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Consumers’ and the White House’s Growing Focus on Food and Nutrition

Today, the White House is convening a Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. So it’s a propitious time to weave together some of the latest research and insights into food-as-medicine and a key determinant of health and well-being.         In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and current economic stress facing U.S. families and households, the Biden-Harris Administration is bringing together experts and advocates addressing hunger, food and health including Chef Jose Andres (who must be cloning himself these days dealing with all the world’s emergencies and feeding the people impacted in those geographies, globally via the

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Big Tech + Digital Health: Even Big-Ticket Mistakes Won’t Dissuade Companies From Healthcare

“Big Tech has the capability to disrupt healthcare, though the complexity of healthcare ecosystems is not making it easy for these companies,” according to Big Tech & Digital Health, a detailed update from HealthXL published last week.           The pace of activity among Big Tech companies partnering with, investing in, and acquiring health technology and provider organizations has been dizzying, accelerating in and beyond the pandemic. This report profiles the current state and prospects for so-called “Big Tech” companies in the broad health/care ecosystem. For context, “Big Tech” in this report covers activity among eight companies

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Health is Everywhere, and Telehealth Is Health – And It’s Personal

If health is nurtured and made where we live, work, play pray, learn, and shop, then healthcare should be everywhere. That’s the promise, increasingly a reality, of telehealth.             We are in the middle of Telehealth Awareness Week, an advocacy program launched by the ATA (American Telemedicine Association) whose mission I share — that #TelehealthIsHealth. Follow that hashtag on Twitter and other social media channels, and you’ll find lots of folks who believe, know, and live this. My personal telehealth journey began with an online encounter in December 1996 when my husband and I were

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The Direct Link Between Value-Based Health Care, Digital Transformation and Social Determinants – Insights from Innovaccer and Morning Consult

Only 4% of health care payments in the U.S. are pure fee-for-service (FFS) these days. “The end of pure FFS is near,” according to The State and Science of Value-Based Care, a report-out of survey research from Innovaccer and Morning Consult.             Innovaccer, a health cloud/data analytics company, worked with Morning Consult to do deep-dive interviews with 75 senior health care executives; research was conducted in November and December 2021, so these perspectives represent those of health system leaders at the start of 2022. The full report is worth your read; my focus in this Health

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Physicians More Bullish On the Benefits of Digital Tools for Patient Care, the AMA Tells Us

Most doctors see the advantages of digital health tools like telehealth, consumers’ access to their health information, and point-of-care workflow solutions, the American Medical Association found in a survey of 1300 physicians, published in September 2022.             The AMA first conducted research with physicians and their views on digital health in July 2016. This year’s study was designed to compare current clinicians’ perspectives with those garnered in the 2016 and 2019 studies. There is a clear and positive shift of doctors’ adoption of and appreciation for digital tools, with “growth in enthusiasm” concentrated in tele-visits, the

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The Patient As the Payer: Self-Pay, Bad Debt, and the Erosion of Hospital Finances

“The odds are against hospitals collecting patient balances greater than $7,500,” the report analyzing Hospital collection rates for self-pay patient accounts from Crowe concludes.       Crowe benchmarked data from 1,600 hospitals and over 100,00 physicians in the U.S. to reveal trends on health care providers’ ability to collect patient service revenue. And bad debt — write-offs that come out of uncollected patient bill balances after “significant collection efforts” by hospitals and doctors — is challenging their already-thin or negative financial margins.           The first chart quantifies that bad debt attributable to patients’ self-pay payments

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Gallup Reveals Americans’ Views on Industry Are the Lowest Since 2008 – Implications for Healthcare and Pharma

Americans’ positive views of 25 industries in the U.S. have declined in the past year. In their latest look into consumers’ views on business in America, Gallup found that peoples’ ratings on business fell to their lowest ratings overall since 2008.           Peoples’ highest ratings of industry in American occurred in 2017 when nearly 50% of people gave business a very or somewhat positive grade. The year-on-year decline from 2021 find oil and gas at the lowest level of positivity, advertising/PR, legal, the Federal government, and pharma at the bottom of the ratings.      

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Most Consumers Are Health and Wellness Consumers Even in Hard Financial Times, Accenture Finds

Consumers consider health and well-being as an “essential” household spending category based on new research from Accenture.             Accenture polled over 11,000 consumers in 17 countries, considering how people are faring amid “widespread uncertainty and personal financial strains,” in the firm’s words. While two in three consumers feel financially stressed, 4 in 5 intend to grow or hold their personal spending on health and fitness steady in the next year. The first chart graphs data from Accenture’s global survey. In the U.S., more granularly, 26% of consumers intend to increase spending on health and wellness

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Walmart + UnitedHealth Group, CVS Health + Signify — the Current Flurry of Big HealthCare

With today’s announcement that Walmart will partner with UnitedHealthcare in a ten-year collaboration to bring affordable health care to Mainstream Americans, we have yet another huge ripple in the evolving retail health ecosystem.               The other Big Healthcare news item this week was CVS Health’s planned acquisition of Signify Health, after much speculation that Amazon and other Big and smaller bidders (including UnitedHealth Group) were keen on acquiring the home/care company over the past two weeks. With these two deals announced in the past three days, I recommend you not blink in this fast-morphing

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Vaccinations, Art and Labor Day: Learning from Diego Rivera and Edsel Ford

For Labor Day 2022, I’m thinking about health, vaccines, work (especially returning-to-work), and art. Let’s start with the vaccine news. Called the “first updated COVID-19 booster,” on September 1st the CDC announced the availability and approval for health citizens to get new vaccines which have added Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the original vaccine formulation. The booster shots will be administered using vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older, and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Walgreens announced appointment scheduling for the boosters, and CVS Health discussed the plans for the

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Life Expectancy Falls in the U.S., the Largest 2-Year Decline in 100 Years

Life expectancy at birth in 2021 in the United States fell to 76.1 years, the lowest level since 1996. Men fared much worse than women, with 73,2 years of life expectancy versus 79.1 years for women, the latest research from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics revealed.               In their Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2021, the CDC kicks off a demographically detailed analysis with this simple line chart which graphs the dramatic decline in life expectancy at birth. The overall decline across gender and all race/ethnic groups was 2.7 years: 3.1 years

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Virtual Care and Mental Health Top of Mind for Employers’ Workplaces in 2023

The concept that all companies are “health care companies” takes on greater import in the wake of the pandemic. The 2023 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey from the Business Group on Health (BGH) found that two in three large employers see their health and well-being strategy as an integral part of their overall workforce strategy. This is our annual go-to study guiding us on the private sector’s big thinking about health care plans and investments on workers’ behalf.           The first line chart illustrates how this phenomenon shot up in importance for

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As Walmart Allies with LLENA (AI), Food-as-Medicine Blurs with Digital Health Tech and Equity

In a busy week of news in the health care and digital health world, it would be easy to miss a press release published on 23rd August on the food-as-medicine front. But don’t blink this snippet away. It is another strong signal about the growing blur between grocery stores, food, digital tech, and population health.       The digital health platform LLENA (AI) announced its collaboration with Walmart to support people managing diabetes with personalized nutrition support from data tracking pulling through to healthy food delivery. Note LLENA (AI)’s tagline: “where AI meets GI for better health.” “LLENA” is

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The More Chronic Conditions, the More Likely a Patient Will Have Medical Debt

There is a direct association between a person’s health status and patient outcomes and their financial health, quantified in original research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.                 Researchers from the University of Michigan (my alma mater) Medical School and Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation analyzed two years of commercial insurance claims data generated between January 2019 and January 2021, linking to commercial credit data from January 2021 for patients enrolled in a preferred providers organization in Michigan. The first chart illustrates the predicted probability of credit outcomes based on the

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Partnering Up in the Health Care Ecosystem to Drive Transformation – for Organizations and Health Consumers Alike

“Partnerships, including JVs and alliances with other healthcare organizations and with new entrants, are just one way to access new capabilities, unlock speed to market, and achieve capital, scale, and operational efficiencies” in health care transformations. “In an environment with continued competition for attractive assets and significant capital in play from institutional investors, these partnerships may also be the most accessible way for organizations to capture value in expanding healthcare services and technology value pools,” we learn in Overcoming the cost of healthcare transformation through partnerships from a team of health care folks with McKinsey & Company.      

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Hacking Health Care, Your Top Health-Tech Summer Read

“Tom Lawry reminds us that the health care industry can shift from glacial to warp speed when it needs to. Given the right tools, we can evolve from health systems to systems of health, baked with Responsible Intelligence to do good while embedded with respect, inclusion, and transparency. Health citizens deserve Tom’s vision to emerge,” I wrote in a quote on the back of Tom’s new book, Hacking Health Care: How AI and the Intelligence Revolution Will Reboot an Ailing System.                 Tom knows whereof he speaks and writes and opines: he has

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Climate Change Is Not Good for Health and Living Things

There is an image from my childhood, drawn by Lorraine Schneider, which reads “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” As I read through a paper published this week on climate change’s contribution to the burden of chronic disease, I couldn’t help but conjure up Lorraine’s observation from my little girl memory bank. One of the largest meta-analyses mashing up research evidence on the impact of climate change on human health was featured in the journal Nature Climate Change this week. Lorraine could replace the word “war” with “climate change” and be clinically sound in the eyes

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Consumers’ Blurring Digital Worlds of Health, Learning, Shopping, and Living

“Almost overnight, lines blurred between consumers’ physical and digital worlds, and home became the headquarters for virtual working, learning, fitness, health care, shopping, socializing, and entertaining.”                That blur has reshaped peoples’ Everyday Normal we learn in Mastering the new digital life from Deloitte, a survey conducted among 2,005 U.S. consumers in the first quarter of 2022. The report is part of Deloitte’s ongoing Connectivity and Mobile Trends research in this third iteration. The report covers peoples’ new digital transformations for work, school and health; in this post, I’ll focus on the last element,

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Americans Rationing Healthcare in the Inflationary Era; Out-of-Pocket Expenses Are the Concern

Nearly 100 million people in the U.S. cut back on healthcare due to costs in the first half of 2022, according to the latest poll on health care costs form Gallup and West Health, gauging Americans’ financial health in June 2022. That’s the month when inflation in the U.S. reached 9.1%, a 40-year high.             Among Americans’ cuts to household spending was the most common medical self-rationing behavior, delaying or avoiding  care or purchasing prescription drugs, the survey found. Nearly 4 in 5 people in the U.S. had delayed care or prescription meds between January

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“Beyond the Bubble Bath,” Self-Care Must Be Rooted in Science To Build Trust Among Consumers

The goal of self-care for health-making is to improve lives by scaling health-and-wellness accessible to all, Bayer believes, giving people more control over their personal health. Self-care work-flows must be based in science to ensure products and services are trusted and deliver on their clinical promise, Bayer explains in Science-Led Self-Care: Principles for Best Practice, a paper published this week which the company intends to be a blueprint for the industry.                 Bayer recognizes that self-care is growing among health consumers around the world — albeit underpinned by peoples’ cultures, demographics, and “readiness”

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