The Administration has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and enrolled 7 million people (give or take a million who may not have paid their premiums) into health plans under the ACA, and more into Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn’t as big a change as some of us would have liked, But in this moment of modest celebration let’s remember what some of the sensible old men said all along.
Sensible old men said reform couldn’t pass without bring in the Republicans. Sen. Baucus tried hard to do that, and it’s beyond clear that no Republican would have ever supported it–even a moderate like Snowe who was quitting. It passed anyway.
They said that we’d see massive rate shock. Instead plans tightened networks and rates were in general lower than they had been before.
They said that the web site debacle meant no-one would sign up and we’d go into an insurance death spiral. The web site launch was a cock up, but Medicaid expansion (where allowed) has more or less been OK, and the exchange web site(s) now more or less work(s)–outside Oregon & Maryland. By the way this backs my argument for having one Federal exchange, which you may remember was in the House bill before we ended up being forced to take the Senate version due to Ted Kennedy’s death.
One wise old man (Robert Laszewski) was still saying that the exchanges would be financial disaster for insurers the very week Wellpoint raised earnings expectations because they had more enrollees than expected.
Let’s also remember that because of the politics of the nation, the ACA is a ridiculous hodge-podge of a law requiring–you’ll recall:
a) an opt-in to what’s basically a social insurance program (hey, let’s opt-in to fire protection while we’re at it!)
b) arbitrary tax (and now subsidy) distinctions between those who get insurance via an employer and those who don’t, and
c) arbitrary access to insurance (well, Medicaid) for the poor depending on their income and which side of a randomly drawn line they live.
Today venerable health content creator Healthwise merged with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation which was previously funded by (and had an exclusive relationship up until last month with) Health Dialog. I asked Healthwise CEO–and old friend of Health 2.0–Don Kemper what was happening and what it meant. I also snuck in a smidgen of snark about a conference we worked on together five years ago.–Matthew Holt
Matthew: Don, you’re merging Healthwise with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation. So I know the two organizations are both non-profits but as a poorly informed outsider I always thought of you as rival content creators, with Healthwise selling your content and services to insurers and providers and Informed Medical Decisions being funded by Health Dialog which then got to use and sell the content and decision support aids it created to its customers. Am I wrong?
Don: You aren’t completely wrong—but then not overly well informed either. We have always thought of ourselves as sister organizations rather than rivals. We have collaborated well in advocacy efforts to promote the role of the patient. Health Dialog has had a near exclusive relationship with the Foundation until recently. Health Dialog has been a long-term client of Healthwise, too—just not an exclusive one. When the restructured Health Dialog-Foundation relationship dropped the exclusivity requirement it allowed us to proceed with the merger discussions.
Matthew: Now that change occurred for Informed Medical Decisions and you two can merge, what do they have that Healthwise hasn’t got, and vice versa?
Don: The Foundation has three things that will add greatly to the Healthwise mission:
1. Medical Evidence—Their assessment of medical evidence in key areas goes deeper than we have been able to go. Whereas we have often waited for treatment guidelines to change before reflecting the changes in our content, their medical editors are often involved in making the guideline changes. Getting that information into the patient’s hands six months earlier could make a life or death difference.
2. Value Demonstration—The Foundation has developed research relationships with many health services researchers around the country. By setting up and evaluating demonstration sites for shared decision making (SDM) they have proven how SDM improves decision quality and reduces the use of expensive but preference-sensitive treatments.
3. Practice Change Management—The Foundation has gained a great deal of experience in helping clinicians build SDM into their workflow. Those learnings will help as we integrate patient engagement into the mainstream of care.
What they get from us is “reach.” People now turn to our information, tools and solutions over 340 times a minute. (180 million times a year). Fifteen percent of US physicians can now prescribe Healthwise patient instructions through their EMRs.
Healthwise has invested heavily in the technology needed to integrate into EMRs and has excelled at building broad-based solutions that fit within a health plan’s or health system’s workflow. It would have been hard for the Foundation to have matched that without us.
Matthew: So how will this actually work. How many people do you have, how many do they? Who gets to keep their jobs? Is this a real merger or a takeover?
Don: This is a merger made in heaven. No one will be out of work. Continue reading “Healthwise Adds Informed Medical Decisions: Don Kemper Interview”Tagged: Don Kemper, Health 2.0, Healthwise, Matthew Holt Feb 20, 2014
Conversa is a brand new company, aiming to fill the space between physician visits with easy and useful communications between doctors and patients. The logic is that most health care happens outside the exam room, but most of the effort of automating health care has been put into recording what happens in the medical setting, with little feedback or follow up from patients (HealthLoop is another company aiming at this space).
Why are we featuring Conversa? Well somewhat unusually for a Health 2.0 startup they come with buckets of experience. CEO West Shell was at the helm at Healthline, Product Head Phil Marshall built lots of tools at WebMD and Chief Marketer Anna-Lisa Silvestre was behind the roll out of probably the biggest patient portal ever at Kaiser Permanente.
I got all three of them on the video-line to tell me about Conversa.
Learn more about Conversa’s launch here.Tagged: Startups Feb 13, 2014
Ryan McQuaid, former Head of Product for AT&T mHealth and friend of Health 2.0, joined Matthew Holt to discuss the launch of his brand new startup PlushCare. And when we say brand new, we mean as of writing this post, their Indiegogo campaign is a mere 23 hours old. PlushCare combines elements of telehealth and concierge medicine to provide basic health care via phone, email, and video chat for $10 per month. Busy working professionals can use the service to connect with Stanford MDs for same-day diagnosis and treatment of illnesses or injuries. The physicians provide advice, prescribe medicine, and will refer directly to primary care providers and specialists if necessary.
PlushCare removes the hassle of scheduling an in-person doctor visit, and provides the same care at lower costs. In addition, for each individual that purchases PlushCare, the company provides one child a lifetime of immunity to measles. PlushCare is currently accepting a limited number of members via their Indiegogo campaign to validate demand and user test. Several other companies are using a similar model of tech-enabled services, including American Well and Teladoc, but the space is sure to see more activity at the prospect of pushing basic care out of the doctor’s office in a way that is convenient for consumers and increases provider efficiency.Tagged: Health 2.0, Indiegogo, Plushcare, Stanford, Startups Jan 31, 2014
While my politics are well known to THCB readers, I rarely encourage people to do anything about it–especially in a state where I don’t get to vote, but today is different. Aneesh Chopra is running for Lt Gov in Virgina. He’s the former CTO of the US and a really good guy–who is running based on improving science and technology in a vital state, where the Republicans are literally into trans-vaginal ultrasounds & creationism. To my SF and LA-based friends, you can meet Aneesh at Cigar Bar & Grill on Mon 18th 5.30-7 in downtown SF and in in 1240 Shadow Hill Way, Beverly Hills on Tuesday 19th 7-9pm. This is a chance for the tech community to support one of its own, so I encourage you to go along and write a check. For more information or to RSVP please contact Caitlin Blair at Caitlin@chopraforva.com or (703) 468-1456, or I’m sure if you show up Aneesh will be happy to see you!–Matthew HoltTagged: Aneesh Chopra, Gubernatorial Campaign, Matthew Holt, Virginia Mar 15, 2013
Tagged: EHR, Epic, Gregg Masters, Health 2.0, HIBC, HIMSS 2013, Matthew Holt, New York Times, Pat Salber
Mar 1, 2013
Early this week Greg Masters and Pat Salber chatted with me for a fun convo about EMRs, NOLA, HIMSS, and alot more. It’s part of their overall series for the HIBCtv (Health Innovation Broadcast Network Consortium). And be warned they are giving me keys to the car for 90 minutes at HIMSS next Weds! You should be able to click on the player above to hear. If not click to this.
This time the camera was turned on THCB’s Matthew Holt. Tim Cook of Healthcare IT Live! interviewed Matthew for the web show, which takes place weekly on Google+ Hangouts. Click for a list of the show’s upcoming guests.
Filed Under: Matthew HoltTagged: Healthcare IT Live!, Matthew Holt, Tim Cook Jan 18, 2013
Lyle Berkowitz, MD, associate chief medical officer of innovation for Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Chris McCarthy, MBA, an innovation specialist with Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Consultancy, have just released a compilation of stories about various organizations’ HIT projects. The two coeditors of Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare talk about what they learned after gathering these examples from across the U.S.
Tagged: Chris McCarthy, Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare, Lyle Berkowitz Jan 15, 2013
Health information and education company Healthline Networks launched the BodyMaps iPad application today. BodyMaps, which displays rotatable high-resolution 3D illustrations of human anatomical structures, was created with GE Healthymagination in partnership with Visible Productions. Here you’ll see Senior Director of Product Management at Healthline John Emerson demo the app on his iPad, and CEO West Shell talks about his own recent experience using BodyMaps at his orthopedic surgeon’s office.Tagged: BodyMaps, GE Healthymagination, Healthline Networks, iPad, Matthew Holt Sep 4, 2012
Kaiser Permanente is a different kind of health system, as we all know. It has been a major funder of the HBO Series Weight of the Nation — reviewed by Kristin Molven in a companion piece on THCB today. Matthew Holt interviewed Raymond Baxter who is Kaiser’s Senior Vice President of Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy about the role KP plays in community and policy issues, and what we know and what we should can and should do about obesity.Tagged: Baxter, Kaiser Permanente, Obesity Aug 17, 2012