A Doctor’s Appointment on your Phone: Out of Beta and Into Your Pocket

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 5/1/12 on Health Populi

You can now carry a doctor with you in your pocket. Two top telehealth companies that support online physician-patient visits have gone mobile. This upgrade was announced this week at the 2012 American Telemedicine Association conference, being held in San Jose, CA.

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The Decline and Potential Renaissance of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: EBRI and MetLife Reports Tell the Story

Two reports this week suggest countervailing trends for employer-sponsored health benefits: the erosion of the health benefit among companies, and opportunities for those progressive employers who choose to stay in the health benefit game.

In 2010, nearly 50% of workers under 65 years of age worked for firms that did not offer health benefits. The uber-trend, first, is that the percentage of workers covered by employer-sponsored health insurance has declined since 2002. Workers offered the option of buying into a health benefit, as well as the percent covered by a health plan, have both fallen, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI), an organization that has long-tracked this trend. EBRI’s report on Employment-Based Health Benefits: Trends in Access and Coverage, 1997-2010, provides the details behind this declining picture.

Continue reading “The Decline and Potential Renaissance of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits: EBRI and MetLife Reports Tell the Story”

Patient Engagement and Medical Homes – Core Drivers of a High-Performing Health System

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 3/30/12 on Health Populi

It was Dr. Charles Safran who said, “Patients are the most under-utilized resource in the U.S. health system,” which he testified to Congress in 2004. Seven years later, patients are still under-utilized, not just in the U.S. but around the world.

Yet, “when patients have an active role in their own health care, the quality of their care, and of their care experience improves,” assert researchers from The Commonwealth Fund in their analysis of 2011 global health consumer survey data published in the April/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management. This analysis is summarized inInternational Perspectives on Patient Engagement: Results from the 2011 Commonwealth Fund Survey, published on The Commonwealth Fund’s website on March 29, 2012.

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Superconsumers and Value Mining: Health Care’s Uber-Trends Driving Care, Everywhere

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

There’s a shift in power in health care moving away from providers and suppliers like pharma and medical device companies, toward patients and payers. This is the new health world according to Ernst & Young‘s latest Progressions report called, The third place: health care everywhere.

What’s underneath this tectonic shift is the need to bend that stubborn cost curve and address public health outcomes through behavior change. E&Y says look for new entrants, like retailers, IT companies, and telecomms, to be part of the solution beyond traditional health care stakeholders. These participants will be part of both delivery of care services and play an ever-important and -growing role in “value mining,” which E&Y defines as the use of data mining to determine the value of health interventions. THINK: comparative effectiveness through a lens of value-for-money and you get the picture.

Continue reading “Superconsumers and Value Mining: Health Care’s Uber-Trends Driving Care, Everywhere”

Job #1 in Health Care Data Analytics: Get the Data, and Make Sure You Can Trust It

The ability to get the data is the #1 obstacle that will slow the adoption of data analytics in health care, according to IBM’s report, The value of analytics in healthcare: from insights to outcomes.

Healthcare “high performers,” as IBM calls them, use data analytics for guiding future strategy, product research and development, and sales and marketing functions. 90% of healthcare CIOs told IBM that developing “insight and intelligence” were key focuses of their organizations over the next 3 to 5 years.

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JWT Foodspotting: Food=Health

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 2/12/12 on Health Populi

35% of consumers who have been altering their food intake to lose weight are eating fewer processed foods, according to a recent Nielsen Global Survey. This percentage has grown from 29% in 2008.

Health and wellness is one of three driving forces shaping food in 2012, according to JWT‘sWhat’s Cooking: Trends in Food. The other two forces, technology and foodie culture, combine with health/wellness and yield some interesting consumer trends in the milieu of food.

JWT’s top food issues to watch are:

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Addressing Chronic Illness Can Help Cure The US Budget Deficit

Chronic illness represents $3 of every $4 of annual health spending in the U.S. That’s about $1.5 trillion.
– Adopting evidence-based interventions for disease preventionLiving Well With Chronic Illness, a report fromThe Institute of Medicine (IOM), issues a “call for public health action” to address chronic illness through:

– Developing new public policies to promote better living with chronic disease
– Building a comprehensive surveillance system that integrates quality of life measures, and
– Enhancing collaboration among health ecosystem stakeholders: health care, health, and community non-healthcare services.

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From Volume to Value: How Health Execs See the Future of Health Care

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/31/12 on Health Populi

Transparency and authenticity, constant and clear communication, and a drive toward value underpin the future health system — for those health leaders who can commit to these pillars of transformational change.

Leading Through Transformation: Top Healthcare CEOs’ Perspectives on the Future of Healthcare summarizes the interaction among 17 health execs who convened at the second CEO Forum held by Huron Healthcare Group. The report was released in January 2012.

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Hey Big Spender. 1% of US Citizens Incur 20% of All Health Cost

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/16/12 on Health Populi

Cue up the song “Hey Big Spender” from the Broadway hit, Sweet Charity, when you read the January 2012 AHRQ report with the long-winded title, The Concentration and Persistence in the Level of Health Expenditures over Time: Estimates for the U.S. Population, 2008-2009.”

The report’s headline is that 1% of the U.S. population consumed 20% of all health costs spent in the U.S. in 2008 and 2009, illustrated by the chart. These Big Health Spenders tend to be in poor or fair health, older, female, non-Hispanic whites and people with only publicly-provided health insurance. Their mean expenditure was $90,061.

The top 10% of U.S. health citizens accounts for nearly two-thirds of health spending in the U.S., with a mean expenditure of $23,992.

Continue reading “Hey Big Spender. 1% of US Citizens Incur 20% of All Health Cost”

US Doctors Less Sanguine About Health IT’s Benefits

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/10/12 on Health Populi

To doctors working in eight countries around the globe, the biggest benefit of health IT is better access to quality data for clinical access, followed by reducing medical errors, improving coordination of care across care settings, and improving cross-organizational workflow.

However, except for the issue of health IT’s potential to improve cross-organizational working processes, American doctors have lower expectations about these benefits than their peers who work in the 7 other nations polled in a global study from Accenture‘s Eight-Country Survey of Doctors Shows Agreement on Top Healthcare Information Technology Benefits, But a Generational Divide Exists. Accenture polled over 3,700 doctors working in Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the US.

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The Social Determinants of Health: US Doctors Feel Unable to Close the Gap and Deliver Quality Care

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 1/09/12 on Health Populi

Most U.S. primary care physicians realize the health of their patients is largely out of their hands — with their social needs ranking as important as addressing their medical conditions, according to the 2011 Physicians’ Daily Life Report, conducted on behalf of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by Harris Interactive in September-October 2011, results published in November 2011. In fact, unmet social needs are directly leading to worse health for Americans, say 9 in 10 doctors.

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Health IT in 2012: a Dynamic Sector in the Context of a Fiscally-Challenged Health System

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 12/20/11 on Health Populi

2012 will be a dynamic year for health information technology (health IT) in the U.S., which I outline in my annual health IT forecast in iHealthBeat, the online publication on technology and health care published by the California HealthCare Foundation. The full forecast can be found here.

The key headlines for you Reader’s Digest abridged fans are that:

  • The Health IT sector will continue to grow jobs in the ongoing Great Depression, particularly in key competencies in data security, analytics, integration, and EHR implementation.
  • There will be more data breaches, and consumers will be justifiably concerned about data security. Government will more consistently implement sharper “teeth” in their punishment of health organizations who leak personal health information.
  • Health IT suppliers will consolidate. The Microsoft-GE combination, announced in December 2011, is a sentinel event in this regard.
  • Health IT start-ups will continue to emerge in 2012, some of which will have sound business models that will be acquired by larger firms to round out their offerings and address, in particular, consumer/patient-facing applications that support health engagement to enhance health outcomes.
  • Connected health, in the form of telemedicine, mobile health, and remote health monitoring to the home will gain traction and business models as health payment moves toward accountable care, medical home, and paying for outcomes.
  • IBM’s Watson is an example of high-powered data analytics, which will get more practical and targeted in 2012. A ripe area for this will be preventing re-hospitalizations, a focus of health reform and Medicare financing.
  • People – patients and providers – live multi-channel, multi-platform lives every day. Thismodus vivendi is translating into health and health care. Patients want online connections with doctors for administration (e.g., Rx refills and appointments), clinical decision making, and communications (e.g., email with practices).

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Consumer Engagement in Health: Greater Cost-Consciousness and Demand for Cost/Quality Information

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 12/14/11 on Health Populi

People enrolled in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) are more likely than enrollees in traditional health insurance products to be cost-conscious. In particular, CDHP members check prices before they receive health care services, ask for generic drugs versus branded Rx’s, talk to doctors about treatment options and their costs, and use online cost-tracking tools.

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UK Finds Telehealth Reduces Mortality by 45%; Telehealth’s Tipping Point is 2012

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 12/13/11 on Health Populi

As we approach 2012, we health prognosticators like to forecast what we’ll likely see in 2012. One of the for-certain trends will be the uptake of telehealth programs, which will be publicly, privately, and jointly-funded. The business case is clear for telehealth, both in the U.S. and globally.

Jon Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association, told the mHealth Summit last week that, the “shift in the way healthcare is paid will put providers in driver’s seat when it comes to choosing the best way  to deliver healthcare and whether or not to use telemedicine.”

The forces are converging for telehealth to grow, based on sound business models, in 2012.

Continue reading “UK Finds Telehealth Reduces Mortality by 45%; Telehealth’s Tipping Point is 2012”

Employees Predict Reduced Benefits in 2012; One-Half Expect Layoffs

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Posted 12/06/11 on Health Populi

On the face of the raw data, tbe good news from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on the nation’s employment picture was an additional 120,000 jobs in November. This drove the unemployment rate down to 8.6%. Underneath that number, though, remains what is still a shaky economy for both workers and those seeking full employment to match what they might have lost as a result of their layoffs.

Continue reading “Employees Predict Reduced Benefits in 2012; One-Half Expect Layoffs”