The Future Of Healthcare Design Is Already Here

This is a guest post by Eugene Borukhovich. Eugene currently serves as a CEO of Initium Consulting Group B.V.  which is an Amsterdam-based, pre-eminent boutique service provider of the knowledge expertise to the healthcare and private equity industries. He has previously served as a VP & CIO of International at a Fortune 15 Pharmacy Benefit Management company with the last 2.5 years working with European clients and vendors to launch new and innovative healthcare products. He is also the founder and a community organizer of Health 2.0 NYC & Health 2.0 Amsterdam and has been a pioneer in healthcare consumerism and open health data. Let me start off by stating, that I don’t have a clinical background and I will admit that I do not truly know how it feels to treat patients. While I speak to many practitioners on regular basis, I don’t think i can even begin to comprehend how difficult their job is. It is tough due to our healthcare system putting pressure on the practitioners to see more patients in the same working day while providing same or better care. It is tough due to continuous onslaught of ever changing regulations. It is tough because getting paid […]

The Golden Age of Healthcare is Open Data

Healthcare is complex, intertwined, and touches every single individual on this planet. The average per capita spent on healthcare costs has been tremendously increasing over the past few years. Governments seem to focus on increasing premiums, changing tax rates and augmenting efficiency gains. A great article by Clay Christensen briefly illustrates that the focus for dormant capital has shifted to efficiency gains instead of innovation. And as we all know… innovation is what this world needs. During last week’s Health 2.0 conference in Berlin, Tim Kelsey -Patients and Information Director at the NHS- stressed the importance of open data. Tim wears many hats, including a role as a CIO, CTO and pseudo-CMO. No matter what the title states, his speech was inspiring and while he made some bold statements about giving all patients in UK their own health record by 2015, the one thing that resonated was his passion and dedication to open health data. As he puts it: “open data will unleash the power of people and save the NHS from a crisis”. There are numerous reforms being pushed across the world. Whether a country has completely socialized healthcare system, a completely privatized system or anything in between, the […]

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness in Healthcare

The author of a recent NY Times opinion article, Gilbert Welch, argues that we are not putting enough effort into challenging standard practices in medicine, but instead focus too much on accommodating and streamlining those practices already established, and on coming up with ever new diagnostic and screening tools, treatments and procedures to spend health care money on. This is despite prominent examples like hormonal replacement therapy after menopause or PSA screening, that should remind us to keep a certain amount of skepticism. While arguments constantly circle around who should pay for all the blessings of modern medicine, it is often not so clear which existing or newly approved treatments are actually worth it (another example is the revoked fast track approval of bevacizumab for breast cancer). The responsibility however is still mostly on the physician, including that of dealing with insurers and insecure patients. With clinical to-do lists and guidelines growing longer, one important distinction to make is that between efficiency (performing a given task in the most economical manner) and effectiveness (capability of producing a desired result), nicely depicted by Tim Ferriss in “The 4-Hour Workweek”: Doing something unimportant well [meaning: efficient] does not make it important. What […]

How Social Entrepreneurs Contribute In Shaping Health Innovations

We are all well aware of how healthcare is changing in response to new disruptive ideas. What we often don’t know is how to create new models that combine socially favorable needs with radical innovations within the health sector. With “socially favorable”  I either mean patient-centered or anything that is somehow able to provide tangible benefits for social wellbeing. Physicians often still perceive health as a unilateral variable, focusing on getting patients the right treatment at the right time. Pharmaceutical companies are struggling with getting new drugs in their pipelines while investing insanely amounts on R&D, after which they are forced to sell the product for millions –if not billions– of dollars. Health insurers sell packages that mostly include unnecessary services and deny what individuals really need. Governments are implementing regulations on top of regulations that hamper genuine health outcomes and (in)-directly favor the most powerful parties. When you enter a hospital, several patients don’t want to be informed about their health status, they simply want to get a pill, injection or treatment and get out as fast as possible. Societies, cities, individuals, often times do not care what being healthy entails. Needless to say, that all of the above […]

Making a Dent in One of Healthcare’s Biggest Problems

What do you think is the most common topic that comes up when physicians complain about their patients? According to a 2011 Consumer Reports survey of physicians, noncompliance with medication and other treatment recommendations was number one.

I can understand that. Non-adherence is a demoralizing problem for physicians. Think of all that effort on diagnosis, clinical decision-making, and education going to waste because the patient decides not to fill the prescription, or quits after a few weeks, or takes it only sporadically. As former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop famously quipped, “drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”

It turns out that not only does non-adherence rank as physicians’ number one complaint, it is also one of healthcare’s number one problems.

In 2009 the New England Healthcare Institute estimated that poor compliance with prescription medication is the root cause of $290 billion in “otherwise avoidable medical spending” in the US per year. That’s a staggering number, but it makes sense if you think about it.

Heart attacks and strokes, for example, are very expensive, but largely avoidable if you control known risk factors with lifestyle modifications and medications as needed (which are dirt cheap by comparison to other popular drugs).

Improve Outcomes and Engage Patients in Their Own Health with Social Media Improve Outcomes and Engage Patients in Their Own Health with Social Media

This is a guest post by Katie Matlack, a Medical Analyst for Software Company “Software Advice“. By now plenty of bloggers have discussed the September study that found that well over half of doctors use social media in their practice of medicine. It came as no surprise that most docs who participated in the study said the marketing and business development benefits of social media were their biggest motivation. The study made me think more about other reasons why doctors are–or should be–social networking: Social media can actually improve care. I found a study in Chest Journal that discussed findings showing that patients who’re in touch with their doctor after their visit are more likely to follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to things like taking medications properly. Social media helps you spread useful information. This is obvious. With so much information online, the source of health information is increasingly important for readers to consider. People are becoming more web-savvy and more discriminating in where they get their advice. So doctors who lend their voices to the conversation are doing a valuable service to the online world–which, don’t forget, does include current and prospective patients. It’s a way of doing […]