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The Food-Finance-Health Connection: Being Thankful, Giving Thanks

Food features central in any holiday season, in every one’s culture. For Thanksgiving in the United States, food plays a huge role in the history/legend of the holiday’s origins, along with the present-day celebration of the festival. At the same time, in and beyond the U.S., families’ finances will also be playing a central role in dinner-table conversations, shopping on the so-called “Black Friday” retail season (which has extended long before Friday 25th November), and in what’s actually served up on those tables. Let’s connect some dots today on food, finance and health as we enter the holiday season many

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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

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In Search of Clinical Effectiveness, But “Investment Exuberance?” Not So Much. Insights From FINN Partners and Galen Growth at HLTH 2022

While venture funding for digital health technology declined globally by 35% in the first three quarters of 2022 compared with 2021, this marks a “return to normal” based on the assessment in the Global State of Digital Health Report from FINN Partners and Galen Growth, published today and launched during the HLTH 2022 conference.                 The report analyzes data from over 12,000 digital health ventures tracked by Galen Growth’s HealthTech Alpha platform. The first chart illustrates the change in venture funding by therapeutic area, showing downturns in four of the five areas called

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Health Care in the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections – Considerations for Conversations at HLTH

You and I are ending this week looking back three days, Friday morning quarterback style, wondering how the U.S. 2022 midterm elections could impact health and health care in America. We can never know with 101% certainty the answer to this question following any U.S. election. This year’s midterms leave us especially in need of scenario planning, especially as on this day, we still do not know what the final balance of power in the U.S. Congress will be. Nor can we ascertain, just yet, what the jockeying for power within both the Democratic party and the Republican party will

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A Call to Embrace Civic Engagement (Including Voting Access) as a Driver of Health

“Two intersecting and interdependent systems comprise democracy in the United States,” Eileen Salinsky, Program Advisor with Grantmakers in Health, wrote in a compelling essay in April 2022. Those systems are, Eileen described, “A political system of representative government, which includes the legislative, executive, and judicial branches at the federal, state, and local levels; and, A collective system of self-governance, which includes how individuals interact with each other and their political system through many forms of civic engagement.” Civic Engagement is a Social Determinant of Health, Eileen titled this piece in which she discusses philanthropy’s role in both strengthening democracy and

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Consumers’ Trust In Pharmacists As Providers Grows Along with Omnichannel Health Care

What is a “pharmacy” these days? You might have recently walked into a brick-and-mortar retail pharmacy. Or, you might have refilled a prescription to help you manage a chronic condition, online. Or, perhaps, you asked the pharmacist staffing your favorite grocery store Rx counter to give you the latest vaccine to keep COVID-19 variants at-bay. The pharmacy is all these things, and increasingly digital-first, we learn in The Rx Report: A new day in retail pharmacy, a consumer survey from CVS Health.         CVS Health, one of the two largest pharmacies operating in the U.S. in 2021

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Health in the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections – Women, Prescription Drugs, and Who Shows Up to Vote

On Tuesday November 8, 2022, health and medical issues will be on many U.S. voters’ minds as they enter voting booths to select representatives for the House and the Senate, along with some states’ ballots addressing specific healthcare issues. Health policy experts from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, AARP, and the United States of Care recently shared perspectives on the health care issues on voters’ and policy makers’ minds for the 2022 midterm elections. This post synthesizes their analyses as we lead up to what will be a pivotal election for Americans’ public health, individual well-being, and access to care.  

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Health Care Costs Are a Driver of Health Across All of America – Especially for Women

Three in four people in America grade health care costs a #fail, at grade “D” or lower. This is true across all income categories, from those earning under $24,000 a year to the well-off raking in $180K or more, we learn in Gallup’s poll conducted with West Health, finding that Majorities of people rank cost and equity of U.S. healthcare negatively. Entering the fourth quarter of 2022, several studies were published in the past week which reinforce the reality that Americans are facing high health care costs, preventing many from seeking necessary medical services, and hitting under-served health citizens even harder

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Telehealth-As-Healthcare Is a Mainstream Expectation Among Consumers, J.D. Power Finds

Telehealth has increased access to mental health services, I’ve highlighted this Mental Illness Awareness Week here in Health Populi. But telehealth has also emerged as a preferred channel for routine health care services, we learn from J.D. Power’s 2022 Telehealth Satisfaction Study.           Among people who had used virtual care in the past year, telehealth-as-healthcare is now part of mainstream Americans’ expectations as a normal part of their medical care. That’s because 9 in 10 users of telehealth in the U.S. would use virtual care to receive medical services in the future, J.D. Power found in

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Connected Wellness Growing As Consumers Face Tighter Home Economics

“Consumers are using the Internet to take their health into their own hands,” at least for 1 in 2 U.S. consumers engaging in some sort of preventive health care activity online in mid-2022.                 The new report on Connected Wellness from PYMNTS and Care Credit profiles American health consumers’ use of digital tools for health care promotion and disease prevention. The bottom-line here is that the most connected 10% of consumers were 1.65 times more likely to be engaged in preventive digital health activities than the average person. Peoples’ engagement with digital health

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Health Consumers Want More Support from Healthcare – At Retail Experience Levels

As consumers learn to appreciate and patronize retail touchpoints, entertainment, and financial management via omnichannel platforms, patients and health citizens are seeking more enchanting service levels for their health care. The latest view on patient preferences from Kaufman Hall is out in the firm’s annual 2022 State of the Healthcare Consumer Report.               Every year, this go-to report divines how U.S. patients continue to morph into health/care consumers. This year’s top-line is that peoples’ expectations of health care service providers exceed what those providers, health plans, and suppliers (like pharma) are serving up —

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Remember the Social Determinants of Health When Prescribing Drugs

Thinking about the social determinants of prescription drugs, how people take medicines in real life in my latest post in Medecision’s Liberate Health blog.           I had one of those special lightbulb moments when listening to Mauricio Gonzalez-Arias, M.D. of NYC Health + Hospitals and Suvida Healthcare discussing medication adherence and what prevents us from taking our meds as prescribed. His discussion on social determinants’ role in shaping our relationship with prescriptions was powerful, and the jumping off point for this essay.           Medication adherence is a challenge that fiscally costs the

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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. This is the first White House conference focused on nutrition and food in over 50 years.               The National Strategy was released today, and covers a range of programs that bake health and nutrition into Federal policies going beyond “food” itself: we see various determinants of health embedded into the Strategy, such as supporting physical activity,

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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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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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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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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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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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“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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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

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The Old Gays Working with Walgreens on TikTok: Breaking Down Stereotypes and Having Fun with Health

How much do I love this media campaign from Walgreens, collaborating with the foursome The Old Gays who have a growing multi-million person fan base on TikTok? How much? A whole lot! Kudos to Walgreens for creating engaging, informative, and fun! content to learn about how people can benefit from using the company’s app ….for, Ordering prescriptions (90-day supply) Receiving delivery same-day 24/7 pharmacy chat on pricing, prescription drug information, and medications. The plotline kicks off with 3 of the 4 quartet (Jessay Martin, Robert Reeves and Mick Peterson) looking for their friend Bill Lyons, who is missing from their

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Your State as a Determinant of Health: Sharecare’s 2021 Community Well-Being Index

People whose sense of well-being shifted positively in the past two years are finding greater personal purpose and financial health, we see in Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index – 2021 State Rankings Report.                   Sharecare has been annually tracking well-being across the 50 U.S. states since 2008. When the study launched, Well-Being Index evaluated five domains: physical, social, community, purpose, and financial. In 2020, Sharecare began a collaboration with the Boston University School of Public Health to expand the Index, including drivers of health such as, Healthcare access (like physician supply per 1,000

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Healthcare access, racial disparities, guns and climate – U.S. doctors are worried about some big social issues

Doctors heads and hearts are jammed with concerns beyond curing patients’ medical conditions: U.S. physicians are worried about big social issues, according to a Medscape survey report, Physicians’ Views on Today’s Divisive Social Issues 2022.               Topping physicians’ list of their top-five most important social issues, far above all others ranked healthcare access. Underneath that top-line statistic, it’s important to note that: 52% of doctors are “very concerned” about healthcare access, 28% are “concerned,” and 13% are “somewhat concerned.” Medscape underscores that in 2020, 31 million U.S. residents had no health insurance coverage, and

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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

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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

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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

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How Trust and Geopolitics Will Impact Health and Business – Edelman 2022 Trust Barometer at the World Economic Forum in Davos

When we think about the state of Trust in in mid-2022, there is some good news: Trust is rising (at least in democratic countries, while falling in autocratic ones). The bad news: the gap in Trust has dramatically widened between higher-income people compared with those earning lower-incomes, globally.             And that gap is “tinder” that can be quickly sparked into a socio-political fire in countries around the world, Richard Edelman cautioned today when introducing the latest look at the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, focusing on geopolitics and business. We have never seen numbers like this

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Digital Health Adoption Across Communities is Uneven By Rurality, Race, Health Plan, and Gender

While telehealth, mobile health apps, and wearable technology are all growing for mainstream consumers, there are gaps in adoption based on where a person lives, their health insurance plan type, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender. Thanks to the team at Rock Health, we know more about these gaps explained in their report, Startup innovation for underserved groups: 2021 digital health consumer adoption insights, published this week. The report examines three areas of digital health adoption: Live video telemedicine Wearable technology ownership, and Digital health tracking.         We all know the mantra that our ZIP code impacts our

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Reimagining Health Care Without Walls – Deloitte’s Vision

Delivering health care during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic proved to both patients and their clinicians that virtual care was not only a viable channel for care, but very often a preferable “place” to collaborate for treatment. Even before the coronavirus pandemic emerged in early 2020, telehealth and the hospital-to-home movement were beginning to become part of a portfolio of delivery modes across the continuum of care. Deloitte spells out the current and future prospects for the Hospital in the future “without” walls in a new report that spells out driving forces, future scenarios, and impacts on a business long

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Three in Five People 50+ in the US Will Likely Use Telehealth In the Future – An Update from AARP

“Telehealth certainly appears to be here to stay,” the AARP forecasts in An Updated Look at Telehealth Use Among U.S. Adults 50-Plus from AARP.                         Two years after the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, one-half of U.S. adults over 50 said they or someone in their family had used telehealth. In early 2022, over half of those over 50 (the AARP core membership base) told the Association they would likely use telehealth in the future. This future expectation varies by race, the implications of which I discuss below in

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People Thinking More About the Value of Health Care, Beyond Cost

The rate of people in the U.S. skipping needed health care due to cost tripled in 2021. This prompted West Health (the Gary and Mary West nonprofit organizations’ group) and Gallup to collaborate on research to quantified Americans’ views on and challenges with personal medical costs. This has resulted in The West Health-Gallup Healthcare Affordability Index and Healthcare Value Index.               The team’s research culminated in the top-line finding that some 112 million people in the U.S. struggle to pay for their care. That’s about 4.5 in 10 health citizens. Furthermore, 93% of people

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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.

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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

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How Health Gets Built – The Building H Index Thinking Health-By-Design

“It’s hard to be healthy in the U.S. today.” That is the underlying premise and reason for The Building H Index. Health happens outside of doctors’ offices and hospital operating rooms. Health is made in our homes, in our communities, in our daily lives as we go about working, playing, learning, and praying. Too often, in those daily life-flows, making a healthy decision is harder than defaulting to a less-healthy one. Sometimes, it’s pretty impossible given the state of, say, air quality that we breathe, lack of fresh produce and whole foods at the corner market, or seductively designed automobiles

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Health Care and ESG on Earth Day 2022

As health care industry stakeholders and policymakers have begun to recognize and address the underlying drivers of peoples’ health, there’s another acronym that is taking hold in health care beyond SDoH: that is ESG, standing for Environment Social, and Governance pillars of responsibility and activity.               To mark this Earth Day 2022, I’ve written a brief primer on ESG for the health care community published today in the Medecision Liberate Health blog. Here in Health Populi, I’ll give you a few highlights with graphics you won’t see in that essay to illustrate some key

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The Color of Care – Oprah and The Smithsonian Channel Partner on Health Equity

A new documentary and educational campaign on health equity will be launched on May 1st, 2022, from Oprah’s Harpo Productions studio partnering with The Smithsonian Channel. The Color of Care documents stories of people who have lost loved ones in the COVID-19 pandemic as well as expert interviews with frontline workers and public health experts and researchers sharing data on systemic racism in health care that has underpinned racial health disparities since slavery was instituted in America. Oprah’s website talked about the project, quoting her saying,      “At the height of the pandemic, I read something that stopped me in

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How Business Can Bolster Determinants of Health: The Marmot Review for Industry

“Until now, focus on….the social determinants of health has been for government and civil society. The private sector has not been involved in the discussion or, worse, has been seen as part of the problem. It is time this changed,” asserts the report, The Business of Health Equity: The Marmot Review for Industry, sponsored by Legal & General in collaboration with University College London (UCL) Institute of Health Equity, led by Sir Michael Marmot.               Sir Michael has been researching and writing about social determinants of health and health equity for decades, culminating publications

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What Person-Centered Interoperability Looks Like: Seqster

He had me at the statement, “I believe health data is medicine.” Those were the words of Ardy Arianpour, CEO and Co-Founder of Seqster, when sharing with me how his company was founded. We met up last week at the DIA Europe 2022 meeting (Drug Information Association) in the cool SQUARE Conference Center in Brussels, Belgium (my current home base for work and life). It was a rare opportunity to sit still with this on-the-go guy with whom an hour spent is the equivalent of three hours with most other folks. Ardy and the team call Seqster “the operating system

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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

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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

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The Financial Toxicity of Health Care Costs: From Cancer to FICO Scores

The financial toxicity of health care costs in the U.S. takes center stage in Health Populi this week as several events converge to highlight medical debt as a unique feature in American health care. “Medical debt is the most common collection tradeline reported on consumer credit records,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau called out in a report published March 1, 2022. CFPB published the report marking two years into the pandemic, discussing concerns about medical debt collections and reporting that grew during the COVID-19 crisis. Let’s connect the dots on: A joint announcement this week from three major credit agencies,

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Primary Care in the U.S. – Still a Weak Backbone for the Health of Health Citizens

Compared with health citizens living in other wealthy countries, people living in the U.S. are still among the least likely to have a regular doctor or place to go for care. Thus, millions of Americans continue to lack access to primary care compared with peers in other nations, according to a report from The Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund has tracked primary care access for many years, and over time has found the United States to lack the kind of primary care “backbone” that many wealthy nations have — whose health citizens also enjoy much better health outcomes that relate

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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

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Techquity: How Technology Can Help to Scale Health and Digital Equity, Live from VIVE 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed long-systemic health disparities in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. Income inequality, sickly environments in homes and communities (think unclean air and water), lack of public transportation and nutritious food deserts combine to limit peoples’ health and well-being., Beyond the traditional social determinants of health, such as these, we’ve called out another health risk that became crucial for life in the coronavirus pandemic era: digital connectivity, Indeed, WiFi and broadband represent the newest social determinant of health to add to a growing list of risk factors that challenge health citizens’ health. Kudos to

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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

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Love and Health: The Education of Abner Mason, SameSky Health

It felt super appropriate that I met up with Abner Mason, Founder of SameSky Health, on Valentine’s Day 2022. While we conversed via Zoom, Abner’s positive energy vibrated over the 5,600 miles between him in LA County and me in Brussels, Belgium – nine hours apart, but in the proverbial same room in the conversation. My initial ask of Abner was to discuss the re-branding of ConsejoSano to SameSky Health, but I first wanted to hear the man’s origin story. And that, you will learn, has everything to do with loving parents, the power of education from a young age,

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“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

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Women’s Health, ESG and FootbalI: Why I’m Excited To Tune Into Hologic’s Ad During Super Bowl LVI

One of the best parts of watching the biggest U.S. football game of the year are the ads which can provide great entertainment in-between touchdowns, time-outs, and referees’ video replays. This year, Ad Age provides us with an early inventory of some of the high-expectation commercials, including the usual suspects like Budweiser, Google, TurboTax, and Avocados from Mexico. For the first time, cryptocurrency brands will advertise on the  Super Bowl, too. But I’m most looking forward to seeing the 30-second spot from Hologic, the medical technology company. AdWeek wrote, quoting a Hologic press release, “As a leader in women’s health,

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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

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The Trust Deficit Is Bad for Health: A Health/Care Lens on the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer

“Health is the cornerstone to our core needs, thereby the cornerstone to trust.” So wrote Kirsty Graham, Global Leader of Sectors and Global Chair of Health at Edelman, in an essay explaining the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer. If it’s January, it must be time for the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual setting for Edelman’s launch of the company’s Trust Barometer. While WEF is mostly virtual this year due to the pandemic, Edelman has released the survey of global citizens’ views on trust in institutions right on-time and in full and sobering detail. I welcome and dig into the

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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

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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

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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,

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Americans Cite COVID-19, Access and Cost as Top Healthcare Issues at the End of 2021

Approaching nearly two years into the pandemic, nearly one-half of Americans cite viruses and COVID-19 as the top health problem facing the U.S. In a Gallup poll published 30 November, COVID-19 (is) Still Widely Named as Biggest U.S. Health Problem, I added the “Is” to Gallup’s press release title because the proportion of people in America citing the coronavirus as the top health care problem facing the nation fell by about one-third — from 69% of health citizens to 47%. At the same time, the percentage of peopled most concerned about access to health care and costs more than doubled

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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

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Why CrossFit and 23andMe Are Moving from Health to Primary Care

As we see the medical and acute care sector moving toward health and wellness, there’s a sort of equal and opposite reaction moving from the other end of the continuum of health/care: that is, wellness and fitness companies blurring into health care. Let’s start with the news about CrossFit and 23andMe, then synthesize some key market forces that will help us anticipate more ecosystem change for 2022 and beyond. CrossFit announced the company’s launch of CrossFit Precision Care, described as primary care that provides personalized, data-driven services for “lifelong health,” according to the press release for the program. The service

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Genentech’s Look Into the Mirror of Health Inequities

In 2020, Genentech launched its first study into health inequities. The company spelled out their rationale to undertake this research very clearly: “Through our work pursuing groundbreaking science and developing medicines for people with life-threatening diseases, we consistently witness an underrepresentation of non-white patients in clinical research. We have understood inequities and disproportionate enrollment in clinical trials existed, but nowhere could we find if patients of color had been directly asked: ‘why?’ So, we undertook a landmark study to elevate the perspectives of these medically disenfranchised individuals and reveal how this long-standing inequity impacts their relationships with the healthcare system

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#HelloHumankindness and Happy New Year….

When Dignity Health, the Catholic health care system, launched the “Hello humankindness” PR campaign in June 2013, well, they had me at “Hello.” When the project went live, Dignity Health’s President/CEO Lloyd Dean provided the rationale for the program, saying: “What’s missing in the public discourse about health care is the fact that while medicine has the power to cure, it’s humanity that holds the power to heal.” Dean pointed to two drivers shaping U.S. culture and the nation’s health care industry: The institutionalization of health care, and, The decline of civility in society. That was 2013. #HelloHumankindness sought to

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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

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New Primary Care, Retail and Tech Entrants Motivating Hospitals to Grow Consumer Chops

Rising costs, generational shifts, digital transformation, and fast-growing investments in new health care models and technologies are forcing change in the legacy health care, noted in the State of Consumerism in Healthcare 2021: Regaining Momentum, from Kaufman, Hall & Associates. As the title of Kaufman Hall’s sixth annual report suggests, health care consumers are evolving — even if the traditional healthcare system hasn’t uniformly responded in lock step with more demanding patients. Kaufman Hall analyzed 100 health care organizations in this year’s consumerism survey to assess their readiness to embrace consumer-centric strategies, understand how the industry prioritizes these approaches, evaluate

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#LoveThyNeighbor – A Faith-Based Call for Vaccination

The Catholic Health Association (CHA) is urging Americans to “love thy neighbor” by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Sister Mary Haddad wrote in an editorial published in Modern Healthcare, published on September 3, 2021. Sister Mary is CEO and President of CHA. “Some may suggest that there are moral and religious concerns to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine,” Sister Mary observed. “We strongly affirm the position of the leaders of the Catholic Church: the vaccines are morally acceptable and getting vaccinated is “an act of love.” she asserted. CHA launched a portal on the act of love, featuring lots of science-based articles

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A Nutrition Label for Health IT

“Shouldn’t we, as a society, demand a nutrition label on our algorithms?” asked Dr. John Halamka. Dr. Halamka, President of the Mayo Clinic Platform, was speaking at the HIMSS 2021 annual conference on the meeting’s digital channel. Artificial intelligence and health equity were two key themes discussed during #HIMSS21, and Dr. Halamka’s concerns echoed through the week-long event. To illustrate the need for a healthier approach to AI, he offered this scenario: “If I use a data set of one million Scandinavian Lutherans to create the most amazing EKG algorithm ever and then we decide to use it in Spain,

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Health Disparities in America: JAMA Talks Structural Racism in U.S. Health Care

“Racial and ethnic inequities in the US health care system have been unremitting since the beginning of the country. In the 19th and 20th centuries, segregated black hospitals were emblematic of separate but unequal health care,” begins the editorial introducing an entire issue of JAMA dedicated to racial and ethnic disparities and inequities in medicine and health care, published August 17, 2021. This is not your typical edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many aspects of American health care for so many people, including doctors. Since the second quarter of 2020,

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Nurses and Aides Are Beloved and Deserve Higher Pay; and a Spotlight on the Filipinx Frontline

A majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans agree that nurses are underpaid. Most Americans across political parties also believe that hospital executives are overpaid, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey analysis is aptly titled, Most Americans Agree That Nurses and Aides Are Underpaid, While Few Support Using Federal Dollars to Increase Pay for Doctors, . Insurance executives are also overpaid, according to 73% of Americans — an even higher percent of people than the 68% saying hospital execs make too much money. In addition to nurses being underpaid, 6 in 10

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Our Pandemic Lessons: Listening to Michael Dowling – a #HIMSS21 Wrap-Up

“We don’t un-learn,” Dr. Amy Abernethy asserted as she shared her pandemic perspectives on a panel with 2 other former U.S. health policy and regulatory leaders. The three spoke about navigating compliance (think: regulations and reimbursement) in an uncertain world. An uncertain world is our workplace in the health/care ecosystem, globally, in this moment. So to give us some comfort in our collective foxhole, my last post for this week of immersion in #HIMSS21 is based on the keynote speech of Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health. Dowling keynoted on the theme of “Leading for the Future,” sharing his lessons

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Healthcare Via the Cloud, Across the Enterprise and in the Patient’s Home – a Sustainable View from Philips at HIMSS 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a reappraisal of value-based care, a shift to remote and virtual care, and acceleration of healthcare stakeholders’ investments in Artificial Intelligence-based solutions, Philips discovered in the 2021 Future Health Index, the company’s latest survey conducted among 2,800 health care leaders working in 14 countries. This week at the 2021 annual HIMSS conference, Philips is “making the case for moving to the cloud,” discussing the Philips HealthSuite, a cloud-based platform for connecting providers and patients, devices (and the data they generate), and care across the health care continuum. That’s a big promise and vision, so to kick

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Can the U.S. Improve Health System Performance with Digital Health Tools? Pondering A Big Question for #HIMSS21

Simply put, is the equation, “Spend more, get less” a sustainable business model? Of course not. But that’s the simple math on U.S. health care spending and what comes from it, according to Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly, a perennial report from The Commonwealth Fund that compares health system performance across eleven developed countries. The first table details the metrics that the Fund compares across the eleven peer nations, which included Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The metrics compared were access to care, care process, administrative efficiency, equity,

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Americans Grew Digital Health-Data Muscles in the Pandemic – New Insights from the Pew Charitable Trusts

“Most Americans clearly recognize the potential benefits that improved health IT can offer, and they want this transformation of the health care system to continue,” the Pew Charitable Trusts research concludes in Most Americans Want to Share and Access More Digital Health Data. The Pew team surveyed 1,213 adults ages 18 and over in June and July 2020, interviewing in English and Spanish. As digital health industry stakeholders will be convening at the 2021 annual HIMSS conference in Las Vegas and digitally, this report is well-timed to give us a level-set on just “where” U.S. health citizens are with respect to

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Women’s Health Re-shaped by COVID-19

While women continue to outlive men in the U.S. in terms of life expectancy, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed continued healthcare access, physical and mental health disparities, and economic inequities for women in America. I addressed the changing state of post-pandemic women’s health in my latest contribution to the Medecision Liberation blog. This first graphic illustrates how women interacted with the U.S. health system during the pandemic in 2020. These data come from Kaiser Family Foundation’s women’s health survey conducted from the beginning of the pandemic starting March 1, 2020, and discovered that women in poorer or fair more likely went

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Medical Debt in the U.S. Greater in States That Did Not Expand Medicaid

The level of medical debt in America exceeded debt of other types in 2020. Furthermore, the flow of medical debt was greater among health citizens living in states that did not expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, compared with patients who reside in Medicaid expansion states, according to an original research essay, Medical Debt in the US, 2009-2020 published in JAMA on 20 July 2021. The first line chart illustrates the trends in medical debt in collections by state expansion of Medicaid, with the bottom darkest line representing debt in collections in Medicaid expansion states from the

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What Poor Birth and Maternity Outcomes in the U.S. Say About American Healthcare & “Infrastructure”

Cain Brothers is a 100+ year old financial services firm with a strong health care experience, now part of KeyBanc. A recent “House Calls” memo and podcast from two company analysts detailed the state of Medicaid, Motherhood and America’s Future: Giving Birth to Better Maternity Outcomes. Christian Pesci and David Johnson’s in-depth discussion detailed their bottom-line that, “maternity care in the U.S. is in crisis but poised for rapid evolution…(recognizing) that an uncoordinated system with misaligned incentives harms too many individuals, families, and communities.” They lay out the crisis as follows: Medicaid funds nearly one-half of births in the U.S.

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CVS Finds Differences in Mental and Behavioral Health Among Men Vs. Women in the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic shifts to a more endemic phase — becoming part of peoples’ everyday life for months to come — impacts on peoples’ mental health will persist, according to new research from CVS Health in the company’s annual Health Care Insights Study. CVS conducted the annual Health Care Insights Study among 1,000 U.S. adults in March 2021. To complement the consumer study, an additional survey was undertaken among 400 health care providers including primary care physicians and specialists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, RNs and pharmacists. CVS has been tracking the growing trend of health care consumerism in the

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Dollar General, the Latest Retail Health Destination?

“What if…healthcare happened where we live, work, play, pray and shop, delivering the highest levels of retail experience?” I asked and answered in my book HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen. The chapter called “The new retail health” began with that “what if,” and much of the book responded with the explanation of patients evolving toward health consumers and, ultimately, health citizens empowered and owning their health and care. This week, Dollar General announced the hiring of its first Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Albert Wu. With that announcement, America’s largest dollar-store chain makes clear its ambitions to join a

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The Many Factors That Make a Child’s Well-Being Build Our Adult Health – the Aspirational OECD Framework

The ultimate health and wellbeing of an adult depends on the factors that shape us when we are children. A new, deep report from the OECD, Measuring What Matters for Child Well-being and Policies, spells out the many domains of experience that, together, bolster our whole health as we grow from child to adult. The first chart presents the OECD’s framework for measuring child well-being, calling out the nature of being “aspirational.” This re-look at children’s health data is aspirational because it is laying out how to best measure child well-being to set the bar higher for doing so. It addresses

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Digital Inclusion As Upstream Health Investment

Without access to connectivity during the pandemic, too many people could not work for their living, attend school and learn, connect with loved ones, or get health care. The COVID-19 era has shined a bright light on what some of us have been saying since the advent of the Internet’s emergence in health care: that digital literacies and connectivity are “super social determinants of health” because they underpin other social determinants of health, discussed in Digital inclusion as a social determinant of health, published in Nature’s npj Digital Medicine. On the downside, lack of access to digital tools and literacies

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The Healthiest Communities in the U.S. After the Pandemic – U.S. News & Aetna Foundation’s Post-COVID Lists

Some of America’s least-healthy communities are also those that index greater for vaccine hesitancy and other risks for well-being, found in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Healthiest Communities Rankings. U.S. News collaborated with the Aetna Foundation, CVS Health’s philanthropic arm, in this fourth annual list of the top geographies for well-being in the U.S. Six of the top ten healthiest towns in America are located in the state of Colorado. But #1 belongs to Los Alamos County, New Mexico, which also ranked first in ___. Beyond Colorado and New Mexico, we find that Virginia fared well for health in

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Color Me Healthy – Pantone’s Forecast on Post-Pandemic Well-Being and Design

Post-pandemic, the consumer’s priority purchases are grocery, nesting, and health, according to David Shah, a leading thinker about social and design trends. David presented the latest Pantone forecast on color and society in NewTopia – A Balance of Color Opposites – Color for a Post-COVID World this week. I had the opportunity to attend the session, and want to share the health and wellness-related insights David shared in his fast-paced view on the role of color in bolstering wellbeing and community looking out to 2022/23. For context, Pantone plays a role in your life you might not realize. In health

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5.5 Million Years of Life Will Be Lost Due to COVID-19 in the U.S. in 2020

In 2020 in the U.S., 380,000 people are expected to die due to COVID-19. These people lost due to the coronavirus would, collectively, have lived another 5.5 million life-years would they not have succumbed to the virus. COVID-19 has cut lives short relative to their life expectancy, calculated in an analysis by the Pew Research Center based on CDC data from 2019 and 2020, coupled with additional statistics on life expectancy by age and gender. The bottom-line from the Pew Research Center’s analysis, simply stated, is that, “The pandemic…has killed many Americans who otherwise might have expected to live for

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The Digital Home: A Platform for Health, via Deloitte and the COVID-19 “Stress Test”

Wherever you live in the world touched by the coronavirus pandemic, you felt (and were) stress-tested. Both you were, and your home was as well. In this year’s 2021 annual report by Deloitte into Connectivity & Mobile Trends, their report details How the pandemic has stress-tested the crowded digital home. This analysis was done, as it is every year, by the Deloitte Center for Technology, Media & Telecommunications. Deloitte’s Center commissioned an online survey among 2,009 U.S. consumers to gauge five generations of peoples’ perspectives on connected life in the context of COVID. The report covers the various life-flows of

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The ROI on Virtual Care – Thinking About Value and Future Prospects With the AMA

When a new technology or product starts to get used in a market, it follows a diffusion curve whose slope depends on the pace of adoption in that market. For telehealth, that S-curve has had a very long and fairly flat front-end of the “S” followed by a hockey stick trajectory in March and April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was an exogenous shock to in-person health care delivery. The first chart from the CDC illustrates that dramatic growth in the use of telehealth ratcheting up since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the U.S. Virtual care has

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Nurses Hacking for Health and Compassionomics

The hearts and minds of nurses are fertile and inspirational sources and engines for health care innovation. This past weekend, and for the second time, I had the privilege and opportunity to be a panelist for the perennial hackathon meet-up of Nurse Hack 4 Health, sponsored by Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Sonsiel, and DevUp. This round, the hackathon attracted hundreds of nurses from at least 20 countries and 30 U.S. states. Even a few students attended, a growing trend as academia recognizes the shortage of workers trained to solve thorny problems of the world. In health care, right here, right

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Thinking Mothers’ Health at Mother’s Day 2021…and the Marshall Plan for Moms

To all the Moms I’ve loved and lost and those I still blessed to have in my life…. I’m thinking about our collective and individual health this 2021 Mother’s Day weekend. There are three themes that whirl in the current Moms’ Health Mix: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mothers’ health and life Mom-economics and the She-Cession — the financial roots of health inequity, and The larger context that is the persistence of women’s health disparities. First, the impact of the coronavirus and the economy have been intertwined, hitting women hard in terms of physical health, work, mental health

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Consumers’ Health Concerns Grow in the Pandemic Across All Categories – And More Trust Virtual Care

While the “in-person” visit to a doctor or medical professional continues to rank first as consumers’ most-trusted information source, the virtual doc or clinician rose in trust during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Euromonitor’s latest read on Consumer Health: Changes in Consumer Behaviour during COVID-19 . The first four most-trusted sources for health information in 2021 remained the same short-list from 2020: doctors in-person, pharmacists, nutritionists and dieticians, and government or NGOs. But fifth place slipped from family and friends to the pharma industry, and sixth in line went to virtual doctors or medical professionals rising from 9th place in

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Health Disparities and the Risks of Social Determinants for COVID-19 – 14 Months of Evidence

In April 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued a report featuring evidence that in the month of March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was not an equal-opportunity killer. Within just a couple of months of COVID-19 emerging in America, it became clear that health disparities were evident in outcomes due to complications from the coronavirus. An update from that early look at differences in COVID-19 diagnoses and mortality rates was published in Health Disparities by Race and Ethnicity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Current Evidence and Policy Approaches, In this report, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, part of

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Virtual Health Tech Enables the Continuum of Health from Hospital to Home

In the COVID-19 pandemic, as peoples’ daily lives shifted closer and closer to home, and for some weeks and months home-all-the-time, health care, too, moved beyond brick-and-mortar hospitals and doctors’ offices. The public health crisis accelerated “what’s next” for health care delivery, detailed in A New Era of Virtual Health, a report published by TripleTree. TripleTree is an investment bank that has advised health care transactions since 1997. As such, the team has been involved in digital health financing and innovation for 24 years, well before the kind of platforms, APIs, and cloud computing now enabling telehealth and care, everywhere. The

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Health, the Great Unifier (For Most)

As the COVID-19 expanded peoples’ consciousness about infectious disease and opportunities to keep a tricky virus at bay, consumers grew new muscles about public and individual wellness…now, “more invested in achieving it,” according to In Health We Trust, a survey report from Healthline Media. To gauge Americans changing perspectives on personal health, HealthLine conducted surveys among 1,533 U.S. consumers age 18 and over in February 2020 (just about the time the coronavirus pandemic was emerging in the U.S.) and 1,577 consumers in December 2020. One of the subtle shifts in health care consumerism concerns cost, which before the pandemic has

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The Pandemic’s Death Rate in the U.S.: High Per Capita Income, High Mortality

The United States has among the highest per capita incomes in the world. The U.S. also has sustained among the highest death rates per 100,000 people due to COVID-19, based on epidemiological data from the World Health Organization’s March 28, 2021, update. Higher incomes won’t prevent a person from death-by-coronavirus, but risks for the social determinants of health — exacerbated by income inequality — will and do. I have the good fortune of access to a study group paper shared by Paul Sheard, Research Fellow at the Mossaver-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School. In reviewing

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Emerging with A Stronger Healthcare System Post-COVID: NAM’s Lessons Learned

The coronavirus pandemic exposed weaknesses in the U.S. health care system that existed before the public health crisis. What lessons can be learned from the COVID-19 stress-test to build American health care back better? The National Academy of Medicine is publishing nine reports addressing health stakeholder segments impacted and re-shaped by COVID-19 — for public health, quality and safety, health care payers, clinicians, research, patients-families-communities, health product manufacturers, digital health, and care systems. The report on health care systems and providers was released this week:  COVID-19 Impact Assessment: Lessons Learned and Compelling Needs was authored by experts on the front-line

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Trust-Busted: The Decline of Trust in Technology and What It Means for Health

Trust in the technology industry has crashed to an all-time low based on the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer. As Richard Edelman, CEO, concisely asserted, “Tech loses its halo.” The first chart shows the one-year trend on trust across industries through U.S. consumers’ eyes. Most industries lost citizens’ trust between 2020 and 2021, most notably, Technology, dropping the greatest margin at 9 points Retail, falling 7 points, Entertainment. falling 5 points, and, Fashion and automotive declining by 4 points. Several sectors’ trust equity rose in the year, especially healthcare growing by 8 points and food and beverage rose slightly by 2

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The Cost of Healthcare Can Drive Medical Rationing and Crowd Out Other Household Spending

One in five people in the U.S. cannot afford to pay for quality health care — an especially acute challenge for Black and Hispanic Americans, according to a West Health-Gallup poll conducted in March 2021, a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. “The cost of healthcare and its potential ramifications continues to serve as a burdensome part of day-to-day life for millions of Americans,” the study summary observed. Furthermore, “These realities can spill over into other health issues, such as delays in diagnoses of new cancer and associated treatments that are due to forgoing needed care,” the researchers expected. The first table

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Housing as Prescription for Health/Care – in Medecision Liberation

COVID-19 ushered in the era of our homes as safe havens for work, shopping, education, fitness-awaking, bread-baking, and health-making. In my latest essay written for Medecision, I weave together new and important data and evidence supporting the basic social determinant of health — shelter, housing, home — and some innovations supporting housing-as-medicine from CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group, AHIP, Brookings Institution, the Urban Land Institute, and other stakeholders learning how housing underpins our health — physical, mental, financial. Read about a wonderful development from Communidad Partners, working with the Veritas Impact Partners group, channeling telehealth to housing programs serving residents with

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How Fruits and Veg Can Make Health and Lower Costs – Calling Chef José Andrés to the White House

Springtime is finally emerging on the east coast of the U.S. and my local CSA farm is on my mind. It’s timely, then, to re-visit a research paper on subsidizing fruits and vegetables from a March 2019 issue of PLOS as an introduction to a new initiative growing out of The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (CHLPI) on produce prescriptions. Timely, too, that Chef José Andrés has been called to President Biden’s White House to help address food security in America. First, let’s look at the research in PLOS: Cost-effectiveness of financial incentives for

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