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Why I fired my doctor--and he doesn't even know

August 27th, 2015

by Jason A. Wolf

I have thought for some time about this story and have shared it with others on various occasions. It has stirred interesting conversation, but more often mutual head nodding and the emergence of similar experiences. It is a personal patient experience story that helps illustrate the broad reaches of the experience conversation in healthcare and I hope one that stirs thoughts from all perspectives on what we need to do to ensure continued awareness of and focus on this issue.

I had a scheduled appointment for months for my annual physical last fall. Unfortunately, the day prior to my appointment, there was an emergency and I had to cancel, so I called my physician's practice to reschedule. After a lengthy effort and numerous apologies, the scheduler finally offered a new date for a physical six months away, in the early winter of this year. While that was surprising, I liked and trusted my physician and was willing to wait that time.

In the weeks prior to my February appointment, I began to get the automated calls from the practice reminding me of my appointment, how important it was I make the appointment, and providing instructions on contacting the practice in advance of any need to cancel to avoid potential fees or other issues. These calls, even while automated, were thoughtful reminders of not just timing, but requirements for my appointment. I appreciated the reminders and the thoroughness of the process. It seemed both proactive and thoughtful in the days prior to my appointment.

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Data strategies, regulatory support keys to growth for global connected health markets

August 27th, 2015

by Harry Wang

Developed and developing markets around the world, including the United States, are facing major challenges in the healthcare space. National economies are burdened with rising healthcare costs, made more severe by aging demographics for citizens and inadequate legacy infrastructure. In many markets, access to healthcare services and quality of care are inconsistent. However, healthcare markets everywhere are changing.

Due to a confluence of government initiatives, technology innovations and a growing sense of health consumerism, healthcare markets around the globe are transitioning toward connected high-quality care that is more accessible and potentially more affordable. However, each market has unique barriers and drivers--particularly in regard to the ways in which government programs and healthcare systems interact--that make the connected health markets in those regions more or less attractive.

The U.S. connected health market benefits from current federal healthcare policy that encourages innovations in technology and care models. The HITECH Act provides care providers with incentives to increase and deepen their use of health information technology. The Affordable Care Act--recently upheld by the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell--promotes new care models that encourage providers to increase their interaction with consumers beyond in-facility care. These regulatory provisions increase the value of connected health technologies.

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Ascension CEO Tony Tersigni on culture change and population health strategies

August 27th, 2015

by Ilene MacDonald

Culture change is never easy, but the biggest obstacle often is the preconceived idea that there is only one way to achieve an outcome, says Anthony "Tony" Tersigni (right), president and CEO of St. Louis-based Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the United States and the world's largest Catholic health system.

But that notion is not going to stand in the way of the organization's quest to become "one Ascension" and change the culture at each of its 131 hospitals and 1,900 care sites, which are located in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

"We have to change our mindset, as well as our ministry of what we are trying to do," Tersigni told FierceHealthcare in an exclusive interview.

The new culture is one that promotes a "can-do" and "need-to-do" attitude to provide person-centered care, he says.

"Our journey to one Ascension is our attempt to really leverage [the clinical capabilities] of our providers and begin to look to transform healthcare within the communities we serve," he says.

>>Read the full report at FierceHealthcare

Data executives can help hospitals save lives, cut costs

August 27th, 2015

by Dan Bowman

New data streams rapidly are increasing the mounds of information that hospitals and health systems must sift and sort. A primary goal for most organizations is to capitalize on such data in various ways, such as improving care, reducing readmissions and cutting unnecessary costs.

However, according to recent research from the National Quality Forum, providers are struggling to make good use of their data. Challenges cited in the report include leveraging data for benchmarking and quality improvement and ensuring data are meaningful and clinically relevant.

All of those hurdles represent patient lives and money being left on the table.

To that end, health systems would be wise to consider hiring a chief data officer.

In a recent interview with FierceHealthIT, Nicholas Marko, CDO for Danville, Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System, shared why he thinks the position represents more than just an employee who deals with databases.

>>Read the full commentary at FierceHealthIT

Personalized medicine: Examining the implications of a healthcare game-changer

August 20th, 2015

by Joe Randolph

As Peter Diamandis, M.D., founder of Singularity University, says, "the rate of change in healthcare is going to be exponential." I believe that over the next 15 years, through technology advances and genomics, caregivers will have the ability to target and cure many diseases. The likely results will be that many diseases will be eliminated, and the average life span in the United States and other developed countries will increase. Personalized medicine—also known as precision medicine--will provide treatments that are specifically designed for an individual's genome so that they are more effective.

Impact on the healthcare system

Today, healthcare providers are paid through a fee-for-service model. As healthcare reform evolves the business model to population health, personalized medicine can reduce the burden of treating certain diseases that can be cured. Today, many diseases are chronic in nature and create a burden on healthcare by driving up costs. As we eliminate these costs through cures, there will be more people living longer, which will then impact care delivery with an increase in dementia, stroke and other breakdowns related to aging. The financial impact of this shift is yet to be determined.

=> Read more!

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