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Older Couples Have Lower Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs Than Older Singles

It takes a couple to bend the health care cost curve when you’re senior in America, according to the EBRI‘s latest study into Differences in Out-of-Pocket Health Care Expenses of Older Single and Couple Households. In previous research, The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has calculated that health care expenses are the second-largest share of household expenses after home-related costs for older Americans. Health care costs consume about one-third of spending for people 60 years and older according to Credit Suisse. But for singles, health care costs are significantly larger than for couples, EBRI’s analysis found. The average per-person out-of-pocket spending for

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Older People and Activity Tracking: AARP Weighs In

Activity and sleep trackers hold promise for the health and wellbeing of people over 50. But they’ve miles to go before their design and usefulness get props from older people. The AARP’s Project Catalyst report, Building a Better Tracker: Older Consumers Weigh in On Activity and Sleep Monitoring Devices, presents research conducted with Georgia Tech’s Home Lab which gave 92 people a digital wearable to track activity or sleep over a six week period. The second graphic shows the devices used in the study. 3 in 4 of the activity tracking users said their devices were, or had the potential to

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Doctors who write right: Gawande, Topol and Wachter put people at the center of health/care

There’s a trifecta of books written by three brilliant doctors that, together, provide a roadmap for the 21st century continuum of health care: The Patient Will See You Now by Eric Topol, MD; The Digital Doctor from Robert Wachter, MD; and, Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. Each book’s take provides a lens, through the eyes of a hands-on healthcare provider, on healthcare delivery today (the good, the warts and all) and solutions based on their unique points-of-view. This triple-review will move, purposefully, from the digitally, technology optimistic “Gutenberg moment” for democratizing medicine per Dr. Topol, to the end-game importance of

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Digital health love – older people who use tech like health-tech, too

As people take on self-service across all aspects of daily living, self-care in health is growing beyond the use of vitamins/minerals/supplements, over-the-counter meds, and trying out the blood-pressure cuff in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled. Today, health consumers the world over have begun to engage in self-care using digital technologies. And this isn’t just a phenomenon among people in the Millennial generation. Most seniors who regularly use technology (e.g., using computers and mobile phones) are also active in digitally tracking their weight, for example, learned in a survey by Accenture. Older people who use technology in daily

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Women are natural disruptors for health

“Disruption” is a well-used word these days in business and, in the past few years, in the health care business. That’s because there’s a general consensus that the U.S. health care system is broken. “System” is a word that I shouldn’t use as my friend J.D. Kleinke smartly argued that it’s that lack of system-ness that makes using the phrase “health care system” an Oxymoron. The fragmented health care environment creates innumerable pain points when accessing, receiving, and paying for services. And it’s women who feel so much of that pain. In that context, I’m gratified and humbled to be one

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Women-centered design and mobile health: heads-up, 2014 mHealth Summit

This post is written as part of the Disruptive Women on Health’s blog-fest celebrating the 2014 mHealth Summit taking place 7-11 December 2014 in greater Washington, DC. Women and mobile health: let’s unpack the intersection. On the supply side of the equation, Good Housekeeping covered health tracking-meets-fashion bling in the magazine a few weeks ago in article tucked between how to cook healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and tips on getting red wine stains out of tablecloths. This ad appeared in a major sporting goods chain’s 2014 Black Friday pre-print in my city’s newspaper last week. And along with consumer electronics brand faves like

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Health on the 2014 Gartner Hype Cycle

Remote health monitoring is in the Trough of Disillusionment. Wearables are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, with Big Data leapfrogging wearables from the 2013 forecast — both descending toward the Disillusionment Trough. Mobile (remote) health monitoring, however, has fallen into that Trough of Disillusionment as RHM has been undergoing reality checks in the health care system especially for monitoring and patient self-management of heart disease (most notably heart failure) and diabetes. Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Gartner Hype Cycle, one of my most-trusted data sources for doing health industry forecasts in my advisory work. Compared with last year’s

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How smart do you want your home to be?

Smarter homes can conserve energy, do dirty jobs, and remind you to take your medicine. In doing all these things, smart homes can also collect data about what you do inside every single room of that home. The fast convergence of Wi-Fi and sensors are laying the foundation for the Internet of Things, where objects embedded with sensors do things they’re specially designed to do, and collect information while doing them. This begs the questions: what do you want to know about yourself and your family? How much do you want to know? And, with whom do you want to

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The digital health bubble – is it about to burst? #SXSW

That’s a useful and timely question, given the news that Castlight Health will launch its IPO with valuations north of $1 billion. Yes, “billions,” and according to a  MarketWatch analysis, “it’s a bargain at $1 billion.” So then – do we anticipate a bubble? asked Marc Monseau of the Mint Collective, the convener of our panel who brought together Robert Stern, a successful health-tech entrepreneur whose latest venture, @PointofCare, focuses on patient engagement; Marco Smit of Next Innovation Health Partners (parting from the Health 2.0 Conference family where he led Health 2.0 Advisors for several years); and me. Some key

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Health Care Everywhere at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

When the head of the Consumer Electronics Association gives a shout-out to the growth of health products in his annual mega-show, attention must be paid. The #2014CES featured over 300 companies devoted to “digital health” as the CEA defines the term. But if you believe that health is where we live, work, play, and pray, then you can see health is almost everywhere at the CES, from connected home tech and smart refrigerators to autos that sense ‘sick’ air and headphones that amplify phone messages for people with hearing aids, along with pet activity tracking devices like the Petbit. If

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Health is everywhere – seeing health in JWT’s Top 100 Trends for 2014

Of 100 broad-based trends to expect in 2014, most relate in some way to health. I’ve reviewed every one of the 100 forecast points in JWT’s 100 Things to Watch in 2014 report, and it seems Health is Everywhere. Let me point out many, which I’ve allocated to health-ified buckets (note that JWT organizes the list of 100 by alphabet, from “A” to “Z,” so they are not in any prioritized or strategic order). The most direct-health impacting bucket of trends are those in health tech. These include E-cigarette regulation (#35), Glassware (#42), Haptic technology (#46), Needle-free vaccines (#64), Oculus Rift (#65), OTT TV (#66), Telediagnostics

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mHealth will join the health ecosystem – prelude to the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

The rise of digital health at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show signals the hockey-stick growth of consumer-facing health devices for fitness and, increasingly, more medical applications in the hands of people, patients, and caregivers. This year at #CES2014, while the 40% growth of the CES digital health footprint will get the headlines, the underlying story will go beyond wristbands and step-tracking generating data from an N of 1 to tools that generate data to bolster shared-decision making between people and the health system, and eventually support population health. For example: – Aetna is partnering with J&J to deploy their Care4Today

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More chronically ill people use online health resources – but they’re not so social, Pew finds

People who are diagnosed with at least one chronic medical condition are more likely to seek information online, use social media to understand peer patients’ reviews on drugs and treatments, and learn from other patients about their personal health experiences. While that’s encouraging news for a health empowerment headline, the underlying challenge that should prevent congratulatory fist-bumps among patient-engagement proponents is that people living with chronic disease are less likely to have internet access. Why? Because chronically ill people tend to be older and less educated, and they’re also less likely to be working. Simply put, “People living with chronic

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Mobile health apps – opportunity for patients and doctors to co-create the evidence

There are thousands of downloadable apps that people can use that touch on health. But among the 40,000+ mobile health apps available in iTunes, which most effectively drive health and efficient care? To answer that question, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics analyzed 43,689 health, fitness and medical apps in the Apple iTunes store as of June 2013. These split into what IMS categorized as 23,682 “genuine” health care apps, and 20,007 falling into miscellaneous categories such as product-specific apps, fashion and beauty, fertility, veterinary, and apps with “gimmicks” (IMS’s word) with no obvious health benefit. Among the 23,682 so-called

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7 Women and 1 Man Talking About Life, Health and Sex – Health 2.0 keeping it real

Women and binge drinking…job and financial stress…sleeplessness…caregiving challenges…sex…these were the topics covered in Health 2.0 Conference’s session aptly called “The Unmentionables.” The panel on October 1, 2013, was a rich, sobering and authentic conversation among 7 women and 1 man who kept it very real on the main stage of this mega-meeting that convenes health technology developers, marketers, health providers, insurers, investors, patient advocates, and public sector representatives (who, sadly, had to depart for Washington, DC, much earlier than intended due to the government shutdown). The Unmentionables is the brainchild of Alexandra Drane and her brilliant team at the Eliza

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Happy today, nervous about health and money tomorrow: an Aging in America update

Most older Americans 60 years of age and up (57%) say the last year of their lives has been “normal” – a large increase from the 42% who said life was normal in 2012. And nearly 9 in 10 older Americans are confident in their ability to maintain a high quality of life in their senior years. The good news is that seniors are maintaining a positive outlook on aging and their future. The downside: older people aren’t doing much to invest in their future health for the long run. They’re also worried about the financial impact of living longer.

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1 in 3 people is interested in doing mobile health, but they skew younger

The headline for the HarrisInteractive/HealthDay mobile health (mHealth) survey reads, “Lots of Americans Want Health Care Via Their Smartphones.” But underneath that bullish forecast are statistics illustrating that the heaviest users of health care services in America — people 65 and over — have the least interest in mHealth tools. Overall, 37% of U.S. adults are interested in managing health via smartphones or tablets: about 1 in 3 people. As the chart shows, the greatest interest in communicating with doctors via mobile phones and tablets is among people 25-49. Reminders to fill prescription and participate in wellness programs is also

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U.S. Health Costs vs. The World: Is It Still The Prices, and Are We Still Stupid?

Comparing health care prices in the U.S. with those in other developed countries is an exercise in sticker shock. The cost of a hospital day in the U.S. was, on average, $4,287 in 2012. It was $853 in France, a nation often lauded for its excellent health system and patient outcomes but with a health system that’s financially strapped. A routine office visit to a doctor cost an average of $95 in the U.S. in 2012. The same visit was priced at $30 in Canada and $30 in France, as well. A hip replacement cost $40,364 on average in the

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Bill Clinton’s public health, cost-bending message thrills health IT folks at HIMSS

In 2010, the folks who supported health care reform were massacred by the polls, Bill Clinton told a rapt audience of thousands at HIMSS13 yesterday. In 2012, the folks who were against health care reform were similarly rejected. President Clinton gave the keynote speech at the annual HIMSS conference on March 6, 2013, and by the spillover, standing-room-only crowd in the largest hall at the New Orleans Convention Center, Clinton was a rock star. Proof: with still nearly an hour to go before his 1 pm speech, the auditorium was already full with only a few seats left in the

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The connected home as consumer medical home

Consumers are looking for electronic devices that do many things, don’t care much about what platforms they use, like the convenience that cloud computing enables, and are bringing their own devices to the workplace for productivity, conference calls, and communication. Accenture has studied the wired consumer and developed this infographic, which illustrates these four key findings. Accenture says it’s “an open playing field” when it comes to consumer technology: there are many suppliers who can develop products and sell into this market, where consumers seem pretty agnostic relative to operating systems and even brands — as long as the devices

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The Internet as self-diagnostic tool, and the role of insurance in online health

1 in 3 U.S. adults have enough trust in online health resources that they’ve gone online to diagnose a condition for themselves or a friend. “For one-third of U.S. adults, the Internet is a diagnostic tool,” according to Health Online, the latest survey on online health from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Nearly one-half of these people eventually sought medical attention. One-third did not. Women are more likely to do online medical diagnoses than men do, as do more affluent, college-educated people. When people perceive they’re ‘really’ sick, 70% get information and care from a health professional and

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We are all health deputies in the #digitalhealth era: live from the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show

Reed Tuckson of UnitedHealthGroup was the first panelist to speak at the kickoff of the Digital Health Summit, the fastest-growing aspct of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (#2013CES). Tuckson implored the spillover audience to all, “self-deputize as national service agents in health,” recognizing that technology developers in the room at this show that’s focused on developers building Shiny New Digital Things have much to bring to health. As Andrew Thompson of Proteus Medical (the “invisible pill” company) said, “we can’t bend the health care cost curve; we have to break it.” This pioneering panel was all about offering new-new technologies

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Consumers want digital communications from providers, from payment reminders to patient care via email

85% of U.S. health consumers say that emails, text messages, and voicemails are at least as helpful as in-person or phone conversations with health providers, according to the TeleVox Healthy World study, Technology Beyond the Exam Room. The study was based on surveys conducted with over 2,200 health providers across specialties, and 1,015 U.S. adults over 18. Furthermore, one in 3 consumers admit to being more honest when talking about medical needs via automated voice response systems, emails or texts than face-to-face with a health provider. And 3 in 10 consumers believe that receiving digital health communications from providers such

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What we can learn from centenarians about health

To get to be 100 years or older requires exercise, social connectedness, and good sleep, according to a majority of centennarians polled in UnitedHealthcare’s 100@100 Survey, 2012 Report of Findings. The key findings of this fascinating survey are that: Centenarians have better eating and sleeping habits than Boomers. One-half of centenarians regularly exercise. The most common forms of exercise are walking or hiking, muscle strengthening, gardening, indoor cardio exercise, exercise classes, and yoga/Tai Chi or other mind/body/spirit forms. Social networks bolster health, with most old-old people communicating with family or friends nearly every day And, laughter is a vitamin, with most

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Michael Graves: architect-turned-health designer at Social Media Week

Michael Graves is one of the greatest architects of our, or any, time. He is now dedicating himself to re-imagining what the patient’s experience in a hospital room can be: not just less humiliating and frustrating, but in fact a healing experience in an aesthetically comforting and user-friendly environment. Graves, longtime affiliated with Princeton University, is famous among mainstream consumers as one of Target’s first designers of home products for the past 13 years, from teapots and cooking gear to kitchen cleaning accessories. Sadly for us mass consumers, this will be his last year of designing for Target. He told the

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Hey, Big Spender: 1% of US health citizens consume 20% of costs

Cue up the song “Hey Big Spender” from the Broadway hit, Sweet Charity, when you read the January 2012 AHRQ report with the long-winded title, The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2008-2009.” The report’s headline is that 1% of the U.S. population consumed 20% of all health costs spent in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009, illustrated by the chart. These Big Health Spenders tend to be in poor or fair health, older, female, non-Hispanic whites and people with only publicly-provided health insurance. Their mean expenditure was $90,061. The top 10%

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Designing health technology for people at home

The Internet, broadband, mobile health platforms, and consumers’ demand for more convenient health care services are fueling the development and adoption of health technologies in peoples’ homes. However, designing products that people will delight in using is based on incorporating human factors in design. Human factors are part of engineering science and account for the people using the device, the equipment being used, and the tasks the people are undertaking. The model illustrates these three interactive factors, along with the outer rings of environments: health policy, community, social, and physical. Getting these aspects right in the design of health technologies meant for

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Tech fast forward families are ripe for health care self-care

Kids lead their parents in the adoption of  digital technologies; that’s why the youngers are called Digital Natives. An intriguing survey of adults’ use of technologies finds that those who do so like “childlike play,” and at the same time, for kids, make them feel more grown up. The trend, Ogilvy says, is blurring generational lines: market to adults as kids, and kids as adults. This convergence is leading families to become more “units” — parents and kids increasingly on the same page in purchase decisions. In Tech Fast Forward: Plug in to see the brighter side of life, from

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A long-term care crisis is brewing around the world: who will provide and pay for LTC?

By 2050, the demand for long-term care (LTC) workers will more than double in the developed world, from Norway and New Zealand to Japan and the U.S. Aging populations with growing incidence of disabilities, looser family ties, and more women in the labor force are driving this reality. This is a multi-dimensional problem which requires looking beyond the issue of the simple aging demographic. Help Wanted? is an apt title for the report from The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), subtitled, “providing and paying for long-term care.” The report details the complex forces exacerbating the LTC carer shortage, focusing

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Health information gumbo: peoples’ health searches are mashed-up and increasingly mobile

Health professionals are go-to sources for medical diagnoses, information about prescription drugs and alternative treatments, and recommendations for doctors and hospitals. On the other hand, health information seekers turn to fellow patients, friends and family for emotional support in dealing with health issues, and quick remedies for everyday issues. And increasingly, those health information searches are going mobile, with 17% of U.S. adults having ever used their cell phone to look up health or medical information. This proportion nearly doubles for 18-29 year olds, and is also higher for wealthier people, Latino’s, college graduates, and urbanites. 1 in 10 people with a

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Verizon expanding into remote and mobile health for senior living – what it means for healthy aging and medical costs

The announcement that Verizon, the telecommunications giant, will partner with Healthsense, a home health monitoring company, indicates that the adoption of telehealth services beyond project pilots and government-funds required to bolster the market is real. Verizon is upgrading the FiOS network, which it will extend to senior housing and assisted living communities that would use Healthsense’s suite of remote health monitoring, personal emergency response systems, wireless nurse call, and wellness monitoring products. The broadband FiOS network is upgradeable to 100 megabits per second, which would enable the bandwidth required by home health technologies that require high performance and reliable network connectivity. These

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What telehealth can do for the Health of Nations

Health care cost increases are unsustainable the world over; in developed nations, the forecast is even more dire given exploding demand for health services as citizens age. Cisco polled senior leaders in health systems globally to gauge their views on the challenging state of health care in their respective nations, and prospects for health system improvement. The triple-mantra for senior health leaders is access, efficiency, and quality. Access takes the form in this survey in maldistribution and insufficient number of health professionals. Efficiency looks like patients referred for unnecessary care coupled with long lines (queues) for needed services. Quality measurement continues to

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One-half of U.S.health consumers want electronic access to doctors – including online medical records

Most U.S. health consumers would be keen to take advantage of alternative communications for their health care encounters. Of these 6 in 10 people, 72% would like nurse helplines, 60% email, and 1 in 3 would use a private online forum for their health. However, only 1 in 10 would use some form of social media for interacting with their providers, such as Facebook or Twitter, were it available to them in February 2011. Capstrat surveyed U.S. adults to learn about their perceptions and interactions with the health system. At least one-half of health consumers would use electronically-accessible applications offered by

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Telemonitoring for health must be patient-centered and participatory

In December 2010, an article describing a telehealth remote monitoring program for heart failure patients concluded that telemonitoring did not improve patient outcomes. The paper, Telemonitoring in Patients with Heart Failure, written by Sarwat I. Chaudhry, M.D, and nine other authors, analyzed 1,653 CHF patients, 826 of whom participated in a remote health intervention: a telephone-based interactive voice-response system that patients dialed into on a daily basis to report symptoms and weight; this was designed to occur every day over six months.  These data were then reviewed by patients’ clinicians who could contact patients when data pointed to the clinical need to adjust patients’ medications and other parameters.

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The Connected Patient: some forces converging in the market, but barriers remain

Remote health monitoring, which enables people to track health and daily living metrics when they are in one place and communicate those measures to another node via some communications platform, is not a new concept. Telehealth, telemedicine, consumer-facing health electronics like USB-ported blood pressure monitors, and some mobile apps can all fall under the broad umbrella of remote health monitoring. There are strong market forces converging to enable health citizens to connect to their providers, institutions, payors, health coaches, caregivers, and each other. Still, a balanced look under the remote health monitoring hood reminds us that old saw taught to me by colleagues

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Meeker & Murphy on Mobile – through the lens of health

We technology market data junkies look to several thought leaders throughout the year for updates on their forecasts: one of these, for me, is Mary Meeker. Now with KPCB (who some of you know as Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Myers, the Silicon Valley venture capital company), Meeker has surveyed the morphing field of mobile and finalized her snapshot in Top Mobile Internet Trends, along with her colleague Matt Murphy.  Meeker’s Top 10 (drum roll, please) are that: 1. Mobile platforms have reached c4itical mass 2. Mobile is global 3. Social networking is accelerating growth of mobile 4. Time shifting is driving mobile use

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1 in 10 jobs in the U.S. is in health care – an all-time high that will go even higher

In February 2011, 1 in 10 jobs in the U.S. is in health care employment; nearly 14 million people in the U.S. work in health care employment, with health care representing 10.7% of all jobs in America. The growth rate of health care jobs rose 1.2 percentage points since the recession kicked in late 2007. Since the start of the recession, health employment grew 6.3%; the number of non-health jobs fell by 6.8%. The chart starkly illustrates this story. Altarum Institute has crunched the health job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and published their analysis in Health Sector Economic Indicators, published

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Caregiving, enabled through technology and trust

Caregivers identify the most helpful technologies that benefit them in providing care to family and friends as personal health record tracking, medication support, caregiving coordination, and monitoring and transmitting symptoms. These technologies are seen to help caregivers save time, make caregiving logistically easier, make the care recipient feel safer, reduce stress and enhance feelings of being effective. The most formidable obstacle preventing caregivers from adopting beneficial technologies is cost, followed by the technology not addressing the caregiver’s most pressing challenges, care recipient resistance to using the device, privacy issues, diminishing the care recipient’s sense of independence and pride. The National Alliance

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The home health hub is digital, mobile and personal

Bet on it, live from Las Vegas at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES): the new home health hub is digital, mobile and personal. More consumers are morphing TV and video watching from the “set” to the computer and mobile platforms, and DIYing more activities of daily living. Health (for both wellness and sickness care) is transforming in this process. This transformation is enabled through consumers’ adoption of technologies that they’re using in their daily lives for entertainment, household management, and communications. Broadband and wireless provide the infrastructure for health care to move beyond the doctor’s office and the hospital, so engaged patients who choose to do

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When with the “Future of Health” happen?

It’s year-end, so the forecasts abound whether we’re talking about trends in technologies, products and services. Gartner says cloud and mobile computing are hot, but managing customer expectations will require heavy lifting  On the food front, Epicurious predicts that food halls will be all the rage (think Harrods in London or Takashimaya in Tokyo), Korean cuisine in demand, and sweet potatoes crowned the vegetable of 2011. For colors, Pantone is Queen and they see that honeysuckle (a salmon-pink) is the new black. In health technology, there’s no better list to read than CSC’s The Future of Healthcare: It’s Health, Then Care, which offers up top 10 technologies

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Are Influentials less keen on connecting health? Practice Fusion says ‘yes’

I posted here yesterday on Practice Fusion‘s survey on consumers’ views of remote health monitoring, discussing a key finding that older Americans are less keen on the idea than younger people. The company sent me more detailed survey data which I’ve dug into, and discovered a counter-intuitive finding worth exploring: “Influential” people appear less interested in remote health monitoring than the mainstream American. Who are these “Influentials?” GfK Roper, who conducted the study on behalf of Practice Fusion, bases this consumer segment on an index built on political and social activities engaged in over the past year: writing a letter to

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Dis-connected health – interest in remote health monitoring falls with age

The majority of Americans generally like the idea of remote home monitoring for health. 3 in 5 adults (62%) across all age groups say communication with doctors via home monitoring devices would improve their health. However, only 35% of people age 65 and over are interested in home health monitoring. Interest in remote home health monitoring decreases with age. The disconnect is that 90% of Americans age 65 and older have at least one chronic health condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Practice Fusion commissioned a survey from GfK Roper in November 2010 through the GfK Omnibus survey among 1,008 adults

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Be Thankful: Engage With Grace

Now that the turkey, champagne, stuffing and other glorious carbs have been consumed. the real dessert is whipped cream on the pumpkin pie: the gift of a conversation about Life and Grace. We each have our stories about how a loved one’s life has ended. If we’re lucky, that beloved person had a good death: in sleep, perhaps, or of simply old age with no hospital events or trauma. Then there are the Rest-of-Us who have the stories of long and painful endings. When you’re already in the situation of making tough health decisions, it’s tough, it’s emotional, it’s irrational,

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Broadband: part of the prescription for people with disabilities

6 in 10 U.S. households connected to the Internet via broadband in 2009, rising from 9% in 2001. In the U.S., the gap in the adoption of broadband between lower-income households and higher-income people is 33% — 61% of people with $25,000 to $50,000 household income connect to the Internet at home via broadband; that proportion is 94% for households with over $100,000 a year. Adoption gaps in broadband persist in the U.S. based on income, urban/rural location, race, education, and level of disability. Differences in socio-economic and geographic characteristics explain much of the broadband adoption gap associated with disability

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Long-term care costs are rising faster than general health costs in the U.S.

If you thought the percentage of annual medical inflation in the U.S.  was high at 3.7% in September 2010, hang on to your wallets: the cost of long-term health care in America is increasing even faster than medical costs every year. Assisted living costs increased 5.2% between 2009 and 2010, and the cost of a private room in a nursing home grew 4.6%. If you live in Alaska, you’re particularly hard hit if you need long-term care: the highest rate for a semi-private nursing home room in that Last Frontier state is $610 for a semi-private room and $687 for a

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Mobile health search is on the rise – but not yet at the tipping point

The oracle (and I use the word here in the classic sense) of health internet statistics, Susannah Fox (@susannahfox on Twitter), along with the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, find that 17% of mobile phone users look up health information online — and nearly 1 in 3 young adults 18-29 do so, while between 5-6% of people 50 and seek health information via mobile. The Mobile Health 2010 report tells the story. Beneath these macro statistics are the ones shown in the chart: people who have used cell phones to look up health information, which is a larger base

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Healthcare unwired: nearly half of US consumers are willing to pay

40% of U.S. consumers are willing to pay for remote health monitoring devices and services that would send their medical data to doctors, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Healthcare Unwired (PwC). 51% of consumers would not buy mobile health technology. The uses of mobile health most attractive to consumers are monitoring fitness and welling (cited by 20% of consumers), physician monitoring of health conditions (for 18% of people), and monitoring a previous condition (for 11%). 88% of physicians would like to see patients monitoring various parameters at home, their highest priorities being weight (65%), blood sugar (61%), vital signs like blood pressure (57%),

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People worry about access to their health data…and they should

When it comes to their paper medical records, people are most concerned about their ability to access them when they need them. 28% of Americans are more concerned about access than inaccuracies, fraudulent use of the record, loss, or portability to a new doctor. Practice Fusion commissioned this survey of American adults and how they feel about various aspects of paper-based medical records. Overall, 1 in 5 people worry about inaccuracies or outdated information in their records; 1 in 6 are concerned that records will be stolen or used fraudulently, and 1 in 10 fret that records will be lost, won’t be

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Partnering up for health @ home – the GE-Intel link-up

A decade ago, I was engaged by a consumer health company to lead a scenario planning exercise on the future of the health consumer. We developed four scenarios, one of which was called something like “MicrosoftMerckGEGenMills.” In that futureworld, several Big Organizations would come together to serve consumers in caring for themselves outside of traditional care settings, like hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing homes. The beauty of scenario planning when done well is that, if you’ve done it for a long time, you sometimes get one right. Witness the New Deal between GE and Intel, partnering up to develop solutions

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Technology innovation, aging and public expectations drive up health spending around the world: OECD 2010

The 30 most developed countries, on average, allocated 9% of their national budgets to health care in 2008, up from 7.8% in 2000. The U.S., in contrast, spent 16% of GDP on health care, nearly one-half of which came from public treasury coffers. The graph illustrates the statistics for each OECD member nation and the share of health care paid by public and private sectors. Note that the light-blue bar segment for the U.S. is a far larger proportion of the total bar compared to other countries: that’s the private sector’s contribution to health spending versus the dark blue, government

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Social Media Matures

2 in 5 American adults age 50 or over are comfortable using the Internet. 3 in 5 over-50 Americans who go online do so from a desktop computer, and 25% use a laptop. Over 1 in 3 people 50+ online use social media websites, most notably Facebook (31%). These people connect to their kids, their grandkids, and other members of their extended family. Social Media and Technology Use Among Adults 50+ is a report from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that details older Americans’ use of technology, the Internet and social networks. Desktops are the most prominent form

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Our Technology, Ourselves

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A healthier long life leads to greater health costs

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to living longer: the good news is, yes, you’ve lived a healthier life and thus, you’re living a longer life. The bad news is that your lifetime health costs are greater than those for a person who’s not had good health. While current health costs for healthy retirees are lower than those for the unhealthy, the lifetime health costs for healthy people are higher. This finding comes from a study asking the question, Does Staying Healthy Reduce Your Lifetime Health Care Costs?, from the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College. Here

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Can GE, Intel and Mayo bring good things to home monitoring?

Three major consumer and health industry brand names are coming together to launch a telehealth home monitoring project: GE, Intel and the Mayo Clinic. Each organization has a deep bench and history in the health vertical, covering different segments of the market. With this project, 3 industry leaders partner to learn about home health monitoring’s challenges and opportunities in real-life, with real people. The project goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of daily in-home monitoring technology measured in 2 ways: reduced hospital admissions and reduced visits to the emergency room. For the project, Intel brings its Health Guide into the

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Being Digital Doesn’t Always Mean You’re Young, Demographically Speaking

Being younger demographically doesn’t mean you’re younger, digitally-speaking. Your Real Age isn’t your Digital Age, according to Wells Fargo‘s survey into Americans’ use of advanced tools for daily tasks. The categories of peoples’ digital maturity include: – Digital teens, who are people who are online but don’t use all tools at a ‘high level’ – Digital novices are those people who manage basic tasks online but aren’t yet connecting with others online or managing more complex tasks – Digital adults have the highest digital age, as demonstrated by their using online tools for daily tasks, interacting with others online, and

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Caregiving in the USA – the burden intensifies, and technology’s promise

29% of people in the U.S. have served as unpaid family caregivers in the past year. That’s 66 million people, mostly female (66%), middle age (on average 48 years old), usually taking care of a relative (86%).These sobering stats come out of Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, a study from the National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. The research, funded by the MetLife Foundation, follows up a similar study in 2004 and shows the proportion of Americans caregiving has substantially changed over the past five years.But both caregivers of adults and those for whom they provide care are

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Health is contagious: the nature of connected-ness

  The book Connected was recommended by my colleague, intellectual beacon and friend, Susannah Fox of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In the midst of late nights analyzing health reform scenarios and medical microeconomics, I’ve made the time to read this book in its entirety. It’s been a worthwhile investment.    Previously, the authors of Connected, Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, found evidence on connectedness in health in the areas of obesity,    This week, another team of innovative thinkers led by John Caccioppo from the University of Chicago published their latest findings on the contagiousness of loneliness

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Cost increases for drugs most-used by older Americans are higher than inflation

For a consumer who’s enrolled in Medicare and takes three brand name prescription drugs on a chronic basis, the average increase in the cost of the medications used to treat those conditions increased by nearly $2,100 between 2002 and 2008. Between 2007 and 2008, the average increase in drug price over 3 therapies was $556. These findings, and other details describing price increases for 211 prescription drugs int he “Medicare Rx market basket,” are found in the AARP’s latest Rx Watchdog Report: Trends in Prices of Prescription Drugs Used by Medicare Beneficiaries. AARP began the series of drug price Watchdog

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Seniors grab brands for Part D, and generics for self-pay

Seniors are acting like true, Adam Smith-style Rational Economic Man and Woman when it comes to their behavior as Medicare Part D enrollees. They go for the more expensive prescription drug brands when covered by the government; once getting to the ‘donut hole,’ though, seniors opt for lower-cost generics.   Medco Health discovered this in their latest study into Medicare drug trends. Their conclusion is that Medicare could save more money if seniors went for generics 100% of the time.   Rational selection, indeed. In a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2008 and

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Centenarians say a long life is all about staying connected

The key to longevity isn’t about taking vitamins or consuming health care or yogurt…it’s staying connected to family, friends, and world events.   That news comes to us from the third Evercare 100 @ 100 Survey which details ultra-seniors’ views on politics and the good life. Evercare surveyed in-depth 100 centenarians. Collectively, their views challenge stereotypes of the oldest Americans alive today. There are 84,000 of them, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. For example, 19% of centenarians use cell phones, 7% email, and 3% online date. Google is a boon to looking for old, lost friends.  

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Aging, economics and consumer-generated media — implications for health

Advertising Age analyzes census data on aging and diversity in America, and comes up with some interesting conclusions for consumer marketers. Here at Health Populi, we’re all-health, all-the-time, so I’m going to discuss author Peter Francese’s findings through our health lens. In addition, McKinsey published its insights into aging boomers in the report, Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation, which I will also discuss. Francese begins with the one-two punch that marketers in the U.S. are already faced with the economic downturn coupled with consumer-generated media (e.g., blogs, online videos, e-pinions.com, ad infinitum). The third challenge to add to these two market-shapers

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The CBO dissects health cost growth: it’s not all about aging

Growth in spending on Medicare and Medicaid is a function of (1) the aging of the population and (2) trends in the cost of health care. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has published an issue brief, Accounting for Sources of Projected Growth in Federal Spending on Medicare and Medicaid, which finds that health care cost growth per beneficiary relative to GDP growth will be a greater driver of health spending than the aging of the population.   The bottom-line: over half of the growth in federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid is attributable to health care costs per person growing

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A profile of silver surfers: don’t discount older web-searchers

There’s a growing cadre of older people online, and they’re an attractive demographic, according to Focalyst, a joint venture of the AARP and Millward Brown, a market research and branding company. The researchers found that “matures” spend 750,000,000 minutes a day on the Internet (sounds like a song from Rent–the AARP version of 525,600 Minutes). Focalyst calls the group of people age 62 and over “Matures Online.” The Insight Report: April 2008 finds that matures are just as likely to be persuaded by an Internet ad as younger consumers. Is this what Martha would consider a “good thing” or not-so-good?

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Profiles of older health care consumers: living longer, longing for technology

Older Americans are healthier and more prosperous than previous generations. Furthermore, older people want to adopt technologies that will help them age well in their homes. Two new reports together provide a new look into aging in America. Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being is a wide-reaching data compendium which paints a current profile on aging in America through 38 measures that depict the well-being of older Americans. Measures include demographics, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and the cost and use of health services. The Chartbook is well worth reviewing to gain insights into this fast-growing population

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Stress through the ages (or, it’s good to be 65)

Younger people are way more stressed out than people over 65, according to a poll sponsored by the American Psychological Association.   HarrisInteractive has published data in its latest Healthcare Newsletter titled, “Adults Over 65 Experience Far Less Stress Than Adults in All Other Age Groups.” These findings are part of a deeper dive into the APA’s report published in October 2007, Stress in America. The highest levels of stress in America are in the 35-49 age cohort, followed by people aged 25-34.   6 in 10 people aged 35-49 say they are concerned about the level of stress in their

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