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Confusing the Consumer – Defining New Healthcare Roles

Posted on July 2, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you haven’t read Joseph Kvedar’s blog posts before, you’re missing out. I’m always intrigued by his insights into what’s happening with healthcare. His latest post, “The Tower of Babel and Consumer Confusion,” is no exception. Here’s an excerpt from the article I really enjoyed:

This reminds me of a time, about 25 years ago, when this new thing called disease management sprung up. Payers were frustrated by the cost of managing patients (members) with chronic illness. They got no help from providers, so they took matters into their own hands, hiring call centers staffed with nurses to contact patients/members with tips on how to manage their illness, and often sent generic brochures about high blood pressure and other conditions. Payers may have influenced the care of some patients/members, but no one was ever able to prove that this was an effective strategy.

There were numerous stories about patients receiving conflicting advice from these ‘disease managers’ compared to their own doctor’s advice, leaving patients confused. Doctors would get faxes from these same disease management companies and (perhaps arrogantly) throw them in the waste basket without reading them. As a result, the disease management industry collapsed in the middle to latter half of the last decade.

In the meantime, we now have workplace wellness programs, virtual visits offered by your health plan, retail clinics, virtual visits offered by pharmacies and — dare we forget — advice your doctor gives you, which should be more in tune with prevention now that providers are taking on risk.

He is totally right that the consumer is starting to get confused. It’s a messy world. Whenever my kids have some issue I literally have to sit down and take a few minutes to sort through all of the available options. I’m on a high deductible plan and so I want to be selective about when, where and how I and my family get healthcare. Making the wrong choice can be an extremely expensive option. As healthcare gets more proactively involved in keeping me healthy this could definitely get worse.

I think Joseph’s comparison to the Tower of Babel is a good one. The solution to all these new healthcare modalities is to make sure that everyone is speaking the same language. It doesn’t solve all of the problems, but it does help everyone get on the same page. I just hope that the business interests of many involved in healthcare don’t get in the way of this goal.

Quantified Self Is the Future

Posted on October 20, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know I’ve mentioned the quantified self a few times in the past. Basically quantified self is that we’re all going to start finding methods, apps, sensors, etc that will collect data about our bodies. I have never been more certain of this movement than I have been talking to the people at the Connected Health Symposium in Boston. It’s going to take a few years for all of the technologies to develop, but it’s going to happen.

A simple example of this is a startup company I met called Ubiqi Health. They have a migraine tracker that helps people to track their migraines and identify their cause. Plus, this is just their first integration. I think it’s really smart for them to work on migraines first. Lots of people have migraines and very few people have a problem admitting that they have a headache (or migraine). For some reason it’s socially acceptable to say you have a headache, but not so much to say you’re depressed for example.

One thing that’s also become clear is that it’s not just going to be devices that work to “quantify” someone. It’s going to be a great mix of devices, but also is going to have to include the narrative that a person provides. The interesting thing is that from the narrative you can often capture events that might have influenced the “disease” and also can explain the quantitative data.

This is going to be really interesting to watch. I’m still thinking about how all of this data is going to affect the doctors and how they treat patients. Either way, it’s going to transform the way we deal with “health care.”