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Tag: Health IT

The Business Case for Social Determinants of Health

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

How can understanding the underlying social risks impacting patient populations improve health outcomes AND save health plans some serious per-member-per-month costs? You’re probably familiar with the concept of ‘Social Determinants of Health’ (SDOH) but Dr. Trenor Williams and his team at health startup Socially Determined are building a business around it.

By looking at data around what Trenor calls ‘the Significant 7’ social determinants (social isolation, food insecurity, housing, transportation, health literacy, and crime & violence) he and his team are working to help health plans intervene with their most vulnerable populations and bring down costs.

What kind of data is Socially Determined looking at? Everything from publicly available data on housing prices and air quality, to commercial datasets on buying preferences and more. Plus, with help from their health plan partners, they’re using clinical and claims data to create a complete picture of health care spend, utilization, and outcomes.

Trenor walks through some very specific examples in this interview to help illustrate his point. In one, Socially Determined was able to identify how Medicaid could better help asthmatics manage their asthma AND save a thousand dollars per affected member each month. Another project in Ohio identified that a mother with a history of housing eviction was 40% more likely to give birth to a baby requiring NICU care – opening up myriad opportunities for early intervention and the potential to positively impact the lifetime health of both mother and child.

As healthcare continues to realize its ‘data play’ – and look beyond the typical data sets available to healthcare companies – the opportunities for real and meaningful impact are tremendous. Listen in to hear more about what Trenor sees as the new opportunity for Social Determinants of Health.

Filmed at AHIP’s Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum in December 2018.

Get a glimpse of the future of healthcare by meeting the people who are going to change it. Find more WTF Health interviews here or check out www.wtf.health

Interoperability and Data Blocking | Part 1: Fostering Innovation

By DAVE LEVIN MD 

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have published proposed final rules on interoperability and data blocking as part of implementing the 21st Century Cures act. In this series we will explore the ideas behind the rules, why they are necessary and the expected impact. Given that these are complex, controversial topics, and open to interpretation, we invite readers to respond with their own ideas, corrections, and opinions.

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Health IT 1.0, the basic digitalization of health care, succeeded in getting health care to stop using pens and start using keyboards. Now, Health IT 2.0 is emerging and will build on this foundation by providing better, more diverse applications. Health care is following the example set by the rest of the modern digital economy and starting to leverage existing monolithic applications like electronic health records (EHRs) to create platforms that support a robust application ecosystem. Think “App Store” for healthcare and you can see where we are headed.

This is why interoperability and data blocking are two of the biggest issues in health IT today. Interoperability – the ability of applications to connect to the health IT ecosystem, exchange data and collaborate – is a key driver of the pace and breadth of innovation. Free flowing, rich clinical data sets are essential to building powerful, user-friendly applications.  Making it easy to install or switch applications reduces the cost of deployment and fosters healthy competition. Conversely, when data exchange is restricted (data blocking) or integration is difficult, innovation is stifled.

Given the importance of health IT in enabling the larger transformation of our health system, the stakes could hardly be higher. Congress recognized this when it passed the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016. Title IV of the act contains specific provisions designed to “advance interoperability and support the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information; and address occurrences of information blocking”. In February 2019, ONC and CMS simultaneously published proposed rules to implement these provisions.

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Innovation Amidst the Crisis: Health IT and the Opioid Abuse Epidemic | Part 4 – Resource Allocation and Access

By COLIN KONSCHAK, FACHE and DAVE LEVIN, MD 

Dave Levin

Colin Konschak

The opioid crisis in the United States is having a devastating impact on individuals, their families, and the health care industry. This multi-part series will focus on the role technology can play in addressing this crisis. Part one of the series proposed a strategic framework for evaluating and pursuing technical solutions.

A Framework for Innovation

In part one of our series, we declared the opioid crisis an “All Hands-On Deck” moment and made the case that health IT (HIT) has a lot to offer. Given the many different possibilities, having a method for organizing and prioritizing potential IT innovations is an important starting point. We have proposed a framework that groups opportunities based on an abstract view of five types of functionality. In this article, with an assist from Dr. Marv Seppala, Chief Medical Officer at the Hazelden-Betty Ford Foundation and Dr. Krista Dobbie, Palliative Care physician at the Cleveland Clinic, we will explore allocation of resources and access to care and the role that technology can play.

Resource Allocation and Access for Opioid Management

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Innovation Amidst Crisis: Health IT and the Opioid Abuse Epidemic | Part 2 – Fostering Situational Awareness

By COLIN KONSCHAK, FACHE and DAVE LEVIN, MD

Dave Levin

Colin Konschak

The opioid crisis in the United States is having a devastating impact on individuals, their families, and the health care industry. This multi-part series will focus on the role technology can play in addressing this crisis. Part one of the series proposed a strategic framework for evaluating and pursuing technical solutions. 

A Framework for Innovation

Deaths from drug overdoses in the United States jumped nearly 10 percent last year, according to recent estimates by the Centers for Disease Control. One major reason for the increase: more Americans are misusing opioids.

Health IT (HIT) can play a pivotal role in addressing the opioid-abuse epidemic. To maximize impact, however, we believe it’s essential to organize and prioritize IT innovations and approaches. In part one of this series, we proposed a conceptual framework that sorts opportunities based on five types of functionality. In this article, we will explore one of these categories: technologies that enhance situational awareness.

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Innovation Amidst the Crisis: Health IT and the Opioid Abuse Epidemic | Part 1 – A Strategic Framework

Colin Konschak

Dave Levin

By COLIN KONSCHAK, FACHE and DAVE LEVIN, MD

The opioid crisis in the United States is having a devastating impact on individuals, their families, and the health care industry. This multi-part series will focus on the role technology can play in addressing this crisis. In this article, we propose a strategic framework for evaluating and pursuing technical solutions. Future articles will explore specific areas and solutions within this framework.

A Full-Blown Crisis

One of the authors recently had the opportunity to participate in a multi-stakeholder workshop in Cleveland, OH dedicated to finding new, collaborative approaches to addressing the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic. While Ohio might be considered ground zero for this epidemic, the evidence is clear that this is a national crisis and it is getting worse. The numbers are frightening, especially the 2016 estimate that 2.1 million people misused opioids for the first time.

Given the statistics, it is likely that many of you have been personally touched by the epidemic.

In our experience, successful improvement efforts in health care almost always address the role of people, process and technology. Strategic innovations aimed at the opioid abuse crisis should account for all three of these in a holistic manner. Innovation should be pursued as a series of practical experiments that address current gaps, result in near-term improvement, provide insights for future tests of change, and lead to a set of sustainable and scalable solutions that will be essential to ensuring long-term success in addressing this enormous problem.

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Google Is Quietly Infiltrating Medicine — But What Rules Will It Play By?

By MICHAEL L. MILLENSON Michael Millenson

With nearly 80 percent of internet users searching online for health-related information, it’s no wonder the catchphrase “Dr. Google” has caught on, to the delight of many searchers and the dismay of many real doctors.

What’s received little attention from physicians or the public is the company’s quiet metamorphosis into a powerhouse focused on the actual practice of medicine.

If “data is the new oil,” as the internet meme has it, Google and its Big Tech brethren could become the new OPEC. Search is only the start for Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Their involvement in health care can continue through a doctor’s diagnosis and even into monitoring a patient’s chronic condition for, essentially, forever. (From here on, I’ll use the term Google to include the confusing intertwining of Google and Alphabet units.)

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The Best Positioned Tech Giant in Healthcare Today? The Answer May Surprise You.

When you think about tech giants playing in healthcare, you think of Google and the work Verily is doing; you think of Apple and their HealthKit and ResearchKit applications, as well as their rumored plans to organize all your medical data on your iPhone; you may even think of Amazon and their potential entry into the pharmacy market.

But the name you may hear about least–Facebook–may actually be the company influencing healthcare the most, and may also be the best positioned to support the patient-centered future that so many imagine and that Eric Topol described in The Patient Will See You Now (my Wall Street Journal review here).

At first blush, Facebook seems to be doing remarkably little in health; their most notable effort has arguably been providing the opportunity to list your organ donor status, an initiative which produced an immediate lift in organ donor registrations.

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Jonathan Bush Interview at Health 2.0

Hello THCB Readers, I’m Jessica DaMassa. At Health 2.0’s Fall Conference, Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya set me up with a camera crew and open access to the influencers, leaders, investors, and startups who graced the stage at this November’s meeting in Santa Clara. Over the course of two days, I asked more than 60 different interviewees from across the health continuum to share their point-of-view on the future of healthcare. Our goal was to capture the “state-of-play” in health innovation and contribute as many answers as possible to that elusive question: What’s going to be disrupted next?

All 60+ interviews are available for your guilty binge-watching pleasure on Health 2.0 TV, or you can stay tuned to THCB as we share some of the best-of-the-best. If you have any recommendations for future interviews (live or online), or want me to talk to you, I’ll be starting a longer series of interviews including showing tech demos. So please get in touch via @jessdamassa on Twitter. Thanks for watching! —Jessica DaMassa

Jonathan Bush, CEO of AthenaHealth, spoke at Health 2.0’s Fall Conference about the potential of networked medicine as a way to transform both the way healthcare is delivered and consumed. After his panel discussion, we got his take on where we can expect the next big disruption in healthcare. Here’s a hint (and a Jonathan Bush-ism to look out for): “ACO’s are kind of a training bra for becoming your own insurance company…”

The Coming Health Tech Disruption

Mark Cuban has been actively commenting in Saurabh Jha’s THCB post about him. We thought this comment was worthy of being a standalone post (and he agreed)–Matthew Holt

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The tech sector will leave people better off at a lower cost. Moore’s law will have its day. But we are 5 years off from minimal impact. 10 years off from Marginal Impact.

In 20 years we will all look back and think 2015 was a barbaric year of discovery.

To give perspective. We pioneered the Streaming Industry TWENTY YEARS AGO. And now we are finally seeing streaming becoming mainstream as a technology but it still cant scale to handle mega live events.

HealthTech will continue to move forward quickly with lots of small wins. It will slow down when there is an inevitable recession in the next 20 years, then jump again afterwards.

In 30 years our kids/grandkids will ask if its true that there were drugstores where we all bought the same medications , no personalization at all, and there were warnings that the buyer may be the one unlucky schmuck that dies from what used to be called over the counter medication.

We will have to admit that while unfortunate it was true. Which is why “one dose fits all ” medications were outlawed in 2040 🙂

By then hopefully we will have a far better grasp on this math equation we call our bodies.

Of course it will be long before then that we make decisions based on optimizing health rather than trying to reduce risk.

The biggest challenge will be training health care professionals.

Medicine today seems to be in that 1980s phase that tech went through where no one got fired for hiring IBM. So IBM got lots of business because it was the safe choice rather than the best choice.

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Tech Industry, Heal Thyself

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“Physician, Heal Thyself – Luke 4:23”

Not knowing the originator of this phrase, I found this description on Wikipedia: “The moral of the proverb is counsel to attend to one’s own defects rather than criticizing defects in others.” It’s common for those of us in the tech industry to lament how appallingly out-of-date healthIT is. Taking the glass-is-half-full approach, one can see opportunity in that – Why It’s Good News HealthIT is So Bad.

There are a number of reasons why this is the case — convoluted decisions processes, for example — and that health systems are spending billions to prepare for the last battle. However, I’m much more interested in how we fundamentally change the equation than why we’re in our current predicament. The same tech companies that have kvetched about healthcare being behind on technology can address that defect by taking some simple actions.

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