Top THCB Blog Posts of the Last Two Weeks

Why Patient Engagement Really Matters and Why So Many People Are Getting It Wrong (50)

Like many of the big ideas that catch on in business, patient engagement is an elusive idea – too often used without much thought and wheeled out at meetings as the dramatic conclusion of a Powerpoint presentation. Too bad most of the people talking about patient engagement don’t have the first idea what they’re talking about.  Dr. Rob Lamberts offers us all a little remedial patient engagement training.

Ready for O’Ryancare? (76)

Wisconsin senator Paul Ryan has built a career by standing next to Medicare spending charts and waving a pointer telegenically.  When Ryan released his latest plan to save the country by saving Medicare last weekend, the critics were lit. The issue? Parts of the proposal rely on the administration’s approach to insurance exchanges to keep costs down. Which makes sense, argues economist JD Kleinke, after all the whole idea was a Republican idea. But don’t quote us on that.

Five Things Obamacare Got Right-
And What Experts Would Fix

“You have to pass the bill so we can find out what’s in it,” Nancy Pelosi once famously remarked.  Now that Obamacare implementation is officially underway, it’s become clear that lawmakers may have been – shall we say – a little optimistic about some key assumptions behind the law.  Analyst Dan Diamond talked to five health care visionaries, including former CMS head Don Berwick and Washington and Lee professor Timothy Jost, about what they think Obamacare got right and what might need a little gentle tweaking.

How the Media Portrayed the
CVS Wellness Program-and Got It Wrong

The news of a controversial wellness program at CVS led to a media storm with reports accusing the chain of discriminating against employees. Unfortunately, the media got it exactly backwards, argues Greg Juhn. The drug chain has exactly the right idea. So, what’s really going on?

The State of Self Tracking (13)

Early adopters are high on the data driven-potential of tracking devices and gizmos that let users collect and interpret personal health data.  New products are popping up everywhere, from the Apple store to the pages of health magazines. But how many people are really using these technologies?  Quantified Selfers argue the numbers are higher. Wired Editor Gary Wolf responds to Pew research on the latest statistics.

The Smarter Healthcare Consumer Myth (16)

Amazon. ITunes. EBay. Priceline. Welcome to the Golden Age of The Internet Consumer. But plans to market insurance to consumers online as if health insurance coverage were a movie download or a airline ticket to Florida make a flawed assumption, writes James Wilson. Consumers will always make decisions on the basis of cost. The implication? Many of the most vulnerable will remain underinsured.


Beyond HIT Interoperability: Open Platforms are Key (37)

Open source software is everywhere we look. From the hands-free image editor on your desktop to the web-based content management system your IT department uses to manage your website, open source technology is everywhere.  It has advantages. It’s cheap. It’s web-based and it’s usually reliable. Shouldn’t open source be radically transforming healthcare in the way it’s saving other industries? Maybe so. Edmund Billings weighs in the reasons open source may turn out to be the HIT giant killer after all.

States Must Step Up to Help
Consumers Gain Access to Health Care Prices

With consumers hungry for information on pricing for medical services and politicians writing the T-word into every piece of legislation they can think, we’re asking a lot of transparency.  The release of a new report card rating state transparency laws suggests we have a long way to go.

Why Haven’t Electronic Health Records Made Us Any Healthier? (17)

Glen Tullman’s ouster this past December made headlines and was one of the first signs that the future might not be smooth sailing for the electronic medical record vendors. The critics are being critics. There are still reasons for encouragement, the ex-Allscripts CEO writes in an opinion piece.

Accountable Care Organizations Can Change Everything, But Only If We Get the Definition Right

Thanks to Obamacare ACOs are healthcare’s flavor of the year.  People are talking about using ACOs for everything from fighting the obesity epidemic to battling poverty. There’s a lot of potential here. But they can’t be all things to all people, argues Jaan Sidorov. Be wary of scope creep. Be very wary.

Zen and the Art of Problem-Based EMR Design (13)

Supporters argue the current generation of electronic medical records only begins to tap the potential of this much-touted and talked-about technology.  Doing electronic medical records right may involve taking a new look at how information is structured, argues THCB contributor Leslie Kernisan.

A Time Out For Health IT? (15)

Faced with reports questioning Washington’s support for EMR vendors and suggestions that a lack of regulation may hurt the industry, some critics have called for a rethink of federal support for the electronic medical record industry. But is a time out really the answer? The answer isn’t killing technology. It’s coming up with better technology, respond supporters.

The Ghost of Steve Jobs and Your Bottom Line (8)

With a crowded consumer app marketplace and an evolving mobile market, the much-heralded app revolution launched by Steve Jobs is having decidedly mixed success. But apps look likely to have a greater impact in specialized markets, particularly in healthcare. Hospital executives and other healthcare decision makers will do well to take note. argues Joe Flower.

What the Story of a Much Talked-About Bay Area Startup Tells Us About the Future of Health IT (6)

It’s a genius idea. A web-based service that helps you find a cab quickly and easily, saving you time and making the business of transporting people around crowded downtown area more efficient. Who could argue with that? A surprising number of people, it turns out. The story of Uber offers a cautionary tale for healthcare IT.

A $910 Million Price Tag For California Exchange: A Dark Omen of Things to Come (5)

Early signs from California, where officials recently announced that $910 million will be spent to market and promote a state insurance exchange, are cause for concern writes veteran health plan observer Robert Laszewski. Privately polled health plan execs doubt the process will be smooth sailing, he writes in a follow up piece.

Dear HIPAA: It’s Time to Decide Who You Want To Be(12)

HIPAA was supposed to fix a glaring problem. Unfortunately, it created a new glaring problem that may be worse than the one we started out with. Instead of protecting patient privacy and access to care, the law is being used as a weapon. Predictably, some businesses are using the privacy law to deny patients access to their own medical information, stifle competition and control data for their own commercial purposes. Time to figure out what the law is supposed to do and get it right, writes Rob Lamberts.

The Napsterization of Health Care (5)

Healthcare IT companies will do well to look at what the file sharing site did to the recording industry, writes Lisa Suennen. The recording industry resisted the idea of digital distribution for a long time, but proved no match for an army of young geeks and entrepreneurs armed with peer to peer file sharing and other disruptive technologies. From Silicon Valley, the parallels with healthcare are striking. Payors, Providers and IT companies are building elaborate defenses to protect their data. It won’t work.

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