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Healthcare

3 Things That Will Revolutionize Healthcare

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I’m a binge reader. Primarily non-fiction and historical fiction. My current binge has included books by two noted physician authors. The first by a general surgeon on the topic of “dying well” and the second by a cardiologist on the subject of how technology is fundamentally altering the way we “do healthcare.” The books were all at once sobering and enlightening. Both have had a profound influence on me and served as the inspiration for this post.

To set the stage, it’s important to understand the significant shifts taking place in healthcare. From sick care to well care. From volume to value. From competition to collaboration. From inpatient to outpatient. From patient satisfaction to patient experience. From reactive to predictive. From print to digital. From formulaic reimbursement to calculated risk. From defined benefit to defined contribution. From fragmentation to connection.

Experiencing the death of both my parents, working in the health industry for more than 20 years and reading two books –Dr. Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal and Dr. Eric Topol’s The Patient Will See You Now – has put all of these changes in perspective for me, sparking some interesting…

Healthcare

Best Practices for Staying Informed During a Global Pandemic

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This week, the Zika virus has taken over news headlines across the globe. Zika is coming to light shortly after the great Ebola scare of 2014, leaving many to wonder if it is our next global health crisis.150604Aedesaegipti1-1000x647

The virus, which is spread to people through mosquito bites, has already been found in 24 countries in the Caribbean, North and South America. While the symptoms of the Zika virus are mild for adults, it could change the life of an unborn child.

Zika infections during early pregnancy have been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which babies have small heads and incomplete brain development. Expectant mothers are now being advised to avoid travel to the affected countries, and women living in these areas are being told to avoid getting pregnant entirely while the virus remains an issue.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the virus is likely to spread across nearly all of the Americas, and cases have already been reported in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Zika virus will continue to spread…

Healthcare

Using Podcasts in Healthcare Communications

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Last week, my colleague, Liz, and I had the pleasure of visiting the Hampton Roads American Marketing Association for a presentation titled, “How Marketers Can Win with Podcasts.” The speaker, Douglas Burdett, is the principal of Artillery, a B2B marketing agency in Norfolk and host of The Marketing Book podcast. His weekly podcast, which became the #2 business podcast on iTunes two months after launching, interviews best-selling authors about their books and marketing concepts.

Podcasts have been around for decades but ever since the launch of the show, Serial, podcasts have seen a huge growth in popularity, and more companies are starting to see the value they can have in the business world.

To add some perspective, Douglas explained to us that roughly 15% of the population is on Twitter, but 17% of the population listens to podcasts weekly. That means that one of the biggest social media platforms we utilize daily actually has less of a following than that of podcasts! The ease of being able to subscribe to a series and listen on your daily commute makes it a convenient platform and a simplified way to digest content.…

Healthcare

Dietary Guidelines Part 2: Food and Beverage Industries that are Celebrating

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While The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans continue to gain traction in the media and blogosphere, it is pretty obvious that the egg and meat industry are pleased with the outcome of the final guidelines, while the produce folks continue to be in a great position when it comes to health. However, a few other industries are sharing their enthusiasm for some of the newer recommendations in this year’s report.

  • Sugar Substitutes – For the first time, it is recommended that consumers limit their consumption of added sugar to less than 10 percent of their daily intake (based on a 2,000 calorie diet). That’s about 50 grams of sugar, or about the amount of sugar in a 16-ounce bottle of soda. A few makers of “healthy” and calorie-free sugar substitutes have issued press releases praising the guidelines as a way to help wean consumers off of the “real stuff.” For instance, Pyure, a manufacturer of stevia states in a press release that by switching to their product “an average American coffee drinker can cut out 24 grams of sugar, almost half of the recommended daily allowance of 50 grams.” Even Coke and Pepsi have launched product lines containing stevia in hopes to…
  • Healthcare

    Dietary Guidelines Part 1: What do they mean for marketers?

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    Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases Dietary Guidelines for Americans—they’re supposed to be a resource for health professionals and policymakers as they design and implement nutrition programs, like the USDA’s National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

    According to the HHS, about half of all American adults—117 million people, if you’re doing the math—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity.

    That’s not a cheap problem to be facing—in 2012, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes alone was $245 billion. That’s including nearly $180 billion in direct medical costs.

    If you’re a marketer for a food or healthcare company, pay attention here. These guidelines are not just for health professionals and policymakers. This is a significant opportunity for you to help consumers not only understand the report, but also understand how they can integrate the changes into their own lifestyles.

    Take a look at the new 2015-2020 Guidelines below.

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount.
  • Limit calories from…
  • Healthcare

    The Biggest Healthcare Trend in 2016 and Its Impact on Three Other Trends

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    The Biggest Healthcare Trend in 2016 and Its Impact on Three Other Trends

    Consumer is the Word…it’s got groove, it’s got meaning.

    The big trend in 2016 (and potentially a contender for a future healthcare office buzzword Bingo game) is…CONSUMER. True, the industry has been talking about the evolution of patients into savvy consumers for more than a decade. But this is one trend that has finally arrived. Driven in part by unsustainable pressures in payment and reimbursement models, the need for patient financial responsibility has grown and as a result, patient segments are being forced to act like consumers. Other patient segments are choosing to be consumers.blog 1

    So, who are these consumers? You can almost picture it: an ethereal land of sublime beauty where healthcare consumers use technology and information to improve their quality of life and select cost-effective, outcome-based care.

    But then, there’s the healthcare consumer operating in the realities of our 2016 world. No image needed, just think of your most recent visit to the doctor or pharmacy. Did the experience leave some room for improvement?

    Don’t confuse my sarcasm as negativity. Healthcare consumerism will be good for…

    Healthcare

    Top 5 Healthcare Buzz Bin Posts of 2015

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    It’s December which means it’s the season of trend reports and 2015 roundups galore. To add to the mix, I’m taking a walk down the Buzz Bin memory lane. In case you missed them, I’m counting down the top 5 most read health Buzz Bin posts of 2015

    A demonstrator in favor of the Affordable Care Act walks with a sign in front of the Supreme Court in Washington March 4, 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh a second major case, King v. Burwell, targeting President Barack Obama's healthcare law on Wednesday when it considers a conservative challenge to tax subsidies critical to the measure's implementation.       REUTERS/Gary Cameron     (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) - RTR4S1YH5. King v. Burwell: Your 5 minute study guide: In preparation for the Supreme Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell, which eventually ruled to uphold Affordable Care Act subsidies, Kim Blake gave us a quick tutorial on the basis of the case and what it could mean for consumers and health systems.

    4. Negative press happens. Are you prepared for it? Alyse Brunella provides some important tips for responding to negative press. Often times your response can…

    Healthcare

    Tips for Reading the Healthcare Road Map

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    RoadmapAfter discussing recent reports from McKinsey and the Advisory Board with our health practice leaders, I am more convinced than ever that the future of healthcare delivery will be determined by you – and me. But, we probably don’t realize it. The initial results of consumer responses to healthcare delivery changes will likely tell us a lot about what to expect next.

    How are consumers responding when employers reduce employee work hours to eliminate the company’s requirement to provide health insurance plans? They are turning to insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act – and becoming more familiar with the concept of shared costs.

    retail clinicsHow are consumers responding to the growing number of medical clinics popping up at CVS, Walmart, Walgreen’s and other retail locations? By all measures, consumers seem open to retail care when receiving inoculations, immunizations and episodic care when convenience is the priority.

    How are consumers accepting the technology that plays an ever-growing role in monitoring and maintaining our health? Sales of Fitbit and the Apple Watch are expected to be high this holiday – but these devices are only the…

    Healthcare

    What do human head transplants and puppies have in common?

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    Well for starters, both made major headlines in health news this year.

    As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at what health news topics had the most people clicking – and sharing! According to Medical News Today, the following health news stories were the most popular this year:

    1. The world’s first human head transplant

    In October, Dr. Sergio Canavero’s plans for the first human head transplant started to become a reality when a 30-year-old Russian man with type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) volunteered to be the first person to undergo the procedure.

    2. Children with pets have less stress

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published research stating that dog ownership has been linked with increased physical activity, healthier body mass index (BMI) and lower stress levels in children in Australia and the UK.

    3. Over-the-counter sleep aids linked to dementia

    Researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Pharmacy in Seattle discovered a significant link between high use of anticholinergic drugs, such as popular non-prescription sleep aids and the antihistamine Benadryl, and increased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease…

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    #I’mAPatientNotATask

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    Photo Credit: ACP Hospitalist

    Do hospitals and physicians really want to improve the patient experience, or are they just studying to the HCAHPS and CG CAHPS tests? While this is only my experience, I am fairly confident my experience is all too common.

    I was having significant pain on the left side of my neck and shoulder. And I had nerve pain shooting down my left arm. It was back.

    Five years ago I was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my cervical spine. That time, I had no idea what was going on. I just knew I had uncontrollable pain that couldn’t be relieved by ibuprofen, ice or heat. And I had numbness and tingling in my arms and fingers. Fortunately, I was able to resolve the issue with physical therapy.

    So back to my current diagnosis. While my doctor’s office was able to get me in pretty quickly and start a course of medications to relieve the pain and swelling, it took a week to schedule my MRI, and another several days after that before I could actually have the scan. Earlier appointments were available, but…