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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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 —

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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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Jasper, Scaling a Human Touch for People Dealing with Cancer, Now With Walgreens

Each year, the first Sunday in June marks National Cancer Survivors Day. This year’s NCSD occurred two days ago on Sunday, 5th June. When you’re a cancer survivor, or happen to love one, every day is time to be grateful and celebrate that survival of someone who has come through a cancer journey. We all know (or are) people who have survived cancer. We know that the recipe for battling cancer goes beyond chemotherapy. We know of the resilience and grit required in the process: body, mind, and spirit. “Celebrate Life” is the mantra of NCSD, as this year’s campaign

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

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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,

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

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

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“Talk to me, Teladoc”

Voice technology has become a mainstream household Internet of Things thing for consumers, used to streamline and ease peoples’ daily tasks to hear about the weather, listen to favorite tunes, or seek information. At the same time, the pandemic fostered growing experience with and appreciation for virtual care platforms and on-ramps to health care when needed. Patients have come to accept telehealth in their health care workflows when they value virtual care’s virtues: convenience, access, availability among other features. A leading provider of virtual care is Teladoc, whose most recent explanation of corporate strategy is shown in the first graphic

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

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

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How Twitter Revealed Consumer Health Care Trends in the Pandemic

During the pandemic, millions of people connected with Twitter to share thoughts and feelings about the pandemic…and their health. Three mega-trends bubbled up on the platform for health — telemedicine and virtual care, broadband access, and mental health, discussed in a Birdseye Report Industry Deep Dive into Health from Brandwatch, partnering with Twitter. For this report, Brandwatch utilized only English-language public Twitter data. Brandwatch collated and analyzed tweets between January 1st 2019 and November 20 2021, that mentioned any of the following phrases: telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, digital medicine, digimedicine, mental health, doom scrolling, trauma dumping, and meeting fatigue. Tweets

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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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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

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Human-Powered Health: How Abbott Is Unlocking the “Possibility of You” at CES 2022

Yesterday, we heard all about autonomous cars and sustainable mobility from Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. Autos, TVs, and telecomms are the usual fare of the big stage speeches at the annual big show of consumer electronics. Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of CTA, introduced today’s CES keynote speaker, Robert Ford, as the “first-ever keynote speaker from health care” at CES, calling out the fact that Abbott’s Freestyle Libre System garnered one of CES 2022’s Innovation Awards. Ford is the Chairman and CEO of Abbott, one of the largest global life sciences companies. Ford let us know up-front that

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Consumers Embrace Tech But Privacy Remains a Concern – The Morning Consult Poll of Consumers and Tech

With the collective pandemic-era pivot of people working from home, remote schooling at home, repurposing our homes for entertainment and fitness, and showing off home-baked goods on Instagram, has consumers’ comfort with new technologies accelerated? Morning Consult assessed this question in a poll timed to coincide with CES 2022, the annual conference dedicated to innovations in consumer electronics. “Is the public ready for the innovations coming out of the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show?” the Morning Consult team asked. “While brands may enjoy the initial buzz over these launches, it often takes a while for the public to become comfortable enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GoodRx Finds Optimistic Outlook for Telehealth Among Both Providers and Patients

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

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

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

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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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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

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

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

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Why CES 2022 Will Be Keynoted by a Health Care Executive

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

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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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Chronic Medical Conditions, Mental Health, and Equity On Employers’ Minds for 2022 – Employee Health in the Wake of COVID-19

One in two people in the U.S. receive health insurance through employers. As large employers tend to be on the vanguard of benefit plan design, it’s useful to understand how these companies are thinking ahead on behalf of their employees. With that objective, it’s always instructive to explore the annual study from the Business Group on Health, the 2022 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, large employees have many concerns about worker and dependents’ health. The biggest firms in America providing health insurance for workers are expecting an increase in

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Telehealth is Health: It’s Telehealth Awareness Week

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

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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

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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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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%

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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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IoT and The Rise of the Machines in Healthcare

As connected devices proliferate within health care enterprises and across the health care ecosystem, cybersecurity risks abound. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care sector was profoundly affected by cyber-attacks on connected devices, we learn in the report, Rise of the Machines 2021: State of Connected Devices – IT, IoT, IoMT and OT from Ordr. For this annual report, Ordr analyzed security risks across over 500 deployments in healthcare, life sciences, retail, and manufacturing sectors for the 12 months June 2020 through June 2021. In health care, outdated operating systems present some of the greatest risks:

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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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Zoom Became a Household Name in the Pandemic. It’s Working to Do the Same in Healthcare – At #HIMSS21

The COVID-19 pandemic digitally transformed most people living in the U.S., re-shaping consumers to work from home when possible, go to school there, and buy all manners of goods and services via ecommerce. In March 2021, Zoom conducted research into the question, “how virtual do we want our future to be?” posing that to thousands of citizens living in 10 countries including the U.S. As the first chart from the study illustrates, most people in America expect hybrid lifestyles, from fitness and retail to entertainment and education. And 7 in 10 U.S. health citizens want their health care to be

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Empathy Is As Important as the Medical Treatment – the 2021 Accenture Health Experience As Backdrop to HIMSS 2021

The rise of digital health investment and growing role of technology in health care services only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, people took on their own versions of digital transformation at home, for work, for school, for cooking, shopping, and indeed, for health care. But with digital health adoption gains has come some ambivalence and mixed signals, Accenture has discovered in its 2021 Health and life Sciences Experiences Survey released this week during the HIMSS Annual Conference. As the report concludes, “people’s sentiments and behaviors” with respect to technology in health care “provide no clear answer.”

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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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Pharmacies Garner Retail Health Love in the Pandemic – Update from J.D. Power

When we say the word “pharmacy,” we might picture the Main Street brick-and-mortar chain drugstore that dispenses medicines from behind the counter in the far back of the building, and sweet and salty snacks at the front by the cashier. In fact, “pharmacy” is the jumping off point for the expanding and increasingly beloved retail health ecosystem, J.D. Power found in the company’s latest 2021 U.S. Pharmacy Study. Each year, J.D. Power assesses consumers’ perceptions of pharmacies by category, including those retail chains along with supermarket operated, mass merchants, and mail order channels. This is the 13th year of the

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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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Regulation, Reimbursement, and Interoperability Block Health Systems’ Digital Transformation – The State of Healthcare in 2021 From HIMSS

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic motivated health care providers, payers, and patients to adopt digital tools and contact-less services, allowing people to deliver and receive medical care. Still, 18 months into the pandemic, now endemic and in its fourth wave of cases spiking around the world and in many parts of the U.S., some aspects of “digital transformation” seem not to have fully transformed American healthcare, we learn in HIMSS’s annual 2021 State of Healthcare Report. HIMSS collaborated with the organizations Trust  Accenture, The Chartix Group, and ZS on this year’s research. Nine in ten clinicians have recommended

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Digital Health Tools Are Finding Business Models – IQVIA’s 2021 Read on the Health of Digital Health

In the Age of COVID, over 90,000 new health apps were released, as the supply of digital therapeutics and wearables grew in 2020. Evidence supporting the use of digital health tools if growing, tracked in Digital Health Trends 2021: Innovation, Evidence, Regulation, and Adoption from IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. IQVIA has been closely following the growth, investment in, and clinical evidence for digital health since 2013, when I reviewed their first paper on “mHealth” here in Health Populi.  Then, IQVIA evaluated the universe of about 40,000 apps available in the iTunes store. In today’s report, the company quantifies

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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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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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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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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

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The Stress of the Caregiver: The Most Over-Utilized, Unpaid Stakeholder in U.S. Healthcare

We’ve long know that “the patient” has been an under-utilized resource in the U.S. healthcare system since Dr. Charles Safran testified with that statement to Congress way back in 2004…an era where bipartisanship for health IT was a real thing. Today, with the insights of Alexandra Drane (Founder of ARCHANGELS) and Dr. Nirav Shah (of Stanford University), we know that caregivers are among the most over-utilized resources in the U.S. healthcare system — overused, over-stressed, under-paid, detailed n How Health Systems Can Care for Caregivers, published in the NEJM Catalyst July 2021 issue. In this study, Drane and Shah analyze

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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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Aging Populations of Consumers and Physicians Underpin the Future Doctor Shortage

The U.S. will be short as many as 124,000 physicians in 2034, according to The Complexities of Physician Supply and Demand Projections From 2019 to 2034 from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Published 11th June 2021, the report was prepared by IHS Markit Ltd. and updates AAMC’s six previous annual reports on physician workforce projections. In this year’s projections, AAMC considers the long-term implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician supply, new to this report. Another timely feature in the 2021 study is the Health Care Utilization Equity Scenario which provides a baseline looking at inequities in access

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Post-Pandemic, U.S. Healthcare is Entering a “Provide More Care For Less” Era – Pondering PwC’s 2022 Forecast

In the COVID-19 pandemic, health care spending in the U.S. increased by a relatively low 6.0% in 2020. This year, medical cost trend will rise by 7.0%, expected to decline a bit in 2022 according to the annual study from PwC Health Research Institute, Medical Cost Trend: Behind the Numbers 2022. What’s “behind these numbers” are factors that will increase medical spending (the “inflators” in PwC speak) and the “deflators” that lower costs. Looking around the future corner, the inflators are expected to be: A COVID-19 “hangover,” leading to increased health care services utilization Preparations for the next pandemic, and

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Telehealth Bolsters Patient Satisfaction (J.D. Power), and Providers Are Working to Catch Up (BDO)

Two studies published in May 2021 illustrate the value and importance of telehealth to patients in 2020, and a disconnect among many C-level executives working in hospitals, academic medical centers, and other care provider organizations. Together, the two reports from J.D. Power and BDO illustrate some mis-alignment between the demand and supply side of telehealth. On the consumer demand side, patients’ growing use of telehealth in the COVID-19 pandemic along with more frequent digital contacts with health plans bolstered member satisfaction, discovered by the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study. J.D. Power has conducted the U.S. Commercial

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Wearables Are Good For Older People, Too — The Latest From Laurie Orlov

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a whole lot of digital transformation for people staying home. For digital natives, that wasn’t such an exogenous shock. For older people who are digital immigrants, they will remember their initial Zoom get-together’s with much-missed family, ordering groceries online in the first ecommerce purchase, and using telemedicine for the first time as a digital health front-door. Laurie Orlov,  tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate, is the founder of the encyclopedic Aging and Health Technology Watch website. She takes this propitious moment to assess The Future of Wearables and Older Adult in a new report.

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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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COVID-19 Accelerated Digital Health Investments…But It Helps to Be Bigger, Mature and Scaling

“Compare digital health to airlines, cruise lines, and other industries” and the sector looks quite privileged, opined Matthew Holt in a discussion on a study diving deeply into the State of Digital Health, conducted by Catalyst @ Health 2.0 and sponsored by WIPFLI.. The research was conducted among 335 respondents, which included 182 digital health companies polled between November 2020 and March 2021. Digital health companies represented 60% of the sample, the other 40% of which were consulting firms, subsidiaries of providers/payers/life science companies and tech corporations, and investors. As Matthew called out, the digital health sector has a relatively

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Getting Vaccinated Has Mental Health Benefits, Walgreens Finds

Most people in the U.S. who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot have a welcoming side-effect: peace of mind and mental health, according to a survey conducted by Walgreens in April 2021. Three in four people said that getting vaccinated positively impacted their mental health, feeling some kind of relief, thankfulness, or optimism, among other sentiments. Walgreens conducted the poll online among 1,500 U.S. adults over 18 years of age between April 19 and 21st, 2021. The activities people are most excited to do once vaccinated with full immunity are to see family and friends (among 60% of

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How Virtual Care is Morphing into “Just” Healthcare – my post in Medecision Liberation

The pandemic accelerated many Very Big Deals in digital health venture capital investment, mergers and acquisitions, and the re-emergence of SPACs in health care. A closer look at this activity points to a key trend that will persist post-pandemic: that telehealth and the broader theme of virtual care is re-shaping how health care is delivered. This graphic comes out of my current thinking about telehealth across the continuum of care. Before the pandemic, the dominant work-flow for telemedicine was for triage, primary care and pediatrics (think: your child registers a 105-degree fever on a Saturday night and the pediatrician’s office

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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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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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A Year Into COVID19, Mental Health Impacts Heavier on Moms Than Dads in America

In the summer of 2020, four months into the pandemic, one-half of people living in the U.S. felt worry or stress related to the coronavirus that had a negative impact on their mental health. Over a year into the COVID-19 in America, nearly one-half of people still have negative mental health impacts due to the coronavirus, based on research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published in their April 2021 update on the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Note the line in the bar chart from the study has flat-lined and settled at just about 50% of U.S.

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The Post-COVID 19 Health Consumer: Ready for DIY Health Care and More Open to Telehealth

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-shaped consumers for work, school, fitness, cooking, and certainly for health care. PwC’s Health Research Institute has combed through their consumer survey data and developed insights on health consumers, shared in a summary titled Consumer health behavior and the COVID-19 pandemic: What we’ve learned. Most U.S. consumers would be likely to have a clinician visit their homes for several kinds of medical care, including: “DIY care,” as PwC exemplifies as a home strep or flu test, or remote monitoring, likely among 85% of people A chronic care visit, likely for 78% of consumers A visit for

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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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Managing the Risks of Fast-Growing Digital Health

Investments in the digital health sector have fast-grown in the past decade, reaching $14bn in 2020 based on Rock Health’s latest read on the market. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the field across many industry segments. With such turbocharged growth on the supply side, Beazley, experts in specialty insurance, explores the risks of digital health and wellness in a new report, Digital health, telehealth and wellness: Attitudes to risk and insurance. With great potential for both innovation and reward comes great risks: Beazley points to the facts that, over two-thirds of digital health companies lack insurance coverage for medical malpractice for

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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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The Rise of the Homebody Economy and Healthcare to the Home

As the coronavirus crisis stretched from weeks into months, now over one year since being defined as a pandemic, U.S. consumers have made significant investments into their homes for working, educating students, cooking, and working out. Welcome to the “rebalancing of the homebody economy,” in the words of McKinsey, out with new data on consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis. The continued penetration of vaccines-into-arms in the U.S. is fanning optimism in terms of household economics, personal spending — especially on experiences that get folks “out” of the house. Still, the Homebody Economy will persist even post-COVID, with a growing

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How Grocery and Retail Companies Are Delivering Health and Healthcare

The Wall Street Journal featured the grocery chain Kroger in an article yesterday titled, COVID-19 Vaccinations, Tests Give Boost to Kroger’s Health Ambitions. “With 2,250 pharmacies and 220 clinics largely in the Midwest and the southern U.S., Kroger is the fourth-largest pharmacy operator by script count,” the Journal noted, adding details about Walmart, CVS Health, and Walgreens all fast-expanding their respective health care footprints. As more consumers view their homes as personal and safe health havens, there is no shortage of suppliers in the food, retail, and mobility sectors working fast to meet that demand for convenient and accessible services.

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Stress in America, One Year into the Pandemic – an APA Update on Parents, Healthcare Workers, and Black Americans

A Year into our collective coronavirus experience, Americans remain stressed, with physical health taking a back seat to our daily grinds based on the 2021 Stress in America survey from the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA has been updating us on U.S.-stress for several years, and more frequently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of 2020. In their latest report, APA updates their previous profiles of Americans’ stress looking into different demographic groups and coping mechanisms. The topline, across all adults living in America, is that one-half have delayed or cancelled health care services. One-half has

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How Young People Are Using Digital Tools to Help Deal with Mental Health

After a year of living with and “in” the coronavirus pandemic, younger people in the U.S. have had to deal with over twelve months of quarantine and lockdown, going to school remotely from home, and distancing from friends. For most young people, the public health crisis has been more about that social distancing from friends, a collective sense of isolation, and mental and behavioral health impacts. These dynamics and these young health citizens’ coping mechanisms are captured in the report, Coping with COVID-19: How Young People Use Digital Media to Manage Their Mental Health. Three organizations collaborated to conduct and

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Value-Based Health Care Needs All Stakeholders at the Table – Especially the Patient

2021 is the 20th anniversary of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID). On March 10th, V-BID held its annual Summit, celebrating the Center’s 20 years of innovation and scholarship. The Center is led by Dr. Mark Fendrick, and has an active and innovative advisory board. [Note: I may be biased as a University of Michigan graduate of both the School of Public Health and Rackham School of Graduate Studies in Economics].   Some of the most important areas of the Center’s impact include initiatives addressing low-value care, waste in U.S. health care, patient assistance programs, Medicare

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Ten Forces Shaping Health Care in 2021: A View from CVS Health

Expanding omni-channel, data-driven, cost-effective health care in the community, tailoring that care, and attending to mental health paint the picture of health through the lens of CVS Health. The company published the Health Trends Report 2021 today, calling out ten forces shaping health care this year. Those themes are, The Year of the Pharmacist The Next Step Forward in Cardiac Care Cancer Needs a Better Roadmap The EHR Hits Its Stride The Mental Health Shadow of COVID-19 Tailor Care to the Older Patient More Agents that Predict Disease Paying for the New Medical Miracle Virtual Care Goes Mainstream, and Diabetes

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The Economics of the Pandemic Put Costs at the Top of Americans’ Health Reform Priorities

A major side-effect of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 was its impact on the national U.S. economy, jobs, and peoples’ household finances — in particular, medical spending. In 2021, patients-as-health-consumers seek lower health care and prescription drug costs coupled with higher quality care, discovered by the patient advocacy coalition, Consumers for Quality Care. This broad-spanning patient coalition includes the AIMED Alliance, Autism Speaks, the Black AIDS Institute, Black Women’s Health Initiative, Center Forward, Consumer Action. Fair Foundation, First Focus, Global Liver Institute, Hydrocephalus Association, LULAC, MANA (a Latina advocacy organization), Myositis Association, National Consumers League, National Health IT Collaborative, National Hispanic

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The Digital Transformation of Patients – Update from Rock Health and Stanford

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated digital transformation of organizations, including health care providers. But another patient side-effect of COVID-19 has been the digital transformation of many patients, documented by data gathered by Rock Health and Stanford Center for Digital Health and analyzed in their latest report explaining how the public health crisis accelerated digital health “beyond its years,” noted in the title of the report. Rock Health and Stanford commissioned an online survey among 7,980 U.S. adults from early September to early October 2020 to gauge peoples’ interest in and utilization of digital health tools and telehealth. Rock Health has conducted a consumer digital

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Hospitals Continue to Lose Money in Year 2 of the Pandemic

U.S. hospitals’ operating margins went negative in January 2021 after turning north for the first time in December 2020 since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the February 2021 Hospital Flash Report from Kaufman Hall, commissioned by AHA, the American Hospitals Association. The first chart illustrates the importance of CARES Act funding to keep hospitals financially afloat during the public health crisis through most of last year. The start of 2021 was difficult for hospitals and health systems, Kaufman Hall explains, with falling outpatient revenues and increasing expenses resulting in that below-the-line blue bar for January 2021’s operating

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The Social Determinants of Prescription Drugs – A View From CoverMyMeds

The COVID-19 pandemic forced consumers to define what were basic or essential needs to them; for most people, those items have been hygiene products, food, and connectivity to the Internet. There’s another good that’s essential to people who are patients: prescription drugs. A new report from CoverMyMeds details the current state of medication access weaving together key health care industry and consumer data. The reality even before the coronavirus crisis emerged in early 2020 was that U.S. patients were already making painful trade-offs, some of which are illustrated in the first chart from the report. These include self-rationing prescription drug

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Three in Four People Avoiding Health Care in the Pandemic Have Had Chronic Conditions

By the autumn of 2020, U.S. physicians grew concerned that patients who were avoiding visits to doctor’s offices were missing care for chronic conditions, discussed in in Delayed and Forgone Health Care for Nonelderly Adults during the COVID-19 Pandemic from the Urban Institute. More than three-fourths of people who delayed or forewent care had at least one chronic health condition. The pandemic may have led to excess deaths from diabetes, dementia, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, as well as record drug overdoses in the 12 months ending in May 2020. In their JAMA editorial on these data, Dr. Bauchner and

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A New Health Literacy Pillar: Personal Data Stewardship

The growing use of APIs in health information technology innovation for patient care has been a boon to speeding development placed in the hands of providers and patients. Using APIs can help drive interoperability and make data “liquid” and useable. APIs can enable “Data liberación,” a concept proposed by Todd Park when he worked in the Obama administration. Without securing patients’ personal health data leveraging APIs, those intimate details are highly hackable explained in All That we Let In, a report from Knight Ink and Appr0ov. It is likely that behind growing health data hacks is the marginally greater financial

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The Health Care Cost Curve is Bending Down – A New View from Deloitte

Over the next 20 years, health care spending in the U.S. will migrate toward well-being and the early detection of disease, away from the funding of America’s sick-care system, according to Breaking the cost curve, a forecast of U.S. health economics in the year 2040 from Deloitte. Current spending on health care in America is roughly $4 trillion (with a “t”) dollars, approaching 20% of the nation’s economy. By 2040, spending is projected to be $8.3 trillion based on future health trends — not historic workflows and delivery mechanisms which would consume an additional $3.5 trillion — close to what we

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The Digital Transformation of Home for Health – Brainstorming with Karsten Russell-Wood of Philips

At the start of CES 2021, I had the opportunity to catch up with Karsten Russell-Wood, Portfolio Marketing Leader, Post Acute & Home, Connected Care at Philips. We brainstormed just as CES 2021 was going to “open,” virtually, for the consumer electronics conference’s first all-virtual meeting. Philips, a longtime major exhibitor at CES, created an entirely new online experience for the CES attendees – a sort of virtual gallery of different exhibits that are accessed from a single point in a “room” with various entry points. One of the company’s key messages for CES 2021 was health care delivered outside

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Ten In Ten: Manatt’s Healthcare Priorities to 2031

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed major weaknesses in the U.S. health care system, especially laying bare inequities and inertia in American health care, explained in The Progress We Need: Ten Health Care Imperatives for the Decade Ahead from Manatt Health. The report details the ten objectives that are central to Manatt’s health care practice, a sort of team manifesto call-to-action and North Star for the next decade. Their ten must-do’s for bending the cost curve while driving constructive change for a better health care system are to: Ensure access Achieve health equity Stability the safety net and rebuild public health

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Call It Deferring Services or Self-Rationing, U.S. Consumers Are Still Avoiding Medical Care

Patients in the U.S. have been self-rationing medical care for many years, well before any of us knew what “PPE” meant or how to spell “coronavirus.” Nearly a decade ago, I cited the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Security Watch of May 2012 here in Health Populi. The first chart here shows that one in four U.S. adults had problems paying medical bills, largely delaying care due to cost for a visit or for prescription drugs. Fast-forward to 2020, a few months into the pandemic in the U.S.: PwC found consumers were delaying treatment for chronic conditions. In October 2020, The American Cancer

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Can Telemedicine Increase Health Equity? A Conversation with Antoinette Thomas, Dave Ryan, and Me with the ATA

“Yes,” we concurred on our session convened by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) EDGE session today. “We” was a trio including Antoinette Thomas (@NurseTechExec1), Chief Patient Experience Officer with Microsoft, David Ryan (@DavidPRyan), former long-time Global Head of Intel’s Health/Life Science business; and, me. Antoinette posed three questions for all of us to brainstorm, addressing various aspects of health equity. We covered, The theory that telemedicine should increase health equity — where are we and what are the barriers to getting there? The role of social determinants of health in creating equitable opportunities for health citizens; and, Entering a post-pandemic world,

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