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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

 

Most Americans See Rise of Mental Health Issues, Poorly Treated by the Health System (with a postscript on Walmart Health)

While people in the U.S. perceive a dramatic rise in mental health conditions among fellow health citizens growing over the past five years, people note barriers of cost, insufficient supply of providers, and stigma as barriers to getting care in the latest Gallup and West Health poll on the subject.               In West Health’s words, three-quarters of Americans feel that, “mental health takes a back seat to physical health” in the U.S. A key theme of the research found that Americans find that mental health is not treated as well as physical health in

 

Leveraging Trust, Showing Humility: How Health Care Organizations Can Serve Consumers – A New Read from McKinsey

Three trends underpin health consumers’ evolving demands for service: spending more but getting less satisfaction and innovation; trusting health care with data but underwhelmed by the use of that personal information; and, growing “shopping” behavior seeking quality, availability, proximity, cost, and options across channels for health care. That’s the current read from McKinsey & Company’s team noting that Consumers rule: Driving healthcare growth with a consumer-led strategy.                 In this health consumer update, McKinsey spoke with three consumer marketing experts from other industries to learn best practices on how best to “be there”

 

Healthcare 2030: Are We Consumers, CEOs, Health Citizens, or Castaways? 4 Scenarios On the Future of Health Care and Who We Are – Part 2

This post follows up Part 1 of a two-part series I’ve prepared in advance of the AHIP 2024 conference where I’ll be brainstorming these scenarios with a panel of folks who know their stuff in technology, health care and hospital systems, retail health, and pharmacy, among other key issues. Now, let’s dive into the four alternative futures built off of our two driving forces we discussed in Part 1.             The stories: 4 future health care worlds for 2030 My goal for this post and for the AHIP panel is to brainstorm what the person’s

 

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

 

A Vote for Telehealth is a Vote for American Patients’ and Doctors’ Well-Being

Whether you’re a patient or a physician in the U.S., you’re burned out, tapped out, stressed out, timed out. While the 118th U.S. Congress can’t agree on much before the 2024 summer recess, there’s one bipartisan stroke of political pens in Washington, DC, that could provide some satisfaction for both patients and doctors: bring telehealth back to patients and providers permanently. Those pens would do two things to modernize American health care for both patients and doctors: first, Congress would pass the CONNECT for Health Act (HR 4189. S 2016) and second, re-introduce and sign the Telehealth Modernization Act.   

 

Safety in Health Care Ties Closely to Workforce Well-Being – Updates from Press Ganey and ECRI

“First, do no harm” is a key M.O. in health care. The phrase “patient safety” summons up a list of common sources such as medication errors, surgical errors, health care-associated infections, diagnostic errors, among other adverse events and harms people experience in the course of receiving health care. While safety outcomes and health care organizations’ “safety cultures” are improving, there is evidence in the U.S. that people — both patients and the health care workforce — feel less safe, discussed in Safety in Healthcare 2024 from Press Ganey. “Safety is the foundation of healthcare. It anchors all experiences — for patients

 

Consumers Are So Over Their Paper Chase in Health Care Payments

As we start the month of April 2024 in the U.S., it’s tax season in America with Federal (and other) income taxes due on the 15th of the month. This is also the time my research clock alarm goes off for an important annual report that describes the latest profile of the patient-as-payer in the U.S. ‘Tis the season for J.P. Morgan’s InstaMed team to analyze health care payments data, describing the experiences of consumers, providers and payers in the Trends in Healthcare Payments Fourteenth Annual Report.                   The overall takeaway for

 

The Self-Prescribing Consumer: DIY Comes to Prescriptions via GLP-1s, the OPill, and Dexcom’s CGM

Three major milestones marked March 2024 which compel us to note the growing role of patients-as-consumers — especially for self-prescribing medicines and medical devices. This wave of self-prescribed healthcare is characterized by three innovations: the Opill, GLP-1 receptor agonists, and Dexcom’s Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) system that’s now available without a prescription. Together, these products reflect a shift in health care empowerment toward patients as consumers with greater autonomy over their health care when the products and services are accessible, affordable, and designed with the end-user central to the value proposition and care flows. Let’s take a look at each

 

Peering Into the Hidden Lives of Patients: a Manifesto from Paytient and Nonfiction

Having health insurance in America is no guarantee of actually receiving health care. It’s a case of having health insurance as “necessary but not sufficient,” as the cost of deductibles, out-of-pocket coinsurance sharing, and delaying care paint the picture of The Hidden Lives of Workplace-Insured Americans.                 That’s the title of a new report that captures the results of a survey conducted in January 2024 among 1,516 employed Americans who received employer-sponsored health insurance. The study was commissioned by Paytient, a health care financial services company, engaging the research firm Nonfiction to conduct the study

 

While Virtual Care is “Table Stakes” in Health Care, Consumers Are Growing More Protective About Data-Sharing

Three in four people in the U.S. have used virtual care, now, “Table-stakes…here to stay for patients and providers. However, that ubiquity comes with its own set of market pressures…shifting from pandemic-responsiveness to market- and consumer- responsiveness,” according to The new era of consumer engagement, Rock Health’s ninth annual Consumer Adoption Survey published 18 March.            Convenience and waiting time are the top two reasons for choosing virtual over in-person care, Rock Health found. While virtual care is ubiquitous across the U.S. health care delivery landscape, patients-as-health care consumers are becoming more savvy and discriminating based

 

Celebrating World Sleep Day 2024 – Sleep Equity for Global Health

On the long list of things people can do to bolster their well-being, sleep ranks third after eating well and being physically active.             We are calling out sleep as a key ingredient for health today, World Sleep Day 2024. Yes, it’s a real thing, and this year speaks to the theme of Sleep Equity for Global Health. The data point here comes from Datassential‘s latest consumer survey conducted across all adult age groups in the U.S. This information was shared with us yesterday during the company’s session covering Health and the Food & Beverage

 

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 Economic Contours of the Change Healthcare Cyber Attack: Taking Stock So Far

On February 22, 2024, I went to a CVS Pharmacy-Inside-Target in my community to fill a prescription for benzonatate 200 mg capsules. I had caught a bad case of the flu the week before, and subsequently suffered a very long tail of a cough. That’s TMI for me to write about in the Health Populi blog, but this story has a current-events twist: the pharmacist could not electronically link with my insurance company to transact my payment. He tried a few work-flows, and ended up using a discount card which in the moment worked for us, and I paid the

 

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

 

Hospital at Home: Prospects and Challenges, and Learnings from Best Buy Health

With the urgent need to identify more efficient and lower-cost health care delivery models, we look to growing evidence for digital health technologies that support the Hospital at Home (HaH) model, considered in a new review article published in late February in npj Digital Medicine, The hospital at home in the USA: current status and future prospects. Clinicians from Scripps Research and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine collaborated on this work, calling out the relatively fast adoption of HaH programs during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some parts of the world, such as Australia and Norway, “in-person at-home

 

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

 

Americans Come Together in Worries About Medical Bills, the Cost of Health Care, and Prescription Drug Costs

In the U.S., national news media, Federal statistics, dozens of business leaders  and the Federal Reserve Bank have been talking about an historically positive American economy on a macro level. But among individual residents of the U.S., there is still a negative feeling about the economy in a personal context, revealed in the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll for February 2024.                I’ve selected three figures of data from the KFF’s Poll which make the point that in peoples’ negative feelings about the national economy, their personal feelings about medical costs rank high

 

As Food-As-Medicine Gains Momentum, Watch for Dietitians and Pharmacists to Sit at The FaM Table – And A Lesson from George Washington Carver

The food industry, both retail food chains and food suppliers, has found health and nutrition are having a positive impact on their businesses both for margins and for missions, we learn in the latest annual survey on Food Industry Contributions to Health & Well-being, 2024, from FMI. Most retail food channels operate pharmacies, three in five operate clinics in stores, and 2 in 5 of the clinics are health system-owned and operated.             FMI, the Food Industry Association, conducted this industry poll in October 2023 among food retail and supplier members, totaling 36 organizations representing over

 

How AI is Shaping the Patient and Clinician Experience – My Conversation with Microsoft

For change agents in health care, one of our True North paradigms is the Quintuple Aim. The five pillars of the Quint Aim grew from 3 goals of the Triple Aim: to improve patient experience, to drive better health outcomes, and to lower per patient costs. The Quadruple Aim added the goal of bolstering clinicians’ well-being (to address burnout, stress and depression), leading to the addition of health equity as the fifth objective. That happened in 2021, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic which shined a bright light on health disparities, inequities, and risks in peoples’ social determinants of

 

From Evolution to Innovation, from Health Care to Health: How Health Plans With Collaborators Are Re-Defining the Industry

As a constant observer and advisor across the health/care ecosystem, for me the concept of a “health plan” in the U.S. is getting fuzzier by the day. Furthermore, health plan members now see themselves as medical bill payers, seeking value and consumer-level services for their health insurance premium investment. Weaving these ideas together is my mission in preparing a session to deliver at the upcoming AHIP 2024 conference in June, I’m thinking a lot about the evolving nature of health insurance, plans, and the organizations that provide them. To help me define first principles, I turned to the American father

 

The Wellness Market Shaped by Health at Home, Wearable Tech, and Clinical Evidence – Thinking McKinsey and Target

Target announced that the retail chain would grow its aisles of wellness-oriented products by at least 1,000 SKUs. The products will span the store’s large footprint, going beyond health and beauty reaching into fashion, food, home hygiene and fitness. The title of the company’s press release about the program also included the fact that many of the products would be priced as low as $1.99. So financial wellness is also baked into the Target strategy. Globally, the wellness market is valued at a whopping $1.8 trillion according to a report published last week by McKinsey. McKinsey points to five trends

 

Ethics for AI in Health – A View From The World Health Organization

For health care, AI can benefit diagnosis and clinical care, address paperwork and bureaucratic duplication and waste, accelerate scientific research, and personalize health care direct-to-patients and -caregivers. On the downside, risks of AI in health care can involve incomplete or false diagnoses, inaccuracies and errors in cleaning up paperwork, exacerbate differential access to scientific knowledge, and exacerbate health disparities, explained in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report, Ethics and governance of artificial intelligence for health.             WHO has released guidance on the use of large multi-modal models (LMMs) in health care which detail 40+ recommendations for

 

Nurses Continue to Rank Highest in Ethics and Honesty for Professions in the US — But Peoples’ Opinions for All Jobs, Including Nursing, Have Eroded in Gallup’s Latest Poll

Ratings of honesty and ethics in professions have fallen down in the U.S., we find the Gallup Poll’s annual assessment of rankings for occupations that touch peoples’ lives in America.                     Each year for over a decade, nurses have ranked highest in this survey, representing the most-trusted profession working in America. However, even nurses’ ethic-equity has dropped in the hearts and minds of Americans over the past four years, falling 7 percentage points from a high of 85% of citizens ranking nurses at the greatest level of honesty and ethics to

 

Thinking About Dr. Martin Luther King and Health Equity in 2024

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

 

A Tale of Two Houses: House Calls at #CES2024 with Amazon and AARP + Samsung

The growing movement of health care to the home is evident by a growing list of point solutions featured at CES 2024. Digital health has been a fast-growing category of consumer-facing devices at CES for over a decade. But with the growing ubiquity of connectivity, cloud computing, sensors and this year AI “everywhere,” a person’s home as their health-hub is an increasingly practical scenario.               I track many categories of products at CES each year, and this year added into my portfolio the smart kitchen and smart bathroom. We’ve had components of these two

 

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.  

 

Consumers’ Spending on Tech in 2024 Will Increase: CTA’s #CES2024 Forecast

2023 was a pretty lackluster year for consumers’ spending on technology: inflation, concerns  about global instability, and general household economic ennui caused consumers to ration spending on most electronic gadgets last year. Enter a more cash-positive mood for many consumers keener in the new year to acquire updated and upgraded tech, from computer hardware to wearable tech for health, according to the forecast released by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) research team. The study results, announced on the first of two pre-conference Media Days, kicks off CES 2024 convening this week in Las Vegas. The bullish spending statistics reverse a two-year

 

What to Expect For Health/Care at CES 2024

Not known for its salubrious qualities, Las Vegas will nonetheless be a locus for health, medical care, and well-being inspiration next week when the Consumer Technology Association convenes the annual CES featuring innovations in consumer technology.               Ten years ago here in Health Populi, I wrote about New Year’s Resolutions for Health and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. Then, one-third of consumers were keen to buy health tracking technology but most of those people were healthy, CTA’s research found. I talked about the “battle of the (wrist)bands” witnessed at CES 2013, and spotted the

 

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

 

The Health Consumer in 2024 – The Health Populi TrendCast

At the end of each year since I launched the Health Populi blog, I have put my best forecasting hat on to focus on the next year in health and health care. For this round, I’m firmly focused on the key noun in health care, which is the patient – as consumer, as Chief Health Officer of the family, as caregiver, as health citizen. As my brain does when mashing up dozens of data points for a “trendcast” such as this, I’ll start with big picture/macro on the economy to the microeconomics of health care in the family and household,

 

Nurses Earn Highest Grade for Care Far Above All Other Health Care Workers — Including Doctors — In Latest Gallup Poll

Nurses rank highest among various factors in the U.S. health system in the latest Gallup poll — earning a grade of “excellent” or “good” by American adults surveyed in November 2023.               Further substantiation for nurses’ topping this poll of excellent care is that Gallup found historic low confidence in the U.S. health system among Americans  earlier this year in a July study. Note that 8 in 10 consumers rate nurses excellent/good compared with  7 in 10 people ranking physicians this way, 6 in 10 for hospitals, 5 in 10 for telemedicine/virtual visits, and

 

An Extraordinary Life and Voice: A Call-to-Action from Casey Quinlan, featured in the Journal of Participatory Medicine

It is about time that a healthcare journal features examples of patient-leaders who have pioneered activism, innovation, and The first exemplar in this vein is Casey Quinlan, whom we lost all-too-soon earlier this year on 24th August. A team of her appreciative colleagues and friends wrote up the first in a new series called “Extraordinary Lives” published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine (JPM) titled “An Extraordinary Voice Expressed Through Humor: A Tribute to Casey Quinlan.” I played a minor role in getting this essay to the finish line, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to do so

 

In 2024 U.S. Consumers Will Mash Financial Resolutions With Those For Physical Health and Mental Health, Fidelity Finds

One-third of U.S. consumers feel in worse financial shape now than in 2022, with inflation a top concern, discovered in the 2024 New Year’s Financial Resolutions Study from Fidelity Investments.          In this 15th annual update of Fidelity’s research into Americans’ New Year’s resolutions for financial health, we learn the mantra that 2024 will be the year of living practically, opening new chapters for saving and paying down debt. Fidelity conducted an online poll among 3,002 U.S. adults 18 and over in October 2023 to gauge peoples’ perspectives on personal finances, and well-being currently and into 2024. This

 

The Consumerization of AI in Healthcare – The Early Days of AI-Trust

Most people in the U.S. are bullish on the role AI will play in health care in 2024, especially to lower access barriers to care and to diagnose and detect health conditions. Two new studies point to the consumerization of AI in healthcare, from Medtronic and Deloitte. This post weaves their findings together and suggests some planning points for 2024. Medtronic collaborated with Morning Consult to poll 2,213 U.S. adults in late September 2023 to gauge peoples’ perspectives on AI and health care.                   With such optimism among health consumers comes some

 

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

 

The Best Global Brands Through a Lens on Health – Reading Interbrand’s 2023 Annual Report

“Businesses which have witnessed a rise in brand value…have all transcended their established category norms and play a more significant and meaningful role in society and consumers’ lives,” we learn in the Interbrand Best Global Brands 2023 report, subtitled, “How Iconic Brands Lead Across Arenas. Most brands stagnated or lost ground in terms of brand value in 2023, with average growth rate of 5.7% compared to 16% in 2022. But those who rose fast bucked the stagnation trend, and included the fastest risers Airbnb (growing brand value by 21,8%) and Microsoft (increasing in brand value by 14%, the highest growth rate

 

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,

 

The 2023 Health Consumer Update from Kaufman Hall – Measure What Matters (To Patients)

While there are barriers preventing health systems and care providers from adopting consumer-focused measures for patient experience, those who have deployed these metrics can provide solid role models for advancing consumer-centered care.             Welcome to Kaufman Hall’s eighth  annual study culminating in the 2023 State of the Healthcare Consumer Report. This year, the report’s subtitle “Measuring What Matters” speaks to the importance of achieving an ROI on consumer-facing investments while facing real, pragmatic headwinds such as cost and margin management and staffing pressures, among other forces that can stifle investments in new-new things.    

 

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

 

Accenture’s Great Expectations for a Decade of Deconstruction – the 2024 Life Trends Forecast

In the company’s 17th annual look into consumers’ “life trends,” Accenture finds that, top-line, “The harmony between people, tech and business is showing tensions, and society is in flux.” And these consumer-facing trends will also shape peoples’ attitudes about their health care, how they access and pay for it, and what kinds of services and support health consumers will expect in this era of “deconstruction.”           Taken together, the trends noted in Accenture’s 2024 report on Life Trends finds that one-half of consumers, globally, are changing their life goals, making their jobs and retirement stability more important than

 

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

 

“My Doctor’s Office” Should Accept Wearable Tech Health Data, Most Patients Say

“Do personal health trackers belong in the doctor’s office?” Software Advice wondered. “Yes,” the company’s latest consumer survey found, details of which are discussed in a report published on their website. Unique to this study is the patient sample polled: Software Advice surveyed 876 patients in September 2023 to gauge their perspectives on wearable tech and health. Note that the patient sample was limited to consumers who had seen a health care provider in the past two years and who also owned and used a personal wearable health device such as an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Thus, the responses shared

 

Clinician Burnout – Lessons from BDO’s Clinician Experience Survey for Patient Experience and Primary Care

Clinicians’ feeling burnout is the top morale challenge facing U.S. doctors, driven by turnover and understaffing, compassion fatigue, and challenges using digital tools — think EHRs. The 2023 BDO Clinician Experience Survey “takes on” clinician burnout, connecting the strategic dots between the clinician experience and the patient experience.                       BDO surveyed 153 clinician leaders in June and July 2023; one-half of the clinicians were executive leaders, and one-fourth were each direct clinician providers and clinician directors. Roles reached into the C-suite (one-third), and other levels in their organizations.    

 

Health Care Finance Leaders Look to Cut Costs and Improve Patients’ Financial Experience — Think AI and Venmo

One half-of health care financial leaders plan to invest in technology to cut costs — and most believe that AI has the potential to re-define the entire finance function as they look to Leading the transformation, a study conducted by U.S. Bank among U.S. health finance leaders thinking about emerging technologies.               U.S. Bank fielded a survey among 200 senior health care financial leaders in the U.S., 30% of whom were group CFOs, 20% regional/divisional CFOs, 25% senior managers, and the remaining various flavors of financial managers. All respondents were responsible for at least $100

 

AI is the New Health Literacy Challenge for Patients and the Health/Care Industry

Patients’ comfort in artificial intelligence is linked to familiarity with the technology, a consumer survey from GlobalData learned. Among patients unfamiliar with AI, 42% are uncomfortable, and another 50% feel neither comfortable nor uncomfortable with the technology. However, among patients familiar with AI, 60% feel comfortable with visiting a medical practice that uses AI. Welcome to the new health literacy challenge the health care sector will have to deal with, and soon: lack of patients’ awareness of AI, its promises and pitfalls.             “It is imperative to prioritize patient education regarding this technology,” Urte Jakimaviciute

 

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 If We Built a Consumer-Enchanting Health System in the Context of HLTH 2023? Building Blocks for the Scenario

What if….you were given the opportunity to build a health system from scratch in this new era of platforms, cloud computing, AI and machine learning, curious-digital-empowered consumers, and collaborators in retail and community settings operating close to peoples’ homes and workplaces? With the HLTH 2023 Conference meeting up in Vegas these past couple of days, this “what if” scenario can be constructed with announcements coming out of the meeting, coupled with recent developments in the larger health/care ecosystem.             Start with General Catalyst’s news of engaging Dr. Marc Harrison, most recently CEO of Intermountain Health,

 

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.

 

The 2023 Health Economy – The Evolving Primary Care and Retail Health Convergence Through Trilliant Health’s Lens

In U.S. health care’s negative-sum game, stakeholders who survive and win that game will have to deliver value-for-money, we learn from Trilliant Health’s 2023 Trends Shaping the Health Economy Report.                 “Report” is one word for this nearly 150-page compendium of health care data that is an encyclopedic treasure trove for health service researchers, marketers, strategists, journalists, and those keen to explore questions about the current state of health care in America. As Sanjula Jain points out in the Report’s press release, the publication resembles another huge report many of us appreciated for

 

Nurses Hacking for Health, Addressing Burnout, Workplace Violence, and AI

Three in four nurses working in hospitals care about the success of their institution — “they show up and gown up…yet only 57% feel a sense of ownership in their hospitals, leaving leaders to expect 100% quality to be delivered by about half of the nursing workforce.” This is the key finding in a study from PRC on the implications of nurses’ dis-engagement from their work. That context puts this year’s NurseHack4Health event all the more essential and impactful.             This year’s virtual hackathon was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, SONSIEL, Microsoft, and the ALL

 

The Healthcare Financial Experience is a Stressful One: the Convergence of our Medical, Retail, and Financial Lives

One in two consumers in the U.S. feel their well-being or healing was negatively impacted by difficulty paying for their medical care. Welcome to the convergence of patients’ health care life with financial and retail lives, we learn from the 2024 Healthcare Financial Experience Study from Cedar.                   And that patient’s positive clinical experience can absolutely reverse the consumer’s perception of the provider, noted by this quote from OSU’s Chief Financial Officer Vincent Tammaro: “We’ve cured you of your ailment, but we’ve harmed you financially.” That’s a form of financial toxicity that

 

The Omnichannel Imperative for Healthcare: Supporting Telehealth Awareness Week 2023

“What omnichannel really means: hearing the customer wherever they are and making them feel heard, valued, and understood.” That statement comes from Qualtrics’ explanation of omnichannel experience design. The very human needs of feeling one is heard, is valued, and is understood, underpin the rasion d’etre of omnichannel marketing. And these very values are those that underpin the trust between patients and providers and the large healthcare ecosystem.         It’s Telehealth Awareness Week, led by the ATA. I celebrate and support the effort; this Health Populi post explains the Association’s mantra that Telehealth is Health, and that

 

Slip Slidin’ Away: the Reputations of Pharma and Healthcare in the U.S. Decline in the Latest Gallup Poll

Oh, how quickly people forget…and slow to forgive. U.S. consumers’ positive views for healthcare, pharma and retail have significantly fallen in just one year, the latest annual Gallup poll of industry rankings in America found as of August 2023. This stat for the pharma industry was the lowest Gallup ever recorded for the sector since 2001.                     I can’t help hearing Paul Simon’s lyrics to Slip Slidin’ Away….”you know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’ away” when it comes to health citizens’ perceptions of pharma and the healthcare

 

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

 

The Elevator, Trust and the Data Commons: Bart de Witte Makes the Case for Open AI for Health at WHO/Europe

“I’m in Berlin, and we don’t like walls,” Bart De Witte responded in a concluding Q&A session yesterday at the 2nd Symposium on the Future of Health Systems, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Porto on 5th September.               Over two days, this meeting convened stakeholders focused on WHO’s European Region to support the Organization’s digital health action plan for 2023-2030 – which fosters cross-nation health planning covering the EU space. AI’s promise in health care to automate and streamline administration, and augment diagnosis and treatment, comes with accompanying risks that can

 

How Misinformation in Health Care Can Lead to Being “Dead Wrong” — KFF and Dr. G Connect the Dots

Three in four U.S. health citizens say the spread of false information about health issues is a major problem, found in Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Misinformation Tracking Poll Pilot published earlier this month.           KFF’s press release on the study summarized the top-line with, “Most Americans Encounter Health Misinformation, and Most Aren’t Sure Whether It’s True or False.” Explaining the implications of the broad reach of health misinformation in the U.S., Dr. Geeta Nayyar has written the book Dead Wrong: Diagnosing and Treating Healthcare’s Misinformation Illness, due out on October 17th and available now for pre-purchase

 

Because of Winn-Dixie, Will ALDI Expand Its Healthcare Footprint? Not Likely Through Pharmacy….

This week ALDI, the global food discount group, announced they would acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket stores.           In response to the deal, Supermarket News said that ALDI “is shaking up the grocery sector with its acquisition” of the Winn-Dixie chain. That statement was focused on the overall food chain landscape, where Winn-Dixie has played a significant role in the traditional brick-and-mortar grocery business. ALDI has generally served a value-oriented segment of consumers, which industry analyst have categorized as a separate food channel based on consumer segmentation. In addition to the overall “shaking up” of the

 

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.

 

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

 

Patients Don’t Trust Big Tech with Personal Health Information Much Preferring Healthcare Providers as Data Stewards

Nearly all patients are concerned about their medical records getting leaked or breached, which is The State of Patient Privacy, the title of a consumer study from Health Gorilla with a headline finding that “Patients don’t trust Big Tech with their health data.”             With trust the “backbone” of health information exchange, Health Gorilla calls out, we have to face a big challenge here as health care enters its own sort of industrial revolution embedded AI and data analytics across the health/care ecosystem. How to re-build trust with the very technology that can help health care,

 

Pharmacy Plays a Growing Role in Consumers’ Health@Retail – J.D. Power’s 2023 Rankings

“Brick-and-mortar pharmacies forge meaningful connections with customers” through conversations between pharmacists and patients, “on a first-name basis.” This quote comes from Christopher Lis, managing director of global healthcare intelligence at J.D. Power who released the company’s annual 2023 U.S. Pharmacy Study today, the 15th year the research has been conducted.                           Each year, J.D. Power gauges U.S. consumers’ views on retail pharmacies in four channels: brick and mortar chain drug stores, brick and mortar mass merchandisers, brick and mortar supermarkets, and mail order. Across all four channels, the

 

GNC Offers “Free Healthcare” — Telehealth, Generic Meds, and Loyalty in the Retail Health Ecosystem

The retail health landscape continues to grow, now with GNC Health offering a new program featuring telehealth and  “curated set” of 40+ generic prescription drugs commonly used in urgent care settings.             The services are available to members of GNC’s new-and-improved loyalty program, GNC PRO Access, which is priced at a fixed fee of $39.99 for one year’s membership. This is available to consumers 18 years of age and older. “As a trusted brand in the health and wellness space, we are thrilled to expand our efforts in helping our customers Live Well by offering

 

Barbie in Health Care – Joining the Barbie Zeitgeist

Barbie is having a moment, marketers agree. This weekend, many of us will buy movie tickets (yes, to see “real” movies in “real” brick-and-mortar cinemas) to see both the new film Oppenheimer along with the Barbie movie.           So many movie-goers will be making it a double-feature experience that started as a meme, the portmanteau “Barbenheimer,” to mark the cultural-phenomenon moment. And the marketing frenzy accompanying the release of Greta Gerwig’s film has been an astonishing plethora of collaborations with consumer-goods companies and retailers. To join the pink-inspired fray, I’m featuring Barbie’s health care lives in

 

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 Amazon Prime Days, When You Can Get 25% Off a Year’s One Medical Membership

Now in Aisle E(commerce) – get your one-year membership to One Medical for $149. Today and tomorrow are Amazon Prime Days, 2023 style, when you can fetch bargains on lots of electronics (esp. deeply-discounted Amazon-branded devices), sporting goods, kitchen gear, pet supplies, and even groceries (saving with Amazon Fresh getting $20 off $100+ orders on Prime Day).                       And among a vast menu of health, medical, and well-being offerings from collagen to gym equipment and blood pressure monitors is that One Medical membership good for a year of services. “On-demand

 

Can Artists Help to Remake Medicine? A New Book Asks and Answers (Yes!)

What if we asked an artist to re-imagine what health care could be? How might Van Gogh redesign a patient room akin to his room at Arles, or Michelangelo re-think general surgery? How might Thoreau take us on a nature walk for our mental health, or Basquiat channel his inner Da Vinci for a version of Jean-Michel’s Anatomy? In her new book, Artists Remaking Medicine. Emily Peters confronts health care’s paralyzing complexity (her words in the introduction) to invite a community of artists and artful thinkers to share their visions for remaking health care.             

 

Location, Location, Location – Understanding Health Consumers’ Evolving Definition of Convenience

The definition of “convenience” in the eyes of patients, consumers, and caregivers is multi-faceted, with the concept of “location” shifting both physically and digitally. We learn this in new research from JLL, the global real estate services company. “Why is a real estate services company doing research into consumers’ views on health care?” you might ask. See my Hot Points below, discussing my views on the morphing of health care real estate from Pill Hill and inpatient hospitals to the home and closer-to-home sites.             In the 2023 Patient Consumer Survey report, the topline lesson

 

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

 

The Cost of Treating Patients is On the Rise: PwC Goes What’s Behind the 2024 Medical Spending Numbers

Health care cost trend will spike up another percentage point to 7.0% in 2024, according to the annual report from the PwC Health Research Institute, Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2024.                 Every year, the PwC HRI team goes behind those numbers to assess cost inflators and deflators which underpin annual medical inflation. As the first line chart illustrates, the peak of medical trend in the last 18 years was in 2007 when the U.S. saw double-digit cost growth of nearly 12%. Here’s a link to PwC’s 2007 study looking behind the

 

Technologies That Bolster Health Will Be Baked Into the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Listening to the World Economic Forum

The technologies that will drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution have health baked into most of them, based on the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023, a flagship report from the World Economic Forum,                   Two of the ten technologies making up this forecast directly speak to health and health care” AI-facilitated healthcare, and The metaverse for mental health. But seven of the remaining eight all address health somewhere in their discussions, and even the tenth non-obvious tech — #3, sustainable aviation fuel — would resonate with many researchers working on the opportunity

 

Searching for Health/Care Touchpoints in the 2023 Axios Harris Poll 100

Patagonia, Costco, John Deere, and Trader Joe’s are loved; Twitter, Fox Corp., FTX and The Trump Organization? Not so much. Welcome to 2023 Axios Harris Poll 100 list of companies U.S. consumers rate from excellent in terms of reputation to very poor and, one in particular, “critical.” Exploring the list, we can find insights into consumers’ preferred touchpoints for health, health care, and well-being curated in their daily lives. In this, today’s, Health Populi blog, I consider The 2023 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings in light of what we learned from the Morning Consult Most Trusted Brands 2023 study

 

Band-Aid® Rules: Health is Baked Into The Most Trusted Brands in 2023 In Retail, Beauty, and Non-Profits

The ten most trusted brands in the U.S. have to do with health, well-being, and hygiene in everyday life — from convenient package delivery to financial health, mindful self-care, and taking care of our kids’ boo-boos. Welcome to this year’s portfolio of the Most Trusted Brands 2023, a special report from Morning Consult that, annually, paints a picture of what everyday life for everyday people is about.         For the second year in a row, Band-Aid® brand bandages ranked top of all brands assessed among U.S. consumers from data gathered in March-April 2023. Net trust in this study

 

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

 

Retail Clinics’ Growing Role in Health Care and Prescription Drug Sales

“It seemed like an odd pairing: shampoo and a throat swab,” observes a new report on the growth of retail health from Definitive Healthcare. But retail clinics are no longer, as the paper explains, “an experiment of a few grocery stores….they’re becoming a major force in the U.S. healthcare system,” asserts the thesis of Retailers in healthcare: A catalyst for provider evolution.                 While the use of emergency departments fell by 1% in the past five years, the use of retail clinics expanded by 70%, Definitive Healthcare calculated. Most retail clinics are owned by

 

Getting Health Care at a Retail Pharmacy vs a Retail Store: Consumers May Be Favoring the Pharmacist Versus the Retailer

Not all “retail health” sites are created equal, U.S. consumers seem to be saying in a new study from Wolters Kluwer Health, the company’s second Pharmacy Next: Consumer Care and Cost Trends survey. Specifically, consumers have begun to differentiate between health care delivered at a retail pharmacy versus care offered at a retail store — such as Target or Walmart (both named as sites that offer “health clinics in department stores” in the study press release). While 58% of Americans were likely to visit a local pharmacy as a “first step” when faced with a non-emergency medical situation and 79%

 

Three More Signposts on the Road to Retail Health – Weight Loss Drugs, OTC Birth Control and Fashion-Meets-the-Flu

We continue to track to evolving, expanding landscape of retail health — which we see as the expanding ecosystem of health/care accessible to people-as-health consumers. This week, three intriguing examples are resonating with us: The ever-evolving weight-loss industry FDA favors OTC use for Perrigo’s Opill daily oral contraceptive birth control pill The convergence of fashion and health — specifically, how an over-the-counter medicine converges with clothing that helps us feel better.                   Let’s start with weight-loss, as several aspects of health/care come together in the consumer’s retail health sandbox. Dr. Eric Topol

 

Consumers’ Use of Digital Health is Just Part of Mainstream Life Now

Using the Internet and mobile health apps are as mainstream as swiping left for a date and researching features in a new car, based on the Digital 2023 Global Overview Report from Meltwater. The broad coverage of this kind of research can’t be accomplished by just one entity, and Meltwater acknowledges the partners who brought them to this research-party: these included data.ai, GSMA Intelligence, GWI, Locowise, Ookla, PPRO, SemRush, Similarweb, Skai, and Statista. In this 400+ page report, you can find most datapoints you’re interested in covering the global consumers’ use of the internet, mobile apps, and social media. I

 

Virtual Health Care Can Reduce Carbon Emissions: the Environmental ROI on Telehealth

As implemented in the COVID-19 era and its immediate wake, the most obvious environmental benefits offered by telehealth visits replacing in-person patient encounters have been achieved through reduced patient travel, considering The Role of Virtual Consulting in Developing Environmentally Sustainable Health Care, a systematic literature review published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. This study, led by researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, and the University of Oslo, Norway, identified over 1,600 scientific papers, narrowing the most rigorous and relevant to 23 papers focusing on virtual consulting and carbon emissions. This is an important question for two major

 

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

 

Mental Health Services Grow in the Retail Health Ecosystem

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, there’s no shortage of press releases promoting a wide range of services and programs emerging from both the public and private sectors. In the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the exposed epidemic-beyond-the-pandemic of mental health has inspired many collaborations between public, private commercial and not-for-profit organizations. These have begun to embed mental health into the larger retail health ecosystem. I’ll point to several examples as signposts for this phenomenon.           Walgreens and Mental Health America – This collaboration expands Walgreens’ work with Mental Health America focusing in

 

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

 

Thinking Pharma on a Friday: Europe’s Big Reforms for a Health Union & the U.S. 50-State Fragments

The COVID-19 pandemic re-shaped European Union leaders to reimagine healthcare, public health, and health citizenship in the EU. Welcome to #HealthUnion, the hashtag that the European Commission has adopted with the vision of assuring access to medicines for all people living in the 27-nation EU area — regardless of socioeconomic status.             On 26th April 2023, the EC unveiled the most significant reforms for the region’s pharmaceutical industry in twenty years. It’s really a package or “toolkit” in the words of EC Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides for addressing several strategic health pillars

 

Health Care Financing: How Inflation and Health Care Prices Could Hit the U.S. Consumer

In the U.S. in 2021, per person health care spending increased by nearly 15%, reversing 2020’s spending decline of 3.5% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest Health Care Cost and Utilization Report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) details health spending in 2021, dissecting the change in terms of utilization of services and prices by category. That’s a big rise over consumers’ household inflation for food, energy, and other kitchen-table considerations, prompting me to look for additional context from a recent paper published by the OECD on Health care financing in times of high inflation,

 

Food Is Medicine, Especially When You Are Hungry – The American Heart Association‘s FIM Initiative

Food is a basic need, fundamental to our lives and well-being. And for millions of people around the world, and innumerable health citizens in the U.S., food security is part of daily life in 2023. Furthermore, as the U.S. Congress faces voting on the debt ceiling, the issue of SNAP benefits for nutritional assistance (aka “food stamps”) has been identified as a negotiating line-item by certain Federal budget-cut minded folks. That’s why the Food Is Medicine Initiative, launched collaboratively between the American Heart Association and The Rockefeller Foundation, is so timely and welcome.         “The vision for

 

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

 

“Your care, your way:” Learning from the Philips Future Health Index 2023

Consider the key drivers of supply and demand in health care, globally, right now: On the medical delivery supply side, the shortage of staff is a limiting factor to continuing to deliver care based on the usual work-flows and payment models. On the demand side, patients are taking on more demanding roles as consumers with high expectations for service, convenience, and safe care delivered closer to home — or at home. This dynamic informs The Future Health Index 2023 report from Philips, launched this week at HIMSS 2023. This is the eighth annual global FHI report, with detailed country-specific analyses to

 

Appreciating Water as a Driver of Health: Designing for Good, from the UN to Liberia and Flint, Michigan

The United Nations (UN) convened the 2023 Water Conference convened March 22-24, 2023, in New York City. The meeting brought together stakeholders from all over the world to brainstorm how to meet UN sustainability development goals (SDGs) for #6 of the 17 SDGs addressing clean water and sanitation. This event was billed in the words of the conveners, a “watershed moment to tackle the global water crisis and ensure a water-secure future.”                 That water-secure future is a critical factor in the well-being for both people and Planet Earth, quantified in the first

 

The Commercial Determinants of Health – How the Private Sector Shapes Public and Peoples’ Health

You’ve heard of the social determinants of health (SDoH), the driving factors that shape a person’s health beyond medical care. These include lifestyle behaviors such as smoking and food consumption, education, job security and wage stability, transportation and safe/clean physical environments, among other issues. There’s another lens on drivers of health that impact our well-being, the commercial determinants of health (CDoH). The Lancet‘s collection of research published online on March 23, 2022 explores CDoH’s role in shaping public and individual health, along with potential calls-to-action for addressing these challengres.               Start with a definition of

 

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

 

Techquity: Getting Healthy Through Equity-by-Design

The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation in the world. Yet Americans’ health outcomes rank relatively low compared with other wealthy peer nations on Planet Earth, manifesting a low return-on-investment for this huge financial spend. Nowhere is this more evident than in America’s place in equity compared with nine countries, shown in the graph on health care system performance from The Commonwealth Fund’s perennial study, Mirror, Mirror – the latest version of which was subtitled, “reflecting poorly” on health care in the U.S.             Equity is an over-arching concept that the

 

The New Deaths of Despair in America – Among U.S. Children

The phenomenon of Deaths of Despair is the short-hand name for rising mortality among certainly people living in the U.S. due to overdose, accidents, and suicide. Angus Deaton and Anne Case published their first of many research papers on Deaths of Despair in 2015. Their research uncovered the risks of dying a Death of Despair to be higher among men, especially those between the ages of 25 and 64. But mortality isn’t only going in the wrong direction for those people most closely associated with the Deaths of Despair demographic: there’s another life-span line graph moving in the wrong direction,

 

Patients Have AI-Disconnect When it Comes to Their Health Care – Pew Research Center Insights

Most U.S. health citizens think AI is being adopted in American health care too quickly, feeling “significant discomfort…with the idea of AI being used in their own health care,” according to consumer studies from the Pew Research Center.                  The top-line is that 60% of Americans would be uncomfortable with [their health] provider relying on AI in their own care, found in a consumer poll fielded in December 2022 among over11,000 U.S. adults. Most consumers who are aware of common uses of AI know about wearable fitness trackers that can analyze exercise and sleep

 

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 Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns for 2023 Are About Social, Mental and Behavioral Health

Ten years ago, ECRI named the top 10 health technology hazards  for 2013: they were alarm hazards, medication administrative errors using infusion pumps, unnecessary exposure and radiation burns from diagnostic radiology procedures, patient/data mismatches in EHRs and other HIT systems, interoperability failures with medical devices and health IT systems, and five other tech-related hazards. In 2014, ECRI pivoted the title of this annual report to “patient safety concerns,” a nuance away from health technology. Fast forward to 2023 and ECRI’s latest take on the Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns 2023. While technology is embedded in this list, the headlines have more

 

Growing DTC for Health Beyond the Rx – the New Health/Care at Home

As our homes and health care services continue to converge, we can see signposts of direct-to-consumer strategies from the pillbox (where DTC is a mature thing) to clinical care in peoples’ hands (and on their preferred technology platforms). Some examples this week make this point, which taken together demonstrate the portfolio of ways more people – as health consumers and caregivers – can engage in their health, well-being, and clinical care.             Start with Best Buy’s announcement that they will collaborate with the health system Atrium Health to bolster hospital-to-home effectiveness and activation between hospitals

 

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