Best Buy is teaming up with Cardiac Science, targeting potential purchasers of electronic health records (EHRs) and noninvasive cardiac devices. The venture
looks to take advantage of economic stimulus funding available through
the HITECH Act aimed at motivating physicians to adopt EHRs.
Cardiac Science is a medical device company focused on the
noninvasive management of heart disease. Their products include
defibrillators, ECG/EKG devices, stress testing equipment, Holter and
vital sign monitors. These heart-hardware products are designed to
connect with electronic health records systems in hospitals and
physician offices. and are used in many settings outside of health
institutions including schools, emergency medical response centers, fire
and law enforcement, airports, and the hospital industry.
Next week the health IT world descends on Atlanta which means a lot of chat, lots of meetings and lots of parties. You’ll be seeing the results of my interviews on THCB next week.
But meanwhile more importantly—the party schedule. So far I’m signed up on Monday for the MEDecision party (mostly because it’s in the aquarium), the HISTalkparty (in which you try to spot the mysterious MrHISTalk and Inga) at Max Lagers. I’ll likely be wearing a sash.
For Tuesday night I’ve been asked to give a special shout out to the FierceHealthIT party. Apparently this one will be huge but there’s room for more. It’s at the World of Coca-Cola, and I'm not sure if you have to bring your own rum. Sign up here
Finally, there’s a new party on Tuesday called HITMen which has an interesting group of cats & dogs on its host committee….although probably only worth going after the palavah is over (unless you like sitting through award ceremonies).
Of course there’s a large chance that I’ll miss all of these but there are two sessions I won’t be missing.
Monday at 2pm in room C201 I’ll be one of the bloggers to meet in the Meet the Bloggers session. It’ll be a good chance for me to argue in public with Val Jones.
And Tuesday at 1pm the ever wonderful Jane Sarasohn-Kahn and I will be presenting on Health 2.0 & Participatory Medicine in Georgia Ballroom 1.
This does all assume I can get out of France despite the air traffic controllers strike! Hope to see you in Atlanta.
Given that she taught me most of what I know about health IT I don’t know why I ever need reminding about how great Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is at keeping her finger on the pulse of health care, and how consistently good is her one daily post on Health Populi.
Yesterday was no different. She gave a great overview of a new PWC study on data liquidity. You’re going to hear lots from me and others in the coming days about data liquidity, substitutability, intermingling of applications, and unplatforms. But what’s happening on the edges of health care IT in the Health 2.0 movement is a combination of tools, content and transaction data beginning to flow between applications. More and more this is both enabling better management of the consumer (and clinicians) workflow experience and better ways to aggregate these new data sources for clinical decisions and research.
On day Two of the Health 2.0 Conference next week we’ll be showing this both in our panel on Data Drives Decisions, but also on the Tools panel which will feature a series of inter-operable applications sharing data. And we’ll also be showing the big players (Google, Microsoft & WebMD) as they move their offerings to a world where other service providers can use their platform.
Truly exciting times, but Jane points out that there are lots of barriers. She calls the PWC report
a sober analysis of what stands between transactions and raw data, and the ultimate goal of using that information: clinical transformation that benefits people.
And those barriers all center around the workflow, payment structure and institutional inertia of our current health care establishment.
the health industry en masse needs to shift the focus of data from transactions to quality and outcomes. This will require – surprise, surprise – incentives to, as PwC puts it, “induce all stakeholders to collect, report and use the data.”
One of the best local talk shows anywhere is Michael Krasny’s Forum on 88.5 KQED, San Francisco’s establishment NPR station (SF of course has a rebel NPR station KALW which has had me on a couple of times but I’m too scruffy for KQED!).
At 10 am PST Forum has a show about health IT which has Robbie Pearle from the Permanente group and 2/3 of my old HIO project team at IFTF, Joe DeLuca and Jane Sarasohn-Kahn.
You can listen in here
The Obama health team at HHS and ONC are gradually establishing the rules that will determine how approximately $34 billion in ARRA/HITECH funds are spent on health IT over the next several years. But there is a “missing link” in these deliberations that, so far, has not been addressed by Congress or the Administration: how the patient’s voice can be “meaningfully used” in health IT. After all, we, the taxpayers, will pay for all this hardware, software, and associated training. There are many more consumers of health care than doctors or health care professionals. Shouldn’t we have a say in what matters – in what is meaningful – to us?
It may have been an oversight, but patients and consumers have been left very much on HITECH’s sidelines. The attention and the money is squarely aimed at the health care providers – doctors, clinics, and hospitals. The Act’s intention is to create “interoperable” electronic health records that, in the future, will be more accessible to them: doctors, clinics, and hospitals. This is a policy that is tied unnecessarily to an outdated vision. It is provider-centered, paternalistic and top-down. But it could be re-imagined to take advantage of the new ways millions of consumers, patients, and care giving families are using information and communications technologies to solve problems, form online communities, and share information and knowledge.
As we inevitably do this time of year, we prognosticate about the new year. This time around, it’s a toughie: there are too many uncertainties that preclude us from doing a straight-line forecast for 2009, especially in health and health care.
Here are some trends and wild cards to keep in mind for 2009: the year of managing risks.
How will the macroeconomy play out against health care in the new year? Keep in mind the Kaiser Family Foundation’s metric on unemployment: an increase of 1% unemployment leads to 1.1 million uninsured, and 1 million more people added to Medicaid. This was the math that worked in 2007-8. The metric will probably change in 2009 as Governors struggle to balance budgets while providing medical services, education, and safe streets to citizens. The National Governors Association, and the individual state heads, have all warned that Governors will inevitably cut services in 2009 and into 2010 if tax receipts continue to decline.
Half of people over 45 said in a recent AARP survey they’ve taken a generic drug or over-the-counter (OTC) medication instead of a prescription drug due to the current economic situation.
The AARP’s report, "Impact of the Economy on Health Behaviors," analyzes the survey responses of 820 Americans 45 years of age and older polled in October 2008.
Asked what health behaviors they may done as a result of the declining economy, the most common reactions among 45+ Americans were:
* Taking a generic or OTC medication, 51% * Delaying seeing a doctor, 22% * Cutting back on other expenses, 21% * Seeking assistance in getting prescription drugs at a lower cost, 21%.
We’re in a recession; actually, we’ve been in one for the past year, but no official agency decided to tell us. Perhaps "they" wanted to wait until after the November ’08 Presidential election?
The declaration of recession is the official news from The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), whose mind-numbingly-titled press release, Determination of the December 2007 Peak in Economic Activity, provides the following important details:
* The Business Cycle Dating Committee of NBER met by conference call on 11/28 to discuss whether the U.S. economy was in recession.
* The group figured out that the U.S. economy "peaked" in December 2007.
* They calculated that the 12/07 peak ended the economic expansion that started in November 2001, lasting 73 months.
* The previous expansion in the 1990s lasted 120 months (that would include, but not be limited to, The Clinton Era).
* Other measures of a declining economy — including personal income less transfer payments, real manufacturing and wholesale-retail trade sales, industrial production, and employment estimates based on the U.S. household survey — also peaked some time in the past 13 months.
Forty percent of American hospitals have seen drops in inpatient admissions, according to the American Hospital Association.
In the AHA’s survey, Report on the Economic Crisis: Initial Impact on Hospitals, it’s clear that hospitals are already experiencing the effects of the economic downturn.
CEOs are considering several cost-cutting tactics in dealing with this financial crisis:
- 56% of CEOs are postponing renovations or plans to increase capacity
- 45% are delaying purchase of clinical technology or equipment
- 39% are postponing investments in new information technology.
Moody’s, the credit rating agency, offers their post-election impressions in their special comment, "U.S. Healthcare Industry: Credit Implications of the U.S. Election."
Barack Obama’s campaign roughed out principles for health reform across three issue areas:
- Access and affordable health care
- Cost reduction
- Public health
Moody’s took these as lenses over the state of health care in the U.S. to predict how these principles could play out in an Obama administration.
Promoting access to health care in the U.S. could be a positive for hospitals and medical device manufacturers, whose sheer volumes of patients would increase and uncompensated care and bad debt be reduced. On the downside, though, addressing cost containment through reducing reimbursement would be a negative for hospital finances. The net of lower payments coupled with higher volumes remains to be seen. Still, Moody’s says that the overall impact on hospitals, providers and clinical services will be generally credit positive.