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Building the Primary Care Dream Team

“Today’s primary care won’t work tomorrow,” given the shortage of primary care providers (PCPs) and the need to do more in healthcare with fewer resources in the emerging value-based economy. So let’s re-imagine primary care models, PwC asserts, and makes the case in their report, ROI for primary care: Building the dream team. What’s the financial impact of this dream team on healthcare providers? It’s potentially $1.2 million in savings for every 10,000 patients served, PwC calculates. Historically, physicians have been loath to share their work with non-physicians because of how doctors have been paid — on the basis of fee-for-service,

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Most Digital Health Consumers Say They Benefit from Connected Health

Managing stress, weight, mental health, sleep, and heart function are among the top-most desired reasons already-connected health consumers are interested in further connecting their health, according to The 2016 HealthMine Digital Health Report. The most popular tools people use to digitally manage their health deal with fitness and exercise (among 50% of connected health consumers), food and nutrition (for 46%), and weight loss (for 39%). 3 in 4 people who use digital health tools say they have improved their health by connecting to these tools. 57% of digital health users also say going health-digital has lowered their healthcare costs. The survey

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

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

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GoHealthEvents, An Online Source For Consumer Retail Health Opportunities

“Health comes to your local store,” explains the recently-launched portal, GoHealthEvents. This site is a one-stop shop for health consumers who are seeking health screenings and consults in local retail channels like big box stores, club stores, drug stores, and grocery stores. Events covered include cholesterol, diabetes, heart health, nutrition, osteoporosis, senior health, vaccinations and immunizations. By simply submitting a zip code, a health consumer seeking these kinds of services can identify where and when a local retailer will provide it. I searched on my own zip code in suburban Philadelphia, and found the following opportunities taking place in the

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Digitizing Self-Healthcare with Google, Pfizer, Under Armour, Walgreens and WebMD

How can digital technologies enable self-healthcare in novel ways? This was the theme of a meeting sponsored by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare and hosted by Google, with the title, “Advancing Consumer Health through New Technology and Next Generation OTC Healthcare” held on 12th April 2016 at Google offices in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Pharmaceutical brand drugs switching to over-the-counter packaged goods, the Cellscope Otoscope used by parents checking their young children’s earaches, connected shoes and earbuds for athletic enhancement, and omni-channel retail shopping….these are a few of the signals we see emerging to enable consumers’ to drive healthy behaviors, wellness and self-healthcare. Speakers

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My Body, My Self – With My Physician, Say Patients

9 in 10 people in the U.S. believe working with their health clinician as a partner will help them better manage their overall health, according to a survey conducted for The Society for Participatory Medicine. Consumers’ majority call-out for shared decision-making with health care professionals also extends to their self-tracking health data — for example, via activity trackers, digital glucometers for blood sugar, technologies for blood pressure, and food logging apps. 84% of people said that sharing their personal self-tracking health data with clinicians between visits would also help people manage health. That clinician’s involvement is very important to health

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Diagnosis: Acute Health Care Angst In America

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

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TIME Sees Lots of Health in the Best Inventions of 2015

Among TIME magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2015, most relate directly or adjacently to health and health care. Among the 25 are: The EKO Stethoscope A gluten-sniffing sensor, the 6SensorLabs Nima The Sproutling baby monitor Nike Flyease 8 shoes, that you can tie with one hand Cogni-Toys Dino, the toy that talks back A smart refrigerator that can fix you a glass of nutrient-enriched water The TZOA environmental tracker for personal pollution sensing, measuring atmosphere in a specific area (e.g., temperature, particulates such as dust, pollen, mold, and car exhaust), and UV ­exposure Doppler Labs Here Active Listening earbuds The

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Palliative Care: Getting End of Life Care (W)right

I lost a best friend last week. His memorial service, held this past weekend, was a celebration of his life. And part of that well-lived life was a very conscious planning of his last days. The Economist published its 2015 Quality of Death Index, a data-driven treatise on palliative care, the very week my dear friend Rick died. This gives me the opportunity to discuss palliative care issues with Health Populi readers through The Economist’s lens, and then in the Hot Points below through my personal context of this remarkable man’s end-of-life choices. The Economist ranks 80 countries on several

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How Cable TV Can Make Your House Your Medical Home

Taking literally the maxim that health is where we live, work, play and pray, Cox Communications acquired Trapollo, a remote health monitoring company, extending the core business of cable TV into the world of health services to the home. “We believe that the home will be an increasingly important node within the healthcare delivery architecture,” Asheesh Saksena, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Cox Communications, said in the company’s press release. In the past year, Cox Communications entered in a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic, to form Vivre Health for developing digital health care services. Cox also invested in

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How digital ‘everything’ and consumer expectations are re-shaping health care

Two forces are converging to shape a new era of “living services,” Accenture posits: the digitization of “everything” and consumers’ “liquid” expectations — which are demands for personalized, engaging and adaptable experiences. Accenture’s report on this phenomenon, The Era of Living Services, spans the broad range of consumers’ daily lives where these services will impact: homes, families, transportation, shopping, leisure time, jobs, finances, education, cities, and above all for Health Populi readers, “our bodies.” Living services are physically close to us, as Accenture sees them, “wrapping themselves around the everyday things we do.” They are digital services that are aware

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Telehealth goes retail

In the past couple of weeks, a grocery store launched a telemedicine pilot, a pharmacy chain expanded telehealth to patients in 25 states, and several new virtual healthcare entrants received $millions in investments. On a parallel track, the AMA postponed dealing with medical ethics issues regarding telemedicine, the Texas Medical Association got stopped in its tracks in a case versus Teladoc, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program that falls short of allowing Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to take full advantage of telehealth services. These events beg the

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Happy 25 million, MinuteClinic and CVS Health!

Call it a Silver Million Anniversary, if you will: The MinuteClinic just saw its 25 millionth patient. This is a milestone in the evolution and growth of retail health in America, a trend-marker in this growing health industry segment that will become increasingly used by consumers, patients, parents, and caregivers. CVS bought the MinuteClinic in 2006, when the organization treated seven illnesses. Today, MinuteClinic offers 65 services and vaccinations in nearly 1,000 clinics located in 31 states and Washington, DC. In addition, MinuteClinic will grow the number of clinic locations in both existing and new markets. The company will open

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Capital investments in health IT moving healthcare closer to people

In recent weeks, an enormous amount of money has been raised by organizations using information technology to move health/care to people where they live, work, and play… This prompted one questioner at the recent ANIA annual conference to ask me after my keynote speech on the new health economy, “Is the hospital going the way of the dinosaur?” Before we get to the issue of possible extinction of inpatient care, let’s start with the big picture on digital health investment for the first quarter of 2015. Some $429 mm was raised for digital health in the first quarter of 2015,

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Health is where we live, work, and shop…at Walgreens

Alex Gourley, President of The Walgreen Company, addressed the capacity crowd at HIMSS15 in Chicago on 13th April 2015, saying his company’s goal is to “make good health easier.” Remember that HIMSS is the “Health Information and Management Systems Society” — in short, the mammoth health IT conference that this year has attracted over 41,000 health computerfolk from around the world. So what’s a nice pharmacy like you, Walgreens, doing in a Place like McCormick amidst 1,200+ health/tech vendors?  If you believe that health is a product of lifstyle behaviors at least as much as health “care” services (what our

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Consumers trust retailers and techs to manage their health – as much as health provider

40% of U.S. consumers trust Big Retail to manage their health; 39% of U.S. consumers trust healthcare providers to manage their health. What’s wrong with this picture? The first chart shows the neck-and-neck tie in the horse race for consumer trust in personal health management. The Walmart primary care clinic vs. your doctor. The grocery pharmacy vis-a-vis the hospital or chain pharmacy. Costco compared to the chiropractor. Or Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung or UnderArmour, because “digitally-enabled companies” are virtually tied with health providers and large retailers as responsible health care managers. Welcome to The Birth of the Healthcare Consumer according

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Health is a growth industry at SXSW

Health is the hot topic at SXSW. While edgy new movies and hot music are the foundational elements of the annual South-by-Southwest festival, health and health care are the fast-growing themes at the meet-up, where the new-new, month-old beautiful JW Marriott Hotel by the Convention Center hosted most of the digital health track sessions. Digital health today goes well beyond mobile apps and genomic futures. Philips was a major presence this year at SXSW with its vision, shared by me, THINK-Health, and the HeathcareDIY team, of connected health where we live, work, play, pray and learn. In the case of

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Left Swipe Dat – this is how health messaging is done

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

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

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

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Whole (Health) Foods – the next retail clinic?

Long an advocate for consumer-directed health in his company, John Mackey, co-CEO and co-Founder of Whole Foods Market, is talking about expanding the food chain’s footprint in retail health. “Americans are sick of being sick,” Mackey is quoted in “Whole Foods, Half Off,” a story published in Bloomberg on January 29, 2015. Mackey talks about being inspired by Harris Rosen, a CEO in Florida, who has developed a workplace clinic for employees’ health care that drives high quality, good outcomes, and lower costs. Mackey imagines how Whole Foods could do the same, beginning in its hometown in Austin, TX. He

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

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

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

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

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Health and wellness at CES 2015 – trend-weaving the big ideas

Health is where we live, work, play and pray — my and others’ mantra if we want to truly bend (down) the cost curve and improve medical outcomes. If we’re serious about achieving the Triple Aim — improving public health, lowering spending, and enhancing the patient/health consumer experience (which can drive activation and ongoing engagement) — then you see health everywhere at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. With this post, I’ll share with you the major themes I’m seeing at #CES2015 related to health, wellness, and DIYing medical care at home. The meta: from health care to self-care.

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

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

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Women are natural disruptors for health

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

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Self-care is the new black in health care

Consumers’ growing health care cost burden is competing with other household spending: basic costs for Americans are eroding what’s left of the traditionally-defined Middle Class. At the front end of health costs is the health insurance premium, the largest single line item for a family. It looks like a big number because it is: Milliman gauged the cost for an employer to cover a family of four in a PPO in the U.S. at around $23K, with the employee bearing an increasing percent of the premium, copays, coinsurance, and a larger deductible this year than last, on average. There are

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

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

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Digital and mobile health: can doctors and consumers get on the same wavelength?

There’s growing interest among both consumers and clinicians in people DIY’ing healthcare. Consumers are even keener than their doctors about the self-care concept, PwC’s Health Research Institute has found. Doctors who are already in value-based payment mode — participating in accountable care organizations, at-risk for reimbursement, doing population health — are earlier adopters of digital health tools that enable patients to care for themselves outside of the health care setting. These providers are also working more on care teams, where physicians can work at their ‘highest and best use,’ complemented by nurse practitioners, physician assistants, diabetes educators, and other ancillary

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Walgreens+WebMD: reinventing retail pharmacy

With the goal of driving a digital health platform for well-informed, effective self-care, the nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain and prominent consumer-facing health information portal are allying to move from serving up pills and information to health “care.” Walgreens and WebMD launched their joint effort on 2nd October 2014, a few weeks after CVS/pharmacy re-branded as CVS Health. Welcome to the reinvention of the retail pharmacy. I spoke for a few minutes with David Schlanger, CEO, WebMD, and Alex Gourlay, President, Customer Experience and Daily Living, Walgreens, the day of the launch, to get early insights into the vision for

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Health-wear – at Health 2.0, health met fashion, function and care

Wearables met health and medicine at the 8th annual Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, CA, last week. I had the real pleasure of shepherding a wearables panel of five innovators during the conference, in a well-attended session followed by an energetic Q&A. The organizations who demonstrated their tools and brainstormed the wearables market included, in alphabetical order, Atlas Wearables, Heartmath, MySugr, SunSprite and Withings. I hasten to add that among the five presenters, two were women: that 2 in 5 = 40% gender representation is, happily to my way of thinking about women’s roles in health-making, a very good

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Health info disconnect: most people view accessing online records important, but don’t perceive the need to do so

There’s a health information disconnect among U.S. adults: most people believe online access to their personal health information is important, but three-quarters of people who were offered access to their health data and didn’t do so didn’t perceive the need to. The first two graphs illustrate each of these points. When people do access their online health records, they use their information for a variety of reasons, including monitoring their health (73%), sharing their information with family or care providers (44%), or downloading the data to a mobile device or computer (39%). In this context, note that 1 in 3

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Health on the 2014 Gartner Hype Cycle

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

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Inflection point for telehealth in 2014

The supply side of telehealth has been readying itself for nearly a decade. The demand side appears to be aligning in 2014 for adoption to grow and sustain (some) solid business models. On the demand side, Towers Watson’s 2014 survey of large employers forecasts growth among companies that will offer telemedicine in 2015. Towers found that 37% of employers planned to offer telemedicine to workers as a lower-cost site of care; 34% more employers were considering telemedicine in 2016 or 2017.  The health benefits adviser calculates that employers could save over $6 billion if industry replaces virtual health consultations with

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Employers engaging in health engagement

Expecting health care cost increases of 5% in 2015, employers in the U.S. will focus on several tactics to control costs: greater offerings of consumer-directed health plans, increasing employee cost-sharing, narrowing provider networks, and serving up wellness and disease management programs. The National Business Group on Health’s Large Employers’ 2015 Health Plan Design Survey finds employers committed to health engagement in 2015 as a key strategy for health benefits. More granularly, addressing weight management, smoking cessation, physical activity, and stress reduction, will be top priorities, shown in the first chart. An underpinning of engagement is health care consumerism — which

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Self-care – the role of OTCs for personal health financial management

Make-over your medicine cabinet. That’s a key headline for International Self-Care Day (ISD) on July 24, 2014, an initiative promoting the opportunity for people to take a greater role in their own health care and wellness. Sponsored by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), consumer products companies, health advocacy organizations, and legislators including John Barrow (D-GA), a co-sponsor of H.R. 2835 (aka the Restoring Access to Medications Act), the Day talked about the $102 billion savings opportunity generated through people in the U.S. taking on more self-care through using over-the-counter medicines. After the 2008 Recession hit the U.S. economy, industry analysts

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Homo informaticus – the global digital consumer

Consumers around the world are feeling more knowledgeable, self-confident and realistic, enabled by mobile platforms, the democratic power of social “choruses,” and a more sharing economy featuring collaborative consumption. As peoples’ phones get smarter and smarter, they carry more powerful multichannel information devices in their hands which empower Homo Informaticus – the new global digital consumer, described in EY’s report, How to copilot the multichannel journal. EY polled 29,943 consumers in the Consumers on Board survey living in 34 countries: across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, India and Africa. Homo informaticus is the rational consumer smartly using technology to filter information.

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How smart do you want your home to be?

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

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Dialing Dr. Verizon – the telecomms company launches virtual house calls

Expanding its wireless footprint in health care, Verizon, the telecommunications company, announced the start of Verizon Virtual Visits today. The program will be marketed to employers and health plans to enable patients to see doctors at home or when traveling, via Verizon’s wireless network. I spoke with Christine Izui, Verizon’s quality officer, mobile health solution, earlier this week about Virtual Visits. We discussed the market forces that support the growth of telehealth and, in particular, physician visits “anywhere:” There is an under-supply and poor distribution of primary care doctors and certain specialties around the U.S. Employers and health plan sponsors are

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Apple and Google and Samsung, Oh My!

Three of the world’s biggest technology companies – Apple, Google and Samsung — have made big announcements in the world of connected health in the past few weeks. A fourth is positioned to enter the fray. These major announcements illustrate the convergence of consumer technology, health, and wearables, with the potential for Big Data and population health impacts. Among the three tech giants, Samsung announced its consumer health/tech story first, on May 28, 2014, at its Digital Health Initiative meeting. Samsung unveiled the Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions platform, SAMI, along with the Simband prototype wristband that would enable users to

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The retailization of digital health: Consumer Electronics Association mainstreams health

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has formed a new Health and Fitness Technology Division, signalling the growing-up and mainstreaming of digital health in everyday life. The CEA represents companies that design, manufacture and market goods for people who pay for stuff that plugs into electric sockets and operate on batteries — like TVs, phones, music playing and listening, kitchen appliances, electronic games, and quite prominent at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, e-cigarettes (rebranding “safe smoking” as “vaping” technology). In its press release announcing this news, CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro says, “Technology innovations now offer unprecedented opportunities for consumers to

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Why a grocery chain supports health data liquidity

The CEO of a family-owned grocery store chain wrote a letter to New York State lawmakers to support $65 million worth of spending on a computer system for health information in the state. That grocer is Danny Wegman, and that project is the Statewide Health Information Network, aka SHIN-NY. In his letter beginning, “Dear New York Legislator,” Wegman identifies several benefits he expects would flow out of the health IT project: 1. Improve health care for all New Yorkers 2. Lower health care costs, through reducing hospital readmission rates and reducing duplicate testing. 3. Lead to health data “liquidity” (my

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HIMSS14 Monday Morning Quarterback – The Key Takeaways

Returning to terra firma following last week’s convening of the 2014 annual HIMSS conference…taking some time off for family, a funeral, the Oscars, and dealing with yet another snowstorm…I now take a fresh look back at #HIMSS14 at key messages. In random order, the syntheses are: Healthcare in America has entered an era of doing more, with less...and health information technology is a strategic investment for doing so. The operational beacon going forward is moving toward The Triple Aim: building population health, enhancing the patient’s experience, and lowering costs per patient. The CEO of Aetna, Mark Bertolini, spoke of the

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Health Care Everywhere at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

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

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

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

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Shopping, everywhere, for health

When it comes to retail shopping, most people spend most of their time shopping in brick-and-mortar stores – not online. 92% of spending happens in stores. 3 in 10 people spend most their shopping time online. Brick-and-mortar is far from dead, concludes the report Recasting the Retail Store in Today’s Omnichannel World from AT Kearney. This study looked into the shopping behaviors for consumers in the US and the UK in February 2013. What is true is that the growth of online retail has taught consumers how to shop on the basis of more transparent pricing and supply. This then drives

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They call it “primary” care because it comes first — and it should

It’s called “primary” care for a reason: it’s first and foremost important in the health care services a person can use. In its report, Primary care: our first line of defense, The Commonwealth Fund explains why primary care is crucial to one’s individual health, and how primary care is morphing into medical teams and patient-centered medical homes. And that’s a good thing for you and me, the Fund says. That’s because people in the U.S. who have a primary care doctor have 33% lower health costs and 19% lower risk of dying than people who see only a specialist (Source:

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The part-time medical home: retail health clinics

The number of retail health clinics will double between 2012 and 2015, according to a research brief from Accenture, Retail medical clinics: From Foe to Friend? published in June 2013. What are the driving market forces promoting the growth of retail clinics? Accenture points to a few key factors: Hospitals’ need to rationalize use of their emergency departments, which are often over-crowded and incorrectly utilized in cases of less-than-acute care. In addition, hospitals are now financially motivated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA, health reform) to reduce readmissions of patients into beds (particularly Medicare patients with acute myocardial infarction [heart attacks],

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Walgreens Steps with Balance program rewards both consumers and the store

Consumers who patronize Walgreens can get rewarded for tracking their physical activity   For the Steps with Balance program kickoff, self-tracking consumers can earn 20 points for every mile walked or run and 20 points for tracking weight. Walgreens implemented the Walk with Walgreens program in 2012. The program won an Effie Award for an outstanding marketing program. With the success of Walk with Walgreens, the retail pharmacy company has expanded the program beyond simple steps to include weight tracking and health goals for earning loyalty points. The program enables a few of the most popular self-tracking devices to sync so

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The Accountable Care Community opportunity

“ACOs most assuredly will not…deliver the disruptive innovation that the U.S. health-care system urgently needs,” wrote Clay Christensen, godfather of disruptive innovation, et. al., in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal of February18, 2013. In the opinion piece, Christensen and colleagues make the argument that Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) as initially conceived won’t address several key underlying forces that keep the U.S. health care industry in stasis: Physicians’ behavior will have to change to drive cost-reduction. Clinicians will need “re-education,” the authors say, adopting evidence-based medicine and operating in lower-cost milieus. Patients’ behavior will have to change. This requires

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The interoperability of consumer mHealth – reflecting on Jawbone + Massive Health + Visere

Consumers want multiple functions on single devices, smooth transitions from one screen to another, and value-laden experiences in the post-recession economy. I wrote about this phenomenon during the week of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, highlighting Accenture’s survey on consumer attitudes toward technology — the connected home as consumer medical home. In the fast-evolving mobile health (mHealth) era, the consumer-facing suppliers are fast-responding to these customer demands. This is fostering consumer-centered interoperability in mHealth. On the health care system and professional side of health IT, getting to interoperability remains elusive and slow-going, with a customer base (hospitals, physicians) that’s not

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Formally tracking health data changes health behavior and drives social health

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

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

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

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

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

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The physician time-squeeze and burnout: just-in-time information is part of the solution

  One in two doctors is burned out. Physicians are seeing more patients in a day and spend less time with each of them. This leads to job burnout, and greater probability for medical errors and eventual liability challenges, along with feeling pushed toward early retirement. In a study published in August 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic researchers learned that physicians are more burned out than workers in any other profession. And those at greatest risk of “being on a hamster wheel,” as Dr. Jeff Cain, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians describes the scenario, are primary

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Consumers blame insurance and pharma for health costs, but love their primary care doctors

The 78% of U.S. adults with primary care physicians (think: medical homes) are very satisfied with their doctors’ visits. The main reasons for this high level of satisfaction include communication (listening, talking), customer service (caring, personable), and clinical (good diagnosis and treatment). More women than men have a primary care physician relationship, more college grads do, and more people with incomes of $75,000 a year or more do, as well. 90% of those 55 and over have a primary care doctor – a stat heavily influenced by the fact that Medicare coverage kicks in for older people. This consumer profile

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In sickness and in health: consumers expect doctors to be wellness coaches, too

4 in 5 health consumers expect doctors not only to treat them when they’re sick, but to keep them healthy. “In sickness and in health” now morphs over to the doctor-patient relationship, beyond the marriage vow. Better Health through Better Patient Communications, a survey from Varolii, finds that people are looking for health, beyond health care, from their physicians. Varolii is a customer interaction company that claims to have interacted with 1 in 3 Americans through some sort of company communication: they work with major Fortune 1000 companies, including banks, airlines, retail, and, yes, health care. They recently attracted  a

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More primary care office hours, lower health care costs

It’s become evident that more health care does not often lead to better health: Shannon Brownlee’s seminal book, Overtreated, uncovered the negative relationship between more health care and worse outcomes. However, when it comes to accessing primary care, more may be a good thing. In Extended Office Hours and Health Care Expenditures: A National Study, published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine, researchers found that offering longer office hours, into evenings and weekends, leads to lower total health care expenditures for patients than practices without extended hours. Extended hours are also associated with lower prescription drug and office visit

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Good Housekeeping features Facebook for health: health social networks go mainstream

Using social networks for health is no longer a pioneering, first-wave adoption activity: Facebook has gone mainstream in health. What’s the indicator that says we’ve hit the tipping point in consumers going Health 2,0, beyond Paging Doctor Google? A story in the July 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine titled, Miracle on Facebook. What’s powerful about this is that articles on health social networks have been largely focused in health IT trade publications, business magazines like Forbes  (focusing on sustainbale business modeels) and technology channels such as Fast Company and Wired. Looking at Good Housekeeping’s ad pages, its readership is mostly

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Why we now need primary care, everywhere

With the stunning Supreme Court 5-4 majority decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), there’s a Roberts’ Rules of (Health Reform) Order that calls for liberating primary care beyond the doctors’ office. That’s because a strategic underpinning of the ACA is akin to President Herbert Hoover’s proverbial “chicken in every pot:” for President Obama, the pronouncement is something like, “a medical home for every American.” But insurance for all doesn’t equate to access: because 32-some million U.S. health citizens buy into health insurance plans doesn’t guarantee every one of them access to a doctor. There’s a

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The Online Couch: how “safe Skyping” is changing the relationship for patients and therapists

Skype and videoconferencing have surpassed the tipping point of consumer adoption. Grandparents Skype with grandchildren living far, far away. Soldiers converse daily with families from Afghanistan and Iraq war theatres. Workers streamline telecommuting by videoconferencing with colleagues in geographically distributed offices. In the era of DIY’ing all aspects of life, more health citizens are taking to DIY’ing health — and, increasingly, looking beyond physical health for convenient access to mental and behavioral health services. The Online Couch: Mental Health Care on the Web is my latest paper for the California HealthCare Foundation. Among a range of emerging tech-enabled mental health

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Patients in emerging countries value mHealth, but sustaining mHealth behaviors is tough

Half of patients globally expect that mobile health will improve health care. These health citizens expect that mobile health will help them manage their overall health, chronic conditions, how they manage their medications and measure and share their vital health information. Welcome to the new mobile health world, a picture captured in PwC’s report, Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth, published in June 2012 and written by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Patients’ views on mHealth are bullish, and while most doctors and payors share that vision, they also expect mHealth to come into focus more slowly, recognizing the institutional, cultural and

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The pharmaceutical landscape for 2012 and beyond: balancing cost with care, and incentives for health behaviors

Transparency, data-based pharmacy decisions, incentivizing patient behavior, and outcomes-based payments will reshape the environment for marketing pharmaceutical drugs in and beyond 2012. Two reports published this week, from Express Scripts–Medco and PwC, explain these forces, which will severely challenge Pharma’s mood of market ennui. Express-Scripts Medco’s report on 9 Leading Trends in Rx Plan Management presents findings from a survey of 318 pharmacy benefit decision makers in public and private sector organizations. About one-half of the respondents represented smaller organizations with fewer than 5,000 employees; about 20% represented jumbo companies with over 25,000 workers. The survey was conducted in the

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Improving health care through Big Data: a meeting of the minds at SAS

Some 500 data analytics gurus representing the health care ecosystem including hospitals, physician practices, life science companies, academia and consulting came together on the lush campus of SAS in Cary, North Carolina, this week to discuss how Big Data could solve health care’s Triple Aim, as coined by keynote speaker Dr. Donald Berwick: improve the care experience, improve health outcomes, and reduce costs. Before Dr. Berwick, appointed as President Obama’s first head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Clayton Christensen of the Harvard Business School, godfather of the theory of disruptive innovation in business, spokee about his journey

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It’s the prices and the technology, stupid: why U.S. health costs are higher than anywhere in the world

The price of physician services, proliferation of clinical technology and the cost of obesity are the key drivers of higher health spending in the U.S., according to The Commonwealth Fund‘s latest analysis in their Issues of International Health Policy titled, Explaining High Health Care Spending in the United States: An International Comparison of Supply, Utilization, Prices, and Quality, published in May 2012. The U.S. devotes 17.4% of the national economy to health spending, amounting to about $8,000 per person. The UK devotes about 10%, Germany 11.6%, France, 11.8%, Australia 8.7%, and Japan, 8.5%. On the physician pay front, primary care

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A $132 doctor’s visit in Hanoi, Vietnam: a diagnosis, value-based health care and a new friend

$132 won’t go far in a U.S. emergency room, but in Vietnam, it gets you first class treatment, a highly-trained and empathetic French doctor, and cheap prescriptions, as well. You could call it Presidential treatment, as a certificate from the White House was proudly displayed in the lobby waiting area sent in appreciation of great care received by President George W. Bush. After arriving in Hanoi two nights ago, following three airline flights over nearly 24 hours, our daughter developed a rough cough that gave her chest pains. We gave the condition one day to improve and then spoke with

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Patient engagement and medical homes – core drivers of a high-performing health system

It was Dr. Charles Safran who said, “Patients are the most under-utilized resource in the U.S. health system,” which he testified to Congress in 2004. Seven years later, patients are still under-utilized, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Yet, “when patients have an active role in their own health care, the quality of their care, and of their care experience improves,” assert researchers from The Commonwealth Fund in their analysis of 2011 global health consumer survey data published in the April/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management. This analysis is summarized in International Perspectives on

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

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

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Superconsumers and value mining: health care’s uber-trends driving care, everywhere

There’s a shift in power in health care moving away from providers and suppliers like pharma and medical device companies, toward patients and payers. This is the new health world according to Ernst & Young‘s latest Progressions report called, The third place: health care everywhere. What’s underneath this tectonic shift is the need to bend that stubborn cost curve and address public health outcomes through behavior change. E&Y says look for new entrants, like retailers, IT companies, and telecomms, to be part of the solution beyond traditional health care stakeholders. These participants will be part of both delivery of care

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The economics of mHealth – incentives align more easily outside of U.S., but times (and incentives) are a’changing

A global analysis of mobile health (mHealth) by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for Telenor, the telecomms company, illustrates many forms of return-on-investment using mobile platforms in health: Improved quality of life for individuals and families A more educated society Lower absenteeism for employers, and Greater incomes for people. Together, these micro-benefits yield macro societal benefits such as freeing up (acute) health systems due to a lower burden of chronic care; positive impacts on people, labor participation, and productivity; and, long-term economic growth. BCG believes that, “the smartphone is the most popular technology among doctors since the stethoscope.” That phone can

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Under 10% of people manage health via mobile: a reality check on remote health monitoring from HIMSS

With mobile health consumer market projections for ranging from $7 billion to $43 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, a casual reader might think that a plethora of health citizens are tracking their health, weight, food intake, exercise, and other observations of daily living by smartphones and tablets. But as the chart shows, health self-trackers number around 1 in 20 U.S. adults, according to a survey conducted for HIMSS Analytics and sponsored by Qualcomm Life. HIMSS Analytics’ report, A New Prescription for Chronic Disease: remote monitoring devices, was published in conjunction with the annual HIMSS conference which highlights the latest health information technology

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The self-care economy: OTC medicines in the U.S. deliver value to the health system

U.S. health consumers’ purchase and use of over-the-counter medicines (OTCs) generate $102 billion worth of value to the health system every year. Half of this value accrues to employers who sponsor health insurance for their workforce; 25% goes to government payers (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid); and, 25% returns to self-insured and uninsured people. For every $1 spent on OTCs, $6.50 is saved by the U.S. health system, shown by the chart. For millions of health consumers, OTCs substitute for a visit to a doctor’s office: most cost-savings generated by OTC use are in saved costs of not visiting a clinician, as discussed

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On the road to retail health: healthcareDIY and primary care, everywhere

At the ConvUrgent Care Symposium in Orlando, attendees from the worlds of clinics, ambulatory care, hospital beds, pharmacies, medical devices, life sciences, health information, health IT, health plans, academic medical centers and professional medical societies came together to share and learn about the morphing landscape of retail health. The topline message: primary care is everywhere, and based on the response to my keynote talk this morning, every stakeholder segment gets it. My mantra, courtesy of the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin: don’t look at health in isolation, that is, where the doctor and hospital are. Health happens wherever the person

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Stop SOPA

    Health Populi’s Hot Points: Please stop censorship in the United States of America. Click on this hyperlink to easily contact your Congressional representatives and express your opinion on SOPA and PIPA – two laws that would limit basic freedom in the marketplace of ideas and commerce.

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Peoples’ decline in health information seeking related to the fall of print and educational attainment

The percentage of U.S. adults seeking health information declined from 2007 to 2010, according to the Health Tracking Household Study conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), published in November 2011. In 2007, 57% of consumers sought health information, falling to 50% in 2010, HSC found. The chart illustrates where the big drop in health information seeking occurred: in print media including books, magazines and newspapers, falling by one-half from 33% of consumers to 18%. The Internet (with 33% of consumers searching health information online) and friends and family (attracting 29% of consumers) remained relatively flat as information sources. TV/radio dropped 5.6 percentage

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Designing health technology for people at home

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

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

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

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Telemedicine is an enabler of health reform

Globally, in developed economies, the challenges of increasing health care costs, access to quality health care, aging citizens and the supply of clinicians are universal. CSC says telemedicine can address these challenges as part of reforming health care delivery and financing throughout the world. In Telemedicine: An Essential Technology for Reformed Healthcare, CSC sees telemedicine as an enabler for health reforms’ goals the world over. In the U.S., telemedicine is explicitly mentioned in the Affordable Care Act. In April 2011, the Federal Register included language about health financing reform that said, “The ACO shall define processes to promote evidence-based medicine and patient engagement, report

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

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

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The average annual health costs for a U.S. family of four approach $20,000, with employees bearing 40%

Health care costs have doubled in less than nine years for the typical American family of four covered by a preferred provider health plan (PPO). In 2011, that health cost is nearly $20,000; in 2002, it was $9,235, as measured by the 2011 Milliman Medical Index (MMI). To put this in context, The 2011 poverty level for a family of 4 in the 48 contiguous U.S. states is $22,350 The car buyer could purchase a Mini-Cooper with $20,000 The investor could invest $20K to yield $265,353 at a 9% return-on-investment. The MMI increased 7.3% between 2010 and 2011, about the same

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

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

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Are health innovation and cost-reduction mutually exclusive? Insights from West Wireless’s Health Care Innovation Day DC

Representatives from eight U.S. Federal government agencies, including the FDA and Veterans Administration, among others; health financiers (VCs, angels); health tech start-ups; providers, life science companies, and analysts, attended the Health Care Innovation Day DC sponsored by West Wireless Health Institute on April 28, 2011. The meeting had the tagline, A Discussion with the FDA, setting the stage for a day-long consideration of the role of regulation vis-a-vis health innovation. The $2.5+ trillion question (annual spending on health care in the U.S.) is: can innovation drive making health care “cheaper?” This was the underlying theme of the panel on which I sat

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Even the most wealthy, healthy U.S. citizens worry about future health access and finance

It is no surprise that sicker, poorer people in the U.S. have concerns about how they’ll access and pay for health care in the future. What stands out in the latest Commonwealth Fund Survey of Public Views of the U.S. Health System, published in an April 11, 2011, Issue Brief, is that most U.S. health citizens in the healthiest, wealthiest demographic groups worry about accessing and paying for health care in the future. The chart highlights these findings: overall, 7 in 10 people worry about not getting high-quality care when they will need it, or that they won’t be able to pay

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Drugs & Deli retail pharmacy in the Caribbean – a harbinger of things-to-come in U.S. health care?

The Family Sarasohn-Kahn is sailing on the Caribbean this week for a long-overdue winter break. Imagine my surprise and ironic delight when at our port this morning we happened onto a storefront called, “Drugs & Deli.” Inside, there’s the usual combination of barcodes that are the hallmark of convenience stores: Pringles, Gatorade, candy, gum, and since we’re on the sea, sunscreen. But there’s another product group sold here in a very retail way: prescription drugs. The décor tells the story:  while the name of the store tells the headline, the interior of the shop screams the storyline. Above our heads

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

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

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

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

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Walgreens’ Wellness Wisdom – what it means for pharmacy’s role in health

Two weeks ago at the company’s AnalystDay conference, Greg Wasson, the CEO of Walgreens, told the audience that the pharmacy chain was on a mission to “own well.” In the New York Times magazine dated November 12, 2010, an article titled Fresh Approach  talks about Walgreens work in low-income Chicago neighborhoods coupling with greengrocers to bring “food oases” to inner cities. Two weeks ago, I learned that Walgreens is teaming with Orbitz to provide travelers’ health services. Married to an international banker who travels globally, I am pleased to know he can get his esoteric inoculations in local, convenient retail mode. Walgreens’ data found that 25% of

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Another bullish forecast for mobile health

In the wake of last week’s mHealth Summit in Washington, DC, there’s yet another bullish forecast on mobile health to consider. The Promise of Mobile Health asks the tagline question: “Bigger than DTC?” Euro RSCG’s Life 4D group, published the paper in November 2010. Survey data in the report followed up its October 2009 digital health survey in September 2010 among 502 American adults. Euro RSCG rightly points out that consumers’ health needs are 24×7: “they take their healthcare needs with them.” The firm believes that the biggest barrier to wider consumer adoption of mobile health is the low penetration of “suitable mobile devices among consumers.” The report’s survey

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Broadband: part of the prescription for people with disabilities

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

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

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

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The new medical home is….at home

With peoples’ adoption of mobile phones, broadband, and apps for which they pay out-of-pocket, the new person-centered medical home is…the home. Policy wonks can wax lyrically and econometrically spin models about how to bend the health cost curve. But patients are the most under-utilized resource in the U.S. health system, as Dr. Charles Safran testified to Congress in 2004. In 2010, patients are getting more engaged as they DIY more at-home: photograph development, travel planning, stock trades, and home improvement. So health care comes home. A column written by Dr. Steven Landers of the Cleveland Clinic, featured in the October 20th 2010 issue of

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Prescription Drug Nation

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

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Participatory Health – the new Woodstock

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 9 September 2009 in Health Economics, Health engagement, medical home, Mobile health

While Congressfolk and political pundits await the President’s speech tonight about why and how to reform the health system, patients on-the-street and in-their-homes are getting on with their daily lives dealing with chronic diseases. In the U.S., 75% of health care costs annually go to ‘manage’ chronic conditions. That’s about $1.7 billion of the $2.2 billion spent on health care in 2007. Not waiting for a government agency or health plan to provide a recipe for self-care, a cadre of highly engaged health citizens have taken care into their hands and minds. “Participatory health,” David Lester of Theranos told me,

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Anytime, anywhere health: 2 new reports from CHCF

A very smart doctor told me, “there’s been a realization that the exam room is wherever the patient is.”   That simple, elegant and insightful remark was offered by Dr. Jay Sanders, one of the godfathers of telehealth. I quote him here from my report published this week by the California Health Care Foundation. It’s called Right Here Right Now: Ten Telehealth Pioneers Make It Work.   This report is coupled with another by Forrester, Delivering Care Anytime, Anywhere: Telehealth Alters the Medical Ecosystem. My colleagues at Forrester, Carlton Doty and Katie Thompson, have assembled a very current look into

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