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Dying Younger in America

For the first time since 1993, expanding life expectancy in the United States has reversed, based on the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control, Mortality in the United States, 2015. “The last time U.S. life expectancy at birth declined was in 1993, when it dropped from 75.6 to 75.4, according to World Bank data,” as quoted in the Washington Post. Life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 78.8 years, a slight fall from 2014 at 78.9 years. The larger decline fell among men, from 76.5 to 76.3 years. For women, life expectancy at birth in 2015 was 81.2,

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The Digital Health Gap For High-Cost, High-Need Patients

Several market forces are converging that boost patients’ ability to engage in their health and self-care, including peoples’ growing adoption of smartphones, demand for self-service and DIY lifestyles, and Americans’ growing responsibility as health consumers. Health consumers are using a growing array of self-health tools, enabled through digital technologies. However, these tools aren’t yet engaging some of the very people who need them the most: high-need, high-cost patients. Research into this situation is discussed in the December 2016 Health Affairs article, Many Mobile Heaath Apps Target High-Need, High-Cost Populations, But Gaps Remain, published in the December 2016 issue of Health Affairs. For

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Stress and Health During #Election2016

The American Psychological Association, which conducts the annual Stress in America survey, has found rising levels of stress during #Election2016. 1 in 2 U.S. adults says the U.S. presidential election is a source of stress, with Democrats and Republicans equally likely to feel this way. So the APA is offering tips on how we can deal with the health impacts of election season stress. These include: Take a digital break and limiting your media consumption, reading or listening to “just enough to stay informed.” Instead, go for a walk and do things you enjoy. Avoid getting into and limit discussions about the

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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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Consumers Seek Quality and Privacy In Tech-Enabled Healthcare

Consumers are open to technology-enabled healthcare, but look to providers to ensure quality and privacy of patients’ personal health information, according to Will Patients and Caregivers Embrace Tech-Enabled Healthcare?, based on the Deloitte 2016 Survey of US Health Care Consumers. Seven in 10 consumers would use at least one of the technologies Deloitte served up in its study, with telemedicine at the top of the list: 49% of people favor telemedicine for post-surgical care, 48% for chronic disease management, 36% for care while traveling, and 32% for minor health issues. While Millennials are generally keener across-the-board for tech-enabled health care,

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More Americans See Hillary Clinton As the 2016 Presidential Health Care Candidate

When it comes to health care, more American voters trust Hillary Clinton to deal with health issues than Donald Trump, according to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2016 from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). The poll covered the Presidential election, the Zika virus, and consumers’ views on the value of and access to personal health information via electronic health records. Today’s Health Populi post will cover the political dimensions of the August 2016 KFF poll; in tomorrow’s post, I will address the health information issues. First, let’s address the political lens of the poll. More voters trust Hillary Clinton to do

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Health Care Costs in Retirement Will Run $260K If You’re Retiring This Year

If you’re retiring in 2016, you’ll need $260,000 to cover your health care costs during your retirement years. In 2015, that number was $245,000, so retiree health care costs increased 6% in one year according to Fidelity’s Retirement Health Care Cost Estimator. The 6% annual cost increase is exactly what the National Business Group on Health found in their recently published 2017 Health Plan Design Survey polling large employers covering health care, discussed here in Health Populi. The 6% health care cost increases are driven primary by people using more health services and the higher costs for many medicines — specifically, specialty

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The Connected Fitness Consumer

Personal fitness equipment is getting connected in the growing Internet of Things ecosystem (IoT), and fitness enthusiasts are getting more digitally connected well beyond their wristband tracking device. A survey conducted by ECRM and HellaWella, a healthy living portal, looked into fitness consumers’ digital habits and found a health-engaged cohort that’s online in the Web 1.0 world — sharing workout tips in social media communities but not so much product information. Product information is still learned Old School-wise, via product websites, traditional magazines, from peers and word-of-mouth (offline), and trying new gear out at the gym in real time. This

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Health in America: Improving, But Disparities Need Policy Prescriptions

The bad news: mortality rates haven’t improved much and obesity rates rose in one-third of communities. The good news: public health gains can be made in resource-poor communities with the right health policies, based on research from The Commonwealth Fund, Rising to the Challenge, the Fund’s Scorecard on local health system performance for 2016. The top-line of this benchmark report is that health care in the U.S. has, overall, improved more than it’s declined. Among the big levers driving health care improvement in the past year have been the further expansion of health citizens covered with insurance through the Affordable

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Are We Health Engaged Yet? Frost & Sullivan Responds “Meh”

The top health-related activities among U.S. adults include routinely taking vitamins and supplements, and prescription medicines, according to Frost & Sullivan’s report, Are We Engaged Yet? Their response to the titular question lies in in the subtitle: “US consumers appear confused or ambivalent about what it means to be proactive or engaged in their health.” 1 in 2 U.S. adults says they’re “somewhat engaged” in their healthcare, according to Reenita Das’s write-up on the study in Forbes magazine. She notes that: Consumers with higher incomes have more confidence in their access to health care services and quality of care Budget-constrained consumer

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Food As Medicine Update: Kroger, the FDA, and Walmart

There’s growing recognition of the role of food in health, on both the supply side of grocers, food growers and consumer marketers; and, among consumers who are, increasingly, shopping for food with health on their minds. 8 in 10 consumers in the U.S. enter a grocery store thinking about the health attributes of what they’re about to choose from the aisles that are stocked with more gluten-free, GMO-labelled, and organic products, according to the 2015 Deloitte Pantry Study. Our physicians have begun to “prescribe” food, especially as the collective BMI of Americans has reached medically catastrophic levels. See this forecast from

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Better Aging Through Technology

There are 85 million people getting older in America, all mindfully working to not go gentle into their good nights — that is, working hard to stay young and well for as long as they can. This is the market for “active aging” technology products, which will be worth nearly $43 billion in 2020, according to a report from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the Active Aging Study. CTA and Parks Associates define the active aging technology market in three segments with several categories under each: Safety and smart living, which includes safety monitoring, emergency response (PERS), smart living, and home

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The Growth of Digital Patient Engagement

9 in 10 people in the U.S. use some form of digital technology or electronic tools for health management, Accenture found in the company’s 2016 Consumer Survey on Patient Engagement. Younger people (18-34) tend to favor wearable technology, apps and social media for health. More older people (age 65-74) mine electronic health records (EHRs) for personal health data and more likely use tech for remote consultations with care providers. Overall, the percent of U.S. consumers accessing their EHR data grew by over 50% between 2014 and 2016, from 27% to 45% of people doing so, with older people indexing higher

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Building Health Bridges — Health:Further Goes Beyond the Disruptive

Most people in the U.S. acknowledge that their richest country in the world has a broken healthcare system, especially when it comes to costs. A handful of think tanks and lawmakers offer fixes for American healthcare. Now there’s a new problem-solver in healthcare town, Health:Further, and they aim to move U.S. health forward by building bridges between stakeholders in the U.S. health ecosystem. My longtime colleague and friend, Andre Blackman of Pulse+Signal, has joined the organization as “Producer.” Here, we’ll learn more from my (JSK) interview with Andre (AB) about the organization, their mission, and plans to go beyond “disruption”

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Diagnosis: Acute Health Care Angst In America

There’s an overall feeling of angst about healthcare in America among both health care consumers and the people who provide care — physicians and administrators. On one thing most healthcare consumers and providers (can agree: that the U.S. health care system is on the wrong track.  Another area of commonality between consumers and providers regards privacy and security of health information: while healthcare providers will continue to increase investments in digital health tools and electronic health records systems, both providers and consumers are concerned about the security of personal health information. In How We View Healthcare in America: Consumer and Provider Perspectives,

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Social Networking Is The New Normal, Pew Finds

Two-thirds of all internet users, and 65% of all adults over 18 years of age, use social networking sites. Social Media Usage: 2005-2015, the latest report from the Pew Research Center, finds social networking is the new normal for people up to 65 years of age. One-third of people over 65 use social networking sites. Peoples’ use of social media impacts every aspect of daily living beyond sharing social updates, from home keeping and political discussions to work, parenting, and managing stress, the Pew research found. Key findings in the report are that: Seniors’ use of social networks rose from

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From the Magnificent Mile to the Country Mile – Wearable Tech On Main Street

Will fitness tracking take off in middle and rural America? The larger question is whether people really, truly want to engage in health and, if so, how? My colleague and friend Dr. Carol Torgan, who curates the most extensive wearable tech Pinterest board and writes extensively about the subject in her blog Kinetics: From Lab Bench to Park Bench, was struck by my recent blog post, Health, Wearables and the IoT in the Windy City. That weekend I was in Chicago, Carol was visiting a rural region in the state of Virginia and spent time at a county fair. The quintessential

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Value is in the eye of the shopper for health insurance

While shopping is a life sport, and even therapeutic for some, there’s one product that’s not universally attracting shoppers: health insurance. McKinsey’s Center for U.S. Health System Reform studied people who were qualified to go health insurance shopping for plans in 2015, covered by the Affordable Care Act. McKinsey’s consumer research identified six segments of health insurance plan shoppers — and non-shoppers — including 4 cohorts of insured and 2 of uninsured people. The insureds include: Newly-insured people, who didn’t enroll in health plans in 2014 but did so in 2015 Renewers, who purchased health insurance in both 2014 and

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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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Left Swipe Dat – this is how health messaging is done

In our ADHD-addled, over-messaged and noisy world, it’s hard to break through the media clutter and binge-watching to get a health message out. Here’s the way it’s done: an engaging, humorous, impactful and crisp campaign focusing on making smoking so un-sexy and un-cool, you swipe the prospective date off of your Tinder app. Watch and learn, from The Truth. You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #LeftSwipeDat. Kudos to the truth® anti-smoking campaign and the creative team who got this blend of message and medium so right. truth® is part of the Legacy project which is funded by the

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Fiscal and physical fitness: TD Bank makes the link

What does a bank have to do with health? Plenty, if you listen to 70% of consumers who say that financial health has a positive impact on physical health. TD Bank released the Fiscal Fitness survey this week, finding that consumers make a direct connection between fiscal and physical fitness. That’s what we here at THINK-Health refer to as financial wellness. TD learned that 80% of consumers made a health resolution in the New Year and 69% of people made a financial resolution 40% of people want to save more and spend less, and 42% want to get healthy and

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Hug your physician – chances are, s/he’s burned out

If you’re meeting with a physician in the next week or two, put on your empathy hat: chances are, they are feeling burned-out. Overall 46% of physicians report they were burned out in 2014, up from just under 40% last year. Medscape’s Physician Lifestyle Report 2015 finds that at least one-half of physicians are burned-out who work in critical care, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, general surgery, and infectious disease (including HIV). And, at least 37% of physicians are burned-out working in all other specialties, shown in the first chart. Medscape gauges doctors’ self-assessments of burnout with a lens

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Telehealth is in demand, driven by consumer convenience and cost – American Well speaks

Evidence of the rise of retail health grows, with the data point that on-demand health care is in-demand by 2 in 3 U.S. adults. American Well released the Telehealth Index: 2015 Consumer Survey, revealing an American health public keen on video visits with doctors as a viable alternative to visiting the emergency room. Virtual visits are especially attractive to people who have children living at home. [For context, this survey defines “telehealth” as a remote consultation between doctor and patient]. Convenience drives most peoples’ interest in telehealth: saving time and money, not leaving home if feeling unwell, and “avoiding germs

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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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People don’t know much about patient portals: Xerox’s 5th EHR study

The Field of Dreams works in nostalgic plotlines about baseball, but as I’ve pointed out since the advent of consumer-facing health technologies, there’s no Field of Dreams effect in health care when it comes to consumer health engagement. U.S. health consumers aren’t using the patient portals that health care providers have built as part of their efforts to bolster health engagement via EHRs and health IT, Xerox found in the company’s 5th annual survey on electronic health records. I spoke with Tamara St. Claire to discuss the implications of the consumer poll, which was conducted among 2,017 U.S. adults in

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Understanding the patient journey – using real-world data

It’s de rigueur for any organization marketing a product or service in health care to be “patient-centered” these days. “Patient engagement” and “health engagement” are phrases found on health conference agendas, whether pitching to attendees in pharma and life sciences, health IT, health insurance, or healthcare (to hospitals and physicians, alike). One paradigm for patient-centricity that’s more mature than most is IMS Health’s Patient Journey construct, which the data-driven company has been talking about since 2012. While the concept focused mainly on pharmaceutical marketing and medication adherence, it’s useful for all industry segments looking to motivate behavior change in health

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Stress Is US

“Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it,” Lily Tomlin once quipped. Perhaps in 2014, America is the land of stress because we’re all so in touch with reality. THINK: reality TV, social networks as the new confessional, news channeling 24×7, and a world of too much TMI. So no surprise, then, that one-half of the people in the U.S. have had a major stressful event or experience in the last year. And health tops the list of stressful events in This American Life in the forms of illness and disease (among 27% of people)

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Online is to go-to place for health insurance info, but lots of uninsured people live offline

A vast majority of people shopping for a health plan on a Health Insurance Exchange for coverage in 2014 obtained information online via websites. One-half of these shoppers used only online information, and 29% combined both websites and other sources like direct assistance, informal assistance, and via (offline) media. In the Health Reform Monitoring Survey from the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, a research team, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, looked into data collected from the Health Reform Monitoring Survey in March 2014 at the end of the 2014 open enrollment period for the

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Consumers and health data sharing: managing risk via anonymity

  9 in 10 U.S. adults would be willing to share their personal health information  to help researchers better understand a disease or improve care and treatment options — with varying desires to control the anonymity of their data, according to  the fourth Makovsky Health/Kelton Survey published April 24, 2014. This study gauged peoples’ perspectives on personal data privacy based on 1,001 responses from Americans ages 18 and older and was fielded in March 2014. The chart shows four variations on the theme of consumers’ interest in sharing their personal health data with researchers, finding that: – 40% of people

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Wearable tech + the workplace: driving employee health

Employer wellness programs are growing in the U.S., bundled with consumer-directed plans and health savings accounts. A wellness company’s work with employee groups is demonstrating that workers who adopt mobile health technologies — especially “wearables” coupled with smartphone apps — helps change behavior and drive health outcomes. Results of one such program are summarized in Wearables at Work, a technical brief from Vitality, a joint venture of Humana and Discovery Ltd., published April 23, 2014. Vitality has been working in workplace wellness since 2005, first using pedometers to track workers’ workouts. In 2008, Vitality adopted the Polar heart rate monitor for

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What, We Worry? Thinking About Healthcare (Costs) Is Stressing Us Out

Three-quarters of us are concerned about health care, a fraction fewer than those of us worried about the economy. Underneath stress about healthcare, people are worried about costs and the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Say hello to the Healthcare Worry Scale, developed by Chase Communications, a firm focused on marketing and media, largely in the health industry. Chase found that: – 93% believe that their health care costs will continue to increase – 49% say the ACA’s impact is a “major” worry – 43% say getting a disease, medical condition, or injury that health insurance doesn’t fully

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Data altruism: people more likely to share personal health data for the sake of others and to save money

While about 53% of people globally are willing to share various types of personal data overall, the kind of data willing-to-be-shared varies by type of information — and what country we’re from. When asked how likely they would be to anonymously share information if it could lead to improvements or innovations in that technology, Americans are less likely to be willing to share any type of personal data — except for gender. When it comes to sharing several specific types of health information, fewer Americans are likely to want to share it as Intel found in their survey published in the company’s Healthcare

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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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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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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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Consumers’ out-of-pocket health costs rising faster than wages – and a surprising hit from generic drug prices

U.S. health consumers faced greater out-of-pocket health care costs in 2012, especially for outpatient services (think: doctors’ visits) and generic drugs, as presented in The 2012 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report  from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) published in September 2013. At the same time between 2011 and 2012, wages grew about 3%, remaining fairly flat over the past decade as health care costs continued to grow much faster. HCCI found that per capita (per person) out-of-pocket growth for outpatient visits amounted to an average of $118 between 2011 and 2012. But the biggest share of out-of-pocket costs for

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Healing the Patient-Doctor Relationship with Health IT

A cadre of pioneering Americans has been meaningfully using personal health information technology (PHIT), largely outside of the U.S. health care system. These applications include self-tracking and wearable health technologies, mobile health apps, and digital medical tracking devices like glucometers that streamline tracking and recording blood glucose levels. In the meantime, only 21% of doctors surveyed by Accenture currently allow patients to have online access to their medical summary or patient chart – very basic components of the electronic health record. We know what’s primarily driving health providers’ adoption of health IT: namely, the HITECH Act’s provisions for incentives. But

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Food and the household health budget: one pocket, shrinking access

Over 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have not had enough money to buy food for themselves or their families in the past year, according to the August 2013 Gallup Healthways Index. This is as many consumers as those who couldn’t afford food during the deepest months of the last recession. Lack of access to food is a challenge for a cadre of Americans who lack access to other basic needs such as shelter and health care. Gallup’s Basic Access Index looks at this market basket, and has found that Americans’ access to basic needs at 81.4 in August

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Health information search online, an hour a week. Time with a doctor? An hour a year.

In game-scoring unit terms, 52 is the number of hours an average American spends seeking health information online each year. The 1 (hour) is roughly equivalent to the approximate total time a patient spends with a physician (an average of 3 visits, with an average time per vision of 20 minutes). Thus, 52:1. This means that the average U.S. health consumer spends much more time DIYing her health using digital information resources than speaking face-to-face with their physician in the doctor’s office. Still, the physician continues to be a go-to source for health information, according to Makovsky, a health communications

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People with doctors interested in EMRs, but where’s the easy button?

1 in two people who are insured and have a regular doctor are interested in trying out an electronic medical record. But they need a doctor or nurse to suggest this, and they need it to be easy to use. The EMR Impact survey was conducted by Aeffect and 88 Brand Partners to assess 1,000 U.S. online consumers’ views on electronic medical records (EMRs): specifically, how do insured American adults (age 25 to 55 who have seen their regular physician in the past 3 years) view accessing their personal health information via EMRs? Among this population segment, 1 in 4 people (24%)

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People not up-close-and-personal about personalized medicine…yet

Only 1 in 4 U.S. adults over 30 know what “personalized medicine” (PM) really is, and only 8% of people feel very knowledgeable about the concept based on Consumer Perspectives on Personalized Medicine from GfK, published online in August 2013. GfK surveyed 602 online adults 30 years and over between February and March 2013 drawn from the company’s KnowledgePanel sample of U.S. adults. Only 4% of people who have heard of personalized medicine describe it accurately as “medicine based on genome/genetic make up.” About one-half of people (52%) defined PM as medical care, treatment, or medicine geared toward individual needs. The poll

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Chief Health Officers, Women, Are In Pain

Women are the Chief Health Officers of their families and in their communities. But stress is on the rise for women. Taking an inventory on several health risks for American women in 2013 paints a picture of pain: of overdosing, caregiver burnout, health disparities, financial stress, and over-drinking. Overdosing on opioids. Opioids are strong drugs prescribed for pain management such as hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. The number of opioid prescriptions grew in the U.S. by over 300% between 1999 and 2010. Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses among women have increased more than 400% since 1999, compared to 265% among men.

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Americans’ health insurance illiteracy epidemic – simpler is better

Consumers misunderstand health insurance, according to new research published in the Journal of Health Economics this week. The study was done by a multidisciplinary, diverse team of researchers led by one of my favorite health economists, George Loewenstein from Carnegie Mellon, complemented by colleagues from Humana, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, and Yale, among other research institutions. Most people do not understand how traditional health plans work: the kind that have been available on the market for over a decade. See the chart, which summarizes top-line findings: nearly all consumers believe they understand what maximum out-of-pocket costs are, but only one-half do.

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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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10 Reasons Why ObamaCare is Good for US

When Secretary Sebelius calls, I listen. It’s a sort of “Help Wanted” ad from the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius that prompted me to write this post. The Secretary called for female bloggers to talk about the benefits of The Affordable Care Act last week when she spoke in Chicago at the BlogHer conference. Secretary Sebelius’s request was discussed in this story from the Associated Press published July 25, 2013. “I bet you more people could tell you the name of the new prince of England than could tell you that the health market opens October 1st,” the

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Health and wellness, the economy and the grocery store

Consumers in America are spending more, and especially at the grocery store. Most people say they want to eat healthy — but, although they’re spending more at the food store, one-half of supermarket shoppers say cost is the main obstacle for healthy eating. 2 in 3 U.S. grocery shoppers define health and wellness as being physically fit and active, and over half believe that feeling good about yourself is another facet of health. Not being overweight equals health for about one-half of U.S. shoppers. The Why? Behind the Buy, from Acosta Sales & Marketing, explores buying patterns among U.S. consumers

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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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Angelina and Abercrombie: connecting the dots for healthy body image

This has been a week of shocking contrasts for women’s body image: from the triumphant, empowering public health role model of Angelina Jolie, whose op-ed column, My Medical Choice, appeared in the New York Times on May 14th, to the marketing message snafu of Abercrombie & Fitch. First, the Abercrombie affair: Mike Jeffries, CEO, said the following in a 2006 Salon interview that virally surfaced: “Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that,” identifying the “cool kids” as the company’s target market. “A lot of

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An American Nanny State? Most Americans support government tactics addressing lifestyle impacts on chronic disease

  Most people like government policies targeting reducing tobacco use, requiring food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce salt content, and mandating schools to require 45 minutes of daily activity for students. A large majority of Americans (at least 8 in 10 people) support government actions to promote public health that stem chronic disease, from preventing cancer (89%) and heart disease (86%) to helping people control their diabetes (84%) and preventing childhood obesity (81%). A Survey Finds Public Support For Legal Interventions Directed At Health Behavior To Fight Noncommunicable Disease (NCD). This poll, published in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs, profiles the

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Do doctors want patients to have full access their own medical information? It depends.

Only one-third of U.S. physicians believe that patients should have “full access” to their electronic health records, according to Patient Access to Electronic Health Records What Does the Doctor Order?, a survey conducted by Accenture, released at HIMSS13 in March 2013. Two-thirds of doctors in the U.S. are open to patients having “limited access” to their EHRs. However, the extent to which doctors believe in full EHR access for patients depends on the type of health information contained in the record. Accenture surveyed 3,700 physicians in eight countries: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States, and found the doctors’

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Gettin’ higi with it: Lupe Fiasco’s foray into public health

The latest in SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Health is a gamified tool coupled with a hardware kiosk, known as higi. The brainchild of Michael Ferro, a successful dotcom entrepreneur who now owns the Chicago Sun-Times, higi’s mission is to help people – particularly younger peeps – to take better care of themselves by scoring points and, as a result, social connections. Higi’s an African word for origin, so the health tool has some aspects relating to being in a tribe — a kind of health tribe. It also has a fun sound to it, Ferro noted, which sets the vibe

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Patients globally would embrace Jetsons-style health care…but will health providers?

Patients are getting comfortable with remote health care – that is, receiving care from a health provider at a distance via, say, telehealth or via a Skype-type of set-up. Furthermore, 70% of people globally saying they would trust an automated device to provide a diagnosis that would help them determine whether or note they needed to see a doctor. Based on the findings from Cisco‘s survey summarized in the Cisco Connected Customer Experience Report – Healthcare, published March 4, 2013, just-in-time for the annual 2013 HIMSS conference, a majority patients the world over are embracing health care delivered via communications

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Consumer health empowerment is compromised by complex information

  The U.S. economy is largely built on consumer purchasing (the big “C” in the GDP* – see note, below Hot Points). Americans have universally embraced their role as consumers in virtually every aspect of life — learning to self-rely in making travel plans, stock trades, photo development, and purchasing big-dollar hard goods (like cars and washing machines). Consumers transact these activities thanks to usable tools and information that empower them to learn, compare, and execute smarter decisions. That is, in every aspect of life but in health care. While the banner of “consumerism” in health care has been flown

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The more engaged a patient is, the lower their costs

There are many ways to measure and express “patient engagement.” One such metric is “patient activation,” innovated by Dr. Judith Hibbard, long affiliated with the University of Oregon. Dr. Hibbard has written extensively about the Patient Activation Measure, PAM, first described in 2004. She and a team of researchers have determined that the higher a patient’s PAM score, the lower their health costs. Hibbard et. al. published these findings in the February 2013 issue of Health Affairs, which is entirely devoted to patient engagement – a top topic in Health Populi. The team analyzed the medical records of 33,163 patients

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Butter over guns in the minds of Americans when it comes to deficit cutting

Americans have a clear message for the 113th Congress: I want my MTV, but I want my Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security,   health insurance subsidies, and public schools. These budget-saving priorities are detailed in The Public’s Health Care Agenda for the 113th Congress, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, published in January 2013. The poll found that a majority of Americans placed creating health insurance exchanges/marketplaces at top priority, compared with other health priorities at the state level. More people support rather than oppose Medicaid expansion, heavily weighted toward 75%

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Formally tracking health data changes health behavior and drives social health

Most of us keep track of some aspect of our health. Half of all people who track do so “in their heads,” not on paper, Excel spreadsheet, or via digital platform. Furthermore, 36% update their health tracking data at least once a day; but 16% update at most twice a month, and 9% update less than once monthly. Tracking for Health from the Pew Internet & American Life Project paints a portrait of U.S. adults who, on one hand are quantifying themselves but largely aren’t taking advantage of automated and convenient ways of doing so. Overall, 69% of U.S. adults track

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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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Think about health disparities on Martin Luther King Day 2013

On this day celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., I post a photo of him in Detroit in 1963, giving a preliminary version of his “I Have a Dream” speech he would give two months later in Washington, DC. As I meditate on MLK, I think about health equity. By now, most rational Americans know the score on the nation’s collective health status compared to other developed countries: suffice it to say, We’re Not #1. But underneath that statistic is a further sad state of health affairs: that people of color in the U.S. have lower quality of health than white

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Retail and work-site clinics – medical homes for younger adults?

The use of retail and work-site health clinics is up, and their consumers skew young. Overall, 27% of all U.S. adults have stepped into a walk-in clinic in the past two years. But only 15% of people 65 and over have used such a clinic. This begs the question: are retail and on-site clinics at the workplace filling the role of medical homes for younger adult Americans? The Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll published in January 2013 discovered that use of retail clinics grew from 7% in 2008 to 27% in 2012. The largest age cohort using walk-in clinics is people between

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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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Growing use of online health tools is replacing going to the doctor for more patients

  41% of Americans are comfortable using websites that allow them to check health symptoms. Furthermore, 25% of people trust online symptom checkers, mobile apps and home-based vital sign monitors as much as they trust their doctor. In fact, roughly the same proportion uses these tools instead of going to see the doctor, according to a consumer survey from Royal Philips Electronics (Philips). The infographic illustrates some of Philip’s top-line findings from this poll, conducted among 1,003 U.S. adults 18 and over in November 2012. Over one-third of Americans also believe that technology allows them to monitor their health — a

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Most smartphone owners seek health information online via mobile

The ubiquity of mobile phones, increasingly smart ones (one-half of all mobile phones in the U.S. ), means people are walking around, working, playing and driving with self-tracking devices and ultra-mini computers in their pockets and totebags. 52% of smartphone owners seek health information on their phones, and overall 1 in 3 people seek health information on all mobile phones — nearly doubling the percent of those seeking health info via mobile in 2010 (17%). People who are sicker, caregivers, and those who have had a big change in health are also more prone to using phones for health, as

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Consumerism growing in health care, says Altarum

Patients are morphing into health care consumers with growing use of technology for medical shopping and health engagement, according to a survey conducted by Altarum, the health services research organization. Virtually all (99%) of U.S. health citizens want to play a role in medical decisions about their care. However, consumers vary in just how much of that responsibility they want to assume: – 35% want to make the final decision with some input from doctors and other experts – 29% want to be completely in charge of their decisions – 28% want to make a joint decision with equal input

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The gender gap in U.S. health economics

50% more women than men are worried about health care affordability and access in the U.S., revealed in a new Kaiser Opinion Poll, the Health Security Watch, based on interviews from May 2012. Overall, about the same proportion of men and women had problems paying medical bills in the past year — 26% vs. 27%, respectively. However, when it comes to self-rationing health care — delaying or skipping treatment due to cost — gender gap shows, with 52% of men and 64% of women delaying or skipping health care. Underneath these numbers are even greater gaps between men and women.

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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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$12 water and $10 premium increases: how price elasticity is contextual in health and life

A $10 increase in a health plan premium drove up to 3% of retired University of Michigan employees to leave the plan, according to a study from U-M published in Health Economics, The Price Sensitivity of Medicare Beneficiaries. The U-M researchers analyzed the behaviors of 3,182 retirees over four years, to assess the impact of price on beneficiaries’ health plan choices. During the four years, the premium contribution for retirees increased significantly. The researchers conducted this study, in part, to anticipate how Americans will respond to health insurance exchanges in 2014 as they bring health plan information to the market

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Wellness Ignited! Edelman panel talks about how to build a health culture in the U.S.

Dr. Andrew Weil, the iconic guru of all-things-health, was joined by a panel of health stakeholders at this morning’s Edelman salon discussing Wellness Ignited – Now and Next. Representatives from the American Heart Association, Columbia University, Walgreens, Google, Harvard Business School, and urban media mavens Quincy Jones III and Shawn Ullman, who lead Feel Rich, a health media organization, were joined by Nancy Turett, Edelman’s Chief Strategist of Health & Society, in the mix. Each participant offered a statement about what they do related to health and wellness, encapsulating a trend identified by Jennifer Pfahler, EVP of Edelman. Trend 1: Integrative

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Wellness and the global health citizen – carrying our own doctors, inside

Every patient carries her or his doctor inside, said the great Renaissance man, Albert Schweitzer. Based on Euro RSCG Worldwide’s Prosumer Report – My Body, Myself, Our Problem: Health and Wellness in Modern Times, health citizens globally have begun to take on Dr. Schweitzer’s vision. Clement Boisseau of Euro RSCG points out that people, globally, are fairly schizophrenic when it comes to thinking about empowerment over illness: check out the chart for perceptions by condition and disease state. Boisseau says that people perceive health today both in modern terms (such as feeling empowered to control some conditions), and archaic or “magically

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Why a Foundation and the Federal Reserve are working together to improve health in the U.S.

Health philanthropies are about more than making grants. The Robert Wood Johnson Association, among the largest health philanthropic organizations in the world, is partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed) on how community development impacts health — and vice versa. You cannot have a healthy community without focusing on housing, schools, and other neighborhood stakeholders, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey told the conference on Healthy Communities: Building Systems to Integrate Community Development and Health. In this context, Dr. Lavizzo-Mourey quoted Robert Kennedy who said, “The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or

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Consumer electronics comes to health care — but don’t overestimate consumer demand just yet

More people with higher levels of concern about their health feel they are in good health, see their doctors regularly for check-ups, take prescription meds “exactly” as instructed, feel they eat right, and prefer lifestyle changes over using medicines. And 40% of these highly-health-concerned people have also used a health technology in the past year. At the other end of the spectrum are people with low levels of health concern: few see the doctor regularly for check-ups, less than one-half take their meds as prescribed by their doctors, only 31% feel they eat right, and only 36% feel they’re in

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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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Bye-bye, Ward & June Cleaver; Hello, multi-cultural, digital-happy family

“Ward and June Cleaver have left the building,” observe analysts at Nielsen. “The white, two-parent, ‘Leave it to Beaver’ family unit of the 1950s has evolved into a multi-layered, multi-cultural construct dominated by older, childless households,” starts a report from The Nielsen Company, The New Digital American Family. Whatever ethnic flavor this Digital Family may represent, there’s one equalizer across all of them: the smartphone, which is owned by households across cultures and income levels. First, the socio-demographics paint a picture of increasingly multi-cultural households. Recent immigrants to the U.S. accounted for 90% of population growth from 2000-2010, over-indexing for Hispanic and

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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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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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Love, sex and what I tweeted

EURO RSCG has polled 1,000 online Americans’ views on romance through the lens of digital media, publishing results in a paper, Love (and Sex) in the Age of Social Media. This ‘digital love’ survey was conducted in January 2011.  [It’s interesting to note that EURO RSCG won the business for the Durex condom line in November 2010.] In its introduction, EURO RSCG suggests that, “the Internet is the most powerful erogenous zone that the world has ever known.” There are five aspects to digital love, based on these findings: 1. Observing love online. As more people do more daily activities online like banking,

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The people who seek health information online aren’t always the ones who should

While 8 in 10 U.S. adult internet users seek health information online, they’re not the people you might assume would take advantage of the opportunity to do so. This lightbulb moment is brought to you by the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest survey analysis,  Health Topics: 80% of internet users look for health information online. For example, while 2 in 3 U.S. adults with one or more chronic condition go online, only one-half of them are looking online for health information. Among the 54% of online adults with disabilities, only 42% of them seek health information online. Among the 88%

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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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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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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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Gaming, Mars & Venus – Implications for Health Games

Call them “kinder, gentler,” gamers, according to ComScore: women like gaming as much as men do, but the kinds of games they like are different from their male peers. I wrote about ComScore‘s report, Women on the Web: How Women Are Shaping the Internet, on July 30 2010. The post was titled, Women Are the Digital Mainstream, Especially in Health. The report includes detailed survey data on women’s use of games. The chart here illustrates the Mars vs. Venus differences in tastes for online games: men prefer action, adventure and sports, along with education. Women like online puzzles, card games, trivia,

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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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Risky Business: the state of U.S. high schoolers' health

From bad driving behaviors to binge drinking and unprotected sex, the health-state of America’s high school population gets a grade of “R” for “risky.” The 2009 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey is out from the Centers for Disease Control from the good people at the Division of Adolescent and School Health, based on survey data among 16,410 young people grades 9-12 who live in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  As you read the statistics, keep in mind these are self-reported among kids who are 14-18 years of age. Among the most high-risk health behaviors are the findings that: 1

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Empowering disempowered people in health care: information isn't enough

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Kids and specialty drugs drove up Rx spending in 2009 – and what food and phys ed can do

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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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"Fiscal fitness" is part of wellbeing – and half of the Sandwich Generation feels flabby

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 22 April 2010 in Demographics and health

While one-half of the members of the Sandwich Generation of Americans believe their kids will be more successful than they are, more than one-half also feel fiscally unfit — either “a little bit flabby” or “seriously out of shape.” These schizophrenic statistics come out of Charles Schwab’s 2010 Families & Money Survey. The poll was conducted among 1,000 Sandwich Generation adults with young adult children ages 23-28 and living parents in February 2010. Two-thirds of Sandwich Generation (SandGen) parents care more about financial fitness than physical fitness, according to Schwab’s findings. The chart shows that 1 in 2 view their “financial physique” as

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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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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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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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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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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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The true costs of cigarettes = $222 a pack, and the Rolling Stone ad

A pack of cigarettes ranges in price from a low of $3.35 in South Carolina to a high of $6.45 in New Jersey. But the real personal costs of cigarettes — per pack smoked — are 66 times greater (in the case of that smoking South Carolinian). The analysis can be found in a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. W. Kip Viscusi and Joni Hersch calculate this cost in terms of personal health risks: for a man, each pack of cigarettes smoked reduces the value of his life by $222; for a woman, each pack

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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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Target marketing: no pink guns left behind?

In 2004, 20% of homicides were directly associated with intimate partner conflict (i.e., one in which an intimate partner killed another partner). Intimate partner violence resulting in death was most common among victims aged 40-44 years. Murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women, according to the National Organization of Women. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spends about $43 million a year on ways to reduce deaths and injuries from drowning, poisoning, suicide, industrial accidents, house fires and domestic violence. Of that sum, only $2.3 million

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