Public Health Alert: High Return on Investment

In a recent article written in The Nation’s Health, the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) newspaper, public health experts give reason to increase efforts in prevention and education as a better alternative to decreasing health care spending over simply investing in the treatment/medical sector. Titled “Bolstering public health investment can improve U.S. health,” the article advocates for doubling public health funding, from $11.6 bil to $24 bil per year, as a starting point, to meet needs of public health departments. As Dr. Marthe Gold, MD MPH mentioned: “Until we can turn off the flow of Americans who need to enter the medical system by changing social and physical environmental conditions that make them unhealthy, we are just going to keep putting more and more pressure on an expensive system and create needless suffering for people.” Continue reading…

PHRs: If You Build It, They Will Come

The termination of Google Health has stirred up the PHR/PHP community, making Personal Health Record companies around the world question the viability of a product that not even the tech-magnate Google was able to validate. Some experts and tech-savvy writers blamed the lack of social interaction, a lack in provider interest and, lets face it, a lack in consumer interest. Additionally, Google Health took an over-simplified approach to health records. All you could do is store data digitally, without the ability to analyze and interpret. So, in a market where the concept hasn’t specifically been widely validated, does it make sense to take a risk and build PHR/PHP systems with the assumption that users will eventually flock to the service? I choose yes, and below I try to explain why PHR vendors will in an ever-changing market.  Continue reading…

Patients Lowering Health Care Costs

For the past decade, health care has been in the forefront of economists and policy-makers. In a system that currently spends 17% of GDP on health care, and projected to increase by 5.8% yearly until 2020, it’s no secret to the average American that health care is going through major changes, both at state and federal levels. Meaningful Use, a set of policies intended to increase #HealthIT adoption, initially focused on ensuring adoption by practitioners and health care providers across the nation. With MU Stage 2 on the horizon, the ONC has now added a focus on the patient, giving patients the ability to gain timely access to their data. I have confidence that future stages (3, 4, etc), will only build on this framework to include the patient as a principal actor in the heath care process.

From a health policy standpoint, the patient has been largely ignored in the health care equation. Since the financial contribution of most patients is minimal, the role of the health care consumer has fallen out of sight. Most new proposed laws and reforms attempt to fix problems by reducing reimbursements and increasing adoption of technology to improve processes and lower costs. Yet none of these regulations include the patient in the cost-reduction program. This post promotes the patient as an important player and decision-maker in the health care process. So how can the patient help decrease health care spending?

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Price, Quality and Desire in Healthcare

If you’ve had the opportunity to watch some sessions from TEDMED 2012, then you may have seen Dr. Jon Cohen, CMO of Quest Diagnostics, speak during today’s session 8. His entire talk came from a personal experience with his father choosing a surgeon based on the fact that said surgeon provided donuts for his waiting patients. Dr. Cohen explained why consumer-based healthcare is not working, making some comparisons between the different levels of price, quality and desire. Please note that this does not, in any way, try to insult Dr. Cohen’s theory, and I may be the outlier here, but I respectfully disagree with some of the statements made during his TED talk.  Continue reading…

TED Simulcasts: Like 1984, except GOOD!

Over the past couple of weeks, I had the pleasure of attending not one, but two TEDx streaming events: one was the TEDxChange hosted at University of San Diego by the Changemaker Hub, the other being a streaming of TEDMED 2012, put on by the fabulous ladies and gents of TEDxAFC. Now I’ve been a TED follower for quite a few years, but these two TEDx events were the first time I actually made contact with the TED community outside of the computer screen (yes, I may be young, but I don’t need a computer to socialize). For those who don’t know, the whole TEDx movement is quite young, being an extension of the TED conferences held worldwide. TEDx is a chance for local communities to come together, share ideas, contribute thought and make positive change happen. Continue reading…