This weekend marked the first anniversary of the Health Populi blog. These statements are some of the lessons I’ve learned from blogging about health in the past 365 days.
The healthworld is flat. Within a week of launching Health Populi, I tracked readers from the Philippines and China, from Australia and Japan, and from across Europe including former Soviet States. It’s not only that the world is global in terms of health services, like medical tourism and pharmaceutical and medical device trade. It’s a global world for learning about health. It’s always been so for clinical folks, and now the world is flat for people who want to learn about health economics and delivery. Readers have come to this blog from around the world to learn about the peculiar nature of American health care: politics, structure and delivery, financing. The world is keen to learn about what American health care does well — and to learn as well from our failings in ensuring health access, fiscal management, and rational deployment of new technologies. I’ve made virtual friends and collegial relationships with some of these readers. It’s been greatly enriching.
The healthworld morphs everyday based on new technology, new learnings, and people getting smarter. Having been an advisor in the health and technology space for over two decades, I knew this lesson before blogging here. However, by blogging every day (except the week before Christmas and New Year’s, and weekends), I’ve had a bird’s-eye view to this evolution on a day-to-day basis. From news about Google Health’s launch to the emergence of medical tourism, the erosion of the employee health benefit and growth in the percentage of GDP allocated to health care, these points-in-health-history paint a Seurat-like picture of the market that’s ever-changing. If you want to be in this marketspace, you have to keep up with it. That’s one of my lenses.
Health news make up a huge proportion of media stories every day. I’ve been amazed how much there has been to cover in Health Populi on a daily basis. Many people ask me, “how can you write about health every day?” My response: there’s so much to write about!
Health is generated by health care and many other inputs. These issues include stuff that isn’t about ‘care’ at all, like food and access to healthy foodstuffs, lifestyle behaviors, urban planning, and other issues that I believe are directly germane to healthy lives.
Gas ‘n health care: present at the creation! If you visit my first blog post from September 2007, you’ll read about the relationship between gas prices and the health economy. I’m a forecaster in my daily work. I’m happy to report I was well ahead of this topic. You may think I’m obsessed with the issue: perhaps it’s my Detroit roots. But health care will increasingly be a consumer good as people take on more decision making for health spending. That train left the station when the co-pay for a prescription drug increased from $3 and $5 to $30 and $50 (and beyond).
Health consumerism: a work-in-progress: Health Populi was founded on the principle of communicating simply and clearly about popular ideas in health, health care, health politics and health economics. One of the prime issues on my mind is “the health care consumer.” Whatever you term this individual — the enrollee, the ‘prosumer,’ the member, the patient — we can agree that this individual has more responsibility for decision making in health than any time since the inception of employer-based health insurance in the 1940s. In a true market, a consumer needs free flowing and plenty of good information on which to base sound choices. We’re surely not there yet. We consumers are a work-in-process. But the more we learn, the better we’ll be dealing with the health of our lives.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: Regular readers of this blog know that ‘Hot Points’ is the spot where I distill the story through my own lens, experience, and perspective. As you have all of that above, let me simply say, “thanks” for visiting, reading, and sharing here at Health Populi. I’ll continue to post here on a daily basis until I don’t think I can do justice to the topics we all care about: health care quality, health access, health disparities, health literacy, health economics and the rational allocation of resources (e.g., evidence-based care), health politics, and the many areas that impact our health: food, life, love, faith. À votr
esanté!, ¡Salud!, L’Chaim, Prost!, Be well!