My friend and colleague, David Harlow, is celebrating an important milestone on his blog. It’s the 10th anniversary of his HealthBlawg. That’s a long time in blog years. I know since I just passed my 10 year anniversary last year as well. It’s amazing for me to think back on all those years and the things I’ve learned from David’s posts on HealthBlawg.
In true David Harlow fashion, he’s doing a great 10 year celebration of HealthBlawg with what he’s calling the Festschrift of the Blogosphere. As part of that celebration, he’s invited other bloggers (including myself) to write posts in the HealthBlawg’s Tenth Blogiversary. I loved the idea since in many ways it took me back to the early days of blogging (before Twitter and other social media) where we all connected with each other on blogs.
I think David still has a number of other posts coming from guest bloggers, but I thought I’d highlight a few of them which I found extremely interesting.
First up is Dr. Nick van Terheyden’s post called “Channeling Churchill to deal with innovation, impatience and chaos in healthcare“. The whole post is great and worth a read, but this part stood out to me in particular:
Everything you thought you knew about how to make your organization financially successful will change. Profit centers like radiology and diagnostic imaging will become cost centers; the more high-end expensive care you give, which once supported all the more mundane services you provide, the lower your profits will be. Instead of filling beds, your job will be to keep them empty.
It’s a big challenge, but the same kind of augmented intelligence systems that will help physicians keep patients healthy can help you keep your organization healthy. Analytics can help you identify and stratify risk, so that you can contract with payers at rates that won’t kill your bottom line. And it can help you identify gaps in care that could lead to the need for expensive treatments and procedures.
It’s going to take a while for organizations to really process what Dr. Nick is saying. In fact, I don’t think most will and they’ll be blindsided when it happens. Talk about a dramatic shift in thinking and Dr. Nick described it so well. Combine this with Dr. Nick’s opening comments about the shifting consumer expectations and we’re in for some big changes.
Another post honoring the HealthBlawg that stood out to me was e-Patient Dave’s post called “Gimme my DaM Data: liberating to patients, scary to some.” I’d heard most of Dave’s story before, but he offered a few insights into it that I’d never heard before. However, his message is still just as compelling today as it was when he first blogging about his data issues back in 2009.
It’s too bad these things are still issues because I wish we could put e-Patient Dave out of business. Ok, that might sound harsh, but I think he wants to be put out of business too. No one would be happier than him if the culture around our health data were changed. I’m sure he’d find something else worth advocating for if we solved the problem of patient access to data.
If you’re not familiar with e-Patient Dave, here’s a section of his post which illustrates the problem and his goal:
Some old-schoolers are threatened by patients seeing the chart; some even think it’s none of your business. Twenty years ago Seinfeld episode 139 showed Elaine looking at her chart and seeing she’d been marked “difficult.” The doctor took the chart from her hands: back then she had no legal right to see it… so she sent Kramer to get it, impersonating a doctor.
You should get your data – all of it. It may not be easy – some providers are severely out of date about your legal rights, and some resist for other reasons: some feel threatened, some know there are gross errors in the chart, some charts contain insults, and some contain flat-out billing fraud: conditions you don’t have, but they’ve been billing your insurance for.
When your doctor hesitates to give you your data, which reasons do they have? Only one way to find out.
I have to admit that reading Dave’s story again has me inspired to spend more time and effort in that space myself and on this blog.
If you’d like to see the post I did, it’s called “Integrated Health – People Finally Caring About Their Health and Not Even Realizing It.” Here’s an excerpt from my post:
While most people will tell you they care about their health, their actions say otherwise. The reality is that the rest of our life is full of bright shiny objects and so it’s really easy for us to get distracted. However, there’s a coming revolution of health care that is totally integrated into your life that’s going to help us care about our health and we won’t even realize it is happening.
If you were to ask someone if they cared about their health, 100% of people would say they do. In fact, you’d likely hear the majority of people go on to say that if they didn’t have their health, then they wouldn’t have anything. While we are happy to publicly proclaim our desire for health, our actions often send a very different message.
Thanks David for inspiring us all with your work at HealthBlawg. You’re a good man (which can be hard to say for a lawyer…sorry I had to have at least one lawyer joke) that is working hard to make a difference in healthcare. I look forward to another decade of blogging alongside you.