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The Future of Retail Health in 2027

As consumers gain more financial skin in the game of paying for health care, we look for more retail-like experiences that reflect the Burger King approach to consuming: having it our way. For health are, that means access, convenience, transparency and fair costs, respect for our time, and a clear value proposition for services rendered. That doesn’t happen so much in the legacy health care system — in hospitals and doctors’ offices. It has already begun to happen in retail health settings and, especially, in the changing nature of pharmacies. Retail Health 2027, a special supplement to Drug Store News

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Samsung and Garmin Beat Fitbit in JD Power Fitness Band Match-Up

J.D. Power, the company best known for evaluating consumers’ experiences with automobiles, published its 2016 Fitness Band Device Satisfaction Report this week. The bar chart summarizes overall satisfaction with activity tracking wristbands, led by Samsung with the highest index score, followed by Garmin. Below the average index were LG, Fitbit, and Jawbone. Samsung’s top grade translates into J.D. Power’s methodology as “among the best” fitness bands, based on a 1,000 point scale. Samsung’s high ranking was earned based on particularly strong scores for customer satisfaction in comfort, reliability, and ease of use. Garmin’s customer service was also highly rated, along

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

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

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Retailers will morph into health destinations in 2016

Retailers in the U.S. are morphing into health destinations in 2016. Members of Target’s management team attended the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and shared their perspectives in the company blog. Among the Target teams observations came from the Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Jones, who observed, “A tidal wave of newness is coming to fitness technology and many companies are on the cusp of changing the game. From nutrition and sleep to how you exercise, it’s all going to be measured, linked and tracked. Wearables are here to stay and getting smarter every year.” The Senior Vice President for Hardlines,

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Retail Health Landscape Expanding Through Clinic Growth, Accenture Forecasts

The Old School retail clinic is going beyond checking your child’s ear infection and sore throat, giving immunizations and filling out back-to-school forms just-in-time over LaborDay  weekend. The new-new retail clinic is supporting patients’ chronic disease management, partnering with academic medical centers, and bolstering medication management. Accenture’s bullish forecast is titled “US Retail Health Clinics Expected to Surge by 2017,” making the case that these brick-and-mortar providers are shifting from a relatively limited retail scope to a broader and deeper clinical focus. The so-called surge in the number of retail clinics is projected to be nearly 50% growth between 2014 and 2017,

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Employers go beyond physical health in 2015, adding financial and stress management

Workplace well-being programs are going beyond physical wellness, incorporating personal stress management and financial management. Nearly one-half of employers offer these programs in 2015. Another one-third will offer stress management in the next one to three years, and another one-fourth will offer financial management to workers, according to Virgin Pulse’s 2015 survey of workplace health priorities, The Busness of Healthy Employees. The survey was published June 1st 2015, kicking off Employee Wellbeing Month, which uses the Twitter hashtag #EWM15. It takes a village to bolster population health and wellness, so Virgin Pulse is collaborating with several partners in this effort

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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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It’s a retail health world: consumers at the helm of health/care

Retail health v1.0 encompassed the pharmacy, then embraced urgent care and retail health clinics co-located in brick-and-mortar pharmacy chain stores. In v2.0, retail health encompasses all health/care, really, because people, patients and consumers are essentially self-insured up to the point when their health plan kicks in some cash. The high-deductible health plan era is ushering in the retail health era, broadly writ. Hospitals & Health Networks magazine (HHN) ran a story titled Think Like a Retailer to Engage Patients, covering founder of WEGO Health Jack Barrette‘s and my panel presentation at the 2015 HIMSS conference in Chicago last week. Writer

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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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The Affordable Care Act As New-Business Creator

While there’s little evidence that the short-term impact of the Affordable Care Act has limited job growth or driven most employers to drop health insurance plans, the ACA has spawned a “cottage industry” of health companies since 2010, according to PwC. As the ACA turned five years of age, the PwC Health Research Institute led by Ceci Connolly identified at least 90 newcos addressing opportunities inspired by the ACA: Supporting telehealth platforms between patients and providers, such as Vivre Health Educating consumers, such as the transparency provider HealthSparq does Streamlining operations to enhance efficiency, the business of Cureate among others

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Privacy and the Internet of Your Healthy Things – the FTC says less (data) is more

The FTC has weighed in on privacy and security and the Internet of Things (IoT) in a report published on 27th January 2015. When it comes to IoT and devices that connect to the internet, the FTC will focus on Enforcing privacy laws Educating consumers and business on privacy and security for connected devices Participate in multi-stakeholder groups such as the NTIA’s team considering guidelines for facial recognition, and Advocate with other agencies, at the state level, and with courts. The report summarizes input received in a FTC workshop conducted in November 2013 with IoT industry experts, and offers recommendations

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Building the health ecosystem: new bedfellows coming together

2015 is already becoming a year where bedfellows of different stripes are joining together to build a health care ecosystem well beyond hospitals, doctors and health plans. Announcements launched last week at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and coming out this week at the J.P. Morgan Conference in San Francisco, the first two weeks of 2015 reveal that new entrants and legacy health stakeholders are crossing corporate and cultural chasms to (try and) solve challenges that prevent us from getting to that Holy Grail of The Triple Aim: improving health care outcomes, driving down per capita costs,

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More from the 2015 CES – Shelly Palmer’s 3 Laws of the Digital World and What They Mean for Health Care

Three laws that shape the digital world have kicked into high gear, changing our lives in ways we cannot yet imagine. Those three forces are Metcalfe’s Law (in brief, the increasing value of networks), Moore’s Law (that processing power doubles every 18 months, or even faster), and the Law of Accelerating Returns (the fast pace of technological change). The guy who told me about that at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2015) was Shelly Palmer, something of a Renaissance Man in the evolving digital world, advising communications companies, composing music, patenting TV technology, investing in ventures, hosting shows on digital living,

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

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

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Trend-weaving the 2015 health care trends

‘Tis the season for annual health trendcasting, which is part of my own business model. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite trend reports for health care in the new year, with my Hot Points in the conclusion, below, summarizing the most salient trends among them. TechCrunch’s Top 5 Healthcare Predictions for 2015: In this succinct forecast, Walmart grows its presence as a health plan, startups get more pharm-funding, hospitals channel peer-to-peer lending, Latinos emerge as a “most-desired” health care segment, and Amazon disrupts the medical supply chain. Experian 2015 Data Breach Forecast: Healthcare security breaches will be

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Health care as a retail business

The health care industry is undergoing a retail transformation, according to Retail Reigns in Health Care: The rise of consumer power and its organization & workforce implications from Deloitte. Deloitte’s report published in October 2014 focuses on the health insurance business, which is newly-dealing with uninsured people largely unfamiliar with how to evaluate health plan options. This by any definition requires new muscles for both buyers and sellers on a health insurance exchange: new product access + uninformed consumer = retail challenge. Deloitte notes another supply and demand challenge, and that’s with the health insurance company workforce: while 93% of health

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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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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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Blurred lines: health, pharmacy, food and care

In the past few weeks, several events bolster the reality that health and health care are in Blurred Lines mode. Not Robin Thicke Blurred Lines, mind you, but the Venn Diagram overlapping kind. Walmart launched real primary care clinics in South Carolina and Texas. These will provide services beyond urgent care, charging $4 a visit for company employees and $40 a visit for other people The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a report promoting “nudges” to grocery shoppers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) to buy healthy foods Apple is talking with Cleveland Clinic, Johnson Hopkins, and Mount Sinai Medical

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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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Hyperconnected Healthcare – The Need for Cyber-Resilience

The growth of data, small and Big, in health care motivates the industry’s stakeholders to adopt technologies that help store, manage and analyze data to drive knowledge and, ultimately, individual and public health. Healthcare is embracing cloud technology, mobile platforms, social networks, e-commerce, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), among a growing list of tech innovations. Each of these innovations, which enable productivity and economic growth, also present cybersecurity risks. The value of these risks is estimated to be as much as $3 trillion to the global economy, according to McKinsey’s calculations in the report Risk and Responsibility in

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

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

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World No Tobacco Day v2014 – let’s raise (more) taxes on tobacco

Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day. The use of tobacco is one of the most preventable public health issues on the planet. And the global tobacco epidemic contributed to 100 million deaths around the world in the 20th century. 6 million people die every year due to tobacco use — including 600,000 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke. About 500 million people living today will be dead from the use of tobacco products if current smoking habits continue, the World Health Organization (WHO) expects. WHO sponsors the World No Tobacco Day every year on May 31. For this year’s

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The Season of Healthcare Transparency – Consumer Payments and Tools, Part 4

“The surge in HDHP enrollment is causing patients to become consumers of healthcare,” begins a report documenting the rise of patients making more payments to health providers. Patients’ payments to providers have increased 72% since 2011. And, 78% of providers mail paper statements to patients to collect what they’re owed. “HDHPs” are high-deductible health plans, the growing thing in health insurance for consumers now faced with paying for health care first out-of-pocket before their health plan coverage kicks in. And those health consumers’ expectations for convenience in payment methods is causing dissatisfaction, negatively affecting these individuals and their health providers’

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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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The new health economy, starring the consumer

“In the New Health Economy, ‘patients’ will be ‘consumers’ first, with both the freedom and responsibility that come with making more decisions and spending their own money.”  This vision of the near-future is brought to you by the New Health Economy, a report from PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). The chart attests the fact that U.S. “consumers” are already spending nearly $3 trillion (with a capital “T”) on products and services that bolster personal health. This spending includes $94 billion on nutrition, $62 billion on weight loss, $59 billion on sporting goods and apparel, $45 billion on (so-called) organic and

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Zero kilometers and the future of food

I have seen the future of food and it is in Italy at a grocery chain called Conad, which launched a locavore-focused brand called Sapori & Dintorni. Here in Florence, Italy, where I’m spending a week’s holiday with my family, we stay in an apartment in the Oltrarno – just south of the Arno River, up a short hill from the southern tip of the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge known for its gold and silver jewelry. But the real gem in this neighborhood is that grocery store, whose Sapori & Dintorni label represents food sourced from Italy’s great food

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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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Managing cost and utilization are top goals for specialty pharmacy buyers

While the prescription drug bill makes up about 10% of U.S. national health spending, the fastest-growing component of pharmacy spending is specialty medications. These are categorized as “specialty” drugs because they rarely have generic equivalents, and treat serious or life-threatening diseases (such as cancer, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis). They are also “special” because specialty pharmaceuticals average $3,000 per patient per month and can surpass $100,000 a year for certain products. As a result, the top two goals for managing specialty medications among employers are #1, to reduce inappropriate utilization, and #2, to reduce drug acquisition costs, based on a survey

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Pharma and the health industry: when will they finally meet us Where We Live?

Millions of health citizens, consumers, patients and caregivers flock to Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia every day the world over to seek health information, advocate for patients’ access to a cancer therapy on a health blog, engage in peer-to-peer health care in a social network, and bolster each others’ management of chronic medical conditions in a chat community. Yet the pharmaceutical and medical device industries rank well behind other industries vis-à-vis the use of social media, asserts Engaging patients through social media, with the punchline question: is healthcare ready for empowered and digitally demanding patients? from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, published on

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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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Supermarkets and hospitals most-trusted industries in the U.S.

  See the yellow highlighted rows? That single yellow bar at the top, that’s hospitals; at the bottom, you’ll see pharma, health insurance, and managed care. Hospitals, trusted; pharma, insurance, managed care? Down south on the trust barometer with oil, tobacco, phone companies and social media. The Harris Poll has gauged U.S. consumers’ views on honesty and trustworthiness across industries for the past ten years. Over those ten years, trust in these industries has eroded, from huge falls-from-grace for banks (a 17 point fall), packaged food (falling 12 points), and computer hardware and software substantially falling, as well. Hospitals are

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A certain forecast: health consumers will be more cost-squeezed in 2014 for Rx and insurance

Gird your wallets, U.S. consumers: watch the dollars flow out-of-pocket for prescription drugs in 2014, as predicted by the 2013-2014 Prescription Drug Benefit Cost and Plan Design Report published by the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) this week. Constraints covering most plan members are: Step therapy Prior authorization (to get approvals to fill high-cost drugs, notably growth hormones, injectables, controlled substances, Retin-A, and medications for sleep disorders, and Compulsory 90 day refills at retail (90-day dispensing for chronic meds). This Report, sponsored by Takeda, is the gold standard of drug benefit trends, having been published since 1995. Average 30-day copayments

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Investing in technology that lowers health costs – the growing role of mobile

At the Venture+ Forum at the 2013 Mobile Health Summit yesterday, Lisa Suennen, Managing Director of Psilos Ventures was asked what she and her venture capital fund look for in choosing new investments for their health care portfolio. She succinctly said, “technologies that lower costs.” With nearly $1 in $5 of the U.S. economy attributable to health spending, Lisa’s got a point. Technology in U.S. health care has been mostly additive and expense-inducing, not reducing: fax machines and printers, for example, continue to proliferate in health care settings as part of “networking,” and once you add a new clinical technology

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When health care costs are a side effect

4 in 5 U.S. patients – 81% of them – want an equal say in health care decisions with their care provider, according to a 2013 Institute of Medicine study. At the same time, patients choose to take “drug holidays,” opting out of taking three or more doses of medicines in a row, or adopt “trail mix” approaches to taking prescriptions, casually and inappropriately mixing Rx drugs. Welcome to your world, pharma industry: where people say they want control, but somehow don’t exercise it in the way you — drug companies — define as “compliance” or “adherence.” Customer experience in

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Innovating and thriving in value-based health – collaboration required

In health care, when money is tight, labor inputs like nurses and doctors stretched, and patients wanting to be treated like beloved Amazon consumers, what do you do? Why, innovate and thrive. This audacious Holy Grail was the topic for a panel II moderated today at the Connected Health Symposium, sponsored by Partners Heathcare, the Boston health system that includes Harvard’s hospitals and other blue chip health providers around the region. My panelists were 3 health ecosystem players who were not your typical discussants at this sort of meeting: none wore bow ties, and all were very entrepreneurial: Jeremy Delinsky

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Consumers trust and welcome health and insurance providers to go DTC with communications

Consumers embrace ongoing dialog with the companies they do business with, Varolii Corporation toplines in a survey report, What Do Customers Want? A Growing Appetite for Customer Communications. Across all vertical industries consumers trust for this dialogue, health care organizations – specifically doctors, pharmacists, and insurance companies – are the most trusted. Examples of “welcome-comms” would be reminders about upcoming appointments or vaccinations (among 69% of people), notices to reorder or pick up a prescription (57%), and messages encouraging scheduling an appointment (39%). In banking, notices about fraudulent activity on one’s account is the most welcomed message beating out appointment

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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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For Medtech, Design is the New Plastics (advice to The Graduate)

Return on innovation in medical technology is on the decline. Med tech needed a GPS for its role in the health ecosystem, and lost its way as it focused on a few wrong priorities. In a $349 billion market, there has been much to lose…and will be to gain. The new world for medical technology and how the industry can turn around is the subject of P2C’s report, Medtech companies prepare for an innovation makeover, published in October 2013 by the PwC Health Research Institute (HRI). The problem has been an addiction to incremental improvements on existing products: think about the analog in

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Health care and survey taking at the Big Box Store

Where can you shop the health and beauty aisles, pick up some groceries and a prescription, get a flu vaccine, and weigh in on Obamacare and what digital health tools you like? Why, at one of several thousand retail stores where you can find a SoloHealth kiosk. As of yesterday afternoon, over 32 million encounters were recorded on SoloHealth kiosks, based on an app I saw on the company CEO Bart Foster’s smartphone. Kiosks are locatted around the United States in retailers including Walmart and Sam’s Clubs, along with major grocery chains like Schnuck’s and Publix, and the CVS pharmacy

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

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

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Eat fruits and vegetables: it’s worth $11 trillion to you and the U.S. economy

More than 127,000 people die every year in America from cardiovascular disease, accruing $17 billion in medical spending. Heart disease is a “costly killer,” according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, who has calculated The $11 trillion reward: how simple dietary changes can save lives and money, and how we get there, published in August 2013. That $11 trillion opportunity is equal to the present value of lives saved. The solution to bolstering heart (and overall health) and saving money (medical spending and personal productivity) is in food. We’re not talking about genetically engineering anything special or out-of-the-ordinary. We are talking

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The health care automat – Help Yourself to healthcare via online marketplaces

Imagine walking into a storefront where you can shop for an arthroscopy procedure, mammogram, or appointment with a primary care doctor based on price, availability, quality, and other consumers’ opinions? Welcome to the “health care automat,” the online healthcare marketplace. This is a separate concept from the new Health Insurance Marketplace, or Exchange. This emerging way to shop for and access health care services is explored in my latest paper for the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), Help Yourself: The Rise of Online Healthcare Marketplaces. What’s driving this new wrinkle in retail health care are: U.S. health citizens morphing into consumers,

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The emerging economy for consumer health and wellness

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

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Marketing Digital Health to Mom 2.0 on Mother’s Day 2013

Mainstream media, both print and online, peppered their 2013 Mother’s Day gift suggestions including pod coffeemakers, bangle bracelets, candy-colored accessories and digital health devices. Say, what? In Parade magazine, Mother’s Day 2013 gift ideas included the Fitbit “smart pedometer,” linked to a “buy” site at REI. You can’t get much more mainstream than Parade. In Entertainment Weekly, Bronwyn Barnes, style maven for the magazine, wrote a one-page “Get Ready for Mom 2.0” and her recommendations included the Pebble Smartwatch, the Jawbone Up wristband, and the HoodieBuddie with earbuds built into the drawstrings. Men’s Health told sons and husbands to check

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Dietitians provide a health bridge between food and pharmacy

The registered dietitian is an in-demand labor resource for grocery stores around the U.S. Advertising Age covered the phenomenon of the growing clout of dietitians in food chains (April 14, 2013). Let’s dig further into this phenomenon through the Health Populi lens on healthcareDIY and peoples’ ability to bend their personal health care cost curves. Stores such as Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Safeway and Wegmans are morphing into wellness destinations, with pharmacies and natural food aisles taking up valuable square footage to meet consumers’ growing demands for healthy choices. Some stores are formalizing their approach to food = health by formulating a

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1 in 5 US consumers asks a doctor for a lower-cost Rx

  With U.S. health consumers spending $45 billion out-of-pocket for prescription drugs in 2011, pharmaceutical products are morphing into retail health products. As such, as they do with any other consumer good, consumers can vote with their feet by walking away from a product purchase or making the spend based on the price of the product and its attributes, along with whether there are substitutes available in the marketplace. When it comes to prescription drugs, it’s not as clear-cut, according to the Centers for Disease Control‘s analysis of data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey titled Strategies Used by

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The value of big data in health care = $450 billion

  Exploiting Big Data in industry is Big News these days, and nowhere is the potential for leveraging the concept greater than in health care. McKinsey & Company estimates that harnessing big data across five dimensions of health care could yield nearly one-half trillion dollars’ worth of value in The ‘big data’ revolution in healthcare. The chart summarizes McKinsey’s calculations on the value of Big Data in health care at its maximum. Before digging into the value potential, just what is Big Data in health care? Statistics and information are generated in the health care system about patients: say, during visits

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

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

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Lower calories are good business

The restaurant chain business employs 10% of U.S. workers and accounts for $660 bn worth of the national economy. Where restaurant chains are growing fastest is in serving up lower-calorie meals, and it’s been a boon to the bottom-line. The case for lower calories leading to better business is made in Lower-Calorie Foods: It’s Just Good Business from the Hudson Institute‘s Obesity Solutions Initiative, published February 2013. In the report, researchers analyzed nitty-gritty restaurant chain data on servings and traffic from 2006-2011 to sort out whether sales of so-called lower-calorie menu items in 21 chains led to improved business. The chains

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The flu shot economy

4 in 10 Americans got flu shots in this epidemic season, and most of these didn’t receive their immunization in their doctor’s office. The Flu Vaccination Survey from Ipsos Public Affairs, conducted in January 2013, paints a picture of U.S. health consumers who are project managing their personal approaches to preventing the flu in this historically hard-hitting flu season. The most expressed demand for flu shots has been among people 55 and over, one-half of whom have received vaccinations, with the lowest use been in the 25-35 year age group. Geographically, the most covered health citizens live in New England

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Aetna and Costco – the broker is ‘us’

Costco and Aetna announced that the Big Box retailer would expand its marketing of Aetna health insurance policies to card-carrying members in California. Costco has already been selling health insurance through stores in Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Later in 2013, Aetna plans will be available in Costco stores in other state markets. BTW, Costco operates stores in 42 U.S. states (as well as Canada, the UK, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, and Mexico). All together, the company serves 37 million households. The Costco Personal Health Insurance Program offers five plans, a network of health providers, and

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Call them hidden, direct or discretionary, health care costs are a growing burden on U.S. consumers

Estimates on health spending in the U.S. are under-valued, according to The hidden costs of U.S. health care: Consumer discretionary health care spending, an analysis by Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions. Health spending in the U.S. is aggregated in the National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA), assembled by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In 2010, the NHEA calculated that $2.6 trillion were spent on health care based on the categories they “count” for health spending. These line items include: Hospital care Professional services (doctors, ambulatory care, lab services) Dental services Residential

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Nurses, pharmacists and doctors rank top in honesty, says Gallup poll

  Nurses, pharmacists and doctors rank tops with Americans when it comes to honesty and ethics. Most people also rate engineers, dentists, police officers, clergy and college teachers as high on honesty metrics. Lawmakers (THINK: Congress) and car salesman fall to the bottom of the honesty-and-trust roster, who only 1 in 10 Americans believe act with honesty and integrity. Other low-ranking professions on this list are HMO managers, stockbrokers, and folks in the advertising business. Welcome to this year’s Gallup Poll on consumers’ perceptions of honesty and ethics in 22 professions in the U.S. Gallup measures six health care professions

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Prescription brand drug prices grew 6x the rate of inflation in past year

Consumer price inflation grew 2% between September 2011 and September 2011. The price of branded drugs increased over 13% in the same period according to the Express Scripts 2012 Q3 Drug Trend Quarterly report, issued in November 2012. But the overall trend, including generics, was flat — 0.1%. This, due to the use of generics, now comprising 80% of prescription drug utilization. Since 2008, the brand prescription price index grew from a base of 100 to 163; the generic index fell from 100 to 61. The CPI index grew from the 100 base to 110. Generics have proven to be a

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Food and health update: candy at the cash register and farmers markets in supermarkets

Grocery stores are incorporating farmers market-like shelves into produce departments, offering shoppers locally grown fruits and vegetables. Kraft Foods is reinventing itself as a health brand, with   Consumers are shifting away from white starchy breakfast foods toward beans and greens. These are a few of the food-meets-health trends from the past quarter that reflect how American health citizens are incorporating new food habits into overall health behaviors. Let’s begin with the October 11, 2012, issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, which focuses on obesity, food, and health policy. Along with an excellent overview of Obama v. Romney

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Free statins at the grocery: retail health update

I spotted this sign yesterday at my local Wegmans, the family-owned grocery chain founded in upstate NY and growing down the northeast corridor of the U.S. Many months ago, a similar sign promoted “free antibiotics” at the store. What does a grocery chain’s pharmacy doling out “Free” [asterisked] generic Lipitor mean to the larger health ecosystem? On the upside, health is where we live, work, play and pray, as Dr. Regina Benjamin, the Surgeon General, has said. This has become a mantra for us at THINK-Health, and regular Health Populi readers may be tiring of my repeated use of this

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Right-sizing food and healthcare

In our fast-texting, quick-thinking, Blink-ing society, Jason Riis talks about slowing down our relationship with food. At the Edelman Wellness Ignited meet-up on March 26, 2012, Jason riffed on food  intervention and economics for healthy eating. Jason is a professor at Harvard Business School and among his many research interests is how to change culture to morph away from obesity and Type 2 diabetes toward health. The U.S. is a shopping nation: retail is destination, fun, entertaining, life, for millions of Americans. Jason’s asking what retailers can do about fast and food. This isn’t only about ‘fast food,’ which, of course,

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

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

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Happy birthday, dear Watson: what the 1st anniversary means for health care today, and in future

IBM is celebrating the first birthday of Watson this week. I had the opportunity to brainstorm some of the short- and long-term meanings of Watson in health care this week at HIMSS 2012 in Las Vegas. When most people think of Watson, an image of the Jeopardy! game featuring the technology versus the legendary player Ken Jennings comes to mind. However, Watson has the potential to play a transformational role in health care, globally – for population health, and for the patient N=1. Watson is a supercomputer’s supercomputer: underneath the formidable hood are dozens of programs that enable Watson to

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Moving from operational efficiency to personalized healthcare value – IBM on redefining success in healthcare

A health system that’s built to last: this is the latest sound-bite echoing through health policy circles. The theme of sustainability is permeating all matters of policy, from education and business to health care. Enter IBM, with a rigorous approach to Redefining Value and Success in Healthcare: Charting the path to the future, from the group’s Healthcare and Life Sciences thinkers. What’s inspiring about this report is the team’s integrative thinking, bridging the relationship between operational effectiveness built on a robust information infrastructure that enables team-based care (the “collaboration” aspect in the middle of the pyramid), which then drive personalized healthcare

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Primary care, everywhere: how the shortage of PCPs is driving innovation – especially for patient participation in their own care

The signs of the primary care crisis in America are visible: A growing number of visits to the emergency room for treating commonplace ailments Waiting lists for signing up with and queuing lines to see primary care doctors Fewer med students entering primary care disciplines Maldistribution of primary care practitioners (PCPs) in underserved areas, rural, exurban and urban. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act will (try to) enroll at least 30 million newly-insured health citizens into the U.S. health system. That’s the objective: whether being insured will actually provide people access to needed primary care is a big question given the current supply of

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Prescription drug spend in 2012: moving from “educating” patients to empowering them

The growth in prescription drug costs covered by employers and Rx plan sponsors are driving them to adopt a long list of utilization management and price-tiering strategies looking to 2012, according to the 2011-2012 Prescription Drug Benefit Cost and Plan Design Report, sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The average drug trend for 2011 — that is, the average annual percentage increase in drug cost spending — was 5.5%, 1.5 percentage points greater than general price inflation of about 4%. The generic fill rate was 73% of prescription drugs purchased at retail. While drug price inflation is expected to increase in 2012, plan

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Botox over preventive health: health consumers have spoken, delaying diagnoses

Americans are opting for Botox and cosmetic procedures more than colonoscopies and cancer tests, according to a story in Reuters. This trend makes companies like Allergan, makers of Botox and the Lap-Band for gastric surgery, very happy indeed. Plastics and gastric bypass surgeries are back up to pre-recession levels as of 2Q11. However, for companies and providers in other segments of the health care and surgery value-chain, prospects for bounceback in 2011 aren’t as promising. Various indices on consumers’ health care sentiment — such as the Thomson-Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index and the EBRI Health Confidence Survey, show U.S. consumers’ perceptions of their ability to

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Brand “Health:” where is it in the Top 100 most valuable brands?

Apple has supplanted Google as the world’s #1 most valuable brand, worth more brand-wise than Microsoft and Coca-Cola combined (#5 and #6). the other most valuable global brands are IBM, McDonalds, AT&T, Marlboro, China Mobile, and GE. Technology brands have significantly grown in value with consumers allocating more personal disposable income to products like tablet computers and smartphones, even in the face of recessionary economics the world over. Technology companies are now 1/3 of the top 100 brands. Millward Brown, the brand consultancy that is part of WPP, the global communications firm, has conducted the BrandZ top 100 most valuable

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ePrescribing continues to challenge physicians – but can be a link for patient engagement

  About 1.3 million people in the U.S. experience a medication error each year, which are preventable events that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or harm a patient, any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Two very common causes of medication errors are illegible handwriting by prescribers and misplaced decimal points on prescription forms. Twenty percent of adverse drug events lead to life-threatening circumstances, according to The Leapfrog Group.  The costs of medication errors has been

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The patent cliff coupled with value-based health purchasing makes for declining branded pharma market in the U.S.

Two mega-trends are driving down branded pharmaceutical sales in the U.S.: switches from branded to generic prescription drug products for major chronic conditions; and, the lack of new-new branded Rx products that (could) command higher prices. A down-market picture emerges from The Use of Medicines in the United States: Review of 2010, based on market data analyzed by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics (IMS). While U.S. market growth for pharma overall ranges from 3% to 5%, IMS says, protected Rx brands were negatively impacted through the switch to cheaper generic substitutes. Generics now comprise 78% of pharma market share. The key sentence

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Physicians in the U.S. are becoming health economists

Doctors practicing in the U.S. are becoming increasingly conscious of the increasing costs of health care. Most consider themselves cost-conscious, and are considering the impact of their practice patterns — in terms of prescribing medicines, tests, and procedures — on the nation’s health bill. In fact, most physicians feel they have a responsibility to bring down health costs. This perspective on physicians comes from the survey report, The new cost-conscious doctor: Changing America’s healthcare landscape, from Bain & Company, published in March 2011. Bain spoke with over 300 U.S. physicians to assess their perspectives on managing costs, drug and device usage, and

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Independent drugstores — facing tough health and retail economics — are still beloved by consumers

In the pharmacy market battle between Davids and the Goliath, David wins in the latest Consumer Reports survey on best drugstores according to consumers: independent pharmacies come out on top, and Walmart ranks last on the roster. The most highly-rated chains, highly indexed at 90 or more points, Health-Mart, The Medicine Shoppe, Bi-Mart, Publix, Hy-Vee, and Wegmans. Target, which was just ranked the #1 retailer in brand equity by the Harris Poll (where Target also beats Walmart in general retailing brand equity), ranked lower with an 88: much higher than Walmart with a 78 index, but below Walmart’s Sam’s Club and several grocery

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Will people see Health when they see Walmart?

“Can Walmart Make America Eat Healthier?” asks The Week. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and #1 company on the Fortune 500 list, has come out in favor of bolstering health in the food it sells through its 800+ discount stores, 2,700 supercenters, 158 neighborhood markets, and nearly 600 Sam’s Clubs in the U.S. The Financial Times today reported that the company’s plan won the compliments of First Lady Michelle Obama, who is a proponent of healthy and local foods and was present at Walmart’s announcement. The company’s stock price is up over a dollar today, probably based on this news and

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Med simple: how simplifying drug labels can bolster health literacy

If you don’t speak French and/or have aging eyesight, you might not understand the label on the medicine in the photo. When someone doesn’t understand the label placed on their prescription drug, they’re in a compromising position: this lowers health literacy and potentially endangers peoples’ health. As I monitor the tweets from today’s meeting of the Business Development Institute’s (BDI) Mobile Healthcare Communications conference, covering statistics and case studies about who’s using smartphones for accessing health information and how pharmaceutical companies can bolster adherence by developing mobile health apps, I’m struck by an important story in the health news that won’t get much coverage because it’s not about

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An Rx for improving health care: lessons from Target

Target, fondly known as “Tar-zhay“ in my home, won the Design of the Decade award from the Industrial Designers Society of America for the innovation called ClearRx — a pill bottle. While a pill bottle might seem to be a commoditized sort of item, this bottle was designed to prevent medication mistakes committed by patients who take maintenance medications for chronic conditions. The National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) defines medication errors as preventable events that can cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in hands of patients or providers. The Institute of Medicine estimated that

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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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The hot trigger of Rx price at the point-of-prescribing

Medical drug benefits meet doctors and their patients via mobile platforms: that’s the prescription for a retail health care experience with the consumer’s checkbook in mind, brought to you by Walgreens pharmacy and Epocrates, the #1 most widely-used mobile drug information source among U.S. physicians. In this offering, Walgreens will channel its discount formulary information through Epocrates’s mobile application. About 300,000 U.S. physicians use the Epocrates drug database for prescription information. These users will be able to use Epocrates to check a Walgreen PSC member’s formulary profile against the prescription drugs the doctor is considering. At that point-of-prescription, the doctor can have a conversation with

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What prescription drug plans and health reform mean for personalized medicine

Prescription drug formularies are getting more complex to drive cost-savings as well as promote adherence to drug regimens, as told by the data in the 2010-2011 Prescription Drug Benefit Cost and Plan Design Report, sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals NA. The average rate of drug cost increases is 6.3%, compared to 4.4% in the 2009-2010 survey — the lowest rate of increase since this survey was launched. A key part of the story of the new value-based benefit design is told by the co-payment differentials for Rx drugs, shown in the chart. Health consumers who have three-tiered prescription drug insurance face an

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Another source of health care price/waste: the group purchasing organization?

Contrary to popular health economic wisdom, the group purchasing organization (GPO) raises costs for its constituents — hospitals — according to a study by two respected economists, Robert Litan and Hal Singer. Do Group Purchasing Organizations Achieve the Best Prices for Member Hospitals? An Empirical Analysis of Aftermarket Transactions found that hospitals could have saved, on average, 10 percent between 2001 through 2010 when they purchased medical devices aftermarket, when GPOs supposedly negotiated the best price; and, in 2010, the savings for hospitals was as much as 18 percent for purchases. The researchers analyzed 8,100 transactions from the MEMdata database. The authors recommend changing the incentive-payment

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Health is a growing business for Nestlé

Their website now talks about it being the “Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company.” Most of us still think of it as the biggest food company in the world. It’s spending one-half billion dollars to expand in health. Nestlé, which brings baby food, bottled water, bars of chocolate and breakfast cereal to kitchen tables is now bringing us Health. The new group will be known as Nestlé Health Science. The company’s existing health business is already valued at about $1.6 billion.  “The combination of health economics, changing demographics and advances in health science show that our existing health care systems, which focus on treating

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Service First, But Cost Increasingly Drives Consumers’ Pharmacy Satisfaction

Cost-competitiveness is driving overall consumer satisfaction with pharmacies in 2010, 2.5 times the importance that cost had in 2009. But even so, customer service and convenience still trump price in the pharmacy. For brick-and-mortar pharmacies, the key factors driving consumer satisfaction are: Prescription order and pick-up process (convenience) The condition of the store Cost competitiveness Non-pharmacist staff The pharmacist. In 2010, cost competitiveness accounts for 24% of overall satisfaction among brick-and-mortar Rx shoppers; that number was 9% in 2009. The retail pharmacy chains garnering highest satisfaction nationally are the Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart, and The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, all awarded

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That’s Dr. Geek Squad to you

Best Buy is teaming up with Cardiac Science, targeting potential purchasers of electronic health records (EHRs) and noninvasive cardiac devices. The venture looks to take advantage of economic stimulus funding available through the HITECH Act aimed at motivating physicians to adopt EHRs. Cardiac Science is a medical device company focused on the noninvasive management of heart disease. Their products include defibrillators, ECG/EKG devices, stress testing equipment, Holter and vital sign monitors. These heart-hardware products are designed to connect with electronic health records systems in hospitals and physician offices. and are used in many settings outside of health institutions including schools, emergency

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Caveat emptor for consumers buying medicine

Two weeks ago, I bought a package containing 100 caplets of Tylenol PM caplets from my grocery store’s pharmacy aisle. I checked the lot number marked on the box against the list on the McNeil consumer healthcare website, and my lot appears to be fine. Today, Avandia, the prescription drug that treats diabetes, hit the headlines of the world’s major newspapers: Avandia Panel Hints At Doubts of Credibility, says the New York Times Avandia Hearings To Reveal True Dangers of Popular Drug, according to FOXNews GlaxoSmithKline Hid Negative Avandia Data: Lawmakers, reads ABC News Glaxo to Pay $460 million in Avandia Settlement, notes Reuters. And there’s also

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Health plans are in a service business: it’s not only about costs and benefit design for employers

J.D. Power, an expert in understanding satisfaction across industries, has looked under the hood of employers and their satisfaction with health plans. In summary: it’s not only about the benefits and costs when it comes to health plan satisfaction. For employers, satisfaction is also based on near-equal parts of “service” in 3 guises: account servicing from the employer’s point of view (where more communication from the plan is seen as better than less); employee plan service experiences; and problem resolution. For the 4 in 5 employers who have had problems with health plans (that’s 79% of employers), it’s less about costs and

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The health supply chain will move closer to the patient

People responsible for managing the health care industry supply chain have always been concerned about regulations and compliance requirements that can negatively impact their ability to manage the materials, technologies, goods and services they need to fulfill their organizations’ medical missions and businesses. Now “health reform” joins regulation as a pain point in the supply chain. UPS, the logistics and transport company, has surveyed executives from pharma, biotech, medical and surgical device companies, to ascertain their current perspectives on the health care supply chain. The results of this study are in the report, UPS 2010 Pain in the (Supply) Chain

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The pharmacy as health hub – what the Rite Aid/American Well alliance means

As Rite Aid partners up with American Well, here’s another example of the further retail-ization of health in the U.S. The subtext of this arrangement is the fact that the pharmacy is a touch-point for health consumers who seek trust, convenience, access, and an understandable market channel for health. Rite Aid will be the first pharmacy to test the American Well service that enables patients to interact online with providers. In this program, consumers will interact live online via Internet or phone with Rite Aid pharmacies from both their homes and private consultation rooms at select Rite Aid pharmacies. The consults will

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Personalized medicine: the consumer lens

Health care delivered in today’s model can be thought of as a mass market product. There’s not much customization, even though to each of us, our health is extremely personal to us.   Welcome to the emerging era of personalized medicine: “the right treatment for the right person at the right time.” This is just-in-time, customized, measure-twice-cut-once care bespoke for the individual.   Read more about this transformational market in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report, The new science of personalized medicine: Translating the promise into practice.   Personalized medicine includes several segments: Personalized medical care, such as telemedicine, health information technology and disease

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$16,771 is the cost of health care for a family of four in 2009

$16,771 is roughly the cost of health care for an American family of four in 2009, according to the Milliman Medical Index. If the median family income in 2008 was about $67,000, then health care costs represent about 25% of the annual household paycheck (remember, that’s gross, not net, income). As the chart illustrates, 1 in 3 health care dollars goes to physicians, with another third paid to inpatient services. Outpatient services and prescription drugs consume 15-17 cents on the health dollar in 2009. The greatest increase in cost trends in 2008-9 is with hospital outpatient services, which grew more

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Demand for health products and services is down in the recession; thinking about value and self-care in health

What is value in health care? Every year we spend more and seem to get less, John Seng, Founder of Spectrum, told attendees of a webinar on the Spectrum Health Value Study on 12th May 2009. As we consumers spend more of our own money, we’ll be looking for greater value and “health ROI” from our health spending. Measuring value across a population is confounded by the fact that what one person decides to spend on ‘health’ can be different from another’s health spending choices. In other words, our personal health “marketbaskets” for health spending vary from person to person.

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Generic drugs have saved $734 billion to US health system over 10 years

The Hatch-Waxman Act passed in 1984 to hasten the introduction of generic competition into the pharmaceutical market. According to an analysis from IMS Health, $734 billion have been saved in the past 10 years through the use of generic pharmaceuticals.   $121 billion was saved in 2008 alone, based on the IMS data, published in the report, Economic Analysis of Generic Pharmaceuticals 1999-2008.   The long name of the Hatch-Waxman Act is the “Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984.” The law has indeed brought drug price competition into the prescription drug market — which was anticipated

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Cost increases for drugs most-used by older Americans are higher than inflation

For a consumer who’s enrolled in Medicare and takes three brand name prescription drugs on a chronic basis, the average increase in the cost of the medications used to treat those conditions increased by nearly $2,100 between 2002 and 2008. Between 2007 and 2008, the average increase in drug price over 3 therapies was $556. These findings, and other details describing price increases for 211 prescription drugs int he “Medicare Rx market basket,” are found in the AARP’s latest Rx Watchdog Report: Trends in Prices of Prescription Drugs Used by Medicare Beneficiaries. AARP began the series of drug price Watchdog

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Can Wal-Mart Mass Merchandise Electronic Health Records?

“We believe America can have high quality, affordable and accessible health care by 2012.” Who said that? If you guessed President Obama, Senator Edward Kennedy, or Hillary Clinton, you’re wrong. It’s Wal-Mart, on its Health and Wellness webpage. Wal-Mart’s got a new direct-to-physician strategy: selling electronic health records (EHRs). The world’s largest retailer, #1 on the Fortune 100, expands on the company’s experience with retail health clinics. The chain now has 30 clinics sprinkled throughout the south, and in each clinic, there’s an EHR system. The EHRs will be offered through Wal-Mart’s subsidiary, Sam’s Club, jointly with Dell and eClinicalWorks,

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How to find $150 billion for health care: get rid of paper

Paper, Benjamin, Paper. The lowest-hanging fruit opportunity in reforming health care today is paper. Getting rid of it, that is. In their Recommndations to the Obama Administration and 111th Congress, Ingenix says that, “Administrative cost savings are win-win propositions, benefiting all stakeholders.” Health Populi’s Hot Points: As Congress continues to wrestle with what $20 billion can do for electronic medical data in the U.S., addressing administrative waste is in health is an opportunity to mine some found money which won’t require a 10-year wait for an ROI. The point here is to move toward administrative efficiency in parallel with migrating

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Americans’ demand for generic drugs is up

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 27 January 2009 in Bio/life sciences, Health Economics, Pharmaceutical, Supply chain

4 in 5 Americans would choose generic drugs over brand name drugs, according to The Harris Poll conducted among American adults in December 2008. In Substantial Increase in Public Preference for Generic over Brand Name Drugs, Harris found that the proportion of people who would more often pick branded drugs fell by nearly one-half, from 32% in October 2006 to 19% in December 2008. The 93% of Americans who bought prescription drugs in 2008 increased purchases at discount stores like Wal-Mart, Target and Sam’s Club (owned by Wal-Mart). In October 2006, 13% of Americans bought drugs at these kinds of

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Shopping smart for medical devices: where’s the value?

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 11 November 2008 in Health Economics, Medical technology, Supply chain

The buyers of medical devices aren’t very good shoppers: they lack the kind of information about technologies that would help them make value-based purchasing decisions. So says James Robinson in the November/December 2008 issue of Health Affairs in his essay, Value-Based Purchasing for Medical Devices.   This issue is so important because medical technology is the #1 factor driving up health spending in the U.S., according to the Center for Studying Health System Change in their recent report, High and Rising Health Care Costs: Demystifying U.S. Health Care Spending. What are medical devices? they’re the hardware used by surgeons and

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Moving up the health care value chain: J&J in health services

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has acquired the online health coaching company, HealthMedia. This will move the health supply company up the health care value chain further into the provision of health services. Nine years ago, I teamed with a Big Pharma on a scenario planning exercise about consumers and health care. One of our scenarios told the future-story of the consolidation/integration of information technology, pharma/life sciences, and health services to benefit consumer health. We now meet up with this future-story, and it’s J&J’s to tell.   I’ve written here in Health Populi about Walmart’s move toward pharmacy benefits management and

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Walmart, Caterpillar, and growing brand equity in health

  George Washington ate and drank here. Now, there’s a Walmart Supercenter in that spot. There’s an important crossroads in my vicinity where four major highways meet; it’s called King of Prussia, which is the intersection of the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76), the Pennsylvania Turnpike, US 422, and US 202. A new Walmart Supercenter opens at this intersection today. Across-the-street from the new Supercenter are Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom, along with hundreds of other retail chains in the shopping mecca known as the King of Prussia Mall. So Walmart’s on my mind. Walmart has become a sort of touchstone for me

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The cost of beauty, an American obsession

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

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Insured and confused: people want alternative medicine, yet disconnect from wellness programs

  Most employees covered by health insurance favor health plans that provide access to and cover alternative medicine services.   Yet only one-half of these employees feel it’s important for a health plan to require employees to eat properly and exercise, and to provide evidence of such healthy behavior. There’s a disconnect in consumers’ minds between actual lifestyle behaviors and understanding how to use health benefits. I’ve talked about health plan literacy in Health Populi before. Guardian’s survey demonstrates a facet of that phenomenon. According to the 2008 Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Medical survey from Guardian Life Insurance Company,

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Wal-Mart’s leading role in health care — now, as PBM

When the health care Oscars are announced in 2010 for top roles, the health care academy won’t know whether to cast Wal-Mart as the lead, supporting, director, or producer in health care. Wal-Mart is the third largest pharmacy chain in the U.S. As #1 on the Fortune 500 list, the retailer’s role as a jumbo employer means it has clout in health care negotiations and in the entire American health system. According to the company’s CEO, the company may enter the pharmacy benefits management business. During the company’s annual “Year Beginning Meeting” last week, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott talked about

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A new and improved FDA – for 3 cents more

A strong FDA is crucial for the health of our country. The benefits of a robust, progressive Agency are enormous; the risks of a debilitated, under-performing organizaiton are incalculable.   These are the findings of the latest critical analysis of the Subcommittee on Science and Technology prepared for the FDA Science Board, FDA Science and Mission at Risk. FDA Commissioner von Eschenbach requested a hard look at the FDA one year ago, and this report is the sobering culmination of that effort. The Subcommittee included leading members of the scientific community familiar with emerging science, the external marketplace, and the

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