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Inflation, Health, and the American Consumer – “The Devil Wears Kirkland”

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that surging hospital prices are helping to keep inflation high.                 Hospital costs rose 7.7% last month, the highest increase in 13 years. This chart from WSJ’s reporting illustrates the >2x change in the CPI for hospitals vs the overall rate of price increases. Hospitals are not alone in price cliffs, with health insurance premiums spiking last year at the fastest rate in a decade, the Labor Statistics data showed. “For patients and their employers, the increases have meant higher health-insurance premiums, as well as limiting wage

 

The Cost of Medical Care, Long-Term Care, and Prescription Drugs Top Older Americans’ Health-Related Concerns – With Social Security and Medicare Top of Mind

Among Americans 50 years of age and over, the top health-related concerns are Cost, Cost, and Cost — for medical services, for long-term and home care, and for prescription medications. Quality of care ranks lower as a concern versus the financial aspects of health care in America among people 50 years of age and older, as we learn what’s On Their Minds: Older Adults’ Top Health-Related Concerns from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. AARP sponsors this study, which is published nearly every month of the year on the Michigan Medicine portal.           

 

Healthcare 2030: Are We Consumers, CEOs, Health Citizens, or Castaways? 4 Scenarios On the Future of Health Care and Who We Are – Part 1

In the past few years, what event or innovation has had the metaphorical impact of hitting you upside the head and disrupted your best-laid plans in health care? A few such forces for me have been the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of Chat-GPT, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That’s just three, and to be sure, there are several others that have compelled me to shift my mind-set about what I thought I knew-I-knew for my work with organizations spanning the health care ecosystem. I’m a long-time practitioner of scenario planning, thanks to the early education at the side of Ian

 

AI: Patients Included

“Clinical transformation with AI is easier without patients.” When Dr. Grace Cordovano heard this statement on a panel of physicians convening to share perspectives on the future of AI in health care held in early March 2024, the board-certified patient advocate felt, in her words, “insulted on behalf of the patient communities I know that are working tirelessly to advance AI that works for them.” “The healthcare ecosystem and policy landscape must formally recognize patients as end-users and co-creators of AI,” Cordovano wrote to me in an e-mail exchange. “Patients, their care partners, caregivers, and advocates are already utilizing AI

 

The Women’s Health Gap Is Especially Wide During Her Working Years – Learning from McKinsey, the World Economic Forum, and AARP in Women’s History Month

There’s a gender-health gap that hits women particularly hard when she is of working age — negatively impacting her own physical and financial health, along with that of the community and nation in which she lives.               March being Women’s History Month, we’ve got a treasure-trove of reports to review — including several focusing on health. I’ll dive into two for this post, to focus in on the women’s health gap that’s especially wide during her working years. The reports cover research from the McKinsey Health Institute collaborating with the World Economic Forum on

 

A Health Consumer Bill of Rights: Assuring Affordability, Access, Autonomy, and Equity

Let’s put “health” back into the U.S. health care system. That’s the mantra coming out of this week’s annual Capitol Conference convened by the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals (NABIP). (FYI you might know of NABIP by its former acronym, NAHU, the National Association of Health Underwriters).         NABIP, whose members represent professionals in the health insurance benefits industry, drafted and adopted a new American Healthcare Consumer Bill of Rights launched at the meeting. While the digital health stakeholder community is convening this week at VIVE in Los Angeles to share innovations in health tech, NABIP

 

Why Elevance Health is “Prescribing” Phones for Members

You’ve heard of food-as-medicine and exercise-as-medicine. Now we see the emergence of telecomms-as-medicine — or more specifically, a driver of health, access, and empowerment. Elevance Health, the health plan organization serving 117 million members, launched a program to channel mobile phones and data plans into the hands of some Medicaid plan enrollees, explained in the organization’s press release on the program. To implement this program and get connectivity into consumers’ hands and homes, Elevance Health is collaborating with several telecomms companies including Verizon, AT&T, Samsung, and T-Mobile. Funding is supported by the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program.        

 

Access to Technology Is the New Pillar for Well-Being: CES & the UN Partner for Human Security for All

In kicking off #CES2024, CTA’s researchers noted the acceleration of global connectivity, with gaps in peoples’ ability to connect depending where they live: by region, the percent of people connected to the internet today are, according to CTA’s data, 92% in the U.S. 87% in the E.U. 76% in Latin America 73% in China 55% in Nigeria 46% in India. Such gaps in connectivity threaten peoples’ individual well-being, but also social and political stability that impacts the entire world’s security. And not to overlook, as well, the promise of AI to do good at scale at the enterprise-level, globally.  

 

Technology Is Playing a Growing Role in Wellness and Healthy Aging – AARP’s Latest Look Into the 50+ Tech Consumer

Most people over 70 years of age recognize technology’s role in supporting peoples’ health, we learn from a new report on 2024 Tech Trends and Adults 50+ from AARP. But adoption and ongoing use of digital innovations among older people will be tempered without attending to four key barriers that carry equal weight in the minds of 50+ consumers: design and user experience, awareness and interest, cost and acquisition, and trust and privacy concerns. [Spoiler alert: in the Hot Points, below, I add a fifth consideration: health equity + dignity].             To gauge older Americans’ views on

 

Healthcare Bills, Affordability, and Self-Rationing Care Will Continue to Challenge U.S. Health Consumers in 2024

Two-thirds of U.S. consumers say they can’t afford to pay their medical bills on-time, based on the 2023 Consumer Survey from Access One, a financial services company focused on healthcare payments.               The report’s title page asks the question, “What options do consumers really want for paying healthcare expenses?” The survey report responds to that question, finding out that nearly one-half of patients have taken some kind of action to reduce their medical expenses. Furthermore, one-third of consumers are not confident they could pay a medical bill of $500 or more. Access One fielded

 

A Digital Health Checkup for the US – #1 in AI, Meh in Interoperability – An OECD Update

While health care has been slower than other industries to leverage digital transformation, COVID-19 accelerated change — revealing some key barriers blocking the potential for more fulsome transformation, the OECD explains in its latest version of Health At A Glance for 2023 with a detailed chapter on “digital health at a glance.”                   The OECD report assesses digital health maturity across 22 countries: in addition to the U.S., the report provides details digital health traits in (alphabetically) Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea,

 

An Antidote to Loneliness – Amazon’s 2023 Holiday Ad-Video Is A Lesson in Social Health, Aging and Love

To complement today’s sobering Health Populi post discussing Accenture’s 2024 Life Trends Study — an outlook for a decade of “deconstruction” based on technology and other trends in the ether — I share with you Amazon’s ad for this holiday season gift-giving motivation. The agency responsible for the campaign, Hungry Man and director Wayne McClammy, weave together a beautiful plotline of friendship, the Beatles’ In My Life, and a time-traveling image that captivated me. The evidence base on loneliness and aging is deep and quantifiable: loneliness can kill like a daily inhalation of a pack of cigarettes. It is up

 

Everybody is Stressed in America, and It’s Not Good for Our Health: the 2023 Update from the American Psychological Association

The U.S. is “a nation recovering from collective trauma,” the according to the latest survey on Stress in America 2023 from the American Psychological Association (APA).             The APA has been quantifying Stress in America since 2007; for context, at the end of that year The Great Recession kicked in, and in response President Obama’s team put together assistance to bolster the national economy, jobs, and health technology (codified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). American health citizens are experiencing a deja vu in 2023 akin to their financial stress experienced in the APA 2008 Stress

 

How Ahold-Delhaize Connects the Grocery, Climate Change, ESG and Consumers’ Health

In the food sector, “the opportunity for us and the role that we play is to connect climate and health,” Daniella Vega of Ahold Delhaize told Valerio Baselli during the Morningstar Sustainable Investing Summit 2023. In a conversation discussing the importance of non-financial metrics in companies’ ESG efforts, Vega connected the dots between climate change, retail grocery, and consumers’ health and well-being.             Vega is the Global Senior Vice President, Health & Sustainability, with Ahold Delhaize— one of the largest food retail companies in the world. Based in the Netherlands, the company operates mainly in

 

How Healthcare and Patients Can Benefit From a “Simplicity Premium”

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” Leonardo DaVinci wrote through his lens on innovation. Simplicity can be a transformational cornerstone of health/care innovation, we learn from Siegel+Gale’s report on the World’s Simplest Brands Tenth Edition (WSBX). Siegel+Gale found the most consumers are willing to pay more for simpler brand experiences and are more likely to recommend a brand for those simpler experiences, as well.             Across the 15,000 consumers the firm polled globally (across nine countries), five key factors underpin peoples’ experiences with the enchantingly “simple” companies: they are, Easy to understand Transparent and honest Caring for

 

#BeBurnsAware – What To Know on National Burn Awareness Day

Today 11th October is National Burn Awareness Day 2023, and I’m supporting the effort for all of us to #BeBurnsAware.             I have become more bullish on Burn Awareness as I’ve come to learn more about the impact burns have on public, family, and children’s health globally. My teacher for better understanding burns and public health has been Krissie Stiles, a long-time burns nurse specialist and Ambassador to the Children’s Burns Trust in the UK. Meet Krissie. Burns are a global public health challenge, which I detailed here in Health Populi earlier this year. Today

 

What Walmart’s Look at Ozempic Users Tells Us About Health/Care Consumers

“We definitely do see a slight change compared to the total population, we do see a slight pullback in overall basket,” the CEO of Walmart US is quoted in Bloomberg. “Just less units, slightly less calories.”                   With patients’ use  GLP-1 drugs such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro fast-rising in the pharmacy market, so are the concerns of companies that stock the-middle-of-the-grocery-store aisles for processed foods like sweet and salty snacks. As the prospects for the drug companies who manufacture prescription drugs made for patients managing diabetes and obesity are on the

 

Food-As-Medicine Grows Its Cred Across the Health/Care and Retail Ecosystem

In the nation’s search for spending smarter on health care, the U.S. could save at least $13 billion a year through deploying medically-tailored meals for people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance programs, according to the True Cost of Food, research published by the Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy collaborating with The Rockefeller Foundation.       It’s been one year since the White House convened the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, kicking off the Biden Administration’s national strategy to improve health citizens’ access to healthy food as a matter of public health and economic security.

 

“Healthcare Isn’t Healthy:” the Global Challenge of Health Equity, and Calls-to-Action

Discrimination in health care is reported by more people in the U.S. than in Germany, Spain, or the U.K., we learn in the research reported in The Intersection of Health Equity in Communities & Business Strategy: A Call-to-Action, from Omnicomm PR Group (OPRG) and Atlantic Insights.                          The study was conducted among 6,000 people living in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, fielding 1,500 interviews in each of the four countries in March 2023. The U.S. survey sample included 375 people identifying as Black, White, Hispanic, or

 

The Clinician of the Future: A Partner for Health, Access, Collaboration, and Tech-Savviness

One-half of clinicians working in the U.S., doctors and nurses alike, are considering leaving their current role in the next two to three years. That 1 in 2 clinicians is significantly greater than the global 37% of physicians and nurses thinking about leaving their roles in the next 3 years, according to the report Clinician of the Future 2023 from Elsevier.             Elsevier first conducted research among doctors and nurses for the Clinician of the Future report in 2022, following up this year’s survey research online among 2,607 clinicians working around the world: Elsevier polled

 

Large Employers Expect More Employees Will Experience Prolonged Health Impacts Due to COVID-19. and a Note About Telehealth Engagement

Due to their delayed return to medical services and diagnostic testing in the COVID-19 pandemic era, U.S. employees are expected to sustain serious health impacts that will drive employers’ health care costs, envisioned in the 2024 Large Employer Health Care Strategy Survey from the Business Group on Health (BGH).               Dealing with mental health issues is the top health and well-being impact workers in large companies are addressing in 2023. Looking forward, large employers foresee their workers will be seeking care for chronic conditions and later-stage cancers that are diagnosed due to delayed screenings.

 

Personalizing Health Means Personalizing Health Insurance for Patient-Members – Learning from HealthEdge

As patients assume more financial skin in their personal healthcare, they take on the role of demanding consumer, or “impatient patients.” HealthEdge’s latest research into health consumers’ perspectives finds peoples’ satisfaction with their health insurance plans lacking, with members seeking easier access their personal health information, high levels of service, and rewards for healthy behaviors.           Health plans would also boost consumers’ satisfaction by channeling patients’ access to the kinds of medical providers that align with consumers’ preferences and personal values, and by personalizing information to steer people toward lower-cost care.          

 

Hims and Hers and Hearts – Cardiology Blurs Into DTC Retail Health

Statin therapy has been used for decades to lower cholesterol with the goal of reducing mortality and preventing cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Hims & Hers announced a new service offering for health consumers and clinicians concerned about heart health called Heart Health by Hims.               This is Hims & Hers’ first foray into cardiovascular health, working in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC). ACC clinical guidelines will inform the Hims’ provider platform for the program. “Prevention is the ideal mechanism to decrease cardiovascular events and ensure optimal heart

 

Aging and the New Home Health, Tech-Enabled – Learning from Nature

“Digital technologies offer tremendous potential for shifting from traditional medical routines to remote medicine,” with the role of wearables playing a growing role in the new home care for healthy aging. But what are the challenges of deploying this promising tech with older people keen to be independent at home? We learn a lot about prospects and challenges in Digital health for aging populations, a Perspective report in Nature Medicine‘s July 2023 issue.                   An experienced team affiliated with the University of California San Diego shares their insights in this essay, which

 

To Avert a GLP-1 Cost Tsunami, Add Lifestyle Interventions: Learning from Virta Health

With consumer and prescriber interest in GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs “soaring,” health plan managers have a new source of financial stress and clinical questions on their to-do list. A team of Virta Health leaders held a webinar on 13th July 2023 to explain the results of a study the company just completed assessing health plan execs’ current views on Ozempic and other GLP-1 medicines with a view on both clinical outcomes and cost implications for this growing category of drugs that address diabetes and obesity.             Indeed, diabetes and obesity are top health concerns among the

 

Happy 75th Birthday, NHS – Through A U.S. Health Care Lens

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) turns 75 today.             The NHS was the brainchild of Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan; he wrote in a statement to doctors and nurses in The Lancet on July 3, 1948,  “My job is to give you all the facilities, resources, apparatus and help I can, and then to leave you alone as professional men and women to use your skill and judgement without hindrance.” This week in The Lancet, the editors assert, “The founding principles of the NHS put into practice 75 years ago are at risk of

 

Consumers and Cancer: 3 Patient-Focused Charts From IQVIA on the State of the Oncology in 2023 – and Introducing CancerX

It’s time for the annual ASCO conference, currently convening the American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago. Starting 2nd June, there have been dozens of positive announcements updating research and therapies bringing hope to the 2 million new patients who will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. in 2023, and millions of more people worldwide. Just in time for #ASCO2023, the IQVIA Institute published their annual report on Global Oncology Trends 2023 – Outlook to 2027, an update featuring pipelines, therapy approvals, research updates, costs of oncology products, and patients.                  

 

The Growing Pet Economy – What It Means for Human Health, Well-Being, and Healthcare Costs

Our pets can be personal and family drivers of health and health care cost savings, according to a new study from  according to a new report from researchers at George Mason University published in their paper, Health Care Cost Savings of Pet Ownership. Reviewing this new paper inspired me to explore the current state of the pet/health market and implications for their human families, my weaving of various stories explored in this Health Populi blog post. Some of the key signposts we’ll cover are: The report on pet ownership driving owners’ health care cost savings A new market analysis of

 

Our Mental and Emotional Health Are Interwoven With What We Eat and Drink – Chewing On the IFIC 2023 Food and Health Survey

As most Americans confess to feeling stressed over the past six months, peoples’ food and beverage choices have been intimately connected with their mental and emotional well-being, we learn from the 2023 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC). For this year’s study, IFIC commissioned Greenwald Research to conduct 1,022 interviews with adults between 18 and 80 years of age in April 2023. The research explored consumers’ perspectives on healthy food, the cost of food, approaches to self-care through food consumption, the growing role of social media in the food system, and the influence of sustainability

 

A Public Health Wake-Up Call: Reading Between the Lines in IQVIA’s 2023 Use of Medicines Report

Reviewing the annual 2023 report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science discussing The Use of Medicines in the U.S. is always a detailed, deep, and insightful dive into the state of prescription drugs. It’s a volume speaking volumes on the current picture of prescribed meds, spending and revenues, health care utilization trends, and a forecast looking out to 2027. In my read of this year’s review, I see a flashing light for U.S. health care: “Wake up, public health!” I’ve pulled out a few of the data points that speak to me about population health, prevention and early

 

Women’s Health on Her Own Terms – “She Knows” What She Needs

Despite some improvement in the representation of women by cinema, TV shows, and brands, distortions in media remain that are risks to women receiving appropriate health care. Breaking through taboos of weight, reproductive services, and mental health are the top 3 factors preventing women from getting proper care, according to Health On Her Terms, a research study from WPP and Ogilvy partnering with SeeHer, an organization of collaborations from media, technology, business, education, and other sectors (including over 7,000 brands) focused on the accurate portrayal of women and girls in society. Taglined as “The Marketer’s Hippocratic Oath to Women, the

 

Consumers Expect Every Company to Play a Meaningful Role in “My Health” – New Insights from the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer

People have expanded their definitions of health in 2023, with mental health supplanting physical health for the top-ranked factor in feeling healthy. Welcome to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Health, released this week, with striking findings about how the economic, post-pandemic life, pollution and climate change all feed mis-trust among citizens living in 13 countries — and their eroding trust for health care systems.         While these factors vary by country in terms of relative contribution to citizen trust, note that in the U.S., social polarization plays an outsized role in factors that “make us

 

The ROI on Feeling Cared-For At Work – Employer Trust, Love, and Building the Joyconomy

“Can employers afford not to care?” MetLife’s 21st annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study asks and answers that question, with a resounding and evidence-based “NO.”                 I’m in Salt Lake City today discussing the drivers of health, “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” at the Virgin Pulse Thrive Summit, celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the company. As you would expect from an organization that is part of Richard Branson’s business ecosystem, the meeting will be energetically produced, delivering insights wrapped in info-taining ways. One of those features will be my being invited to create a

 

More Consumers Expect Health/Care Companies to Be Purpose-Ful Versus All Other Industries

If your organization serves health consumers, patients, and caregivers, and you’re asking them to spend money on your services or products, then you’ll do well to be clear on your values and sense of purpose. In the latest Ipsos look into the future of “Purpose,” we find that consumers look most to health and pharmacy companies for shared values, compared with other industries people patronize such as food and grocery, technology and banks.                   To understand where Ipsos is coming from on this aspect of ESG, we’ll start with their territory map

 

Food-as-Medicine Update: How SNAP Members Face Greater Chronic Illness and a “Hunger Cliff”

The pandemic worsened food insecurity for many people in the U.S., putting more people at risk for not only hunger but for chronic diseases that can be managed with access to nutritious, fresh food. In Helping SNAP Consumers During Economic Headwinds from Numerator, we get a current read on food security, the SNAP program, and the challenges of chronic health management that are intimately tied. To set some context on this current challenge to peoples’ health, the U.S. is facing the official end of the pandemic emergency on May 11, 2023. At that point, support for government-sponsored programs that have supported

 

The Patient Is Still the Payor – And May Skip Paying for Prevention (Eyes on the ACA & Texas)

Many health citizens in the U.S. would likely skip receiving preventive health care services if the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage for them goes away, a Morning Consult survey found.                   The first chart illustrates the top-line of this research: that most U.S. adults would not pay out of pocket for several preventive services including tobacco cessation, drug use screening, weight loss measures to prevent obesity-related illnesses, as well as screening for depression or HIV. One of the key benefits embedded in the ACA was “free” without co-pay shares for  preventive care. These

 

The US Healthcare System Outspends and Underperforms While Most People Live Paycheck to Paycheck

The U.S. is an outlier in the world for high health care spending, as well as in low achievement for life expectancy at birth — 3 years less than that in peer OECD countries — discussed in U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective, 2022: Accelerating Spending, Worsening Outcomes, the latest look into American health system performance in a global context from The Commonwealth Fund. Another study published in JAMA this week talks about the Organization and Performance of US Health Systems, calling out the fact that, “Small quality differentials combined with large price differentials suggests that health systems have

 

What Are Patients Looking for in a Doctor? It Depends on Who You Ask…and Their Race

While the same proportion of Black and White patients say they are looking for a doctor with empathy and compassion, there are relatively large differences between patients based on their race, found in the Everyday Health-Castle Connolly Physician-Consumer study.             The survey was conducted in December 2022 among a group of 1,001 U.S. consumers and 277 Castle Connolly health care professionals. As the first bar chart illustrates “where patients differ, “Black people were nearly twice as likely as white people (41 percent versus 22 percent) to completely agree that they would be more comfortable and

 

Record Numbers of People in the U.S. Putting Off Medical Care Due to Cost – A New “Pink Tax” on Women?

More people in the U.S. than ever have put off medical care due to cost, according to Gallup’s latest poll of patients in America.             Gallup conducted the annual Health and Healthcare poll U.S. adults in November and December 2022. This was the highest level of self-rationing care due to cost the pollster has found since its inaugural study on the topic in 2001. This was also the most dramatic year-on-year increase of postponing treatment due to cost in the study’s history.             Note the substantial difference in women avoiding

 

The Polarization of Trust in 2023 – What It Means for Health, via Edelman at Davos WEF 23

For the third year in a row, citizens in most of the world see business as the most-trusted institution, above government, media, and NGOs, found in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, unveiled this week at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.                       The Edelman team conducted this 23rd annual study in November 2022 in 28 countries, among over 32,000 people — some 1,150 residents per country polled. (Note that Russia, studied in the surveys between 2007 and 2022, was not included in the 2023 research). The first chart arrays

 

Of All Forms of Inequality, Injustice in Health Care is the Most Shocking and Inhumane: Listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today as we appreciate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I post a photo of him in my hometown of Detroit in 1963, giving a preliminary version of the “I Have a Dream” speech he would deliver two months later in Washington, DC.               Wisdom from the speech: “But now more than ever before, America is forced to grapple with this problem, for the shape of the world today does not afford us the luxury of an anemic democracy. The price that this nation must pay for the continued oppression and exploitation of the

 

The Heart Health Continuum at #CES2023 – From Prevention and Monitoring to Healthy Eating and Sleep

“Are we losing the battle against heart disease?” asks the lead article featured in the January 2023 issue of the AARP Bulletin.           “Despite breathtaking medical advancements since President Harry Truman declared war on heart disease 75 years ago, researchers have observed a disturbing trend that started in 2009: America’s death rate from heart-related conditions is climbing again,” the detailed essay explains. AARP is in fact a very visible stakeholder in the 2023 CES, collaborating on the AgeTech content track at the tech conference. The track covers all aspects of aging well, from financial health to entertainment,

 

Consumers Continue to Lean Into Digital Services: Beyond Tech and Hardware at #CES2023

While CTA forecasts a sobering consumer technology revenue picture for 2023, one of the few bright spots is health and fitness technology services, expected to increase by 9 percent in 2023.             For the forecast, CTA looked at various spending categories, including gaming, automotive and transportation tech, video and audio streaming, consumer electronics (like big-screen TVs), and fitness and health devices. The chart illustrates that consumers’ spending on software and services is expected to hold steady in 2023, still above pre-pandemic levels.             On 3 January, in the annual #CES

 

Can Consumer Electronics Help Stem the Decline of U.S. Life-Years? A Preface for #CES2023

Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped nearly three years between 2019 and 2021, from close to 79 years down to 76. We ended 2022 with this new, sobering statistic from the Centers tor Disease Control (CDC). We begin 2023 with the opening of CES 2023, the world’s largest annual meet-up of consumer electronics innovators, companies, and retailers. How can digital health and other consumer-facing technologies help our health? First, consider the stark data point(s), and then we can better respond to the question’s answer in the Hot Points, below.                 In case you

 

When Household Economics Blur with Health, Technology and Trust – Health Populi’s 2023 TrendCast

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 22 December 2022 in Anxiety, Behavioral health, Big data and health, Big Tech, Broadband, Business and health, Cardiovascular health, Chronic care, Chronic disease, Connected health, Consumer electronics, Consumer experience, Consumer-directed health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cybersecurity, Data analytics and health, Demographics and health, Depression, Design and health, Determinants of health, Diet and health, Digital health, Employee benefits, Employers, Financial health, Financial wellness, Fitness, Food and health, Grocery stores, Health apps, Health at home, Health benefits, Health care industry, Health citizenship, Health Consumers, Health costs, Health disparities, Health Economics, Health ecosystem, Health engagement, Health equity, Health insurance, Health Plans, Health policy, Health politics, Health privacy, Healthcare DIY, Heart disease, Heart health, HIPAA, Home care, Home economics, Home health, Hospitals, Infectious disease, Love and health, Medication adherence, Meditation, Mental health, Mindfulness, Moms and health, Money and health, Out of pocket costs, Patient experience, Personal health finance, Pharmaceutical, Pharmacy, Physicians, Popular culture and health, Prescription drugs, Prevention and wellness, Primary care, Public health, Race and health, Remote health monitoring, Retail health, Risk management, SDoH, Self-care, Shopping and health, Social determinants of health, Specialty drugs, Stress, Telehealth, Telemedicine, Transparency, Trust, User experience UX, Vaccines, Value based health, Virtual health, Vitamins, Wearable tech, Wellbeing, Workplace benefits

People are sick of being sick, the New York Times tells us. “Which virus is it?” the title of the article updating the winter 2022-23 sick-season asked. Entering 2023, U.S. health citizens face physical, financial, and mental health challenges of a syndemic, inflation, and stress – all of which will shape peoples’ demand side for health care and digital technology, and a supply side of providers challenged by tech-enabled organizations with design and data chops. Start with pandemic ennui The universal state of well-being among us mere humans is pandemic ennui: call it languishing (as opposed to flourishing), burnout, or

 

Our Homes as HealthQuarters – Finding Health and Well-Being at CES 2023

For over ten years, digital health technology has been a fast-growing area at the annual CES, the largest convention covering consumer electronics in the world.           When the meet-up convenes over 100,000 tech-folk in Las Vegas at the start of 2023, we’ll see even more health and self-care tools and services at #CES23 — along with new-new things displayed in aisles well outside of the physical space on the Las Vegas Convention Center map labeled “digital health” at this year’s CES in the North Hall.         Some context: my company has been a member

 

Dollar General & CHPA Collaborate to Bolster Health Consumers’ Literacy and Access for OTC Pain Meds and Self-Care

Health is “made” where we live, work, play, pray, learn….and shop. I spend a lot of time these days in the growing health/care ecosystem where retail health is broadening to address social determinants and drivers of health – namely food, transportation, broadband access, education, environment, and financial wellness – all opportunities for self-care and health engagement. For many years, I have followed the activities of CHPA, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and have participated in some of their conferences. Their recent announcement of a collaboration with Dollar General speaks to the growing role of self-care for all people.    

 

The Tik Tok’ing of Medical Mis-Information: Doctors’ and Patients’ Roles in Curating Healthy Advice

Doctors in the U.S. believe that the medical mis-information problem is worsening, learned in survey research from Merck Manuals. Doctors and patients, both, have roles to play in addressing medical misinformation online.                   Less than half of consumers, 44%, said that that there is more medical mis-information online than previously. That’s less than half of the percentage of doctors saying so — 98%, virtually all U.S. physicians, citing the problem. There were several disconnects noted in the Merck Manuals study showing starkly different perceptions of health information online between doctors and patients:

 

Men Work in Retirement for Healthy Aging; Women, for the Money – Transamerica Looks at Retirement in 2022

Due to gender pay gaps, time away from the workforce for raising children and caring for loved ones, women in the U.S. face a risky retirement outlook according to Emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Women’s Health, Money, and Retirement Preparations from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS).               As Transamerica TCRS sums up the top-line, “Societal headwinds are undermining women’s retirement security.” Simply said, by the time a woman is looking to retire, she has saved less than one-half of the money her male counterpart has put away for aging after work-life. The

 

In Search of Clinical Effectiveness, But “Investment Exuberance?” Not So Much. Insights From FINN Partners and Galen Growth at HLTH 2022

While venture funding for digital health technology declined globally by 35% in the first three quarters of 2022 compared with 2021, this marks a “return to normal” based on the assessment in the Global State of Digital Health Report from FINN Partners and Galen Growth, published today and launched during the HLTH 2022 conference.                 The report analyzes data from over 12,000 digital health ventures tracked by Galen Growth’s HealthTech Alpha platform. The first chart illustrates the change in venture funding by therapeutic area, showing downturns in four of the five areas called

 

Thinking Value-Based Health Care at HLTH 2022 – A Call-to-Action

The cost of health insurance for a worker who buys into a health plan at work in 2022 reached $22,463 for their family. The average monthly mortgage payment was $1,759 in mid-2022.               “When housing and health both rank as basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy, what’s a health system to do?” I ask in an essay published today on Crossover Health’s website titled Value-Based Care: Driving a Social Contract of Trust and Health. The answer: embrace value-based care. Warren Buffett wrote Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 2008, asserting that, “Price is what you pay. Value

 

Health Care in the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections – Considerations for Conversations at HLTH

You and I are ending this week looking back three days, Friday morning quarterback style, wondering how the U.S. 2022 midterm elections could impact health and health care in America. We can never know with 101% certainty the answer to this question following any U.S. election. This year’s midterms leave us especially in need of scenario planning, especially as on this day, we still do not know what the final balance of power in the U.S. Congress will be. Nor can we ascertain, just yet, what the jockeying for power within both the Democratic party and the Republican party will

 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Inspires an NHS Blood Donor Campaign

Lately we’ve been talking a lot in THINK-Health’s workflows with clients about trust and health citizenship: how inspiring positive individual health behaviors can initiate a flywheel of public health goodness. The UK’s National Health Service is acting on this concept through a new campaign to inspire people in the Black community to give blood. The NHS is linking the campaign to Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie launch, which drops in UK cinemas on 11 November. Here’s the NHS video so you can get a sense of the public health message… The call-to-action: It’s #InOurBlood to save lives, together.  

 

Irrational Exuberance for Hospital-To-Home? Care About the Caregivers, the House, the Fridge.

Home, Sweet Hospital-At-Home?  It depends, I hedge in my latest essay for Medecision.           In our bullish and, on its face, compassionate and cost-rational embrace of the migration of acute care from hospital beds to peoples’ living and bedrooms, there are several guardrails to consider beyond sheer payment and reimbursement calculations. Consider, The caregivers for the folks heading home from hospital The state of the physical home — for safety, comfort, environmental health, and emotional security, and, Food security and nutritional access. On caregiving: I spend extra time detailing research in which Alexandra Drane, founder of

 

The Patient as Prescription Drug Payer – The GoodRx Playbook

Patients have more financial skin-in-their-healthcare-games facing high-deductibles and direct out-of-pocket costs for medical bills…including prescription drugs. I collaborated with GoodRx on a “yellow paper” discussing The Health Consumers as Payer, with implications and calls-to-action for pharma and life science companies. You can download the paper at this link.               The report is intended to be a playbook for understanding patients’ growing role as consumers and health care payers, providing insights into peoples’ home economic mindsets and how these impact a patient’s adherence to medication based on cost and perceived value. With inflation facing household

 

Home Is Where the Health Is: An Update on Connectivity, Food, and Retail

Virtually every closed-door meeting I have had in the U.S. with a client group in the past several months has had a line item on the agenda to brainstorm the impact and opportunity of care-at-home, hospital-to-home, or Care Everywhere. This has happened across many stakeholders in the evolving health/care ecosystem of suppliers, including hospital systems, health plans, grocery chains, retail pharmacy, consumer technology, digital health and tech-enabled providers, pharma and medical supply companies. On October 10, Dr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, published a provocative post on Forbes noting that Amazon, CVS, Walmart Are Playing Healthcare’s

 

Health Care Costs Are a Driver of Health Across All of America – Especially for Women

Three in four people in America grade health care costs a #fail, at grade “D” or lower. This is true across all income categories, from those earning under $24,000 a year to the well-off raking in $180K or more, we learn in Gallup’s poll conducted with West Health, finding that Majorities of people rank cost and equity of U.S. healthcare negatively. Entering the fourth quarter of 2022, several studies were published in the past week which reinforce the reality that Americans are facing high health care costs, preventing many from seeking necessary medical services, and hitting under-served health citizens even harder

 

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week: “What I Wish I Had Known” About Mental Health

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week: annually NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, devotes the first week of October to advocate for people facing managing a mental illness every day and to raise public consciousness on the pervasiveness of mental illness in America. This year, NAMI’s key themes address the over-arching message of  “What I wish I had known,” each day looking into: Monday Oct. 3: Stigma Tuesday Oct. 4: Medication [National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding] Wednesday Oct. 5: Therapy Thursday Oct. 6: Disclosing [National Depression Screening Day], and, Friday Oct. 7: Caregiving. To track

 

Connected Wellness Growing As Consumers Face Tighter Home Economics

“Consumers are using the Internet to take their health into their own hands,” at least for 1 in 2 U.S. consumers engaging in some sort of preventive health care activity online in mid-2022.                 The new report on Connected Wellness from PYMNTS and Care Credit profiles American health consumers’ use of digital tools for health care promotion and disease prevention. The bottom-line here is that the most connected 10% of consumers were 1.65 times more likely to be engaged in preventive digital health activities than the average person. Peoples’ engagement with digital health

 

Remember the Social Determinants of Health When Prescribing Drugs

Thinking about the social determinants of prescription drugs, how people take medicines in real life in my latest post in Medecision’s Liberate Health blog.           I had one of those special lightbulb moments when listening to Mauricio Gonzalez-Arias, M.D. of NYC Health + Hospitals and Suvida Healthcare discussing medication adherence and what prevents us from taking our meds as prescribed. His discussion on social determinants’ role in shaping our relationship with prescriptions was powerful, and the jumping off point for this essay.           Medication adherence is a challenge that fiscally costs the

 

The Direct Link Between Value-Based Health Care, Digital Transformation and Social Determinants – Insights from Innovaccer and Morning Consult

Only 4% of health care payments in the U.S. are pure fee-for-service (FFS) these days. “The end of pure FFS is near,” according to The State and Science of Value-Based Care, a report-out of survey research from Innovaccer and Morning Consult.             Innovaccer, a health cloud/data analytics company, worked with Morning Consult to do deep-dive interviews with 75 senior health care executives; research was conducted in November and December 2021, so these perspectives represent those of health system leaders at the start of 2022. The full report is worth your read; my focus in this Health

 

Virtual Care and Mental Health Top of Mind for Employers’ Workplaces in 2023

The concept that all companies are “health care companies” takes on greater import in the wake of the pandemic. The 2023 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey from the Business Group on Health (BGH) found that two in three large employers see their health and well-being strategy as an integral part of their overall workforce strategy. This is our annual go-to study guiding us on the private sector’s big thinking about health care plans and investments on workers’ behalf.           The first line chart illustrates how this phenomenon shot up in importance for

 

Partnering Up in the Health Care Ecosystem to Drive Transformation – for Organizations and Health Consumers Alike

“Partnerships, including JVs and alliances with other healthcare organizations and with new entrants, are just one way to access new capabilities, unlock speed to market, and achieve capital, scale, and operational efficiencies” in health care transformations. “In an environment with continued competition for attractive assets and significant capital in play from institutional investors, these partnerships may also be the most accessible way for organizations to capture value in expanding healthcare services and technology value pools,” we learn in Overcoming the cost of healthcare transformation through partnerships from a team of health care folks with McKinsey & Company.      

 

The Retail Health Battle Royale, Day 5 – Consumer Demands For a Health/Care Ecosystem (and What We Can Learn from Costco’s $1.50 Hot Dog)

In another factor to add into the retail health landscape, Dollar General (DG) the 80-year old retailer known for selling low-priced fast-moving consumer goods in peoples’ neighborhoods appointed a healthcare advisory panel this week. DG has been exploring its health-and-wellness offerings and has enlisted four physicians to advise the company’s strategy. One of the advisors, Dr. Von Nguyen, is the Clinical Lead of Public and Population Health at Google….tying back to yesterday’s post on Tech Giants in Healthcare.         Just about one year ago, DG appointed the company’s first Chief Medical Officer, which I covered here in

 

The Retail Health Battle Royale in the U.S. – A Week-Long Brainstorm, Day 1 of 5

I’ve returned to the U.S. for a couple of months, having lived in and worked from Brussels, Belgium, since October 2021 (save for about ten days in March 2022). Work and life slow down in Europe in July and August, giving us the opportunity to return to our U.S. home base, reunite with friends and family, and re-join life and living this side of the Atlantic. The timing of my return to the U.S. coincides with a retail health hurricane of big announcements shaking up the health/care ecosystem. Among these events are Amazon’s plan to acquire One Medical, Apple’s publication of

 

Gas ‘N Healthcare – How Transportation Links to Health Care Access and Financial Health

Some patients dealing with cancer at Mercy Health’s Lourdes Hospital have been supplied with gas cards. This gesture is enabling families to get to medical appointments around Paducah, Kentucky where, this week, car drivers faced regular gas priced at an average of $4.16 a gallon compared with $2.92 one year ago.           Here’s the Hospital’s Facebook page featuring their gratitude to FiveStar Food Mart, the American Cancer Society, and the Mercy Health Foundation. “By providing cancer patients with gas cards, the cancer care team at Mercy Health Lourdes Hospital in Paducah hopes to mitigate financial challenges

 

Your State as a Determinant of Health: Sharecare’s 2021 Community Well-Being Index

People whose sense of well-being shifted positively in the past two years are finding greater personal purpose and financial health, we see in Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index – 2021 State Rankings Report.                   Sharecare has been annually tracking well-being across the 50 U.S. states since 2008. When the study launched, Well-Being Index evaluated five domains: physical, social, community, purpose, and financial. In 2020, Sharecare began a collaboration with the Boston University School of Public Health to expand the Index, including drivers of health such as, Healthcare access (like physician supply per 1,000

 

More Americans Trust Small Biz and the Military than the Medical System, Gallup Finds

The most trusted institutions in the U.S. are small business and the military, the only two sectors in which a majority of Americans have confidence. Americans’ trust in institutions hit new historic lows in 2022, Gallup found in its latest poll of U.S. sentiment across all major sectors.                 Today, more Americans have faith in the police than in the medical system, according to a Gallup poll finding that Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low. published this week of Independence Day 2022. Confidence runs from a higher of 68% for

 

Consumers’ Dilemma: Health and Wealth, Smartwatches and Transparency

Even as spending on healthcare per person in the United States is twice as much as other wealthy countries in the world, Americans’ health status ranks rock bottom versus those other rich nations. The U.S. health system continues to be marred by health inequalities and access challenges for man health citizens. Furthermore, American workers’ rank top in the world for feeling burnout from and overworked on the job.             Welcome to The Consumer Dilemma: Health and Wellness,, a report from GWI based on the firm’s ongoing consumer research on peoples’ perspectives in the wake of

 

Use of Preventive Health Services Declined Among Commercially Insured People – With Big Differences in Telehealth for Non-White People, Castlight Finds

Declines in preventive care services like cancer screenings and blood glucose testing concern employers, whose continued to cover health insurance for employees during the pandemic.                       “As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers continue to battle escalating clinical issues, including delayed care for chronic conditions, postponed preventive screenings, and the exponential increase in demand for behavioral health services,” the Chief Medical Officer for Castlight Health notes in an analysis of medical claims titled Millions of People Deferred Crucial Care During the Pandemic, published in June. The