On Tuesday, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase announced that they will be “partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.” Currently, it’s unclear how they plan to tackle this important challenge.
What is clear is the announcement had an impact on health stocks. Also, it has already generated numerous pieces on the topic, some of which include:
As you might expect, no one – outside of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway & JP Morgan Chase – have a clear idea what they’re planning. And, if we’re honest, I’m not sure the key stakeholders know, either.
But, changes need to occur to drive down health care costs, and maybe a trio of 800-pound gorillas from other industries are what’s needed to jumpstart the process. Time will tell if they’re successful for their own organizations and whether what they learn can be disseminated to others.
The ECRI Institute has published their annual Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List for 2018. This list is published each year:
“…to highlight new technologies and patient care developments that should be on the radar of healthcare leaders because these topics are likely to enter the conversation as you consider new technologies and infrastructure changes, large and small.” (p. 3)
The list includes:
- Mobile medical apps to improve addiction treatment adherence
- Direct-to-consumer genetic testing
- Acuity-adaptable rooms to minimize room transfers
- Insertable cardiac monitors that communicated with smartphones
- Virtual reality for pediatrics to reduce pain and anxiety
- Noninvasive devices for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
- Microneedles for near painless blood draws
- MRI systems for neonatal intensive care units (NICU)
- GammaTile Radiation Therapy System for treatment of brain tumors
- Microhospitals for health care access in rapidly growing areas
If you’re interested in receiving your own copy of the list, visit this link.
Idaho is a vibrant, growing, state with lots to offer its’ residents. I’ve been fortunate to live here for much of my life and greatly enjoy the people, along with its many outdoor activities. Thus, I’m always interested in getting a “pulse” on the state – especially when it pertains to health.
One such source is the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, which is a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This program assesses multiple data sources to evaluate health factors (i.e., health behaviors, clinical care, social & economic factors, & physical environment) and health outcomes (i.e., length of life & quality of life) to provide a county health ranking per state. Thus, I will highlight a few of the findings from the 2017 County Health Rankings: Idaho report to see how Idaho compares to the US median on several measures.
Of course, we should start with the premise that the health of US citizens is substantially lower than many other industrialized nations. But, to my knowledge, a comparison of Idaho to other countries does not exist, so instead comparisons will be made to the US median.
Below are a few of the findings from the report:
- The number of preventable hospital stays for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions per 1000 Medicare enrollees is 32 (vs 56)
- The percentage of children under the age of 18 in poverty is 18% (vs 22%)
- The percentage of adults that report a BMI > 30 is 28% (vs 31%)
- The percentage of the population with adequate access to locations for physical activity is 75% (vs 62%)
- The percentage of newly diagnosed chlamydia cases per 100,000 population is 337.6 (vs 294.8)
- The percentage of the population under age 65 without health insurance is 16% (vs 14%)
- The number of reported violent crime offenses per 100,000 population is 212 (vs 198)
- The percentage of households with overcrowding, high housing costs, or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities is 16% (vs 14%)
Overall, Idaho is doing better than the US median on the majority of measures, but we can always do better.
Health care delivery in the United States is currently undergoing substantial changes to address issues of cost, quality, and access. I developed the first version of this slide in 2012 and have been updating it as new trends are identified. I’m curious to see how many of the “Future State” items will become “Current State” over the next 5 years.
For anyone that follows the trajectory of proposed health care changes in the United States, you’ve probably noticed that authors and speakers have a tendency to use a variety of verbs to convey the urgency of realizing it. Some of the verbs I’ve seen attached to health care include “transform, “disrupt,” and “reinvent.”
Now I understand – and agree with – many of the calls to bring about change in the U.S. health care system. But, I can’t help wondering if too much time is spent attempting to identify new verbs to explain it at the expense of digging in and making it happen.
Those of us with a strong interest in seeing change come to fruition have been afforded an amazing opportunity to undertake this noble challenge of addressing this fundamental issue: fixing health care over the next twenty years.
We did not arrive at this place overnight, nor will we solve the numerous challenges without thoughtful effort. But, if committed people are unwilling to step up and lead, then we will remain in this morass that is slowly drowning us all.
So, let us focus less on identifying verbs to explain the change and work toward bringing it about with all expediency.
“…the potential sources of danger that we believe warrant the greatest attention for the coming year. The list does not enumerate the most frequently reported problems or the ones associated with the most severe consequences—although we do consider such information in our analysis. Rather, the list reflects our judgment about which risks should receive priority now.” (p. 2)
The list includes:
- Ransomware and Other Cybersecurity Threats to Healthcare Delivery Can Endanger Patients
- Endoscope Reprocessing Failures Continue to Expose Patients to Infection Risk
- Mattresses and Covers May Be Infected by Body Fluids and Microbiological Contaminants
- Missed Alarms May Result from Inappropriately Configured Secondary Notification Devices and Systems
- Improper Cleaning May Cause Device Malfunctions, Equipment Failures, and Potential for Patient Injury
- Unholstered Electrosurgical Active Electrodes Can Lead to Patient Burns
- Inadequate Use of Digital Imaging Tools May Lead to Unnecessary Radiation Exposure
- Workarounds Can Negate the Safety Advantages of Bar-Coded Medication Administration Systems
- Flaws in Medical Device Networking Can Lead to Delayed or Inappropriate Care
- Slow Adoption of Safer Enteral Feeding Connectors Leaves Patients at Risk
If you’re interested in getting your own copy of the Executive Brief, visit this link.
“The annual Top 10 Medical Innovations was developed to share what our clinical leaders are saying to each other and what innovations they feel will help shape healthcare over the next 12 months and beyond.”
They have multiple criteria that medical innovations have to meet before they are considered, including: (a) significant clinical impact; (b) significant patient benefit; (c) high user-related functionality that improves healthcare delivery; (d) high probability of commercial success; (e) available on the market in the next year; (f) must have significant human interest in its application or benefits; and (g) must have the ability to visualize human impact.
This year the Top 10 list includes:
- Hybrid Closed-Loop Insulin Delivery System
- Neuromodulation to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Gene Therapy for Inherited Retinal Diseases
- The Unprecedented Reduction of LDL Cholesterol
- The Emergence of Distance Health
- Next Generation Vaccine Platforms
- Arsenal of Targeted Breast Cancer Therapies
- Enhance Recovery After Surgery
- Centralized Monitoring of Hospital Patients
- Scalp Cooling for Reducing Chemotherapy Induced Hair Loss