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Financial Strain Among Older People in America, and What Project 2025 Could Mean for Their Well-Being

Over one-half of people 50 years of age and older in the U.S. have felt financial strain in the past year, resulting in 1 in 2 folks cutting back on everyday expenses like groceries and gas. We learn that nearly one-half of people 50 and over say they’ve been impacted by inflation “a great deal” in Making Ends Meet: Financial Strain and Well-Being Among Older Adults, the latest report from the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation’s National Poll on Healthy Aging based at the University of Michigan (my alma mater). The poll was conducted by NORC at the University

 

How to Get Better Care to More People? Address Burnout, Bridge Insights with AI, Embed Sustainability – the Philips Future Health Index 2024

Health care access is a challenge in rural and urban areas, cities and suburbs, and across more demographic groups than you might realize, as we see wait times grow for appointments, primary care shortages, and delays in screening plaguing health systems around the world. In the Future Health Index 2024, Philips’ latest annual report presents a profile of the state of health care focused on how to provide better care for more people.             For the report, Philips surveyed a total of 2,800 healthcare leaders consisting of 200 respondents in 14 countries: Australia, Brazil, China,

 

Telehealth Legislation Passes Ways & Means, As GLP-1s Are Fast-Meshing with Telemedicine in the Marketplace

Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means passed six pieces of legislation that would bolster telehealth in the U.S. for the next two years, assuring several aspects of access for health citizens across the country. “One of our top priorities on this Committee is helping every American access health care in the community where they live, work, and raise a family,” Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) explained in his introductory statement. Being from Missouri, Chairman Smith is especially keen on the role virtual care and telehealth can play to expand access to the under-served in the U.S. “In rural

 

The Cost of Medical Care, Long-Term Care, and Prescription Drugs Top Older Americans’ Health-Related Concerns – With Social Security and Medicare Top of Mind

Among Americans 50 years of age and over, the top health-related concerns are Cost, Cost, and Cost — for medical services, for long-term and home care, and for prescription medications. Quality of care ranks lower as a concern versus the financial aspects of health care in America among people 50 years of age and older, as we learn what’s On Their Minds: Older Adults’ Top Health-Related Concerns from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. AARP sponsors this study, which is published nearly every month of the year on the Michigan Medicine portal.           

 

Healthcare 2030: Are We Consumers, CEOs, Health Citizens, or Castaways? 4 Scenarios On the Future of Health Care and Who We Are – Part 2

This post follows up Part 1 of a two-part series I’ve prepared in advance of the AHIP 2024 conference where I’ll be brainstorming these scenarios with a panel of folks who know their stuff in technology, health care and hospital systems, retail health, and pharmacy, among other key issues. Now, let’s dive into the four alternative futures built off of our two driving forces we discussed in Part 1.             The stories: 4 future health care worlds for 2030 My goal for this post and for the AHIP panel is to brainstorm what the person’s

 

Healthcare 2030: Are We Consumers, CEOs, Health Citizens, or Castaways? 4 Scenarios On the Future of Health Care and Who We Are – Part 1

In the past few years, what event or innovation has had the metaphorical impact of hitting you upside the head and disrupted your best-laid plans in health care? A few such forces for me have been the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of Chat-GPT, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That’s just three, and to be sure, there are several others that have compelled me to shift my mind-set about what I thought I knew-I-knew for my work with organizations spanning the health care ecosystem. I’m a long-time practitioner of scenario planning, thanks to the early education at the side of Ian

 

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 Health Consumer Bill of Rights: Assuring Affordability, Access, Autonomy, and Equity

Let’s put “health” back into the U.S. health care system. That’s the mantra coming out of this week’s annual Capitol Conference convened by the National Association of Benefits and Insurance Professionals (NABIP). (FYI you might know of NABIP by its former acronym, NAHU, the National Association of Health Underwriters).         NABIP, whose members represent professionals in the health insurance benefits industry, drafted and adopted a new American Healthcare Consumer Bill of Rights launched at the meeting. While the digital health stakeholder community is convening this week at VIVE in Los Angeles to share innovations in health tech, NABIP

 

The Trust-Innovation Gap – Welcome to the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer

If it’s January, it’s Davos-time — that is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum convening global experts and passionistas focused on big ideas and challenges facing us mere humans living on Planet Earth. Parallel with the WEF is the annual publication of the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer, now in its 24th year, focusing on global citizens’ concerns that unite people around the world. For the 2024 study, Edelman’s team fielded the survey in November 2023, collecting input from over 32,000 people living in 28 countries. About 1,150 interviews (plus or minus) were done in each nation which included

 

Access to Technology Is the New Pillar for Well-Being: CES & the UN Partner for Human Security for All

In kicking off #CES2024, CTA’s researchers noted the acceleration of global connectivity, with gaps in peoples’ ability to connect depending where they live: by region, the percent of people connected to the internet today are, according to CTA’s data, 92% in the U.S. 87% in the E.U. 76% in Latin America 73% in China 55% in Nigeria 46% in India. Such gaps in connectivity threaten peoples’ individual well-being, but also social and political stability that impacts the entire world’s security. And not to overlook, as well, the promise of AI to do good at scale at the enterprise-level, globally.  

 

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.

 

What If We Built a Consumer-Enchanting Health System in the Context of HLTH 2023? Building Blocks for the Scenario

What if….you were given the opportunity to build a health system from scratch in this new era of platforms, cloud computing, AI and machine learning, curious-digital-empowered consumers, and collaborators in retail and community settings operating close to peoples’ homes and workplaces? With the HLTH 2023 Conference meeting up in Vegas these past couple of days, this “what if” scenario can be constructed with announcements coming out of the meeting, coupled with recent developments in the larger health/care ecosystem.             Start with General Catalyst’s news of engaging Dr. Marc Harrison, most recently CEO of Intermountain Health,

 

Food-As-Medicine Grows Its Cred Across the Health/Care and Retail Ecosystem

In the nation’s search for spending smarter on health care, the U.S. could save at least $13 billion a year through deploying medically-tailored meals for people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance programs, according to the True Cost of Food, research published by the Tufts School of Nutrition Science and Policy collaborating with The Rockefeller Foundation.       It’s been one year since the White House convened the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, kicking off the Biden Administration’s national strategy to improve health citizens’ access to healthy food as a matter of public health and economic security.

 

“Healthcare Isn’t Healthy:” the Global Challenge of Health Equity, and Calls-to-Action

Discrimination in health care is reported by more people in the U.S. than in Germany, Spain, or the U.K., we learn in the research reported in The Intersection of Health Equity in Communities & Business Strategy: A Call-to-Action, from Omnicomm PR Group (OPRG) and Atlantic Insights.                          The study was conducted among 6,000 people living in Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, fielding 1,500 interviews in each of the four countries in March 2023. The U.S. survey sample included 375 people identifying as Black, White, Hispanic, or

 

The Elevator, Trust and the Data Commons: Bart de Witte Makes the Case for Open AI for Health at WHO/Europe

“I’m in Berlin, and we don’t like walls,” Bart De Witte responded in a concluding Q&A session yesterday at the 2nd Symposium on the Future of Health Systems, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Porto on 5th September.               Over two days, this meeting convened stakeholders focused on WHO’s European Region to support the Organization’s digital health action plan for 2023-2030 – which fosters cross-nation health planning covering the EU space. AI’s promise in health care to automate and streamline administration, and augment diagnosis and treatment, comes with accompanying risks that can

 

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

 

A Tale of Barbie, Beyonce and Taylor, the Economy and the Gynecologist

This weekend’s Wall Street Journal Saturday/Sunday edition featured a big story on the economic force of women in the summer of 2023, termed “the women’s multiplier effect” — that women’s spending is a powerful force in the U.S. economy (and as it turns out, in Sweden’s economy as well).                 The article was titled, “Women Own This Summer. The Economy Proves It,” and featured a Photoshopped image in various shades of pink with Margot Robbie as Barbie in the center, flanked by Beyonce to the left and Taylor Swift to the right. I’m

 

Hims and Hers and Hearts – Cardiology Blurs Into DTC Retail Health

Statin therapy has been used for decades to lower cholesterol with the goal of reducing mortality and preventing cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Hims & Hers announced a new service offering for health consumers and clinicians concerned about heart health called Heart Health by Hims.               This is Hims & Hers’ first foray into cardiovascular health, working in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology (ACC). ACC clinical guidelines will inform the Hims’ provider platform for the program. “Prevention is the ideal mechanism to decrease cardiovascular events and ensure optimal heart

 

Patients, Nurses and Doctors Blame Health Insurers for Increasing Costs and Barriers to Care

Most patients, nurses and doctors believe that health insurance plans reduce access to health care which contributes to clinician burnout and increases costs, based on three surveys conducted by Morning Consult for the American Hospital Association (AHA).             Most patients have experienced at least one health insurance related barrier in the past two years, and 4 in 10 of those people said their health got worse as a result of that care-barrier. “These surveys bear out what we’ve heard for years — certain insurance companies’ policies and practices are reducing health care access and making

 

There’s a New “O” in Medicine-Town – Welcome OPill to the Front of the Counter

You may not be able to get that ear-worm jingle that goes “O O O Ozempic” out of your musical mind, but I’m happy to tell you there’s a new “O” in town: the Opill. Welcome to the first OTC contraceptive for sale in the USA.                     I wrote about Perrigo’s Opill here in Health Populi in May 2023 as a “signpost on the road to retail health.” It’s official: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Opill®, a progestin-only daily oral contraceptive, for over-the-counter (OTC) use for all ages.

 

Happy 75th Birthday, NHS – Through A U.S. Health Care Lens

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) turns 75 today.             The NHS was the brainchild of Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan; he wrote in a statement to doctors and nurses in The Lancet on July 3, 1948,  “My job is to give you all the facilities, resources, apparatus and help I can, and then to leave you alone as professional men and women to use your skill and judgement without hindrance.” This week in The Lancet, the editors assert, “The founding principles of the NHS put into practice 75 years ago are at risk of

 

The State of Healthcare in America, State-By-State

If you live in Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New Hampshire, you win a kind of state lottery for public health and well-being, based on this year’s read of the 2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance from The Commonwealth Fund.           Here’s a picture of the annual study’s top-line findings, a roster of the fifty U.S. states ranked by a mash-up of health system indicators. As Annie Burkey of FierceHealthcare succinctly summed it up, the “Commonwealth Fund gives healthcare in southeastern states failing grades across the board.” I’ll give you more details about the Top and Bottom

 

Our Mental and Emotional Health Are Interwoven With What We Eat and Drink – Chewing On the IFIC 2023 Food and Health Survey

As most Americans confess to feeling stressed over the past six months, peoples’ food and beverage choices have been intimately connected with their mental and emotional well-being, we learn from the 2023 Food & Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC). For this year’s study, IFIC commissioned Greenwald Research to conduct 1,022 interviews with adults between 18 and 80 years of age in April 2023. The research explored consumers’ perspectives on healthy food, the cost of food, approaches to self-care through food consumption, the growing role of social media in the food system, and the influence of sustainability

 

Virtual Health Care Can Reduce Carbon Emissions: the Environmental ROI on Telehealth

As implemented in the COVID-19 era and its immediate wake, the most obvious environmental benefits offered by telehealth visits replacing in-person patient encounters have been achieved through reduced patient travel, considering The Role of Virtual Consulting in Developing Environmentally Sustainable Health Care, a systematic literature review published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. This study, led by researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, and the University of Oslo, Norway, identified over 1,600 scientific papers, narrowing the most rigorous and relevant to 23 papers focusing on virtual consulting and carbon emissions. This is an important question for two major

 

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

 

Thinking Pharma on a Friday: Europe’s Big Reforms for a Health Union & the U.S. 50-State Fragments

The COVID-19 pandemic re-shaped European Union leaders to reimagine healthcare, public health, and health citizenship in the EU. Welcome to #HealthUnion, the hashtag that the European Commission has adopted with the vision of assuring access to medicines for all people living in the 27-nation EU area — regardless of socioeconomic status.             On 26th April 2023, the EC unveiled the most significant reforms for the region’s pharmaceutical industry in twenty years. It’s really a package or “toolkit” in the words of EC Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides for addressing several strategic health pillars

 

Health Care Financing: How Inflation and Health Care Prices Could Hit the U.S. Consumer

In the U.S. in 2021, per person health care spending increased by nearly 15%, reversing 2020’s spending decline of 3.5% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest Health Care Cost and Utilization Report from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) details health spending in 2021, dissecting the change in terms of utilization of services and prices by category. That’s a big rise over consumers’ household inflation for food, energy, and other kitchen-table considerations, prompting me to look for additional context from a recent paper published by the OECD on Health care financing in times of high inflation,

 

Food Is Medicine, Especially When You Are Hungry – The American Heart Association‘s FIM Initiative

Food is a basic need, fundamental to our lives and well-being. And for millions of people around the world, and innumerable health citizens in the U.S., food security is part of daily life in 2023. Furthermore, as the U.S. Congress faces voting on the debt ceiling, the issue of SNAP benefits for nutritional assistance (aka “food stamps”) has been identified as a negotiating line-item by certain Federal budget-cut minded folks. That’s why the Food Is Medicine Initiative, launched collaboratively between the American Heart Association and The Rockefeller Foundation, is so timely and welcome.         “The vision for

 

Consumers Expect Every Company to Play a Meaningful Role in “My Health” – New Insights from the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer

People have expanded their definitions of health in 2023, with mental health supplanting physical health for the top-ranked factor in feeling healthy. Welcome to the Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report: Trust and Health, released this week, with striking findings about how the economic, post-pandemic life, pollution and climate change all feed mis-trust among citizens living in 13 countries — and their eroding trust for health care systems.         While these factors vary by country in terms of relative contribution to citizen trust, note that in the U.S., social polarization plays an outsized role in factors that “make us

 

My Health, My Data – Thinking Consumers, Privacy and Self-Care at HIMSS 2023

The Washington State legislature passed House Bill 1155, aka the My Health, My Data Act, last week. Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign this into State law later this year. The bill expands privacy protections for Washington State’s health citizens beyond HIPAA’s provisions.           The My Health, My Data Act defines “consumer health data” as “personal information that is linked or reasonably linkable to a consumer and that identifies a consumer’s past, present, or future physical or mental health.”  The ethos of the name and the intent of this law is a perfect vision for

 

Don’t Mess with Medicare and Medicaid, Washington: They Remain Popular with Americans Across Party ID

A majority of the U.S. public does not want politicians to “up-end” government-funded health programs, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s March 2023 Health Tracking Poll.           Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid all garner most partisans’ support whether identifying as Democrat, Independent, or Republican, KFF found in their monthly poll of U.S. voters ages 18 and over. The survey was conducted online and by telephone among 1,271 U.S. adults between March 14-23, 2023.               Among all the important findings in this well-timed poll, I’ll point to the issue of public

 

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,

 

The Patient Is Still the Payor – And May Skip Paying for Prevention (Eyes on the ACA & Texas)

Many health citizens in the U.S. would likely skip receiving preventive health care services if the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage for them goes away, a Morning Consult survey found.                   The first chart illustrates the top-line of this research: that most U.S. adults would not pay out of pocket for several preventive services including tobacco cessation, drug use screening, weight loss measures to prevent obesity-related illnesses, as well as screening for depression or HIV. One of the key benefits embedded in the ACA was “free” without co-pay shares for  preventive care. These

 

What Are Patients Looking for in a Doctor? It Depends on Who You Ask…and Their Race

While the same proportion of Black and White patients say they are looking for a doctor with empathy and compassion, there are relatively large differences between patients based on their race, found in the Everyday Health-Castle Connolly Physician-Consumer study.             The survey was conducted in December 2022 among a group of 1,001 U.S. consumers and 277 Castle Connolly health care professionals. As the first bar chart illustrates “where patients differ, “Black people were nearly twice as likely as white people (41 percent versus 22 percent) to completely agree that they would be more comfortable and

 

The Polarization of Trust in 2023 – What It Means for Health, via Edelman at Davos WEF 23

For the third year in a row, citizens in most of the world see business as the most-trusted institution, above government, media, and NGOs, found in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, unveiled this week at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.                       The Edelman team conducted this 23rd annual study in November 2022 in 28 countries, among over 32,000 people — some 1,150 residents per country polled. (Note that Russia, studied in the surveys between 2007 and 2022, was not included in the 2023 research). The first chart arrays

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.  

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

More Americans Trust Small Biz and the Military than the Medical System, Gallup Finds

The most trusted institutions in the U.S. are small business and the military, the only two sectors in which a majority of Americans have confidence. Americans’ trust in institutions hit new historic lows in 2022, Gallup found in its latest poll of U.S. sentiment across all major sectors.                 Today, more Americans have faith in the police than in the medical system, according to a Gallup poll finding that Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low. published this week of Independence Day 2022. Confidence runs from a higher of 68% for

 

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

 

Changing Views of Retirement and Health Post-COVID: Transamerica’s Look At Workers’ Disrupted Futures

As more than 1 in 3 U.S. workers were unemployed during the pandemic and another 38% had reductions in hours and pay, Americans’ personal forecasts and expectations for retirement have been disrupted and dislocated.                 In its look at The Road Ahead: Addressing Pandemic-Related Setbacks and Strengthening the U.S. Retirement System from the Tramsamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS), we learn about the changing views of U.S. workers on their future work, income, savings, dreams and fears. Since 1988, TCRS has assessed workers’ perspectives on their futures, this year segmented the 10,003 adults

 

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

 

Only in America: Medical Debt Is Most Peoples’ Problem, KHN and NPR Report

When high-deductible health plans became part of health insurance design in America, they were lauded as giving patients “more skin in the game” of health care payments. The theory behind consumer-directed care was that patients-as-consumers would shop around for care, morph into rational consumers of medical services just as they would do purchasing autos or washing machines, and shift the cost-curve of American health care ever downward. That skin-in-the-game has been a risk factor for .some patients to postpone care as well as take on medical debt — the strongest predictor of which is dealing with multiple chronic conditions. “The

 

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

 

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

 

What If Costco Designed the Prescription Drugs Sales Model?

The good news about prescription drugs, in the context of medical spending in the U.S., is that 9 in 10 medicines prescribed are generics. They comprise only 3% of all U.S. healthcare spending.           But there’s bad news about prescription drugs in the context of medical spending in America. U.S. Consumers Overpay for Generic Drugs, a new paper from the Leonard Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics asserts, with recommendations to address the intermediaries who benefit from the way Americans currently pay for medicines. Generics are “an American success story,” the authors call out, bringing

 

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

 

Pondering War, Peace, Democracy and Dad on Memorial Day, 2022

My father, Charles Sarasohn, was a member of the U.S. Army serving as a Jungleer in World War II. He fought in the Pacific Theatre, in New Guinea and the Philippines. Dad’s the one on the right, holding what was a cheeky pin-up drawing.                 The root of the noun “Jungleer” is “jungle.” Dad carried a long gun with a bayonet on the end, a sort of small sword he and his Best Generation Band of Brothers in the 41st Infantry Division of the U.S, Army used to slash their way through the

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

In the New Inflationary Era, Gas and Health Care Costs Top Household Budget Concerns

Inflation and rising prices are the biggest problem facing America, most people told the Kaiser Family Foundation March 2022 Health Tracking Poll. Underpinning that household budget concern are gas and health care costs. Overall, 55% of people in the U.S. pointed to inflation as the top challenge the nation faces (ranging from 46% of Democrats to 70% of Republicans). Second most challenging problem facing the U.S. was Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, noted by 18% of people — from 14% of Republicans up to 23% of Democrats. The COVID-19 pandemic has fallen far down Americans’ concerns list tied third place with

 

McKinsey’s Six Shifts To Add Life to Years — and One More to Consider

People spend one-half of their lives in “less-than-good health,” we learn early in the paper, Adding years to life and life to years from the McKinsey Health Institute. In this data-rich essay, the McKinsey team at MHI sets out an agenda that could help us add 45 billion extra years of higher-quality life equal to an average of six years per person (depending on your country and population demographics). The first graphic from the report illustrates four dimensions of health and the factors underneath each of them that can bolster or diminish our well-being: personal behaviors (such as sleep and diet),

 

Can a Food-As-Medicine App Extend Chronic Health Management at the Grocery Store?

Foogal, a recipe app designed to support patients’ healthy cooking and eating, launched on 24th March. In its initial version, Foogal addresses several specific diet paradigms: for patients demanding a wellness protocol, an autoimmune protocol, or wanting to address insulin resistance. Foogal got my attention via a tweet @FoogalApp on 25th March. The snippet featured a photo of a delectable Salad Lyonnaise, one of my favorite things to eat, which adds a soft-cooked egg and bacon lardons to the greens for an easy light (and delicious!) meal. Foogal was developed by Todd Knobel, who has worked in law, in plastics,

 

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

 

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,

 

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

 

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,

 

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

 

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,

 

“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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Nurses Continue to Rule in Honesty and Ethics in U.S. Professions – Healthcare Professions Still Top Gallup’s Annual Poll

Three health care professions rank in the top four of the most honest and ethical rankings in Gallup’s annual poll on honesty and ethics in professions. And nurses are at the top of the list for the 20th year in a row. Grade-school teachers ranked third place between physicians and pharmacists, shown in the big chart of job types from most ethical to least. Perennially, the bottom-ranked posts are a mix of politicians (Members of Congress and lobbyists, state office holders), car salespeople, and the Mad Men and Women of advertising. Media professionals in TV and newspapers also polled relatively

 

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

 

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

 

Support for Drug Price Negotiation Brings Partisans Together in the U.S.

Most U.S. adults across political parties favor allowing the Federal government authority to negotiate for drug prices — even after hearing the arguments against the health policy. Drug price negotiation, say by the Medicare program, is a unifying public policy in the current era of political schisms in America, based on the findings in a special Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Tracking Poll conducted in late September-early October 2021. Overall, 4 in 5 Americans favor allowing the Federal government negotiating power for prescription drug prices, shown in the first chart from the KFF report. By party, nearly all Democrats agree

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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,

 

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,

 

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

 

Pondering Prescription Drugs: Pricing Rx and Going Direct-to-Consumer

There is one health care public policy issue that unites U.S. voters across political party: that is the consumer-facing costs of prescription drugs. With the price of medicines in politicians’ and health citizens’ cross-hairs, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries have responded in many ways to the Rx pricing critiques from consumers (via, for example, Consumer Reports/Consumers Union and AARP), hospitals (through the American Hospital Association), and insurance companies (from AHIP, America’s Health Insurance Plans). The latest poll from the University of Chicago/Harris Public Policy and the Associate Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research quantifies the issue cross-party, finding that 74%

 

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

 

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,

 

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

 

The Healthcare and Macro-Economic Impacts of Living with Endemic COVID – Listening to Fitch

Getting totally rid of the coronavirus isn’t likely, so we humans must accept the fact that SARS-CoV-2 will be endemic. The economic and healthcare system impacts of this were explored in the Post-Covid Healthcare Landscape, delivered by Fitch Solutions’ Jamie Davies and Beau Noafshar, leaders in the Pharmaceuticals, Healthcare, and Medical Devices groups. I welcomed the opportunity to learn from this team’s approach in weaving together the dynamic issues that help us to plan for the long-tail of COVID-19 and its impact on the economy and prospects for the health care industry and health citizens. The first graph illustrates the

 

What Do Democrats and Republicans Agree On? Allowing Negotiations to Lower Rx Prices

People living in the U.S. have weathered over fifteen months of life-shifts for work, school, prayer, fitness, and social lives. So you might think that the most important public priority for Congress might have something to do with COVID-19, vaccines, or health insurance coverage. But across all priorities, it turns out that prescription drug costs rank higher in Americans’ minds than any other issue in the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll for May 2021. Two-thirds of U.S. adults said that allowing the federal government and private insurance plans to negotiate for lower prices on Rx drugs was their top

 

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