.Secondary analysis of claims data from Swiss residents with basic health insurance at the Helsana Group was performed. We evaluated medication invoices of patients who were hospitalized in a Swiss private hospital group in the year 2013. Medication changes were defined as discontinuation, new prescription, or change in the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) Classification System level 4, which is equivalent to a change in the chemical/therapeutic/pharmacological subgroup. Multiple Poisson regression analysis was applied to evaluate whether medication change was predicted by socioeconomic or clinical patient characteristics or by a system factor (physician dispensing of medication allowed in canton of residence).We investigated a total of 10,123 hospitalized patients, among whom a mean number of 3.85 (median 3.00) changes were identified. Change most frequently affected antihypertensives, analgesics, and antirheumatics. If patients were enrolled in a managed care plan, they were less likely to undergo changes. If a patient resided in a canton, in which physicians were allowed to dispense medication directly, the patient was more likely to experience change.There is considerable change in medication when patients shift between ambulatory and inpatient health care levels. This interruption of medication continuity is in part desirable as it responds to clinical needs. However, we hypothesize that there is also a significant proportion of change due to unwarranted factors such as financial incentives for change of products.


Schoepfer A.M.,University of Lausanne | Bortolotti M.,University of Lausanne | Pittet V.,University of Lausanne | Mottet C.,University of Lausanne | And 9 more authors.
Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics | Year: 2014

Results Of 1420 CD patients, 835 (59%) were ever treated with 5-ASA from diagnosis to latest follow-up. Disease duration >10 years and colonic location were both significantly associated with 5-ASA use. 5-ASA treatment was judged to be successful in 46% (378/825) of treatment episodes (physician global assessment). Side effects prompting stop of therapy were found in 12% (98/825) episodes in which 5-ASA had been stopped. Conclusions 5-Aminosalicylates were frequently prescribed in patients with Crohn's disease in the Swiss IBD cohort. This observation stands in contrast to the scientific evidence demonstrating a very limited role of 5-ASA compounds in the treatment of Crohn's disease. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.Background There is uncertain evidence of effectiveness of 5-aminosalicylates (5-ASA) to induce and maintain response and remission of active Crohn's disease (CD), and weak evidence to support their use in post-operative CD.Aim To assess the frequency and determinants of 5-ASA use in CD patients and to evaluate the physicians' perception of clinical response and side effects to 5-ASA. Methods Data from the Swiss Inflammatory Bowel Disease Cohort, which collects data since 2006 on a large sample of IBD patients, were analysed. Information from questionnaires regarding utilisation of treatments and perception of response to 5-ASA were evaluated. Logistic regression modelling was performed to identify factors associated with 5-ASA use. © 2014 John Wiley and Sons Ltd.


Huber C.A.,Helsana Group | Diem P.,University of Bern | Schwenkglenks M.,University of Zürich | Rapold R.,Helsana Group | Reich O.,Helsana Group
Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy | Year: 2014

Background: Estimating the prevalence of comorbidities and their associated costs in patients with diabetes is fundamental to optimizing health care management. This study assesses the prevalence and health care costs of comorbid conditions among patients with diabetes compared with patients without diabetes. Distinguishing potentially diabetes- and nondiabetes-related comorbidities in patients with diabetes, we also determined the most frequent chronic conditions and estimated their effect on costs across different health care settings in Switzerland.Methods: Using health care claims data from 2011, we calculated the prevalence and aver­age health care costs of comorbidities among patients with and without diabetes in inpatient and outpatient settings. Patients with diabetes and comorbid conditions were identified using pharmacy-based cost groups. Generalized linear models with negative binomial distribution were used to analyze the effect of comorbidities on health care costs.Results: A total of 932,612 persons, including 50,751 patients with diabetes, were enrolled. The most frequent potentially diabetes- and nondiabetes-related comorbidities in patients older than 64 years were cardiovascular diseases (91%), rheumatologic conditions (55%), and hyperlipidemia (53%). The mean total health care costs for diabetes patients varied substantially by comorbidity status (US$3,203–$14,223). Patients with diabetes and more than two comorbidities incurred US$10,584 higher total costs than patients without comorbidity. Costs were significantly higher in patients with diabetes and comorbid cardiovascular disease (US$4,788), hyperlipidemia (US$2,163), hyperacidity disorders (US$8,753), and pain (US$8,324) compared with in those without the given disease.Conclusion: Comorbidities in patients with diabetes are highly prevalent and have substantial consequences for medical expenditures. Interestingly, hyperacidity disorders and pain were the most costly conditions. Our findings highlight the importance of developing strategies that meet the needs of patients with diabetes and comorbidities. Integrated diabetes care such as used in the Chronic Care Model may represent a useful strategy. © 2014 Huber et al.


PubMed | Kantonsspital St Gallen, Helsana Group and University of Zürich
Type: | Journal: Patient preference and adherence | Year: 2016

The link between guideline adherence and outcomes is a highly demanded issue in diabetes care. We aimed to assess the adherence to guidelines and its impact on hospitalization using a simple set of performance measures among patients with diabetes.We performed a retrospective cohort study, using health care claims data for adult patients with treated diabetes (2011-2013). Patients were categorized into three drug treatment groups (with oral antidiabetic agents [OAs] only, in combination with insulin, and insulin only). Performance measures were based on international established guidelines for diabetes care. Multivariate logistic regression models predicted the probability of hospitalization (2013) by adherence level (2011) among all treatment groups.A total of 40,285 patients with diabetes were enrolled in 2011. Guideline adherence was quite low: about 70% of all patients received a biannual hemoglobin A1c measurement and 19.8% had undergone an annual low-density lipoprotein cholesterol test. Only 4.8% were exposed to full adherence including all performance measures (OAs: 3.7%; insulin: 7.7%; and in combination: 7.2%). Increased guideline adherence was associated with decreased probability of hospitalization. This effect was strongest in patients using OAs and insulin in combination.Our study showed that measures to reflect physicians guideline adherence in diabetes care can easily be calculated based on already available datasets. Furthermore, these measures are clearly linked with the probability of hospitalization suggesting that a better guideline adherence by physicians could help to prevent a large number of hospitalizations.


PubMed | Swiss Association of Pharmacists, Helsana Group and Bern Medical
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Research in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP | Year: 2016

The Swiss Pharmacists Association has launched a new collaborative project, netCare. Community pharmacists provide a standard form with structured triage based on decision trees and document findings. As a backup, they can collaborate with physicians via video consultation.The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of this service on the Swiss health care system.All pharmacists offering netCare completed two training courses, a course covering the most common medical conditions observed in primary health care and a specific course on all of the decision trees. The pharmacists were free to decide whether they would provide the usual care or offer netCare triage. The patient was also free to accept or refuse netCare. Pharmacists reported the type of ailment, procedure of the consultation, treatment, patient information and outcomes of the follow-up call on a standardized form submitted to the study center.Pharmacists from 162 pharmacies performed 4118 triages over a period of 21 months. A backup consultation was needed for 17% of the cases. In follow-up calls, 84% of the patients who were seen only by pharmacists reported complete relief or symptom reduction.netCare is a low-threshold service by which pharmacists can manage common medical conditions with physician backup, if needed. This study showed that a pharmacist could resolve a large proportion of the cases. However, to be efficient and sustainable, this service must be fully integrated into the health care system.


Background: The drug-dispensing channel is a scarcely explored determinant of medication adherence, which is considered as a key indicator for the quality of care among patients with diabetes mellitus. In this study, we investigated the difference in adherence between diabetes patients who obtained their medication directly from a prescribing physician (physician dispensing [PD]) or via a pharmacy. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using a large health care claims database from 2011 to 2014. Patients with diabetes of all ages and receiving at least one oral antidiabetic drug (OAD) prescription were included. We calculated patients’ individual adherence to OADs defined as the proportion of days covered (PDC), which was measured over 1 year after patient identification. Good adherence was defined as PDC ≥80%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between the PDC and the dispensing channel (PD, pharmacy). Results: We identified a total of 10,430 patients prescribed drugs by a dispensing physician and 16,292 patients receiving drugs from a pharmacy. Medication adherence was poor in both patient groups: ~40% of the study population attained good adherence to OADs. We found no significant impact of PD on the adherence level in diabetes patients. Covariates associated significantly with good adherence were older age groups, male sex, occurrence of comorbidity and combined diabetes drug therapy. Conclusion: In conclusion, adherence to antihyperglycemic medication is suboptimal among patients with diabetes. The results of this study provide evidence that the dispensing channel does not have an impact on adherence in Switzerland. Certainly, medication adherence needs to be improved in both supply settings. Physicians as well as pharmacists are encouraged to develop and implement useful tools to increase patients’ adherence behavior. © 2016 Huber and Reich. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited.


PubMed | University of Basel and Helsana Group
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Expert opinion on drug safety | Year: 2016

Using claims data from the Helsana Group, a large Swiss health insurance provider, we examined the association between statin use and the risk of cholecystectomy in a case-control analysis.We identified 2,200 cholecystectomy cases between 2013 and 2014 and matched 4 controls to each case on age, sex, index date and canton. We categorized statin users into current or past users (last prescription 180 or > 180 days before the index date, respectively) and classified medication use by duration based on number of prescriptions before the index date. We applied conditional logistic regression analyses to calculate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and adjusted the analyses for history of cardiovascular diseases and for use of estrogens, fibrates and other lipid-lowering agents.The adjusted OR (aOR) for cholecystectomy was 0.85 (95% CI: 0.74, 0.99) for current statin users compared to non-users. Long-term current statin use (5-19 prescriptions) was associated with a reduced OR (aOR 0.77, 95% CI: 0.65, 0.92). However, neither short-term current use nor past statin use affected the risk of cholecystectomy.The study supports the previously raised hypothesis that long-term statin use reduces the risk of cholecystectomy.

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