To say we read a lot at Keet is an understatement. It’s rare for a conversation to go by without someone dropping a reference to a recent book or article they’ve read. So today, we thought we’d bring you into the fold.

This week we’re sharing two articles that have been circulating Keet recently.

What We’re Reading

>>America’s elderly seem more screen-obsessed than the young
The Economist, August 14, 2019

This article got passed around the Slack channels at Keet when it was first published—and for a good reason. One of the most common objections we hear in the market is that older generations will never adopt a technology like Keet. In evaluating our data, we’ve found that’s not the case. We’ve learned that our most active users at Keet are baby boomers and medicare patients—not 25-year-old millennials.

Check it out to see how technology has permeated the lives of Americans of every generation.

Here are the key takeaways:
“Many parents and grandparents will grumble about today’s screen-obsessed youth. Indeed, researchers find that millennials look at their phones more than 150 times a day; half of them check their devices in the middle of the night; a third glance at them immediately after waking up. And yet, when all screens are accounted for, it is in fact older folk who seem most addicted.

“According to Nielsen, a market-research firm, Americans aged 65 and over spend nearly ten hours a day consuming media on their televisions, computers and smartphones. That is 12% more than Americans aged 35 to 49, and a third more than those aged 18 to 34 (the youngest cohort for whom Nielsen has data).”

“Most of that gap can be explained by TV. American seniors—three-quarters of whom are retired—spend an average of seven hours and 30 minutes in front of the box, about as much as they did in 2015 (this includes time spent engaged in other activities while the television is blaring in the background). They spend another two hours staring at their smartphones, a more than seven-fold increase from four years ago.

What have you noticed in your own family?
We shared many stories this week of our grandparents on iPads, their first experiences with Amazon, and how they’re more informed on some of the latest Netflix shows than we are.

While it might be a shock, consumers aged 18 to 49 spend the least amount of time in front of a screen. The biggest offenders? Baby boomers and up.

The data continues to support that seniors aren’t shying away from software, which means we needn’t shy away from incorporating technology into a patient engagement strategy.

>>Physical therapy can be too much of a good thing: Study
Business Insurance, August 21, 2019

While this title sounds alarming, it brings to light a problem we see in the medical community every day—the volume reward. This article examines a study on the excessive use of physical therapy and whether or not it’s a cost driver for workers comp payers and could possibly stall employees from returning to work.

The results? That the cost of physical therapy can skyrocket with 15 sessions or more. Check out the full article here. 

Here are the highlights: 
“Physical therapy is a wonderful thing; it’s just when it’s abused,” said Dr. Ed Bernacki, a professor of population health with the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin, who co-authored a study finding that the costs associated with 15 sessions or more of physical therapy can be close to double to costs of ten to 14 visits.

The study, published in August’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, provides data sourced from 197 comp claims in Texas between 2013 and 2017. The report concludes that excessive physical therapy—15 or more visits—can increase claim costs more than other well-known cost drivers such as comorbidities, opioid use, and legal involvement, and can keep claims from closing.”

The interesting thing we are finding is (the correlation between) when physical therapy starts and outcomes; if you dig in (the data) you may find physical therapy starts later, two to three weeks out (after the injury),” he said, adding “that delay leads to higher claims costs and longer disability and longer physical therapy.

“They start the case off wrong in the beginning,” he said. “I would advocate that if quality care was provided early on, it would have a significant impact on duration and level of function at maximum medical improvement.

Our take:
Whether it’s prescribing medication or physical therapy, leveraging outcomes data to create and support a plan of care is crucial. Without it, excessive care can become the norm and ultimately increases costs for everyone involved. Though we’re not naive, as long as the system rewards providers for volume, this problem will persist.

However, as we move to value based care, collecting patient reported outcomes and creating evidence-based care pathways not only leads to improved outcomes, it helps providers compete on their quality of care. And we’re here for that. Nothing excites us more than being able to help providers like you objectively demonstrate care quality.

What’s your take? We’d love to hear. Leave us a comment below and let us know.