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Costs and Connection At the Core of Consumers’ Health-Value Equations

Cost ranks first among the factors of selecting health insurance for most Americans across the generations. As a result, most consumers are likely to shop around for both health providers and health plans, learned through a 2016 Xerox survey detailed in New Insights on Value-Based Care, Healthcare Attitudes 2016. The younger the consumer, the more important costs are, Xerox’s poll found, shown in the first chart. Thus, “shopping around” is more pronounced among younger health consumers — although a majority people who belong to Boomer and Greatest Generation cohorts do shop around for both health providers and health insurance plans —

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Generation Gaps in Health Benefit Engagement

Older workers and retirees in the U.S. are most pleased with their healthcare experiences and have the fewest problems accessing  services and benefits. But, “younger workers [are] least comfortable navigating U.S. healthcare system,” which is the title of a press release summarizing results of a survey conducted among 1,536 U.S. adults by the Harris Poll for Accolade in September 2015. Results of this Accolade Consumer Healthcare Experience Index poll were published on April 12, 2016. Accolade, a healthcare concierge company serving employers, insurers and health systems, studied the experiences of people covered by health insurance to learn about the differences across age

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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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Fish oil and yoga are the most-used alternative “medicines”

1 in 3 U.S. adults used some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the U.S. in 2012, led by fish oil in the herbal supplements category, and yoga in the services category. While use of complementary products and services in health has remained unchanged at about 34% of Americans using CAM, the adoption of yoga in American life has doubled among adults in the past decade to about 1 in 10 adults doing some form of yoga. The report, the Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the U.S., a National Health Interview Survey conducted for the National Center for

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The phone is a gateway drug to health: what MyFitnessPal knows, and what Under Armour gets

65 million people know that food journaling works for losing weight, that it’s engaging to do on a well-designed app, and that health is social. MyFitnessPal (MFP) has the distinction of being a top health app used longer by more people and more effectively than probably any other mobile health tool. Under Armour, the athletic goods company, now has MFP under its corporate umbrella, along with Endomondo, another very popular motivating mobile health tool. You may know Under Armour as a company that manufactures and markets functional workout gear. But this deal is so not about the wearable. It’s about

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Getting real about consumer demand for wearables: Accenture slows us down

Are you Feelin’ Groovy about wearables? Well slow down, you move too fast… …at least, according to Accenture’s latest survey into consumers’ perspectives on new technologies, published this week in conjunction with the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the largest annual convention in the U.S. featuring technology for people. At #CES2015, we’re seeing a rich trove of blinged-out, multi-sensor, shiny new wearable things at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. Swarovski crystals are paired with Misfit Wearables, called the Swarovski Shine, shown here as a shiny new thing, indeed. Withings launched its Activite fitness tracking watch in new colors.

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The Internet of Healthy Me – putting digital health in context for #CES2015

Men are from Mars and Women, Venus, when it comes to managing health and using digital tools and apps, based on a poll conducted by A&D Medical, who will be one of several hundred healthcare companies exhibiting at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. Digital health, connected homes and cars, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will prominently feature at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. I’ll be attending this mega-conference, meeting up with digital health companies and platform providers that will enable the Internet of Healthy “Me” — consumers’ ability to self-track,

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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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Power to the health care consumer – but how much and when?

Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences group names its latest treatise on the new-new health care The Patient-to-Consumer Revolution, subtitled: “how high tech, transparent marketplaces, and consumer power are transforming U.S. healthcare.” The report kicks off with the technology supply side of “Health Market 2.0,” noting that “the user experience of health care is falling behind” other industry segments — pointing to Uber for transport, Amazon for shopping, and Open Table for reserving a table. The authors estimate that investments in digital health and healthcare rose “easily ten times faster” than the industry has seen in the past. Companies like

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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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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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Be thankful for your good life. Now think about what a good death would be.

This Thanksgiving, we’re once again participating in the annual Engage With Grace blog rally, encouraging those who haven’t considered their end-of-life preferences to start thinking about them, and asking those who have done it to consider how their decisions may have changed over time. It’s good food for thought. Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season.  Most of us find ourselves pretty fascinating… flipping through photos and slowing down for the ones where we’re included, tweeting our favorite tidbits of information, Facebook-ing progress on this or that… We find other people captivating as well.  In fact, there’s a meme going around

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There’s fear of health care costs in peoples’ retirement visions

While working people in the U.S. are feeling better about the nation’s economy, Americans aren’t putting much money into savings for retirement. The reasons for this are many, but above all is what Mercer calls “the specter of health care costs in retirement” in the Mercer Workplace Survey for 2013. In addition to peoples’ concerns about future health care costs, reasons for not putting money away for the future include flat personal income, slow economic growth and financial literacy challenges around how much 401(k) savings can be tax-deferred. On the slow economic growth perception, Mercer found that, on the upside, people

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Delaying aging to bend the cost-curve: balancing individual life with societal costs

Can we age more slowly? And if so, what impact would senescence — delaying aging — have on health care costs on the U.S. economy? In addition to reclaiming $7.1 trillion over 50 years, we’d add an additional 2.2 years to life expectancy (with good quality of life). This is the calculation derived in Substantial Health And Economic Returns From Delayed Aging May Warrant A New Focus For Medical Research, published in the October 2013 issue of Health Affairs. The chart graphs changes in Medicare and Medicaid spending in 3 scenarios modeled in the study: when aging is delayed, more people qualify

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Economics of obesity and heart disease: We, the People, can bend the curves

The “O” word drives health costs in America ever-upward. Without bending the obesity curve downward toward healthy BMIs, America won’t be able to bend that stubborn cost curve, either. The Economic Impacts of Obesity report from Alere Wellbeing accounts for the costs of chronic diseases and how high obesity rates play out in the forms of absenteeism, presenteeism, and direct health care costs to employers, workers and society-at-large. Among the 10 costliest physical health conditions, the top 3 are angina, hypertension and diabetes — all related to obesity and amenable to lifestyle behavior change. The top-line numbers set the context:

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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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Cost prevents people from seeking preventive health care

3 in 4 Americans say that out-of-pocket costs are the main reason they decide whether or not to seek preventive care, in A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans from TeleVox, the communications company, published in June 2013. TeleVox surveyed over 1,015 U.S. adults 18 and over. That’s the snapshot on seeking care externally: but U.S. health consumers aren’t that self-motivated to undertake preventive self-care separate from the health system, either, based on TeleVox’s finding that 49% of people say they routinely exercise, and 52% say they’ve attempted to improve eating habits.

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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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The emerging economy for consumer health and wellness

The notion of consumers’ greater skin in the game of U.S. health care — and the underlying theory of rational economic men and women that would drive people to greater self-care — permeated the agenda of the 2nd annual Consumer Health & Wellness Innovation Summit, chaired by Lisa Suennen of Psilos Ventures. Lisa kicked off the meeting providing a wellness market landscape, describing the opportunity that is the ‘real’ consumer-driven health care: people getting and staying well, and increasing participation in self-management of chronic conditions. The U.S. health system is transforming, she explained, with payors beginning to look like computer

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The health/wealth disconnect in America

Two in 3 Americans are uncomfortable with their financial situation. And most are totally oblivious to how much money they will need to spend on health care in the future. Seven in 10 people expect to spend less than 10% of their monthly retirement income on medical and dental expenses; but the real number is 30% of income needed for health care in retirement, according to The Urban Institute. The Wellness for Life survey, conducted for Aviva, the life and disability company, collaborating with the Mayo Clinic, finds an American health citizen out of touch with their personal health economics.

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Call it DTH, direct to home: Pfizer is shipping Viagra direct to consume

While the blockbuster erectile dysfunction (ED) drug Viagra has been shipped directly to consumer’s homes for years via pharmacy benefits management companies and specialty pharmacy retailers catering to the ED segment, Pfizer wants in on the transaction and has decided to get into the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) distribution business for a prescription drug. Call this market development Direct-to-Home, or DTH. This is a kind of sentinel event signaling a pharmaceutical manufacturer cutting out the middle-man (read: retail pharmacy), and in this case getting up-close-and-personal with users of a drug that represents quality of life. Another motivation for Pfizer is trying to

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The Not-So-Affordable Care Act? Cost-squeezed Americans still confused and need to know more

While health care cost growth has slowed nationally, most Americans feel they’re going up faster than usual. 1 in 3 people believe their own health costs have gone up faster than usual, and 1 in 4 feel they’re going out about “the same amount” as usual. For only one-third, health costs feel like they’re staying even. As the second quarter of 2013 begins and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka “health reform” and “Obamacare”) looms nearer, most Americans still don’t understand how the ACA will impact them. Most Americans (57%) believe the law will create a government-run health plan,

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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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Health is wealth and wealth, health

It’s America Saves Week (February 25-March 2, 2013). Do you know what your savings rate is? If you’re in the center of the American savings bell curve, you probably don’t have a savings plan with specific goals and don’t know your net worth. Two-thirds of U.S. adults say they have sufficient emergency savings for unexpected expenses like a visit to a doctor. However, only one-half of non-retired people believe they’re saving enough for a retirement where they’ll have a “desirable standard of living.” This six annual survey by the Consumer Federation of America, the American Savings Education Council, and the

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Health care cost illiteracy: consumers feel the pinch of growing costs, but don’t understand the “why?”

Health care costs for workers lucky enough to receive health insurance at work nearly doubled since 2002. Wages in that decade grew by 33%. This growing affordability gap between health costs vs. wages is shown in the chart. Health consumers in America sharply perceive this gap, according to an analysis of eight focus groups, Consumer Attitudes on Health Care Costs: Insights from Focus Groups in Four U.S. Cities from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To health-covered workers, though, health care “costs” are defined as out-of-pocket health spending for insurance premiums, co-payments and deductibles that come out of paychecks and pocketbooks — not

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Most women want to be healthy, buy healthy

Health and wellness motivations among women cross all generations, driving them to purchase products that bolster health as they define it…not how media and stereotyping advertising have typically portrayed it, according to a survey report from Anthem Worldwide, What Women Really Want From Health and Wellness. Over all generations, 3 in 4 women say they make choices to benefit their health and wellness. Anthem asked women about the “external voices” of health/wellness messaging versus their “internal voice.” The external represent societal expectations: over 80% of women expect to take responsibility for their family’s health, and about 70% of women say the

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More consumers want to make health care decisions

U.S. consumers’ desire to take an active role in their health decisions is growing, according to the Altarum Institute Survey of Consumer Health Care Opinions. 61% of people want to make health decisions either on their own (26%) or with input from their doctor (38%). The proportion of people wanting to be “completely in charge of my decisions” rose 4 percentage points in one year, from 2011. This statistic skews younger, with 33% of people 25-34 and 31% of those 35-44 wanting to be “completely in charge.” Only 17% of those 55-64 felt like being totally in charge of their

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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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One-third of U.S. consumers plan to buy a new fitness tech in 2013, but most buyers are already healthy

Over one-third of U.S. consumers plan to buy a new fitness technology in the next year, especially women. They’ll buy these at mass merchants (females in particular, shopping at Target and Walmart), sporting goods retailers (more male buyers here), online and at electronics stores like Best Buy. These potential buyers consider themselves in good or excellent physical health. They’ll see the latest applications on retail store shelves in pedometers, calorie trackers, fitness video games, digital weight scales, and heart rate monitors that will be launched this week at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In advance of the

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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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Health as long-term deficit driver – the CBO points out tough choices

There are many forks in the road facing us in the U.S. for deficit reduction, as the picture shows. This is the cover graphic for Choices for Deficit Reduction, a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published November 2012. Those roads could be labeled “Medicare” and “Medicaid,” as health is the #1 deficit driver for the American economy — most notably, Medicare and long-term care services financed via Medicaid. The CBO expects that per capita spending on health care, already at 18% of the national economy in 2012, will continue to grow faster than spending on other goods and

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What’s on senior Americans’ minds? Medicare and money

What’s keeping seniors up at night when it comes to retirement? #1, according to 6 in 10 seniors, is the future of Medicare, followed by having enough money to enjoy retirement. In particular, 61% of seniors are concerned about future out-of-pocket health care costs. It’s all about Medicare and money for U.S. seniors, found in the Allsup Medicare Advisor Seniors Survey, Medicare Planning and Trends Among Seniors, published in October 2012. Medicare could be the most beloved government program ever, as 89% of seniors say they’re satisfied with Medicare coverage. Given the program’s shaky financial future, Allsup wanted to get

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Aging in the US – seniors are health-confident, less financially so

Most seniors look forward to aging in place, and are confident in their ability to do so. Such is the top-line feel-good finding from the National Council on Aging‘s (NCOA) survey, The United States of Aging, sponsored by USA Today and United Healthcare. A majority of seniors have a sense of purpose and plans for their future. Three-fourths of older Americans say staying physically fit through exercise and proactively managing their health is important. However, only 36% of seniors say they exercise or engage in physical activity every day. 11% never do. The most common chronic conditions noted by seniors

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Thinking about Dad as Digital “Mom”

What is a Mom, and especially, who is a “Digital Mom?” I’ve been asked to consider this question in a webinar today hosted by Enspektos, who published the report Digging Beneath the Surface: Understanding the Digital Health Mom in May 2012. I wrote my review of that study in Health Populi here on May 15. In today’s webinar, my remarks are couched as “Caveats About the Digital Mom: a multiple persona.” Look at the graphic. On the left, the first persona is a mother with children under 18. Most “mom segmentations” in market research focus on this segment. But what

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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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Social media in health help (more) people take on the role of health consumer

One in 3 Americans uses social media for health discussions. Health is increasingly social, and PwC has published the latest data on the phenomenon in their report, Social media ‘likes’ healthcare: from marketing to social business, published this week. PwC polled 1,060 U.S. adults in February 2012 to learn their social media habits tied to health. Among all health consumers, the most common use of social media in health is to access health-related consumer reviews of medications or treatments, hospitals, providers, and insurance plans, as shown in the graph. Social media enables people to be better health “consumers” by giving them peers’

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Rising cost of healthcare a headache among affluent Americans

For the third year in a row, wealthy Americans cite increasing health costs as their top financial concern. Furthermore, 1 in 3 affluent Americans are more concerned about the financial stress that could accompany a health event than they are about how that condition could affect their quality of life. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, part of Bank of America, conducted the firm’s annual poll among 1,000 Americans with investable assets of at least $250,000, in December 2011. The investment firm has looked at richer Americans’ views on financial concerns since 2009. The chart shows rising health care costs to be

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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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Make 2012 the year of living health-fully

When I would meet up with clients and friends during the latter half of 2011, people whom I hadn’t seen for months would do a double-take when they saw me. “What have you done?” they have asked. In this first post of 2012, I will share with Health Populi readers my story of 2011 — a year of living health-fully for me. One of the blessings of my work-life is that I have access to some of the great minds in health and health care. But not until I began to personally harness their wisdom, intentionally incorporating what they’ve learned into my own life-flow and

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Unretirement: the number of Americans planning to retire at 67 is plummeting

Two publications this week reinforce the new reality of health and financial insecurity: The Vanishing Middle America issue of Advertising Age (October 17, 2011 issue) and the Sun Life Financial U.S. Unretirement Index – Fall 2011 with the subtitle, “Americans’ trust in retirement reaches a tipping point.” The chart shows the retirement coin’s two sides: since 2008, the proportion of people in the U.S. who expect to retire by 67 dropped from 52% down to 35%; and, those who believe they will be working full-time (I emphasize “full,” not “part,” time) grew from 19% to 29%. 61% of working Americans plan to

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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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Working past 70 is the new retirement

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 18 May 2011 in Baby Boomers and Health, Employers, Medicare

American workers are worried about outliving their savings and not being able to meet the financial needs of their families, according to The 12th Annual Retirement Survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. The study paints a picture of 4,080 U.S. workers who forecast insecure financial futures. Their personal portraits find them working into older ages than they had previously expected to — before the recession. 54% of workers plan to work in retirement. 39% of workers will retire after age 70, or not at all. It’s not only Baby Boomers who expect to work past 65. Two-thirds of workers in their

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The Post-Health Plan Health Plan: Humana

“If nothing else, the health reform bill has signaled the beginning of the end of the health plan as we know and love it,” David Brailer, once health IT czar under President GW Bush and now venture capitalist, is quoted in Reuters on Hot Healthcare Investing Trends for 2011. One health plan Brailer called out that could be relevant in the post-reform, post-recessionary US health world is Humana. I had the opportunity to spend time with Paul Kusserow, Chief Strategy Officer for Humana, during the HIMSS11 meeting. Our conversation began with me asking why the chief strategist for Humana would

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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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Robert Reich connects the dots between the macroeconomy, angst, politics and health care costs

“I’m not a class warrior. I’m a class worrier,” Robert Reich told a standing-room only crowd of thousands of health IT geeks as he delivered the first keynote address of the annual meeting of HIMSS, the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society. This year’s crowd will have reached about 31,000 people interested in health information technology’s transformative role in health care. The 31K represents an 18% increase in attendance from last year’s crowd. The HIMSS economy is strong. Robert Reich warns, however, that the U.S. macroeconomy is far from healthy…and health care costs will be a long-term threat to the

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As health care demand is constrained, who will pay for medical innovations? Reflections on Moody’s analysis

“Employers and health insurers, through benefit design and medical management, are now playing a larger role in curbing use of healthcare services….spurring a more permanent cultural shift in consumer behavior,” Moody’s writes in a special comment dated February 16, 2011. “This will continue to constrain healthcare demand even as the economy recovers.” The chart illustrates one of the main reasons for the so-called “constrained healthcare demand:” increasing costs on health consumers. Look at the slope of the line on average out-of-pocket maximum costs for an employee receiving health insurance at work: the raw number grew from $2,742 in 2008 to

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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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Affluent boomers worry about health costs in retirement

Affluent Baby Boomers in the U.S. foresee a retirement with a more active lifestyle, with a better standard of living and engagement in work. 1 in 4 see continuing their education or learning a new trade, and 1 in 5 anticipate starting or furthering their business. These aspirations are tempered with many financial concerns — top among them being rising health care costs and expenses (a concern for 2 in 3 affluent Boomers), and ensuring that retirement assets will last throughout their lifetime (a worry among 1 in 2 Boomers). Merrill Lynch surveyed affluent U.S. adults on their retirement concerns

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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 growing costs of health scuttle Boomers’ retirement plans

As household incomes in the U.S. have been, at best, stagnating in the past several years, the cost of health insurance premiums rose three times faster between 2003 and 2009. By 2015, the average premium for a family of four will reach nearly $18,000, according to The Commonwealth Fund. State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2009: How Building on the Affordable Care Act Will Help Stem the Tide of Rising Costs and Eroding Benefits from the Fund calculates that deductibles per insured person in the U.S. increased an average of 77% between 2003-09. In a related analysis, the Fund forecasts the

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Caregivers use online and social media for long-term care information

Most caregivers involved with home care services would be inclined to dialogue with other caregivers in an online forum or social networking site, according to a  survey, How the Web and new social media have influenced the home care decision-making process, from Walker Marketing, Inc. Furthermore, 91% of caregivers would be likely to conduct research after receiving a provider referral by a professional source; while 78% would rely on a physician for recommendations, caregivers ultimately make their own decisions on long-term care providers. Websites are generally considered highly credible by caregivers, and are important sources of information for engaged caregivers on sources

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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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More Americans Covered by Government Health Programs As Employers’ Coverage Drops

In 2010, fewer Americans are receiving health coverage from employers. At the same time, more health citizens are being covered by government programs, including Medicaid, Medicare, military and veterans’ benefits. The proportion of people on government health insurance rolls increased from 22.5% in January 2008 to 25.4% in August 2010. This represents an increase of about 13%. The proportion of Americans covered by employers fell from 50% to 45.5%, a 9% decline. Thus, the number of U.S. health citizens getting absorbed into government-sponsored health programs is growing faster than the loss in the ranks of people covered by private sector health insurance. Data

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Prescription Drug Nation

In 2008, 2 in 3 people in the U.S. over 60 took 3 or more prescription drug medications in the past month, and 14% of kids 11 and under regularly took an Rx. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics latest issue brief on prescription drug use illustrates that prescription drugs are as much of American popular culture and life as fast-moving consumer goods. It’s the more intense use of Rx drugs, 5 or more, where the most significant growth has been since 1999-2000, when 6.3% of Americans took 5 or more prescription drugs in the past month. In 2007-8, the proportion

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Health care is not a luxury good – it just feels like it is

What is a luxury good? A good working definition is a good for which demand increases as income grows. Contrast this to a “necessity good,” something that people need regardless of level of income. Baby Boomers are morphing their idea of what constitutes a luxury good versus a necessity in light of the recession, according to a new study from New York Life, MainStay Investments Boomer Retirement Lifestyle Study, published August 5, 2010. The chart illustrates that 3 in 4 Boomers put health care costs as a top #1 or #2 retirement concern. Furthermore, 98% of Boomers called health care

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Mayberry RFDHHS

Now showing in a 60-second spot during the 6 o’clock news: Andy Griffith’s got the starring role in promoting the peoples’ use of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). Here is the announcement of the ad in The White House blog of July 30 2010. In the ad, Andy, now 84, recalls the signing of Medicare by President Johnson and moves into some details about the good things PPACA brings to seniors in the U.S. The Christian Science Monitor covers the story and shows the video here. This has caused quite a stir among Republicans who say

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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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Women are the digital mainstream – especially in health

Social networking is key to women’s experience with the Internet, according to comScore’s report, Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet. Women spend 39% more time on social networks online than men do. comScore studied the “Mars versus Venus” differences between men and women online, discovering that gender stereotypes only go so far. The chart shows the differences between women and men and their e-retail relationships. In stereotypical “men” categories of computer hardware and software, and sports/outdoor, for example, men and women aren’t all that different — only a couple of percentage points difference at most for these categories. Health has

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Running out money in retirement: the role of health costs

1 in 2 Baby Boomers born between 1948 and 1954 planning to retire in the first wave of Boomer retirements is at-risk of running out of money in retirement, according to the EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating. The Rating gauges just how prepared retirees are to finance their lives when they retire. This is defined as the percentage of pre-retirement households at-risk of not having enough money in retirement to pay for basic expenses such as housing, food, shelter, and uninsured health expenses. The net risk is determined as a function of retirement savings such as Social Security, IRAs, pensions, housing equity

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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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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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The cost of beauty, an American obsession

About $7 billion is spent each year on cosmetics. Another $1.5 billion is spent on breast augmentation, $1.3 billion on lipoplasty, and nearly $1 billion on abdominoplasty — aka, “tummy tucks.” Beauty At Any Cost is an important report from the YWCA. The organization has quantified the economic costs of the never-ending search for ‘beauty,’ and broken down the health implications, and impacts on interpersonal relationships — especially as these issues translate to young girls. One of the most serious behaviors cited in this report include that fact that over 1/2 of teenage girls use unhealthy weight control behaviors such

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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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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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Health, the New Status Symbol

We’d rather be healthy than wealthy, according to a new survey from Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L), the PR firm that’s part of the global communications company, Publicis. MS&L polled Americans’ beliefs on health and self-esteem. Three-quarters (72%) of Americans say that being physically healthy is a symbol of personal success. 91% of Americans said they’d rather be described ads “healthy” than “wealthy.” 71% said they’d rather be seen as someone who “looks really healthy” vs. someone who’s nicely “put together or well-dressed.” These will be glad tidings for MS&L’s client base. MS&L serves a global health clientele which includes

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Love thy kidneys; a sobering 2020 forecast

It’s Renal Week, the education meeting of the American Nephrology Society. The latest research on that under-appreciated organ, the kidney, is being presented by the best minds focused on nephrology. The critical headline from the meeting is that, in 2020, there will be a huge rise in the incidence and prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The number of Americans wil ESRD in 2020 is expected to be 785,000, an increase of more than 60% from 2005.   The key factor driving the growth of kidney disease is diabetes, in part driven by obesity projections and the aging of baby

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Purchasing Pink

Pink is all around.    It’s October 1st. The annual proliferation of pink products promoting breast cancer awareness pervades purchasers’ prospective pickings. This year, there are lots of cosmetics to choose from, along with a Filofax, a vacuum cleaner, kitchen appliances, an iPod and various accessories to dress it up, foods, a Swiss army knife, and a set of pink knitting needles. Prevention Magazine online has several suggestions for “Beauty that Gives Back,” cosmetic companies offering products with some percentage of proceeds going to a variety of breast cancer charities. For example, La Mer Skin Creme can be purchased for

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Universal Health Care, American Style

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 17 September 2007 in Baby Boomers and Health

Timing is everything. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wants to have universal health care implemented by the end of her second term. If she wins the leadership post in November 2008, then all Americans would be covered by a health plan by late 2015. According to my watch, that’s about 5 years into the first phase of Baby Boomer retirements. Health Populi’s Hot Points: We’ve entered the next wave of health reform discussions in the U.S. The phrase, “Universal Health Care,” will be a centerpiece of the debate. Be part of the conversation with your providers, payers, neighbors, communities. Be open

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