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Health Information Security – My Interview with Richard Kaufmann, CISO of Amedisys – Part 1: Origin Stories, the Security Ecosystem, and the Start Line

“If data is everywhere, how do you protect it?”  This thought has been on my mind well before the Change Healthcare hacks (that’s plural) with which U.S. health care stakeholders are still dealing as this post goes live on the Health Populi blog. It’s a question posed to me in conversation with Richard Kaufmann, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) with Amedisys. I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore in depth the many facets of cybersecurity in health care  with Richard – the growing threats, the impact on providers, the state of technology and innovations to manage risks, and his evolving

 

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.   

 

A Springtime Re-Set for Self-Care, From Fitness to Cozy Cardio: Peloton’s Latest Consumer Research

How many people do you know that don’t know their cholesterol or their BMI, their net worth or IQ, their credit score, astrological sign, or ancestry pie-chart? Chances are fewer and fewer as most people have gained access to medical records and lab test results on patient portals, calorie burns on smartwatches, credit scores via monthly credit card payments online, and completing spit tests from that popularly gifted Ancestry DNA test kits received during the holiday season.                       Meet “The Guy Who Didn’t Know His Cholesterol” conceived by Roz Chast,

 

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

 

Rebel Health: The Personal and Professional Passion of Susannah Fox

A “rebel” is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, Merriam-Webster tells us that a rebel is a person who opposes or takes up arms against a government or a ruler. As a verb, “to rebel” is to oppose or disobey one in authority or control, or otherwise renounce and resist by force the authority of one’s government.” An additional definition of the verb is, “to feel or exhibit anger or revulsion.” If you’ve been a patient facing a diagnosis of an illness, whether rare or common, you may well have felt these various feelings stirring inside your self.

 

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

 

Nurses Continue to Rank Highest in Ethics and Honesty for Professions in the US — But Peoples’ Opinions for All Jobs, Including Nursing, Have Eroded in Gallup’s Latest Poll

Ratings of honesty and ethics in professions have fallen down in the U.S., we find the Gallup Poll’s annual assessment of rankings for occupations that touch peoples’ lives in America.                     Each year for over a decade, nurses have ranked highest in this survey, representing the most-trusted profession working in America. However, even nurses’ ethic-equity has dropped in the hearts and minds of Americans over the past four years, falling 7 percentage points from a high of 85% of citizens ranking nurses at the greatest level of honesty and ethics to

 

Inflation and the cost of health care top U.S. voters’ issues for 2024 elections

The cost of living ranks top in U.S. voters’ minds among many issues Americans are feeling and following in late 2023. A close second in line is affordability of health care, as consumers’ household budgets must make room for paying medical bills — with prescription drug costs also very important as a discussion topic for 2024 Presidential candidates, we learn from the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll published 1 December. The monthly study focused on U.S. voters’ top issues and perspectives on the health system and care approaching the new year of 2024. KFF fielded the study among 1,301 U.S.

 

How Misinformation in Health Care Can Lead to Being “Dead Wrong” — KFF and Dr. G Connect the Dots

Three in four U.S. health citizens say the spread of false information about health issues is a major problem, found in Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Misinformation Tracking Poll Pilot published earlier this month.           KFF’s press release on the study summarized the top-line with, “Most Americans Encounter Health Misinformation, and Most Aren’t Sure Whether It’s True or False.” Explaining the implications of the broad reach of health misinformation in the U.S., Dr. Geeta Nayyar has written the book Dead Wrong: Diagnosing and Treating Healthcare’s Misinformation Illness, due out on October 17th and available now for pre-purchase

 

Channeling Tip O’Neill: “All Public Health (Love) is Local,” U.S. Health Citizens Tell the de Beaumont Foundation

Appreciation for public health in America tends to be a local-love thing, according to research from the de Beaumont Foundation.              The COVID-19 pandemic raised health citizens’ awareness of the role and importance of public health — and for 7 in 10 people in the U.S., inspired a favorable opinion of their local public health officials, de Beaumont found. the Foundation’s President and CEO, Briant Castrucci, DrPH, observed, “The shared pandemic experience seems to have driven deeper familiarity with and support of public health departments and officials, along with a stronger understanding of the important

 

For Public Health, U.S. Consumers See Opioids, Obesity, and Guns Top 3 Public Health Threats – But Lowering Healthcare & Drug Costs is Job 1 for Government

Americans cite opioids and fentanyl, obesity, and access to guns and firearms as the top three public health challenges this summer of 2023, according to the new Axios/Ipsos American Health Index. As for government priorities dealing with public health, though, U.S. health citizens say the top priority should be lowering the costs of health care and prescription drugs.                 Once again, we see evidence that U.S. consumers bundle their financial wellbeing — in this instance, costs of medical services and medicines — into peoples’ overall sense of health for themselves as individuals and for

 

Large Employers Expect More Employees Will Experience Prolonged Health Impacts Due to COVID-19. and a Note About Telehealth Engagement

Due to their delayed return to medical services and diagnostic testing in the COVID-19 pandemic era, U.S. employees are expected to sustain serious health impacts that will drive employers’ health care costs, envisioned in the 2024 Large Employer Health Care Strategy Survey from the Business Group on Health (BGH).               Dealing with mental health issues is the top health and well-being impact workers in large companies are addressing in 2023. Looking forward, large employers foresee their workers will be seeking care for chronic conditions and later-stage cancers that are diagnosed due to delayed screenings.

 

The Cost of Treating Patients is On the Rise: PwC Goes What’s Behind the 2024 Medical Spending Numbers

Health care cost trend will spike up another percentage point to 7.0% in 2024, according to the annual report from the PwC Health Research Institute, Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2024.                 Every year, the PwC HRI team goes behind those numbers to assess cost inflators and deflators which underpin annual medical inflation. As the first line chart illustrates, the peak of medical trend in the last 18 years was in 2007 when the U.S. saw double-digit cost growth of nearly 12%. Here’s a link to PwC’s 2007 study looking behind the

 

Technologies That Bolster Health Will Be Baked Into the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Listening to the World Economic Forum

The technologies that will drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution have health baked into most of them, based on the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2023, a flagship report from the World Economic Forum,                   Two of the ten technologies making up this forecast directly speak to health and health care” AI-facilitated healthcare, and The metaverse for mental health. But seven of the remaining eight all address health somewhere in their discussions, and even the tenth non-obvious tech — #3, sustainable aviation fuel — would resonate with many researchers working on the opportunity

 

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

 

A Public Health Wake-Up Call: Reading Between the Lines in IQVIA’s 2023 Use of Medicines Report

Reviewing the annual 2023 report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science discussing The Use of Medicines in the U.S. is always a detailed, deep, and insightful dive into the state of prescription drugs. It’s a volume speaking volumes on the current picture of prescribed meds, spending and revenues, health care utilization trends, and a forecast looking out to 2027. In my read of this year’s review, I see a flashing light for U.S. health care: “Wake up, public health!” I’ve pulled out a few of the data points that speak to me about population health, prevention and early

 

“Your care, your way:” Learning from the Philips Future Health Index 2023

Consider the key drivers of supply and demand in health care, globally, right now: On the medical delivery supply side, the shortage of staff is a limiting factor to continuing to deliver care based on the usual work-flows and payment models. On the demand side, patients are taking on more demanding roles as consumers with high expectations for service, convenience, and safe care delivered closer to home — or at home. This dynamic informs The Future Health Index 2023 report from Philips, launched this week at HIMSS 2023. This is the eighth annual global FHI report, with detailed country-specific analyses to

 

The New Deaths of Despair in America – Among U.S. Children

The phenomenon of Deaths of Despair is the short-hand name for rising mortality among certainly people living in the U.S. due to overdose, accidents, and suicide. Angus Deaton and Anne Case published their first of many research papers on Deaths of Despair in 2015. Their research uncovered the risks of dying a Death of Despair to be higher among men, especially those between the ages of 25 and 64. But mortality isn’t only going in the wrong direction for those people most closely associated with the Deaths of Despair demographic: there’s another life-span line graph moving in the wrong direction,

 

Medscape Diagnoses Worsening Burnout and Depression Among U.S. Physicians

In the organization’s annual study into physicians’ wellbeing, Medscape has diagnosed worsening burnout and depression among America’s doctors.               Over one-half of U.S. physicians say they are burned out or depressed, the chart from the U.S. Physician Burnout & Depression Report for 2023 calls out. “I cry but not one cares,” is one of the represented color comments provided by one of the physicians included in the survey of 9,175 physicians polled online between June and October 2022. The study covered 29 specialties, finding most burned out physicians worked in emergency medicine (65% saying

 

Your Grocery Store as Health/Care Destination: Welcome Kroger to the Clinical Trials Community

Our grocery stores were essential touchpoints for us during the COVID-19 lockdown era and thereafter, addressing our basic needs for food and medicines and even social health from early 2020 and since.             Grocery stores have been morphing into health/care destinations for the past decade, in the best cases bolstering nutrition, supporting medication adherence and patient outcomes, and helping us curate healthy grocery carts with nutritionists as part of the store pharmacy team. Now Kroger continues to expand its health/care footprint and capabilities, becoming a clinical trials channel as announced in its January 24th press

 

What Do John Deere, L’Oreal and MedWand Have in Common? -> Human Security For All

An over-arching theme of the 2023 CES conference was Human Security for All, abbreviated as HS4A. And what, you might ask, do “human” and “security” have to do with the largest annual consumer technology conference, held last week in Las Vegas? Here’s what. “This is the first CES not only in the new post-pandemic or live-with-pandemic era. But this is the first time we actually had a theme. And that theme is focused on what technology can do to make the world better,” Gary Shapiro, CEO and President of the Consumer Technology Association, expressed in his opening speech for #CES2023.

 

While Nurses and Doctors Still Rank Highest in Trust, Gallup Finds Trust-Erosion by Party ID

In the annual 2023 Gallup poll on honesty and ethics in professions in the U.S., the good news for the human capital of health care is that nurses, physicians and pharmacists continue to lead Americans’ ratings across professions in first, second, and third place respectively. The bummer is that that trust equity has eroded in the past year — especially among health citizens who identify as Republican voters.                   Start with the upside, which is the perennial Gallup finding that health care’s front-line workers are the most-trusted professions in the U.S. And

 

The Heart Health Continuum at #CES2023 – From Prevention and Monitoring to Healthy Eating and Sleep

“Are we losing the battle against heart disease?” asks the lead article featured in the January 2023 issue of the AARP Bulletin.           “Despite breathtaking medical advancements since President Harry Truman declared war on heart disease 75 years ago, researchers have observed a disturbing trend that started in 2009: America’s death rate from heart-related conditions is climbing again,” the detailed essay explains. AARP is in fact a very visible stakeholder in the 2023 CES, collaborating on the AgeTech content track at the tech conference. The track covers all aspects of aging well, from financial health to entertainment,

 

Your Home as Clinical Lab: Withings Brings “Your Urine, Your Self” to #CES2023

We’ve all been morphing our homes into our personal HealthQuarters since the start of the coronavirus era. Millions of global health citizens have taken to telehealth who never used a health care “digital front door” before. Other patients adopted remote health monitoring to avoid perennial visits to doctors for managing chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. From the kitchen to the bedroom, our homes have become our health hubs. And now, to the bathroom and specifically, the toilet. Withings, maker of my personally favorite connected weight scale, announced U-Scan, a direct-to-consumer lab test platform that analyzes our urine from

 

Can Consumer Electronics Help Stem the Decline of U.S. Life-Years? A Preface for #CES2023

Life expectancy in the U.S. dropped nearly three years between 2019 and 2021, from close to 79 years down to 76. We ended 2022 with this new, sobering statistic from the Centers tor Disease Control (CDC). We begin 2023 with the opening of CES 2023, the world’s largest annual meet-up of consumer electronics innovators, companies, and retailers. How can digital health and other consumer-facing technologies help our health? First, consider the stark data point(s), and then we can better respond to the question’s answer in the Hot Points, below.                 In case you

 

When Household Economics Blur with Health, Technology and Trust – Health Populi’s 2023 TrendCast

By Jane Sarasohn-Kahn on 22 December 2022 in Anxiety, Behavioral health, Big data and health, Big Tech, Broadband, Business and health, Cardiovascular health, Chronic care, Chronic disease, Connected health, Consumer electronics, Consumer experience, Consumer-directed health, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cybersecurity, Data analytics and health, Demographics and health, Depression, Design and health, Determinants of health, Diet and health, Digital health, Employee benefits, Employers, Financial health, Financial wellness, Fitness, Food and health, Grocery stores, Health apps, Health at home, Health benefits, Health care industry, Health citizenship, Health Consumers, Health costs, Health disparities, Health Economics, Health ecosystem, Health engagement, Health equity, Health insurance, Health Plans, Health policy, Health politics, Health privacy, Healthcare DIY, Heart disease, Heart health, HIPAA, Home care, Home economics, Home health, Hospitals, Infectious disease, Love and health, Medication adherence, Meditation, Mental health, Mindfulness, Moms and health, Money and health, Out of pocket costs, Patient experience, Personal health finance, Pharmaceutical, Pharmacy, Physicians, Popular culture and health, Prescription drugs, Prevention and wellness, Primary care, Public health, Race and health, Remote health monitoring, Retail health, Risk management, SDoH, Self-care, Shopping and health, Social determinants of health, Specialty drugs, Stress, Telehealth, Telemedicine, Transparency, Trust, User experience UX, Vaccines, Value based health, Virtual health, Vitamins, Wearable tech, Wellbeing, Workplace benefits

People are sick of being sick, the New York Times tells us. “Which virus is it?” the title of the article updating the winter 2022-23 sick-season asked. Entering 2023, U.S. health citizens face physical, financial, and mental health challenges of a syndemic, inflation, and stress – all of which will shape peoples’ demand side for health care and digital technology, and a supply side of providers challenged by tech-enabled organizations with design and data chops. Start with pandemic ennui The universal state of well-being among us mere humans is pandemic ennui: call it languishing (as opposed to flourishing), burnout, or

 

Our Homes as HealthQuarters – Finding Health and Well-Being at CES 2023

For over ten years, digital health technology has been a fast-growing area at the annual CES, the largest convention covering consumer electronics in the world.           When the meet-up convenes over 100,000 tech-folk in Las Vegas at the start of 2023, we’ll see even more health and self-care tools and services at #CES23 — along with new-new things displayed in aisles well outside of the physical space on the Las Vegas Convention Center map labeled “digital health” at this year’s CES in the North Hall.         Some context: my company has been a member

 

Dollar General & CHPA Collaborate to Bolster Health Consumers’ Literacy and Access for OTC Pain Meds and Self-Care

Health is “made” where we live, work, play, pray, learn….and shop. I spend a lot of time these days in the growing health/care ecosystem where retail health is broadening to address social determinants and drivers of health – namely food, transportation, broadband access, education, environment, and financial wellness – all opportunities for self-care and health engagement. For many years, I have followed the activities of CHPA, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, and have participated in some of their conferences. Their recent announcement of a collaboration with Dollar General speaks to the growing role of self-care for all people.    

 

Consumers Are Feeling Their Healthcare Cost of Living – Research from Qualtrics

Rising costs are the #1 reason U.S. health consumers are avoiding or delaying health care, replacing concerns about COVID-19, based on survey research from Qualtrics.         The company’s Healthcare Cost of Living survey research learned that 48% of U.S. adults chose to defer health care in 2022, split by 31% of consumers skipping care due to cost concerns, and, 17% of people delaying care who had concerns about the coronavirus. Note the types of care delayed or skipped: Over 27% of people delayed care related to nutrition 26% delayed routine or preventive care, such as screenings or

 

Men Work in Retirement for Healthy Aging; Women, for the Money – Transamerica Looks at Retirement in 2022

Due to gender pay gaps, time away from the workforce for raising children and caring for loved ones, women in the U.S. face a risky retirement outlook according to Emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Women’s Health, Money, and Retirement Preparations from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS).               As Transamerica TCRS sums up the top-line, “Societal headwinds are undermining women’s retirement security.” Simply said, by the time a woman is looking to retire, she has saved less than one-half of the money her male counterpart has put away for aging after work-life. The

 

How Will the “New” Health Economy Fare in a Macro-Economic Downturn?

What happens to a health care ecosystem when the volume of patients and revenues they generate decline? Add to that scenario a growing consensus for a likely recession in 2023. How would that further impact the micro-economy of health care?                   A report from Trilliant on the 2022 Trends Shaping the Health Economy helps to inform our response to that question. Start with Sanjula Jain’s bottom-line: that every health care stakeholder will be impacted by reduced yield. That’s the fewer patients, less revenue prediction, based on Trilliant’s 13 trends re-shaping the U.S. health

 

The Patient as Prescription Drug Payer – The GoodRx Playbook

Patients have more financial skin-in-their-healthcare-games facing high-deductibles and direct out-of-pocket costs for medical bills…including prescription drugs. I collaborated with GoodRx on a “yellow paper” discussing The Health Consumers as Payer, with implications and calls-to-action for pharma and life science companies. You can download the paper at this link.               The report is intended to be a playbook for understanding patients’ growing role as consumers and health care payers, providing insights into peoples’ home economic mindsets and how these impact a patient’s adherence to medication based on cost and perceived value. With inflation facing household

 

Home Is Where the Health Is: An Update on Connectivity, Food, and Retail

Virtually every closed-door meeting I have had in the U.S. with a client group in the past several months has had a line item on the agenda to brainstorm the impact and opportunity of care-at-home, hospital-to-home, or Care Everywhere. This has happened across many stakeholders in the evolving health/care ecosystem of suppliers, including hospital systems, health plans, grocery chains, retail pharmacy, consumer technology, digital health and tech-enabled providers, pharma and medical supply companies. On October 10, Dr. Robert Pearl, former CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, published a provocative post on Forbes noting that Amazon, CVS, Walmart Are Playing Healthcare’s

 

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

 

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

 

Health, Politics, Inflation and Women: Health Engagement at the Voting Booth

Two in three Americans disapproved of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision (aka the Dobbs case), the latest Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll found. While inflation tops voters’ priorities, abortion access resonates for key voting blocs. KFF conducted this survey among 1,847 U.S. adults 18 and over between July 7 and 17, 2022.             KFF published the study findings this week on August 2, a day of political primaries and ballot considerations in several U.S. states. Consider Kansas: a majority of Kansans voted on Tuesday to protect abortion rights

 

The Retail Health Battle Royale, Day 5 – Consumer Demands For a Health/Care Ecosystem (and What We Can Learn from Costco’s $1.50 Hot Dog)

In another factor to add into the retail health landscape, Dollar General (DG) the 80-year old retailer known for selling low-priced fast-moving consumer goods in peoples’ neighborhoods appointed a healthcare advisory panel this week. DG has been exploring its health-and-wellness offerings and has enlisted four physicians to advise the company’s strategy. One of the advisors, Dr. Von Nguyen, is the Clinical Lead of Public and Population Health at Google….tying back to yesterday’s post on Tech Giants in Healthcare.         Just about one year ago, DG appointed the company’s first Chief Medical Officer, which I covered here in

 

The Retail Health Battle Royale in the U.S. – A Week-Long Brainstorm, Day 1 of 5

I’ve returned to the U.S. for a couple of months, having lived in and worked from Brussels, Belgium, since October 2021 (save for about ten days in March 2022). Work and life slow down in Europe in July and August, giving us the opportunity to return to our U.S. home base, reunite with friends and family, and re-join life and living this side of the Atlantic. The timing of my return to the U.S. coincides with a retail health hurricane of big announcements shaking up the health/care ecosystem. Among these events are Amazon’s plan to acquire One Medical, Apple’s publication of

 

In A Declining Consumer Tech Spending Forecast, Consumer Health Tech Will Grow in 2022: Reading the CTA Tea Leaves

Supply chain challenges, inflation, and plummeting consumer economic sentiment are setting the stage for a decline in consumer electronics revenues for 2022. However, there will be some bright spots of growth for consumer tech spending, for 5G smartphones, smart home applications, gaming, and health technologies, noted in the Consumer Technology Association’s CTA U.S. Consumer Technology One-Year Industry Forecast, 2018-2023.             Underneath the overall industry spend of $503 billion, a 0.2% drop from 2021, CTA expects software, gaming, video and audio streaming spending will grow by 3.5% and hardware to fall by 1.4% this year. With

 

Money and Guns Are the Top Two Sources of Anxiety in America This Summer

Inflation and the fear of economic recession were the top two causes of anxiety in America, followed by gun violence, in June 2022.             Moms and Hispanic adults, in particular, were worried about losing income and of gun violence, discovered in the Healthy Minds Monthly Poll for July 2022 from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and Morning Consult. For some context about these findings, note that this survey was fielded between June 18 and 20, 2022; that was, 24 days after the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas Four days before the Supreme Court

 

Living La Vida Hybrid, for Work, Shopping, Entertainment and Healthcare – Emerging from the Pandemic

With only 1 in 10 people in the U.S. thinking their lives are the same as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, about one-half of Americans believe that remote work, virtual community events, and telehealth should continue “once the pandemic ends.” As of mid-May 2022, most people in the U.S. have resumed activities like socializing with friends and neighbors in person, going to restaurants and bars, traveling, meeting with older relatives face-to-face, and returning to exercising in gyms.                     But a return-to-nearly-normal isn’t a universal phenomenon across all people in America:

 

Consumers’ Dilemma: Health and Wealth, Smartwatches and Transparency

Even as spending on healthcare per person in the United States is twice as much as other wealthy countries in the world, Americans’ health status ranks rock bottom versus those other rich nations. The U.S. health system continues to be marred by health inequalities and access challenges for man health citizens. Furthermore, American workers’ rank top in the world for feeling burnout from and overworked on the job.             Welcome to The Consumer Dilemma: Health and Wellness,, a report from GWI based on the firm’s ongoing consumer research on peoples’ perspectives in the wake of

 

The Legacy of COVID-19 Is Shaping Consumers’ Purchases for Health-At-Home

While inflation and financial stress is depressing consumer demand for many purchases the “legacy of COVID-19” is having lost-lasting impacts on how people see their homes — especially as sites for health and wellness.                 GfK highlights the growing interest in wellbeing and device demand in The State of Consumer Technology and Durables 2002 insights from GfK. In 2021, peoples’ spending on technology and durable goods (like home appliances) grew by 15%, with several categories seeing spectacularly high growth rates — most notably entertainment and health, a category in which core wearables purchases

 

Use of Preventive Health Services Declined Among Commercially Insured People – With Big Differences in Telehealth for Non-White People, Castlight Finds

Declines in preventive care services like cancer screenings and blood glucose testing concern employers, whose continued to cover health insurance for employees during the pandemic.                       “As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers continue to battle escalating clinical issues, including delayed care for chronic conditions, postponed preventive screenings, and the exponential increase in demand for behavioral health services,” the Chief Medical Officer for Castlight Health notes in an analysis of medical claims titled Millions of People Deferred Crucial Care During the Pandemic, published in June. The

 

The 2022 US Health System Report Card: Pretty Terrific If You Live in Hawaii or Massachusetts

The best U.S. states to live in for health and health care are Hawaii, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maryland…             Those are the top health system rankings in the new 2022 Scorecard on State Health System Performance annual report from the Commonwealth Fund. If you live in Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Missouri, Alabama, Georgia, or Arkansas, your health care and outcomes are less likely to be top-notch, the Fund’s research concluded.                 The Commonwealth Fund has conducted this study since 2006, assessing a range

 

We Are Stuck On Band-Aids, Hygiene, and Self-Care: Morning Consult’s Most Trusted Brands 2022

We are stuck on Band-Aids and hooked on hygiene and self-care according to the Most Trusted Brands 2022 study from Morning Consult.             In 2022, the most trusted brands in the United States were Band-Aid Lysol Clorox UPS CVS Health (pharmacy) VISA Cheerios The Weather Channel Colgate, and Home Depot. These products and companies sustain trends I tracked in Years 1 and 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic when several of these were most-trusted, bolstering peoples’ lives living in, working from, and making health at home.             Four key trends underscore

 

Consumers Intend to Invest in Technology — With Budget and Value in Mind

Consumers continued to invest in and use several technologies that supported self-care at home in 2021, with plans to purchase connected health devices, sports and fitness equipment in the next year.                 But these purchases will be made with greater attention to budget and value consumer mindsets firmly focused on (and stressed by) inflation. The 24th Annual Technology Ownership & Market Potential Study from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) tells us that Americans in 2022 will have to manage challenging economic headwinds, shopping for technology is preparing people for their new normal —

 

The Care Crisis – Robots Won’t Save Us

Among the many lessons we should and must take emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding and addressing the caregiver shortage-cum-crisis will be crucial to building back a stronger national economy and financially viable households across the U.S. And if you thought robots, AI and the platforming of health care would solve the shortage of caregivers, forget it.               Get smarter on the caregiver crisis by reading a new report, To Fix the Labor Shortage, Solve the Care Crisis, from BCG. You’ll learn that 9 of 10 new care-sector jobs will be in-person for

 

The Health of Older Americans in 2022 – Risks from the Pandemic, Isolation, and Social Determinants

For millions of older people in America, health and well-being got worse in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical, mental and behavioral health took hits, depending on one’s living situation, social determinants of health risks, and even health plan, I write in the Medecision Liberate Health blog.                     In this essay on health disparities and equity for older adults, I weave together new data from, The United Health Foundation’s study on seniors’ health status in America’s Health Rankings for 2022 RAND and CMS research into seniors health disparities among Medicare Advantage

 

Social Determinants of Health Risks Challenge the Promise of Hospital-to-Home

In the wake of the pandemic and growing consumer preferences, the hospital-to-home movement is gaining traction among health systems. Amidst bullish forecasts for the promise of hospital-to-home discharges, the ability for many patients to make this migration would be a difficult bridge to cross.           On the promising front, recent studies reviewed through a meta-analysis published in JAMA found that hospital-to-home programs can be clinically and cost-effective for inpatients discharged from hospital. Earlier this year, McKinsey addressed how “Care at Home” ecosystems can reshape the way health systems — and people — envision patient care. This

 

The Patient as Consumer and Payer – A Focus on Financial Stress and Wellbeing

Year 3 into the COVID-19 pandemic, health citizens are dealing with coronavirus variants in convergence with other challenges in daily life: price inflation, civil and social stress, anxiety and depression, global security concerns, and the safety of their families. Add on top of these significant stressors the need to deal with medical bills, which is another source of stress for millions of patients in America. I appreciated the opportunity to share my perspectives on “The Patient As the Payer: How the Pandemic, Inflation, and Anxiety are Reshaping Consumers” in a webinar hosted by CarePayment on 25 May 2022. In this

 

Food, Cars, and Tech: Here’s How U.S. Consumers Rank Companies’ Reputations – the 2022 Axios-Harris Poll

We’re all about food and cars and our technology, looking at the 2022 Axios Harris Poll 2022 Reputation Rankings published this week.             I’ve curated the logos of the top 30 companies based on the Poll’s survey of 33,096 U.S. adults conducted in March and April 2022. The survey assessed peoples’ awareness of companies that either “excel or falter in society,” according to the study methodology. Here you see the top 30. The COVID-19 pandemic bolstered consumers’ awareness and call-to-action for peoples’ basic needs: food, working-from-home (thus, tech as a determinant of health and wellbeing),

 

Mental Health Risks in Mid-2022 Related More to Global Anxieties and Safety, Not-So-Much COVID

With peoples’ anxiety about COVID-19 at its lowest point since 2020, folks are most anxious in spring 2022 about current global events and the safety of their families, based on the latest Healthy Minds study from the American Psychiatric Association (APA).           Morning Consult conducted the poll for the APA in March and April 2022 among 2,210 U.S. adults. The survey covered peoples’ perspectives on mental health care, anxiety, COVID-19, children’s mental health, and the workplace. The results were published May 22, 2022. The key findings of the study were that, 3 in 4 people are

 

Stress Is Playing A Big Role in Consumers’ Food Habits: Food-As-Medicine Update from IFIC

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated consumers, globally, to take on more DIY roles as well as self-care for health and well-being. In addition, anxiety and stress are mainstream across demographics and have impacted the way people select and consume food, based on findings in the 2022 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC).             In this 17th annual consumer survey, IFIC points to two underlying macro trends that are re-shaping peoples’ relationship with food and health: the pandemic’s impact, and “significant” generational shifts in taste, consumption, and values about nutrition and sustainability.

 

Health is Our Most Important Relationship: Inconvenient Truths from MRM/McCann Truth Central

We’ve hit a great “healthcare trust” recession around the world, translating into lower multiple points of medical ‘facts’ and pseudoscience, lower adherence to therapeutic regimens, and clinician burnout that has compromised medicine as the team sport it ideally should be. And that’s just one of five inconvenient truths unearthed in The Truth About Our Relationships with Health, the first in a series of papers that MRM is developing to, in their words, “look at the truths pr7eventing us from achieving a better relationship with our own health and with those along our health journey.” This report from MRM analyzes research

 

The Demand for Self-Care At-Home Will Grow Post-Pandemic – Insights from IRI

The coronavirus pandemic has re-shaped consumers across many life- and work-flows. When it comes to peoples’ relationship to consumer packaged goods (CPG), the public health crisis has indeed impacted consumers’ purchasing behaviors and definition of “value,” based on IRI’s latest analysis of CPG shifts in 2022 and 2023.           IRI has been tracking COVID-19’s impact on CPG and retail since the emergence of the coronavirus. In this Health Populi post, I’ll discuss the research group’s assessment of CPG shifts of consumer packaged goods through my lens on health/care, everywhere — especially, in this case, the home.

 

Telehealth Update from the AMA – Setting the Context for ATA 2022 [Spoiler Alert: Doctors Want to Keep Using Telehealth]

Four in five U.S. physicians were using telehealth to care for patients at the end of 2021.             Among those doctors who were not providing telehealth by late 2021, just over one half never did so during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the 2021 Telehealth Survey Report from the AMA. This report provides insightful  context for the upcoming annual ATA Conference for 2022, being held in-person in Boston kicking off May 1st. The meeting will be a strategically important, as the title of the conference asks: “What Now? Creating An Opportunity in a Time of

 

Patients Look Beyond the Pandemic to Pharma for Engagement, Innovation, and Integrity

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted patients who were already deeply engaged with their own health care before the coronavirus emerged. Compared with a year ago, more patients and their advocates are seeking quality therapies, innovation, engagement, and integrity from pharmaceutical companies, based on research published today from PatientView. PatientView, based in the UK, has collaborated with over 40,000 patient advocacy organizations globally marking over 10 years doing this research. The eleventh annual report on the Corporate Reputation of Pharma was conducted among 2,150 patient groups between November 2021 and February 2022, covering health citizens in Europe (with 1,229 organizations), North

 

How the Pandemic, Inflation and Ukraine Are Re-Shaping Health Consumers – Learnings from dunnhumby

Too many dollars, stimulated by an influx of COVID-19 government stimulus, are chasing too few goods in economies around the world. Couple this will labor, material shortages, and disrupted supply chains, the exogenous shock of the Ukraine crisis amplifying cost increases and shortage driving higher prices for food and commodities, and global consumers are faced with strains in household budgets. This is impacting grocery stores and. through my lens, will impact health consumers’ spending, as well. In their discussion of Customer First Retailer Responses to Inflationary Times, dunnhumby, retail industry strategists, covered an update on inflation with the top-line that

 

People in the U.S. Without the Internet Were More Likely To Die in the Pandemic

Access to the Internet has been a key determinant of health — or more aptly, death — during the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans lacked Internet access were more likely to die due to complications from the coronavirus, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open this month. The study’s key finding was that for every additional 1% of people living in a county who have access to the Internet, between 2.4 and 6.0 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 were preventable. The paper asserts that, “More awareness is needed about the essential asset of technological access to reliable information, remote work, schooling

 

Go Local and Go Beyond Medical Care: What Hospitals, Health Plans, and Pharma Can Do to Rebuild Trust

Without trust, people do not engage with health care providers, health plans, or life science companies….nor do many people accept “science fact.” I explore the sad state of Trust and Health Care. published in the Medecision Liberate Health blog, with a positive and constructive call-to-action for health care industry stakeholders to consider in re-building this basic driver of well-being. That is, trust as a determinant of health. Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer came out in January 2022, coinciding as it annually does with the World Economic Forum’s meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Every year, WEF convenes the world’s biggest thinkers to wrestle with the

 

Stress in America on the Pandemic’s 2nd Anniversary: Money, Inflation, and War Add to Consumers’ Anxiety

As we mark the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, the key themes facing health citizens deal with money, inflation, and war — “piled on a nation stuck in COVID-19 survival mode,” according to the latest poll on Stress in America from the American Psychological Association. Financial health is embedded in peoples’ overall sense of well-being and whole health. Many national economies entered the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 already marked by income inequality. The public health crisis exacerbated that, especially among women who were harder hit financially in the past two years than men were. That situation was even worse

 

Thinking About Telehealth Through the Lens of Real Estate – Listening to JLL

If you made your living in commercial real estate — and especially, working with hospitals’ and health systems’ office space — would the concept of telehealth be freaking you out right now? If you heed the words of JLL’s 2022 Patient Consumer Survey, you’d chill (at least a bit). The tagline on this paper is, “Convenience and choice drive patient decisions as new digital options take hold.” I was particularly keen to dig into this study based on its sponsoring organization: JLL is a real estate services company serving over a dozen vertical markets — including health care, life sciences,

 

Brand Relevance Has A Lot To Do with Health, Wellness, and Empowerment – Listening to (the) Prophet

s in the seventh annual 2022 Brand Relevance Index from Prophet. The research developed a list of 50 companies representing what Prophet characterizes “the brands that people can’t live without in 2022.” For the 7th year in a row, Apple tops the study. Following Apple, the nine companies rounding out the top ten most relevant brands were Peloton, Spotify, Bose, Android, Instant Pot, Pixar, Fitbit, TED, and USAA. There are relative newbies in this list, representing consumers’ collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic and new life-flows. Put Calm and AfterPay in that category, along with Beyond Meat, and Zelle. The

 

Medical Distancing Is Bad For Your Health

“Social distancing is great. Medical distancing? Not so much,” I observe in Medical Distancing in America: A Lingering Pandemic Side Effect., my essay published this week in Medecision’s Liberate Health blog. Since we learned to spell “coronavirus,” we also learned the meaning and risk-managing importance of physical distance early in the COVID-19 pandemic. But medical distancing became a corollary life-flow of the physical version, and for our collective health and well-being, it hasn’t been good for our health in ways beyond keeping our exposure to the virus at bay. For health care providers — physicians, hospitals, ambulatory clinics, diagnostic centers —

 

Doximity Study Finds Telehealth Is Health for Every Day Care

There’s more evidence that doctors and patients, both, want to use telehealth after the COVID-19 pandemic fades. Doximity’s second report on telemedicine explores both physicians’ and patients’ views on virtual care, finding most doctors and health consumers on the same page of virtual care adoption. For the physicians’ profile, Doximity examined 180,000 doctors’ who billed Medicare for telemedicine claims between January 2020 and June 2021. Telemedicine use did not vary much across physician age groups. Doctors in specialties that manage chronic illnesses were more likely to use telehealth: endocrinology (think: diabetes), gastroenterology, rheumatology, urology, nephrology, cardiology, ENT, neurology, allergy, and

 

The Wellness Economy in 2022 Finds Health Consumers Moving from Feel-Good Luxury to Personal Survival Tactics

The Future of Wellness in 2022 is, “shifting from a ‘feel-good’ luxury to survivalism as people seek resilience,” based on the Global Wellness Institute’s forecast on this year’s look into self-care and consumer’s spending on health beyond medical care — looking beyond COVID-19. GWI published two research papers this week on The Future of Wellness and The Global Wellness Economy‘s country rankings as of February 2021. I welcomed the opportunity to spend time for a deep dive into the trends and findings with the GWI community yesterday exploring all of the data, listening through my health economics-consumer-technology lens. First, consider

 

“We’ve normalized a very high death toll in the U.S.” – How A Trust Deficit Has Infected America’s COVID Outcomes

Trust, or really lack thereof, is a killer app for people’s coronavirus health outcomes. That is the through-line found in a very deep dive into 177 countries’ health data published in The Lancet in a research article on pandemic preparedness and COVID-19. The Lancet study, published on 1 February 2022, was funded by the Gates Foundation in partnership with The Bloomberg Philanthropies et al. The study was researched and written up by a team of COVID-19 National Preparedness Collaborators, led by Dr. Joseph Dieleman of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a group that has been long-tracking

 

Diagnosis: Stress, Anxiety and Anger – the 2022 Medscape Physician Burnout & Depression Report

As physicians deal on the frontlines in Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re stressed, anxious, and angry concludes the Medscape 2022 Physician Burnout & Depression Report. This year, the tagline focuses on stress, anxiety and anger. [Over the past couple of years, the study has used the word “suicide” in the title of the report, FYI]. Those reporting burnout are more likely women physicians than males (56% vs. 41%), work in the ER or critical care departments, and deal with too many bureaucratic tasks like charting and paperwork. For this annual look into the state of U.S. physicians mindsets

 

How Virtual Care Will Play Out in 2022 – a Look Post-CES and JPM

A new study from CIGNA and its subsidiary MDLive touts the cost-effectiveness of telehealth to improve health outcomes, reducing the need for unnecessary lab work, reducing duplication of care, and connecting patients with  high-performing providers. It is expected that one in three patient visits will be virtual, CIGNA quotes from an Accenture forecast. As more consumers used telehealth channels during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, patients experienced virtual care. For many people, these visits matched or exceeded expectations compared with in-person encounters with clinicians, as well as satisfying on convenience and access values. How will virtual care play

 

Nutella, Wine, and COVID Tests at the Convenience Store – A Weekend Observation From Brussels

Health/care is everywhere….even at the convenience store. Yesterday afternoon, as I was picking up a bottle of milk for this morning’s coffee, I rushed to the local Carrefour Express in my neighborhood in St. Gilles, Brussels, Belgium. Sidebar: Carrefour Express is not your prototypical U.S.-styled C-store — you can find some fine Prosciutto di San Daniele in the cold case, some tasty Camembert cheese, very good wine, and just-picked tomatoes there. Still, it’s a C-store in that the brick-and-mortar model is a smaller footprint than a full grocery store, and convenient in that it’s a block from my apartment. Imagine

 

From Better for Me to Better for “We” — NielsenIQ’s New Consumer Hierarchy of Health

People around the world have made health a “proactive priority,” most important to live a longer, healthier life, to avoid preventable diseases, to protect against disease, and to look and feel healthier, according to NielsenIQ’s latest health and wellness report. As the triangle here illustrates, NielsenIQ has turned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs upside down, shifting protective and physical needs to the top rung and altruistic — the “me-to-we” ethos — at the base. Note the translations of these needs, on the ride, into the “care” flows — moving from urgent care down to self-care, preventive care, innovative care, and selfless

 

Building Health Equity Through Faith and Food – the Black Church Food Security Network

Members of his congregation kept going to the hospital with diet-related issues, Reverend Dr. Heber Brown, III, realized. “I got tired of praying and hoping they made it and walked out,” Reverend Brown realized. And then… “God gave us an idea and vision to be proactive on the issue of health in our congregation,” Rev. Brown explained to us yesterday on Day 2 of Real Chemistry’s Health Equity Summit. This was the seed for the Black Church Food Security Network, planting a pragmatic vision for health and well-being weaving together local food, civic empowerment, economic development, and faith. “We had

 

The CES 2022 Tech Trends to Watch Have Everything To Do With Health/Care

The four top trends to watch for this week at CES 2022 are transportation, space tech, sustainable technology, and digital health, based on Steve Koenig’s annual read-out that kicks off this largest annual conference featuring innovations in consumer electronics. Last night, Steve discussed these trends for media attendees, of which I am one (gratefully) participating in #CES2022 virtually from the hygienic comfort and safety of my home health hub (more on that later in this post). All four of these mega-themes impact health and well-being in some way. “Space Tech?” you  might wonder. Yes. My friend Dorit Donoviel can be

 

Mental Health at CES 2022 – The Consumer’s Context for Wellbeing in the New Year

As we enter COVID-19’s “junior year,” one unifying experience shared by most humans are feelings of pandemic fatigue: anxiety, grief, burnout, which together diminish our mental health. There are many signposts pointing to the various flavors of mental and behavioral health challenges, from younger peoples’ greater risk of depression and suicide ideation to increased deaths of despair due to overdose among middle-aged people. And about one-in-three Americans has made a 2022 New Year’s resolution involving some aspect of mental health, the American Psychiatric Association noted approaching the 2021 winter holiday season. Underneath this overall statistic are important differences across various

 

Health Care Planning for 2022 – Start with a Pandemic, Then Pivot to Health and Happiness

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss characters is the narrator featured in the book, I Had Trouble In Getting to Solla-Sollew. I frequently use this book when conducting futures and scenario planning sessions with clients in health/care. “The story opens with our happy-go-lucky narrator taking  a stroll through the Valley of Vung where nothing went wrong,” the Seussblog explains. Then one day, our hero (shown here on the right side of the picture from the book) is not paying attention to where he is walking….thus admitting, “And I learned there are troubles of more than one kind, some come from

 

Why #CES2022 Will Be Keynoted By A Health Care Innovator for the First Time

In October 2021, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced that Robert Ford, CEO and President of Abbott, would give a keynote speech at CES 2022, the world’s largest annual convention of the technology industry. “This marks the first time in CES history that a healthcare company will take the mainstage for a keynote at the show,” CTA’s press release stated. I covered this announcement in the Health Populi blog at the time, and today want to double-down on the significance of Ford’s leading presence at #CES2022. When announced, the news was a signal that health care and the larger tech-enabled

 

The 2022 Health Populi TrendCast for Consumers and Health Citizens

I cannot recall a season when so many health consumer studies have been launched into my email inbox. While I have believed consumers’ health engagement has been The New Black for the bulk of my career span, the current Zeitgeist for health care consumerism reflects that futurist mantra: “”We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run,” coined by Roy Amara, past president of Institute for the Future. That well-used and timely observation is known as Amara’s Law. This feels especially apt right “now” as we enter 2022,

 

Aflac Finds Health Care and Financial Stress will “Dampen 2021 Holiday Magic” in U.S. Households

Most U.S. householders that experienced COVID-19 expect their 2021 December holidays will be impacted in terms of reducing their holiday gift or decor spending, canceling holiday travel plans to see family or friends, or canceling holiday events, according to the 2021 Aflac Health Care Issues Survey. Aflac polled 1,003 U.S. adults in September 2021 to gauge Americans’ financial health perspectives approaching the end of Year 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. Families with children feel particularly strapped for the 2021 holiday season: while they will be less likely to reduce holiday spending, one-half are concerned about medical expenses compared with

 

Fastest-Growing Brands for 2021 Are About Digital Money, Social Connections and Boomers’ Best Lives

Two pharmaceutical companies bubble up among the 20 fastest-growing brands for 2021 in Morning Consult’s report on the Fastest-Growing Brands of 2021. But the surprise in this year’s top 20 brand rankings was that five of them addressed consumers’ financial flows: Coinbase, AfterPay. Cash App, Mastercard, Chime, and Bitcoin. One year ago when I covered this study, I found  that the fastest-growing brands of 2020 had everything to do with the pandemic. They dealt with home entertainment, digital connectivity, hygiene, and indeed, health (with Pfizer and AstraZeneca the two pharma brands top-of-mind for consumers). In this year’s update, exploring consumers’

 

Best Buy Buys Current Health As Our Homes Morph Into Health Spaces

Best Buy continues to grow its health/care market footprint and service portfolio through remote health monitoring, first announced in the press release, Best Buy to acquire Current Health to help make home the center of health. The financial deal was disclosed yesterday at £300 million, about $400 million US dollars (FYI, Current Health is based in Scotland, thus value given in pounds sterling, with a particularly strong US $ exchange right now at 1.34). Remote monitoring has been part of Best Buy Health’s vision from the time the company explained its big audacious goals for the health ecosystem in 2018

 

GoodRx Finds Optimistic Outlook for Telehealth Among Both Providers and Patients

Most health care providers who were using telehealth by August 2021 felt optimistic about virtual care in a study from GoodRx on The State of Telehealth. GoodRx collaborated with the ATA on the 624 U.S. provider survey, which was complemented by a poll conducted among 1,024 health consumers for the patient perspective in September 2021. Looking at the two columns at the right side of the first bar chart, clinicians who have been using telehealth were more likely to feel optimistic about doing so than providers who were not. The most prevalent platforms providers used for telehealth engagement were via Zoom,

 

Does Inequality Matter in the U.S.? Health and the Great Gatsby Curve

Compared with the rest of the developed world, people living in the U.S. may be concerned about income inequality, but their demand for income redistribution is the lowest among peer citizens living in 31 other OECD countries. In their  latest report, Does Inequality Matter? the OECD examines how people perceive economic disparities and social mobility across the OECD 32 (the world’s developed countries from “A” Australia to “U,” the United Kingdom). Overall the OECD 32 average fraction of people who believe it is the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences among those who think disparities are too large is 80%

 

Health Citizens Link Their Views on Democracy, the Economy and the Pandemic

The pandemic has put health care top-of-mind for health citizens the world over. As the public health crisis continues its up-and-downticks around the globe, people are connecting health care to their national economies and politics, based on a global survey from the Pew Research Center, Citizens in Advanced Economies Want Significant Changes to Their Political Systems. For this analysis, the Pew research team assessed the views of some 2,600 health citizens living in 17 developed countries in February 2021. The study report was published in late October 2021. Shown in the first bar chart, the majority of people in at least

 

The Cost to Cover Health Insurance for a Family in America Is $22,221

Even with growing inflation in the U.S. and post-pandemic job growth in 2021, the cost of health insurance premiums rose faster than either the price of goods or wages. That family health plan premium reached $22,221, an increase of 22% since 2016, we learn in the annual report from Kaiser Family Foundation, 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey. This report is our go-to encyclopedia of statistics on health insurance year-after-year, surveying companies’ annual health insurance strategies for coverage and tactics for managing spending and workers’ health outcomes. This 2021 update takes into account the impacts and influence of COVID-19 on workers’

 

Effective Health Spending Is An Investment, Not a Cost: the Bottom-Line from OECD Health at a Glance 2021

“The pandemic has shown that effective health spending is an investment, not a cost to be contained: stronger, more resilient health systems protect both populations and economies,” the OECD states in the first paragraph of the organization’s perennially-updated report, Health at a Glance 2021. This version of the global report incorporates public health data from the “OECD35,” 35 nations from “A” to “U” (Australia to United States) quantifying excess deaths experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the obesity epidemic, mental and behavioral health burdens, and health care spending, among many other metrics. The first chart illustrates that calculation of excess deaths,

 

Designing Digital Health for Public Health Preparedness and Equity: the Consumer Tech Association Doubles Down

A coalition of health care providers, health plans, technology innovators, NGOs, and medical societies has come together as the Public Health Tech Initiative (PHTI), endorsed by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) with the goal of advancing the use of trustworthy digital health to proactively meet the challenge of future public health emergencies….like pandemics. At the same time, CTA has published a paper on Advancing Health Equity Through Technology which complements and reinforces the PHTI announcement and objective. The paper that details the PHTI program, Using Heath Technology to Response to Public Health Emergencies, identifies the two focus areas: Digital health

 

Health Consumers, Health Citizens, and Wearable Tech – My Chat with João Bocas

The most effective, engaging, and enchanting digital health innovations speak to patients beyond their role as health consumers and caregivers: digital health is at its best when it addresses peoples’ health citizenship. I had the great experience brainstorming the convergence of digital health, wearable tech, user-centered (UX) design, and health citizenship with João Bocas, @WearablesExpert, in a on his podcast. And if those topics weren’t enough, I wove in the role of LEGO for our well-being, “playing well,” and inspiring STEM- and science-thinking. João and I started our chat first defining health citizenship, which is a phrase I first learned from

 

Still Struggling with Stress in America in 2021

“Americans remain in limbo between lives once lived and whatever the post-pandemic future holds,” the American Psychological Association observes in their latest read into Stress in America 2021, with this phase of the perennial study focused on Stress and Decision-Making During the Pandemic. The top-line: people face a daily web of risk assessment, up-ended routines, and endless news about the coronavirus locally and globally. While most people in the U.S. believe that “everything will work out” after the pandemic ends, the mental, emotional, and logistical daily distance between “now” and “then” brings uncertainty and indeed, prolonged stress. More Millennials, who

 

Be Mindful About What Makes Health at HLTH

“More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 outbreak, the recent spread of the highly transmissible delta variant in the United States has extended severe financial and health problems in the lives of many households across the country — disproportionately impacting people of color and people with low income,” reports Household Experiences in America During the Delta Variant Outbreak, a new analysis from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NPR, and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. As the HLTH conference convenes over 6,000 digital health innovators live, in person, in Boston in the wake of the delta

 

The Biggest Threat to Our Health Isn’t the Next Pandemic or Cancer…It’s Climate Change

Before the coronavirus emerged, the top causes of death in developed countries were heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and accidents. Then COVID-19 joined the top-10 list of killers in the U.S. and the issue of pandemic preparedness for the next “Disease X” became part of global public health planning. But the biggest health threat to human life is climate change, according to a new report from the World Health Organization titled The Health Argument for Climate Action. It’s WHO’s special report on climate change and health, dedicated to the memory of Ella Kissi-Debrah — a child who died succumbing to impacts

 

Consider Mental Health Equity on World Mental Health Day

COVID-19 exacted a toll on health citizens’ mental health, worsening a public health challenge that was already acute before the pandemic. It’s World Mental Health Day, an event marked by global and local stakeholders across the mental health ecosystem. On the global front, the World Health Organization (WHO) describes the universal phenomenon and burden of mental health on the Earth’s people… Nearly 1 billion people have a mental disorder Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, impacting about 5% of the world’s population People with severe mental disorders like schizophrenia tend to die as much as 20 years earlier

 

Health Privacy and Our Ambivalent Tech-Embrace – Lessons for Digital Health Innovators

A new look into Americans’ views on health privacy from Morning Consult provides a current snapshot on citizens’ concerned embrace of technology — worried pragmatism, let’s call it. This ambivalence will flavor how health citizens will adopt and adapt to the growing digitization of health care, and challenge the healthcare ecosystem’s assumption that patients and caregivers will universally, uniformly engage with medical tools and apps and technologies. More Boomers are concerned with health data app privacy than Gen Z consumers, as the chart illustrates. 46% of U.S. adults said that health monitoring apps were not an invasion of privacy; 32%

 

Why CES 2022 Will Be Keynoted by a Health Care Executive

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced that Robert Ford, CEO and President of Abbott, will give a keynote speech at CES 2022, the world’s largest annual convention of the technology industry. This news is a signal that health care and the larger tech-enabled ecosystem that supports health and well-being is embedded in peoples’ everyday lives. Digital health as a category has been a growing feature at CES for over a decade, starting with the early wearable tech era of Fitbit, Nike, Omron and UnderArmour, early exhibitors at CES representing the category. By 2020, the most recent “live, in person” CES,

 

Crossing the Pond by Plane in the Age of Corona – My View From the Hygienic Skies and on the Ground in Belgium

Years before we knew how to spell “coronavirus,” I gained Italian citizenship while retaining my U.S. citizenship. My family’s plan was to, soon thereafter, split time for work and life between the U.S. and the E.U. Then, COVID-19 emerged as a pandemic the world over, and the move to Brussels in January 2020 was quite short-lived. Now, the plan is in play and I’m writing this post from our home in Brussels, Belgium. Why Brussels? Among many smart reasons, the city is welcoming, our farm-to-table food style is doable, the walkability is brilliant, and the transportation options are accessible to

 

Clinician Burnout in the Age of COVID

My latest essay for Medecision’s Liberation site digs into the sobering statistics on clinical burnout across the medical professions. From doctors to nurses, physician assistants and other licensed allied health human capital, our health care providers are in a world of hurt. This was initiated with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the public health crisis, Delta variant, and lack of universal precautions adopted by U.S. health citizens have exacerbated an already-challenging scenario for individual clinicians and the organizations with whom they work and collaborate. But there’s an even bigger picture, and that’s the risk clinician burnout in its

 

A Negative Outlook for US Hospital Margins Through 2021

In the fourth quarter of 2021, U.S. hospital margins will still be lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaufman, Hall & Associates project in their latest read on hospital finances. Kaufman Hall has been monitoring hospitals’ financial health in the coronavirus era since March 2020, month-by-month. This new report looks into the Financial Effects of COVID-19: Hospital Outlook for the Remainder of 2021. This report was conducted on behalf of the American Hospital Association (AHA), who succinctly summarized the forecast saying, “COVID-19 [is] expected to drive continued hospital losses throughout 2021.” That projection is further couched in the concern that

 

Telehealth is Health: It’s Telehealth Awareness Week

In April 2020, telemedicine morphed into mainstream medical care as hospitals and physicians risk-managed exposure to infection by meeting with patients, virtually, when possible. By March 2020, telehealth channels were replacing visits to doctors and emergency departments as shown in the first chart from the CDC’s report on the early pandemic period. By the spring of 2021, telehealth use stabilized, but health systems had built the processes and policies to deliver on the promise of omni-channel health care — from the patient’s home and hands (via smartphones) into community sites closer-to-home, and returning to brick-and-mortar medical buildings. Welcome to Telehealth

 

Necessity is the Mother(board) – How COVID-19 Inspires Local Communities to Build Broadband

“The simple fact is that the federal and state governments are doing almost nothing to help people who have a broadband service available that partially meets their needs but abuses them with regular price hikes, spotty reliability, and poor customer service. Local governments will continue to step in to build better networks because communities have very few other options.” That “necessity is the mother” motivation to build broadband comes from Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). [FYI, Mitchell’s Twitter handle is @communitynets]. Mitchell is quoted in the story, New data

 

The Risk of Food and Nutrition Security in America – A Bipartisan Concern and Call-to-Action from the BPC

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated food insecurity in the U.S., a situation that was already challenging for millions of American families before the public health crisis emerged. While several Congressional and administrative actions were implemented in 2020 and the first half of 2021, the issue of food insecurity — defined as being unable to acquire enough food due to insufficient money or resources — remains a tragic aspect of daily living for many Americans — and especially for children who live in households where jobs have been lost and incomes reduced. Nutrition security has also been a health risk where people