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What Financial Health Means to Me: It’s Baked Into Wellness

Today is Financial Wellness Day. Do you know how financially well you are? Let me take a crack at that answer, even though I haven’t seen your bank account (which you may not even have as over 20% of people in the US are, as financial services companies would call you “un-banked” or “under-banked”.) You have some level of fiscal stress, ranging from a little to a lot. You aren’t taking all of your summer vacation your employer extends to you. You’re spending around $1 in every $5 of your household budget on health care. And your sleep isn’t as

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PwC’s “Behind the Numbers” – Where the Patient Stands

The growth of health care costs in the U.S. is expected to be a relatively moderate 6.5% in 2017, the same percentage increase as between 2015 and 2016, according to Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2017, an annual forecast from PwC. As the line chart illustrates, the rate of increase of health care costs has been declining since 2007, when costs were in double-digit growth mode. Since 2014, health care cost growth has hovered around the mid-six percent’s, considered “low growth” in the PwC report. What’s driving overall cost increases is price, not use of services: in fact, health care

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From the Magnificent Mile to the Country Mile – Wearable Tech On Main Street

Will fitness tracking take off in middle and rural America? The larger question is whether people really, truly want to engage in health and, if so, how? My colleague and friend Dr. Carol Torgan, who curates the most extensive wearable tech Pinterest board and writes extensively about the subject in her blog Kinetics: From Lab Bench to Park Bench, was struck by my recent blog post, Health, Wearables and the IoT in the Windy City. That weekend I was in Chicago, Carol was visiting a rural region in the state of Virginia and spent time at a county fair. The quintessential

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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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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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A physical activity shortage: Let’s Move!

Only 1 in 5 Americans got the minimum recommended amount of physical activity in 2011, based on guidelines offered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. More men than women met the standard: 23.4% of men versus 17.9% of women. There are wide variations across the 50 states, as the map shows, with the healthiest folks exercise-wise living in the west, Alaska, upper midwest, and New England. The range runs from a 12.7% low in West Virginia and Tennessee to 27.3 at the high end in Colorado. That bar is set at 150 minutes a week (that’s 2.5 hours) of

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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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The future of sensors in health care – passive, designed, integrated

Here’s Ann R., who is a patient in the not-too-distance-future, when passive sensors will be embedded in her everyday life. The infographic illustrates a disruption in health care for people, where data are collected on us (with our permission) that can help us improve our own self-care, and help our clinicians know more about us outside of their offices, exam rooms and institutions. In Making Sense of Sensors: How New Technologies Can Change Patient Care, my paper for the California HealthCare Foundation, I set out to organize the many types of sensors proliferating the health care landscape, and identify key

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Physician workflow: barrier to consumer health engagement?

This week, I had a conversation with a physician whom I consider quite patient-engaged, who uses an EHR, and who works with one of the most wired health organizations in the United States. I complained to her that my user-generated data from my Bodymedia armband, Fitbit, Withings scale, among other #QuantifiedSelf devices, can’t find their way through the cloud to my doctors’ electronic health records or my patient portal. Her reaction was surprising to me. She was not so keen on the idea, saying, “It’s the physician workflow” that’s the problem. The wordle on workflow comes from Dr. Chuck Webster

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Employers slow health cost increases for 2013 by growing consumer-directed plans

Health benefit costs grew a relatively low 4.1% in 2012 (5.4% for large employers), largely due to companies moving workers into lower-cost consumer-directed health plans. Last year, benefit costs grew at an annual rate of 6.1%, representing about a 30% fall in year-on-year cost growth for companies. And, coverage is up to 59% of employees having ticked down to 55% for the past couple of years. Employers expect about a 5% increase for 2013. Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans analysis finds that U.S. employers are looking toward 2014, when they’ll be covering more uninsured workers, and using this advance

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What Jerry the Bear means for Health 2.0

A teddy bear in the arms of a child with diabetes can change health care. At least, Jerry the Bear can. Yesterday kicked off the sixth autumn mega-version of the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Co-founded by Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, a long-time health analyst and physician, respectively, this meeting features new-new tools, apps and devices aimed at improving individual and population health, as well as health processes and workflows for physicians, hospitals, pharma, and other stakeholders in the health care ecosystem – even health lawyers, who met on October 7 to discuss up-to-the-minute  e-health law issues. Yesterday was

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

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

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Can GE, Intel and Mayo bring good things to home monitoring?

Three major consumer and health industry brand names are coming together to launch a telehealth home monitoring project: GE, Intel and the Mayo Clinic. Each organization has a deep bench and history in the health vertical, covering different segments of the market. With this project, 3 industry leaders partner to learn about home health monitoring’s challenges and opportunities in real-life, with real people. The project goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of daily in-home monitoring technology measured in 2 ways: reduced hospital admissions and reduced visits to the emergency room. For the project, Intel brings its Health Guide into the

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