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Telehealth Legislation Passes Ways & Means, As GLP-1s Are Fast-Meshing with Telemedicine in the Marketplace

Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means passed six pieces of legislation that would bolster telehealth in the U.S. for the next two years, assuring several aspects of access for health citizens across the country. “One of our top priorities on this Committee is helping every American access health care in the community where they live, work, and raise a family,” Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) explained in his introductory statement. Being from Missouri, Chairman Smith is especially keen on the role virtual care and telehealth can play to expand access to the under-served in the U.S. “In rural

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

AI: Patients Included

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Why Elevance Health is “Prescribing” Phones for Members

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

What to Expect For Health/Care at CES 2024

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

 

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

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

 

Workforce Shortages and Health Care Cost Pressures Inspire RSNA 2023 (and yes, AI’s in the mix, too)

Radiology and radiologists play starring roles in our health care, with he core work flow of diagnostic imaging supporting prevention, disease detection, diagnosis, delivering and monitoring therapy, linking specialists to other providers in telehealth, and as a medium for teaching clinicians, patients and caregivers. As health care delivery continues to change and adapt to technological innovations, demographic shifts, and economic-social-political forces, so, too, are the roles of radiology and radiologists in motion.       Every year when American Thanksgiving weekend comes along, you’ll find folks involved in digital imaging flocking to chilly Chicago to convene at McCormick Place for

 

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

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

 

Consumers’ Growing Use of Portals and Apps: People Embracing Their Patient Journeys

The latest read from ONC, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, tells a story about patients’ growing use of online portals, medical records, and smartphone apps to access personal health information. We now have solid evidence empowering us to disagree with Col, Nathan Jessup, the iconic character played by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, who responded to Tom Cruise’s Lt. Kaffee’s demand for “the truth” as the villainous Colonel raged, “You can’t handle the truth.” But ONC data belies that: as it happens, patients can handle the truth, as we learn that 9 in 10

 

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

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

 

The Omnichannel Imperative for Healthcare: Supporting Telehealth Awareness Week 2023

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

 

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

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

 

Consumers Continue to Spend on Technology, Seeking “A Happy, Healthy Connected Life”

Most U.S. consumers will continue to spend their disposable incomes on connected consumer devices, but will be looking for more balance in their digital lives according to Deloitte’s fourth annual 2023 Connected Consumer Survey.                 In this year’s update, the Deloitte Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications found that most households use five key digital devices daily: above all, smartphones, followed by laptop and desktop computers, tablets, and computer monitors. Most consumers who own smartwatches and health and fitness trackers also use those devices every day, as shown in the household penetration/usage chart

 

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

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

 

The Doctor Will See You Now…At Home? The AMA Launches a Health at Home Framework

An aging U.S. population with a preference for growing older at home — and a fiscally challenging health care financing outlook — are setting the demographic and financial table for the shift of medical care to peoples’ homes discussed in The State of Health at Home Models: Key Considerations and Opportunities, published by the American Medical Association (AMA).             Note that this framework has been developed by the AMA, the largest professional organization of doctors. While moving health care to the home will involve quite different workflows and disruptions to current general medical practice, it

 

Uber Health: A Good Example of “Connective Tissue” in the Health Care Ecosystem

We often talk about “the last mile” as the difficulty in getting broadband to cover folks in rural areas or bringing a product to fruition for delivery in a market.               Uber Health is trying to solve another riff on the “last mile” challenge, which is expanding delivery of groceries and over-the-counter medicines to people who may be cut-off from transportation options, compelled to stay home due to physical limitations, or otherwise simply demanding the convenience of home delivery for basic daily needs related to their health. The service will be enabled through Uber

 

Patients-As-Health Care Payers Define What a Digital Front Door Looks Like

In health care, one of the “gifts” inspired by the coronavirus pandemic was the industry’s fast-pivot and adoption of digital health tools — especially telehealth and more generally the so-called “digital front doors” enabling patients to access medical services and personal work-flows for their care. Two years later, Experian provides a look into The State of Patient Access: 2023.                     You may know the name Experian as one of the largest credit rating agencies for consumer finance in the U.S. You may not know that the company has a significant footprint

 

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

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

 

My Health, My Data – Thinking Consumers, Privacy and Self-Care at HIMSS 2023

The Washington State legislature passed House Bill 1155, aka the My Health, My Data Act, last week. Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign this into State law later this year. The bill expands privacy protections for Washington State’s health citizens beyond HIPAA’s provisions.           The My Health, My Data Act defines “consumer health data” as “personal information that is linked or reasonably linkable to a consumer and that identifies a consumer’s past, present, or future physical or mental health.”  The ethos of the name and the intent of this law is a perfect vision for

 

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

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

 

Techquity: Getting Healthy Through Equity-by-Design

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