Archive | October, 2007

Understanding Healthcare (Wurman)

Richard Saul Wurman has been publishing for years and done many interesting things.  I just stumbled upon his Understanding Healthcare site today.  It is worth a visit.  You could get lost in it, but it has lots of great examples about how to frame healthcare issues visually.  I took a few screenshots below to get you interested.

One shows the top 10 causes of death in the US (note all this is a few years old) by age.  Very easy to understand the data this way.  One shows the tests that you need by age.  (I could use this now.)  The other is just representation of some data around caregivers.

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Zagat Rating System for Doctors

A few weeks ago, Wellpoint revealed that they were going to work with Zagat’s to rate physicians.  I think any information with some benchmark is great.  Since it is patient driven, it also has the chance of being very subjective which is the risk. 

The talk about using trust, communications, cost, and availability.  I am not sure those would be my choice.

  • Trust: A great concept, but how can I be objective here. 
  • Communications: This one is critical.  Did they communicate well?  Did they write down any recommendations?  Do they call to remind me of appointments?  Were they timely in getting me follow-up appointments?  Do they remember who I am from my last visit?  Do they look at me?  If I bring in information, are they receptive to discussing what I found?  Are they straight or do they beat around the bush?  This should also include the office staff – are they friendly?  Bad office staff can blow it for a good physician very easily.
  • Cost: This is another critical one as long as it is not simply about the cost of the physician.  Did they take into account my formulary when writing prescriptions?  Did they make sure that physicians they referred were in network?  Did they prescribe generics or offer me samples?  Did they suggest non-invasive treatment options (e.g., diet)? 
  • Availability: Conceptually yes, but I am not sure your going to learn much here.  The best doctors should be the busiest doctor.  I wouldn’t want them to get a low rating simply because everyone goes to them.  Now, ability to stay on time would be good.  Ability to fit in sick patients within 48 hours would be good.  I might even include accessibility here.  Can I access the building easily if I am handicapped?  Does it have easy parking?  Does it have a place for my kids while I wait?
  • Technology: Why not measure how and if they use technology?  Online appointment setting.  Handheld prescribing.  Kiosks for signing into the office.  EMR. 
  • Outcomes: I hope that we get to a point where Wellpoint is complementing the patient data with outcomes type data or actual claims data.

Just a few thoughts.  You can find lots of blog entries about this.  Here are a few:

Consumer Response to Increased Costs

Employee Benefit Research Institute and research firm Mathew Greenwald & Associates recently released some data from a survey of 1,000 people which was interesting:

  • 63% said they saw an increase in their health plan’s out-of-pocket costs (I am surprised it’s not more.)
  • 81% said the increased financial responsibility motivated them to take better care of themselves (good)
  • 2/3 said they tried to talk to their MD more carefully about treatment options and costs (I wonder if the doctors knew the comparative costs)
  • 64% (a 10% jump) said they were only going to the doctor for more serious conditions or symptoms
  • 28% skipped or passes on filling doses of prescribed medications (this could be a problem)

Perhaps the most worrisome fact was that 30% said that the rising costs made it difficult to afford food, heat, and housing and another 30% said it caused them to reduce retirement contributions.

People were positive about wellness programs, but that went down if the program was prompting them for care (but they would do that if it gave them a break in premiums).

47% of Americans say that the healthcare system needs major changes although almost 1 in 4 say only minor changes are needed (probably the healthy people that never use the system).

Here is a good cartoon.  There are lots at this site.

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Patient Insights

ist2_2780258_marketing_survey.jpg  I often get asked the question about how I made the transition from architect to business. The turning point was two projects I did. One was a visioning and architectural planning project for an Indian tribe that was using casino profits to buy back their tribal lands. The other was a sales process analysis for an architect I knew. He (and his father before him) had run a successful architecture firm for over 50 years. Over the past few years, their sales close rate had dropped. Not significantly, but enough to cause concern.

We worked together to identify a series of questions and then I interviewed his prospects in 3 buckets: (1) repeat buyers; (2) one-time buyers; and (3) those that never bought. It was a fascinating process. They all loved the fact that the firm cared enough to ask. And, they provided lots of information. In the end, it was a small thing – their architectural awards. It appeared that prospects correlated awards with expensive projects that were more about the firm and less about their needs. We simply downplayed these, and his sales close rate went back up. (If only all projects were so straightforward.)

Now, almost 15 years later, they still use the process. It got me thinking about healthcare. How often do we reach out to the patient to learn about their behavior? Do we really understand them at more than a macro level? With the technology available today to personalize communications or even benefits, shouldn’t this be a big focus. If I can developed personalized medicines based on my genes, I would think companies could figure out a way of developing personalized insurance plans that are based on my family history, recent claims, and predictors of future claims.

As I thought more about this, it reminded me of a question that someone asked me last month. They basically said “if you see a company is doing something really wrong, do you just come out and tell them how stupid they are?” What a great question? This gets to the heart of so many things. In a big company, politics often limits your ability to be brutally direct. As a sales person or consultant, you often have the issue of impacting future sales. As a peer, you have the issue of alienating someone or hurting someone on your team.

Good or bad. I have made this mistake too many times. I simply prefer to point out the obvious. When I was a teaching assistant, I remember telling a student in architecture school that he should find a new major. In consulting, I remember pointing out to a managed care CEO that he was never going to have an effective Internet strategy if he couldn’t even use a computer. I have had people ask me numerous times to give them feedback on presentations. I love to present so I have a high bar which often leaves me giving a lot of negatives (which are only meant to help grow the individual). [A good, but annoying, tool here is to drop a penny into a tin can every time the person says the word “um” so that they can break that habit.]

Anyways, bringing this all back…How do we get patients to trust healthcare companies and providers enough to give us valuable, direct feedback to improve our business. And, how do we engage the patients to create an ongoing dialogue to improve.

10 Things Your Hospital Won’t Tell You

I have included some articles like this before.  Money magazine always does a good job of coming up with these, but they are a little scary sometimes.

We all know that errors are possible, but error rates and calling them “common” is worrisome.  For example, they say “patients sometimes wind up sicker than when they arrived”.  And, they also say to “avoid hospitals late at night and in July”.

“At least 1.5M patients are harmed each year from being given the wrong drugs”  [one person per US hospital per day]  Institute of Medicine of the National Acadamey of Sciences

One reason these mistakes persist: Only 10% of hospitals are fully computerized and have a central database to track allergies and diagnoses, says Robert Wachter, the chief of medical service at UC San Francisco Medical Center.

Although I agree, I find it troubling that one of the article’s recommendations is that “patients should always have a friend, relative or patient advocate from the hospital staff at their side to take notes and make sure the right medications are being dispensed”. 

Of course, we can’t always choose our hospitals.  Where does our doctor practice.  Which one is near our house.  It would be great to have a flashing sign above the hospital that says “our error rate is only X”.  Obviously, this is what people are focused on and hopefully they are applying concepts like Six Sigma and other statistical tools to identify the reason for errors and develop a process for eliminating them. 

To read the whole article, click here

AHIP Business Forum 2007

Are you going to the AHIP Business Forum in Chicago – November 12-14th?  If yes, let me know or look me up. 

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Free (or low cost) generic drugs

My local pharmacist told me that they are now moving to free antibiotics.  I still haven’t figured out how I feel about this from a business perspective. 

From a patient perspective – great.  Less out of pocket (or so I hope).

From a business perspective, here are my questions:

  1. The reason to do this is to capture new market share.  Is it working?  Target gave away a $10 gift card if you brought a new prescription to them for a while.  I don’t think it is was a profitable deal for them, but I am not sure.
  2. In most cases (even WalMart), the discounted or free drugs are a minority of the total Rxs dispensed.  Assuming people are mindly happy with their current pharmacy, are they willing to move for one drug that saves them $4 or $8?
  3. For cash patients that move, are the other drugs they fill at the new pharmacy more expensive then their previous pharmacy?
  4. Has this strategy become a requirement at retail or is it still a differentiator?
  5. Why start doing this?  The right answer would be that you care about the patient.  I think the reality is the that pills cost almost nothing and your labor is a fixed cost so why not. 

Perhaps it makes sense.  It certainly gets a lot of marketing coverage.  It would be interesting to see the data at some point and see what market share moved, at what cost, and whether it was profitable marketshare. 

Your biggest risk as a pharmacy is opportunity cost.  As your staff becomes busier, do they have less time to counsel patients?  Does their error rate go up?

Children – Better Eating Like Adults (?)

First off, most adults don’t provide a good example for their kids on many levels especially around eating.  It is easier to preach then do.  “Don’t eat fast food.”  “Don’t snack.”  “Eat vegetables with each meal.”

So, I struggled with an article I read last week which talked about kids menus “growing up”.  Non-alchoholic chardonnay and merlot juices – really?  Marshmellow sushi with fruit roll-ups as wrappers and a piece of candy on top.  Kiddie sushi with chicken-fingers.  On the one hand, kudos for creativity.  On the other hand, none of these jump out to me as great examples of what we want kids eating. 

It makes me think about kids drinking soda (or pop as I called it growing up).  I agree that we don’t need soda machines in the grade schools, but what good is that if we have kids growing up drinking soda.  I was at a kid’s birthday party a few weeks ago and saw a kid drinking root beer out of a bottle.  That seems a little bit unnecessary.  But, again, how many of us drink soda or coffee or other drinks other than water in front of our kids.  What should they expect?

Stress – No Surprises Here

I don’t think any of us are surprised that we feel more stress. We get 100s of e-mails. We are accessible 24×7. We get voicemails. We get letters, faxes, text messages, etc. We try to multi-task. We expect everything to be done immediately. (You get the point.)

USA Today (you can tell I am traveling) had an article about this today with lots of interesting statistics:

  • 82% of women and 71% of men have experienced a physical symptom of stress in the past month (sleep problems, overeating, skipping meals, or using prescription drugs).
  • 58% of married people said were more likely to fight with family members when stressed.
  • 52% of employees have considered or made a career decision based on workplace stress.
  • Lower income adults are more likely to experience symptoms of stress – physical and psychological (irritability, anger, nervous, sad, lack of energy).

These paint a bad picture. The article says that 32% of those responding regularly experience extreme levels of stress.

There are lots of suggestions on managing stress. AARP offers a series of information on the topic. Revolution Health offers information on stress.

And, I am sure that lack of sleep contributes to stress. So sleep more…meditate…and enjoy life.

Sleeping – Impact on Health

For many people, college is a great opportunity to experiment with lots of things. For me, one of the things that I was fascinated by was different work styles. I remember one semester at University of Michigan where I:

  • Worked part-time
  • Took 21 credits
  • Was president of my fraternity
  • Was the treasurer of a magazine
  • Studied for my GMAT and GRE
  • Studied Czech (non-credit) in preparation for a trip to the Czech Republic
  • Planned a 3-month trip around Europe

In retrospect, it was crazy. The only solution that I came up with was to make sure I never slept more than 30 hours per week. That ultimately translated to a minimum of 2 and often 3 all nighters (probably not the healthiest strategy). The next semester I tried getting a regular night’s sleep every night. My conclusion…I got more done in less hours by being more focused and making less mistakes. Not a true study, but as I learned, it seems to be supported by lots of facts.

At the time, someone was trying to convince me of a theory on life doubling which was basically to take a power nap every 3-4 hours and being able to go without any full nights sleep. (I was…and remain…fairly skeptical.)

If you look at sleep, here are some things to consider:

I wish I had known. It would appear that my grades would have been better, and I would have been thinner if I slept more. But, it is a serious problem. People are busy, stressed, and never have time to sleep. Even knowing all this, I can’t image sleeping 8+ hours per day.

I used to tell my team that since I slept 1-2 hours less then them every day (or 365-730 hours per year) that I enjoyed an extra year of being awake every decade (exact math not important). I love life and enjoy maximizing the day. The challenge is finding that right medium to enjoy it productively.

Customer ROI

This is not a blog about my company – Silverlink, but I certainly am happy to share some of the learnings that we have.

We just put out a press release with one of our clients that has some great results. The client – Medica – is a non-profit, health insurance company with 1.3M members headquartered in Minneapolis.

A couple of the programs that they conducted with us include:

  • Welcome calls which increased member satisfaction while reducing costs by 90%. (Does your plan call you? I certainly never got welcomed to a plan.) They also were able to reduce their resolution time for resolving member issues by over 75%.
  • Coordination of benefits communications which led to a 32% increase in efficiency and less pended claims.

By using our automated outbound call technology, they saw response rate to surveys increase by 22%. (BTW – This is a great use of the technology. You send out calls until you hit your statistically significant N, and you can make real-time changes to survey questions if you see issues arising or need more information based on the answers you are getting.) In their case, they got surveys done in 5 days versus 24 days…and we process the responses to show real-time reports of status. (You can finally solve problems with real-time patient feedback to make critical decisions.)

And, communication costs were 8% below the costs of traditional mailers.

Obviously, there is a reason I choose Silverlink as the company I joined. It is great to see customer validated ROI (Return on Investment). In this world, focusing on your assets and how to maximize them (ROA) is critical.

(BTW – This is my first time writing a post in Word 2007 and sending it the blog.  It worked great.)

ConnectYourCare Acquired by Express Scripts

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I was glad to see my former employer – Express Scripts – jump into the CDHC space with an acquisition.  They bought ConnectYourCare which is a fairly new company that had jumped into the market over the past few years with money from RevolutionHealth.  It provides online tools and a card for managing your HSA / FSA type funds.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  It may be a little late in the selling season to affect 2008 but it could play prominently in the spring for renewals or new business.

As an aside, ConnectYourCare provides a nice glossary of terms you might here around consumerism and benefits.

You can also get access to some of the Forrester research through their site – here.

Cliff Walk – Off Topic

Totally off purpose here, but I was in Newport, Rhode Island this morning and had the chance to go for a great run on the Cliff Walk which is right along the ocean and runs along many of the famous mansions in the area.  Here is a quick shot.

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Medco Tour of Champions

I was surprised to see a full-page advertisement yesterday by Medco in USA Today about their Tour of Champions.  I knew they were focusing on therapeutic resource centers (i.e., pharmacies dedicated to specific disease states like diabetes).  It seems like a great idea.

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It was interesting to go to the website – www.tourofchampions.com.  One of my biggest surprises was the fact that they have made their therapeutic alternative tool called My Rx Choices (i.e., telling you lower cost options based on your current drugs) available to the general public.  Now, obviously, it can’t tell you your copay savings, but it may help you identify options.  For example, I put in Lipitor to see what it would offer me.  (see below)

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From the website, this is what it says the specialist pharmacists do:

  • Cross-check your current medications with your health history and available lab work to help you stay safe.
  • Understand your overall health, not just treat your condition.
  • Let your doctor’s office know how your pharmacy program works so your doctor can help you save.

Going to a Clinic

Yesterday, I had my first opportunity to go to one of the many clinics out there.  I went to a TakeCare HealthClinic which was in the local Walgreens.  Here are some quick observations:

  1. Kiosk for check-in works great, but I don’t understand why it doesn’t take my insurance card and license right there.
  2. No line, but I have seen one there before.
  3. The nurse practitioner did a very thorough job although heavily aided by a workflow application that forced her to ask me dozens of questions.  (This would appear to be the secret sauce…other than the relationship with Walgreens.)
  4. Determined that I have allergies and wrote me several prescriptions. 
  5. Initially the prescriptions were off formulary, but the system flagged that and we found some with generics available. 
  6. No real pressure to fill them at Walgreens.  I felt some implicit pressure, but it was probably self-inflicted.
  7. No health information.  I think they missed an opportunity to provide me with information on seasonal allergies.

Overall, I was pleased.  It took longer (~30 minutes) than I expected, but I believe that was due to the thoroughness of the application.  I am not sure if (or how) that information gets to my primary care physician which would be a nice follow through.  I am also a little surprised they don’t offer to push the information to an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or my Personal Health Record (PHR). 

The fact that I didn’t need an appointment and feel like the diagnosis was right was great.  I did ask her how many people came there inappropriately and she told me that they have had to call an ambulance and send people to the ER. 

FDA on Generics

The FDA has lots of information on generic drugs at their website. If you want to promote this to people, you can use their collateral. Here is a slide show of theirs (now that I know how to do this) and one of their educational PDFs.

FDA facts about generics

Web 2.0 Presentation by John Sharp

John is a blogger at eHealth. I found this presentation by him on Web 2.0 technologies.

Interesting Analysis of HC in India

I was looking at how to embed slides in my blog and came across this.  Not only is it interesting, but I think the analysis is well done.

Learning about your pharmacy benefit or Medicare

I came across an interesting site today.  I went down a few paths and found good information so I thought I would mention it here.  The company is called Your Pharmacy Benefit and is available in Spanish and English.  Additionally, it directs people without coverage to the Partnership for Prescription Assistance which can help people get access to medications.

Quote on Blogging

A friend sent this to me after I described to him why I blog.  Very appropriate.

“Blogging is intellectual prototyping.” Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

You put the ideas out there and start a conversation that leads to something… or not.  (Source)

What is a PBM?

I realized yesterday that many consumers might not even know what a PBM is. PBM stands for pharmacy benefit manager. The market is dominated by 3 large players – Medco, Caremark, and Express Scripts. After that, you have several mid-sized players – Walgreens, Pharmacare (which is now being integrated into CVS/Caremark), Prime Therapeutics, MedImpact – and lots of captive (i.e., part of a managed care company) PBMs – Wellpoint, Aetna, Cigna. And, finally, you have PBMs like Argus that primarily process claims for companies like Humana. (Here is a directory of most of the PBMs.)

Typically, a PBM has the following functions:

  • Process pharmacy claims (i.e., when you go to your retail pharmacy, the pharmacist enters your prescription and electronically submits it for adjudication. The claim is routed to the PBM where it is checked for eligibility and then to see if it pays and what copayment you owe)
  • Set up pharmacy benefits (i.e., based on the plan selected by your employer or payor, the PBM codes what drugs are covered and the copayment structure)
  • Administer rebates…since large pharma companies (e.g., Pfizer) pay rebates for having their drugs on formulary (aka preferred drug list), someone has to manage the negotiations and billing of this.
  • Set up clinical programs (i.e., most PBMs have a clinical committee which evaluates new drugs and looks at market data to help employers choose coverage options)
  • Establish a retail pharmacy network (i.e., work with retailers to get them to agree to discounts on drugs)
  • Communicate with patients and physicians (i.e., look at pharmacy claims data and help find ways to save money or identify clinical issues to inform the patient or physician about)
  • Provide cross pharmacy data for drug-drug interactions…this is a critical function since many people use more than one pharmacy for claims
  • And, last but not least, most PBMs provide a mail order and often specialty pharmacy where they ship prescriptions to patients.

The PBM’s clients are employers who are self-insured, government entities (i.e., state employees, DoD), unions, TPAs (third party administrators), and managed care companies (i.e., BCBS of). Since healthcare has not traditionally been a consumer focused business especially in the PBM world, many of you might not know who your PBM is. In some cases, the managed care company may make it basically invisible to you.

The only people that likely have good awareness of their PBM are high utilizers who run into lots of claims questions and/or people who use the mail order service.

WilsonRx does surveys around PBMs Learn More. Here are two charts from their website about who people name as their PBM and satisfaction with their PBM.

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PBM / Pharmacy Benefits Data (Takeda)

Takeda publishes The Prescription Drug Benefit Cost and Plan Design Survey Report (free to order here). I read the 2006 edition last night. It is full of great data that I would want if I were a consultant, a HR representative, or responsible for my companies PBM relationship.

The document also points you to the American College of Occupational And Environmental Medicine for other information.

Here are some of the facts (based on respondents to their survey):

  • 69% of employers less that 5,000 employees are self-insured
  • 97% of plan sponsors chose to be self-insured so that they had the ability to customize their health plan to meet workforce needs
  • 68% of employers use separate vendors for medical and pharmacy of which 53% use a PBM
  • Average pricing was:
    • $1.88 in retail brand dispensing fees
    • 84.7% AWP reimbursement for retail brands (or AWP – 15.3%)
    • $0.24 in mail brand dispensing fees
    • 78.1% AWP reimbursement for mail brands (or AWP – 21.9%)
  • Formularies were used by almost everyone – 92%
  • Mail copayments were roughly 2x the retail copayment (for 3x the supply of medication)
  • Employer size appeared to matter for price negotiations (no kidding) and they showed that employers w/ over 20,000 members achieved a retail rate of 0.8% less that employers with less than 2,000 members
  • Sponsors who use mandatory mail got a lower reimbursement rate (77.1%) than those without mandatory mail (78.4%)
  • Only 2% of sponsors use a closed formulary where drugs not listed are not covered and the patient pays the cash price
  • It cites research on adherence (The Importance of Medication Adherence, Stambaugh, April 2006) which showed the following reasons for poor medication adherence:
    • 1% don’t know how to use the drug
    • 10% can’t get the Rx filled, picked up or delivered
    • 14% don’t think they need the drug
    • 17% said the drug costs too much
    • 20% don’t want the side effects
    • 24% sometimes forget to use or refill the prescription
    • 10% cited other reasons
  • 40% of employers who design their own plans use co-insurance as opposed to 13% of people who use other parties (i.e., consultant or managed care)
  • Mail service utilization ranged from 0.2% to 62% with 18.3% being the average
  • If a company had mandatory mail, their mail use was 32% versus 14% if voluntary mail
  • Generic dispensing rates ranged from 33% to 71% (51% average) at retail and 12% to 65% (39% average) at mail – which is due to the different mix of acute versus maintenance drugs typically
  • Talked about specialty drugs quoting cost to treat MS at $12K per year and hemophilia at $120K per year (Rx only)

Lots of good information to have.

Retention Bias

As people always say, it costs less to keep a “customer” than to attract a new customer.  Given that 69% of people (per AON 2006 survey) have an option of health plans to choose from, why don’t managed care companies reach out to you to encourage you to choose them?

For healthy patients, I would reach out to them to encourage them to choose you.  They have to be the most profitable customers to keep.   You would hate for them to have either no contact with you or one contact with might not be positive.

Additionally, for sick customers, wouldn’t you want to interact with them and understand their impression of you (via surveys) and determine how to influence their decision during open enrollment.  Depending on the relationship – risk versus ASO (administrative services only) – you may have different reason for influencing their decisions.

This points to several key issues which exist in healthcare:

  1. How to segment your population?
  2. How to motivate people?
  3. How should you communicate with people?
  4. How to track satisfaction?

Make More / Pay More

I never gave it whole lot of thought, but we had an interesting policy at Express Scripts.  The more money you made then the more you paid for your benefits.  It looked something like the following:

  • <$40,000 in salary – pay $150/mo.
  • $40,001 – $65,000 – pay $225/mo.
  • $65,001 – 85,000 – pay $300/mo.
  • $85,001 – $110,000 – pay $375/mo.
  • >$110,001 – pay $500/mo.

Although it is against my Republican tendencies about money, it made sense.  I think it is a reasonable strategy for companies.  Every time I bring it up, people think it is a novel idea so I thought I would mention it here.

Influencing the Next Generation

I am always so amazed at how much kids pick up.  They come to learn about companies and brands through advertising (something that has been proven many times through studies).

So, I began wondering what we are doing to influence our kids on wellness now.  Usually, patient programs are focused on sick people rarely on prevention for people that are healthy.  And, given childhood obesity issues, there is a lot we have to do although I found a lot of sites talking about this (e.g., Alliance for a Healthier Generation).

I see plenty of kids that don’t get out an exercise or eat all types of junk food.  My 6-year old has been running races with me since she was 2.  Just 1/2 mile or a mile, but it is great to see her excitement about this.  (Now, this can go too far.  I remember one race where the dad was pushing the little kid so hard that they were crying.)

It is also important that they understand healthy eating versus junk food.  Halloween is a good example.  My kids enjoy one day of candy and then they can trade their candy for a toy rather than eating it all.   It’s all about setting an example.

Since the 1970s, the percentage of overweight kids and adolescents in the United States has more than doubled. Today, 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. If you combine the percent of kids who are overweight with the percent of kids who are at risk of becoming overweight, about one out of three children are affected.  (From KidsHealth)

Some childhood obesity facts (from the NIH):

  • Obese children and adolescents have shown an alarming increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes.
  • Many obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.
  • One of the most severe problems for obese children is sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping). In some cases this can lead to problems with learning and memory.
  • Obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Microsoft’s HealthVault

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Microsoft has their new healthcare tool out – HealthVault.  It does three primary things – search, collect / store / share (i.e., PHR), and connect with devices.  The “connect with devices” concept seems pretty interesting especially as we get more intelligent home care devices that track blood pressure and other key metrics. 

Connect your HealthVault-compatible home health monitoring devices from partners, such as sport watches, blood glucose monitors, peak flow meters and blood pressure monitors to HealthVault Connection Center, and let our software copy your device data to your HealthVault record.

Given issues with Internet Explorer, will people worry about security – probably.  Given the challenge of connecting with numerous systems and devices, will Microsoft have a leg up – probably.  Will patients use these tools – definitely over the next 5 years.  Who will win – I don’t have a clue.

Here is their blog for developers.

There is lots of talk about this on blog sites:

Aetna CEO on Price Transparency

Here is a entry on the WSJ blog about Aetna’s new price transparency policy.  Conceptually, this is an important first step.  The next question of course is how do you get this to consumers in a timely and easy to digest manner.  Then, how does this correlate with outcomes (i.e., quality) and finally, how does this change people’s decisions.

It is great for planning.  It is great for benchmarking or negotiation.  But, I am waiting to see the impact.

Indu Subiaya with Health 2.0 quotes

Matthew Holt commented about his partner in the Health 2.0 conference – Indu Subaiya, MD.  I haven’t talked with her, but I didn’t want to ignore her.

Here is a link to her blog with a video summarizing some of the best quotes from their recent conference. 

  • People are the new algorhithm
  • P&G knows more about my laundry preferences than pharma knows about my drugs

BTW – I think they already announced that another Health 2.0 conference will be coming so you may want to register to get the notifications now. 

Health “Hints”

I am a big reader of Money and SmartMoney and all those other books that tell you how to save and optimize your money.  I found a few things the other day on savings money and what you should know about your dentist, etc.  Here are links to some of the articles:

money

  1.  
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      1.  
        1. Save money on prescriptions
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