June 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The days of doctor’s orders consisting of “take two pills and call me in the morning” are long behind us. Modern care plans are carefully defined and laid out for the doctor, health care provider, and patient. All stakeholders want to ensure that their constituencies are well represented in the design of these clinical roadmaps. Payers want to make sure that patients are treated with maximum efficiency and cost effectiveness. Doctors and the health care providers want the best possible outcomes for the patients whom they serve. And society, as represented by the government, has increasingly become aware of the importance of care plans to achieve societal goals of cost reduction and improved quality.
These care plans are developed by a whole variety of organizations. Major health care institutions develop their own. Major institutions like Mayo and Kaiser Permanente have invested heavily in developing care plans which they use to differentiate themselves in their marketing to attracting patients. A handful of speciality companies has also emerged which publish and sell their care plan templates to health care providers. These companies will likely grow as the move for quality increases.
Patients? Well today they live with whoever has the power to prescribe a care plan that is best for them. This doesn’t sound very patient friendly and it is not. Patients should push for more freedom in selecting amongst plans. This will ensure that they receive the best plan for their needs.
Finally, emerging mobile technologies will increasingly allow care plans to extend outside of the traditional boundaries of care. Care plans will begin to extend before and after the period of time that patients spend in the hospital. They will eventually align with the major transitions of care to provide a comprehensive approach to care.
May 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I attended the annual WLSA Wireless Health Convergence Summit in San Diego this past week. As one might expect, the event was filled with references to accountable care, the promise of mHealth, the virtues of patient centric centric care, etc. Since this is primarily a technology summit of emerging providers, the event is hardly diluted by real health care providers that focus on keeping individuals healthy and well. Technologists were in their glory!
I did find a talk given by Margaret Kohnalek, the Director of Technology Scouting for Pepsico, to be quite interesting. It seems that Pepsi sells so much salt and soda, that they risk losing touch with consumers who are increasingly in control of their health and wellness. Developing technologies that support consumer needs in this respect can help them better engage the ever evolving consumer. In particular, mobile programs can help individuals stay healthy, even while they finish off their bag of chips during the big game.
While I remain somewhat skeptical, I was encouraged by their read of the audience. Everywhere, individuals are taking charge of their own health and using mobile technology to assist them. With increasing awareness, maybe we can avert the coming diabetes epidemic brought on by consuming too much of products that truly are bad for you. I do give Pepsi some serious credit for this.
Michael Emerson, Preventice
May 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
For the past year, we have had the privilege of working with Mayo Clinic to transform their CARD database into an electronic “safe” shopping list that can change the lives of those who have contact allergies.
This week we are starting the next chapter in the evolution of this effort. To complement the current mobile application, we are launching a new microsite that will help to communicate the benefits of our technology. AllergyFreeSkin.com will become the “hub” of our marketing efforts to reach those afflicted with skin allergies. We know that for millions of individuals, simply avoiding the offending products is by far the best way to be comfortable.
We also know that reaching consumers requires a multi-channel approach, so we are enhancing our social outreach with a new focus on Facebook and Twitter. We have also added a Pinterest site to provide consumers with resources on skin allergies and skin care.
For us, CARD is an exciting offering to allergy sufferers and also our “lab” for trying out new things. Not only do we provide the best in technology for mHealth, we also have the expertise to define best practices in all aspects of mobile health.
We will keep you informed as we learn more.
May 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Amid all of the debate about the future of Medicare and the burden to be paid by future retirees lies hidden a more imminent evil. The cost of health care in the last chapter of life has already become prohibitively expensive. An annual study done by Fidelity Investments places the cost at about a quarter million dollars for an average couple. That’s right, an average 65 year old couple retiring this year should be ready for $240K in uncovered expenses in their remaining lifetime.
That’s a lot of money for anyone with modest means, but even the affluent are afraid of these costs, especially because they may well be asked to pay more in the years ahead. Another study released this past week by Nationwide Financial concluded that well to do families nearing retirement are terrified by the prospects of financial ruin brought on by the costs of retirement. The study concluded that only a small minority of pre-retirees are ready for the challenges that are coming their way.
Keeping patients out of the hospital, especially for chronic conditions, is one of the few paradigm changes that can bend the cost curve to the overall cost of living. mHealth technology is one of the most promising approaches to enable this change. And mHealth projects are starting to prove their worth. A recently released study commissioned by Telenor that analyzed various mobile health projects in 12 different countries found that mobile health can help reduce the cost of elderly care by as much as 25%.
In addition to cost savings, as various mobile health applications allow patients to be monitored, guided, and advised while they are at home, we have a chance to regain some of what was lost when the era of house calls ended several decades ago.
May 3, 2012 § Leave a Comment
One wouldn’t expect that a session on the strategic future of telehealth would talk about the demise of the category. But that is exactly what happened at an executive panel on the strategic future of telehealth at the annual convention of the American Telemedicine Association. The reason? The success of the category and the fundamental drivers to absorb the technologies into the mainstream of health care. Some of the key points:
- The clinical workflow between in-patient and remote care is blending together. A workflow starts in an EMR, delivers care to a patient at home, and then returns data back to the EMR. 2012 may mark the end of an era where the two are viewed separately.
- Telehealth and the emerging mHealth industries are already converging into one. Whereas telehealth has largely focused on technology that enables doctors in remote locations to deliver care, mHealth has used lower cost mobile platforms to provide health care access to everyone. This boundary is quickly dissolving.
- The FDA will continue to expand its coverage of telehealth devices to include mobile devices and even medical content that had previously escaped scrutiny.
- And finally, the impact of the Affordable Care Act will force health care providers to treat all types of technology as contributing to patient care or quality of care. As these rules go into effect next year, the final wall between traditional and telehealth will come down.
So, representing Preventice which is a relative newcomer to the space, we got here just as a bigger and more integrated phase has begun. We are excited to make contributions to this new era. We are fully aware of our need to provide technology that ties remote and traditional technology together.
May 2, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I have blogged several times in the past few weeks about Steve Jobs and his passion to do things that would change the world. Today, at the closing session of the American Telemedicine Association, we heard his startup partner, Steven Wozniak. “Woz”, as he refers to himself, had a perspective that was quite different from Mr. Jobs. He viewed himself as an accidental traveler along the road of changing the course of history. He described his life as a student at elementary school that was driven by his love of invention and electronics. Like many of us who grew up during the 70s, he was inspired by the dreams of space travel and the new wonders of the world of electronics. He didn’t set out to change the world, he did it because he was having a great time.
As we go about our work lives that focus on building and delivering mobile health solutions, we should not forget our responsibility to capture the imagination of the next generation of inventors and builders. Mobile technology has the opportunity to change the course of human kind in the same way that the space program did in the 1970s. We have a great opportunity to capture the brightest and best of the talent that might be attracted to build the next hot new media or entertainment product. But nothing has more potential to change the world than mobile health technology and the benefits it can bring.
One other point that Woz made was the challenge of going where there were no manuals or precedents. While difficult, it was not hard to see his passion about forging new paths some 35 years later. We at Preventice are working to forge new paths, because what needs to be done simply hasn’t been done before. Bringing mobility and healthcare together provides for unprecedented opportunities to move forward.
Michael Emerson, SVP Marketing, Preventice
April 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
We humans have an incredible need to be social. The birth of Internet 2.0 taps into the fundamental need we have to reveal ourselves and reach out to one another. It seems that voyeurism and self-disclosure is built into our DNA. While health care hasn’t been the first industry to tap into this inner need, it may be one of the biggest beneficiaries, since we humans also like talk about our health, and all that is related to our personal wellness and fitness. A recent survey by PwC looked at the influence of social media on individual health behaviors. The results were surprising.
45% of those surveyed said that information that they found on social sites influenced whether they might seek a second opinion before they have a major medical procedure. Wow. It seems that Facebook is more than just impressing your friends with photos from your most recent trip to the beach.
Even more interesting is that 33% of individuals sought out the opinions of others who had a similar medical condition to themselves. While patients will continue to seek out the expert opinion of their doctors, they will also look to individuals who have been through the same path as they have been.
Several organizations have already tapped into this emerging opportunity. The hugely popular CaringBridge organization allows families to share their grief when they are going through difficult health situations. The Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR) connects people with various types of cancer.
We in the mobile health industry must create ways to make these connections as we look for ways to get people to better engage with their care plans. Tapping into our uniquely human need to be social can be one of the most powerful tools we have to bridge the gap between patient, the patient’s social networks and their provider.