Archive for the ‘Innovation’ Category

Nothing is Certain Except Death and Taxes (and ObamaCare Ain’t Helping)

taxesIn a 1789 letter from Ben Franklin to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, Mr. Franklin said “… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Tax time.

This is second year of what will likely be annual occurrence: increased taxes to pay for ObamaCare.

You see, when the President and Congress “cooked” the budgetary scoring for ObamaCare. President Obama stated in a joint session of Congress in 2009 that ObamaCare would cost $900 billion over ten years. More specifically, he said, “Now, add it all up, and the plan that I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.”

However, just a few weeks ago, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its cost projections. At $2.6 trillion, the new price tag is almost three-times more than what president promised.

So how are we going to pay for ObamaCare. You guessed it: Higher taxes. And once again, Ben Franklin was correct. Nothing is certain except death …

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Obamacare: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Friend and fellow blogger, Wayne Oliver, give a harsh critique of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) / Obamacare.  I felt compelled to respond and add my thoughts to the conversation, from the perspective of an executive working in the industry.

To begin, I think it fair to say that most people don’t fully understand the law.  Last September, the Washington Post stated that 62 percent of Americans said that they don’t have the information they need to understand the law.  Furthermore, most Americans, or 55%, disapprove of the way the President is handling the implementation of the new healthcare law.  So, it’s not a surprise that there has been loud objections by pundits and general disapproval by the public.  It is a complex law and, by most measures, the Administration has done a poor job of explaining it.  Yet, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t substance there.  In fact, a number of changes have already helped millions of average Americans and has the potential to transform how …

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The Health System of Tomorrow – More Guts, Not More Information

I had the pleasure of attending the US News Hospital of Tomorrow conference last week in Washington, DC. Right in the midst of the heated debate around the failures and successes of the Accountable Care Act and the less than stellar rollout of, leaders from many of the top health care provider systems across the US congregated to share their insights about how the health care delivery system will look in the future. While there was passionate dialogue about how to best solve our current problems, the common consensus was clear amongst most of the top executives – the shift from volume to value based care will ultimately reduce costs, improve quality, and expand access.

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What is a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH)?

Guest Blogger:  Wayne Hoffman, MD – Healthcare Consultant

Many of us grew up getting our health care through our family doctor or pediatrician – the doctor who knew everything about you and your family, and helped keep you healthy. He or she was the one you went to see no matter what was wrong with you, and for your annual check-up. Somewhere along the way we have lost that ideal. Health care now is fragmented, illness (not wellness) focused, expensive, and doesn’t always deliver the best outcomes. There is now an exciting new model of care that is beginning to sweep the country – the Patient-Centered Medical Home or PCMH. The term was first coined by Pediatricians in the 1960s, but has only recently been expanded to all of Primary Care. In 2007 the four main primary care organizations (American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association) got together and developed the joint principles …

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So What If You Like Your Health Insurance Plan?

obamacareKyle Wingfield was one of the very first to be right. The AJC opinion page editor hit the nail directly on the head in his column on October 31, 2013 entitled, “Real-life Trade-offs Belie ‘If You Like Your Plan’ Claim.”

Most of us clearly remember President Obama saying, “If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it.” Truth of matter is that it is simply not the case for millions of Americans and an estimated 400,000 Georigians.

Whether it is employers who have decided to get out of the health insurance business entirely or individual health insurance plans that some federal bureaucrat has determined does not pass ObamaCare’s muster, the reality is: If you like your health insurance plan, you may NOT be able keep it.

More reprehensible is the fact that we now know that the president knew what he was saying was not the truth while he was saying it.

So while the president has thrown everyone from Verizon to House Republicans under the bus for the early failures of …

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A New Vehicle in Healthcare – Something that Isn’t Just Words

A survey came out recently that stated that half of patients haven’t had their doctors talk to them about healthcare reform.  With only two months until the beginning of the open enrollment period (October 1, 2013), there exists a significant knowledge gap for many Americans on what reform means for them and their families.
Whether you can squarely fault doctors for failing to inform their patients of these changes (as their trusted healthcare experts) is uncertain.  As an administrator in the field who works daily with physicians, I believe one measure stemming from the Affordable Care Act that all should know something about–whether or not you doctor mentions it to you–is the concept of a “patient-centered medical home” (Medical Homes or PCMH).  More than just a physical location, a medical home is a philosophy that places the patient at the center of care delivery where his or her care is coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.  It requires a …

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Raising Awareness of Behavioral Health Technology Adoption

There is a great need for further integration of health information technology into our mental health practices across the nation. If EHRs will truly make a quality difference, behavioral health care is an area of health care that may be in the most need. An overwhelming amount of the substance abuse, chronic illness, violent acts, and suicides are related to the health of the mind. Almost everything we do in and out of healthcare is related to the health of the mind if you think about it.

In 2012, an ONC Behavioral Health Roundtable Report stated that only 20% of the surveyed behavioral health organizations had fully adopted EHR. This is in comparison to a 40% or higher rate which is often reported among the general population of health care providers.

You may have heard the stories about the US Mental Health System and how it has evolved over the years from an inpatient focused model to providing treatment in our communities. Each day in our communities we are likely to see …

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Across the Globe, Similar Challenges and Solutions Exist in Healthcare

As I continue to interface with healthcare organizations around the world, the same challenges exist. At varying levels, whether a Country has a Nationalized/Universal healthcare program (Japan, UK, Taiwan) a Privatized healthcare program (U.S.), or a hybrid model (Singapore), key stakeholders are all faced with addressing fundamental issues – driving down cost, making healthcare more accessible, finding ways to improve patient outcomes, and ultimately improving the quality of care for their citizens.

These past few weeks I’ve had the honor of presenting at the Connected Health Asia Conference in Singapore and to the Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association in Tokyo. And, a few overarching themes pervaded most of my discussions.

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Memorial Day and the Healthcare Connection

Memorial Day is a time to reflect – to thank our service men and women who have so bravely sacrificed in order to defend our moral virtues across the globe. It is also a day to recognize that on the battlefield, decisions are often made with both gut instinct and decades of experience and data. This also holds true for health related decisions in the field – and off of it – where real time data, previously not available to clinicians, help make the healthcare decision-making pathway much more conclusive.

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The Importance of Innovation in Healthcare

r&dIn 1955, Dr. Jonas Salk announced to the world that he had developed a vaccine for poliomyelitis (or polio) and the world was forever changed. No more would there be the need for polio wards or iron lungs. Innovation is hugely important in healthcare.

Just 25 years ago, if a patient came to a hospital with a heart attack, the best that could be done for the patient was to inject morphine for pain and lidocaine, which doctors believed would prevent dangerous irregular heartbeats … and hope and pray for the best. Now, as a result of medical breakthroughs like statin therapy to treat the progression of atherosclerosis, the American Heart Association indicates that we have seen a near 40 percent reduction in deaths due to coronary artery disease since 1998.
In 1989, at the International AIDS Meeting, Dr. Samuel Broder declared that AIDS was a chronic condition and that treatment of the disease meant that AIDS was no longer an automatic death sentence. Medical breakthroughs are …

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