Tag: Don Kemper

Healthwise Adds Informed Medical Decisions: Don Kemper Interview

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…

Christmas in July: Meaningful Use as a Gift for the Consumer

Everyone was expecting the new meaningful use rules to include some important, but relatively basic advances for the consumer—and it did. However few of us expected meaningful use would include a real consumer gift: the requirement that EMRs help doctors deliver information prescriptions to each patient. That addition is a game changer for advancing the patient’s role in a patient-centered health care system.

Page 225 of the rules includes this Stage I Measure for demonstrating the “meaningful use” needed to qualify for the federal subsidy for EMR investments:

More than 10% of all unique patients seen by the provider are provided patient-specific education resources.

That simple requirement represents a sea-change in use of the EMR as a tool to advance the role of the patient. It will bring into mainstream American medicine a recognition that medical care is of high quality only if it includes relevant information to help the patient do appropriate self-care and better participate in treatment decisions.

The requirement gives mainstream life to the decade-old concept called “information therapy” or Ix for short. Ix promotes the need to prescribe the right information to the right patient at the right time as part of the process of care. The new rule promotes the exact same thing.

Continue reading…

The Info-Button Standard: Bringing Meaningful Use to the Patient

Regardless of the U.S. administration’s “meaningful use” requirements, if health information technology (HIT) is to become meaningful for patients, it must include the prescription of information and tools to help each patient better manage his or her own care.

Ask patients what they want from HIT systems, and they will tell you three things:

– “Tell me my diagnosis, what will happen, and what I can do myself to better manage the problem.”

– “Tell me my medical tests results and what they mean to me.”

– “Tell me my treatment options, and help me participate in the treatment decisions.”

The soon-to-be-finalized HL7 International Context-Aware Information Retrieval standard (nicknamed the HL7 “Infobutton” standard) makes it far easier for providers of electronic health records (EHRs) and personal health records (PHRs) to deliver just what the patient wants. And that is what will put the meaning into meaningful.

Using the HL7 Infobutton Standard for Information Prescriptions

The HL7 Infobutton standard has been widely adopted since 2007. It facilitates the delivery of a set of standardized information about the patient, the provider, and the activity of a specific care encounter or moment in care. An Infobutton manager (or equivalent) accessed by an EHR application can then pull from that set the information it needs for any relevant use case. In most cases the Infobutton has been used to bring up decision support information for the clinician.

Continue reading…

Carrot or Stick? Should Patient Decision Aids Be Rewarded or Required?

Don kemper

  1. Should we incent or require providers to prescribe patient decision aids?
  2. Should we incent or require consumers to use patient decision aids?

Over-treatment is the most celebrated cause of runaway health care costs, but we shouldn’t blame the doctors. The fee-for-service system sets them up for over-treatment. First, they have been taught that offering all possible cures to every patient is good medicine. Second, malpractice law pushes them toward offering more testing and services, not less. And third, they generally get paid more when they do more. It’s hard to buck a triple-threat system like that without a little help from the patient. Fortunately, it’s not that hard for patients to provide that difference.Continue reading…