Archive for November, 2012



The Right Shopping List for Healthcare Consumers

November 20th, 2012
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We have followed the progress of Walgreens as the drugstore chain integrates health clinics into its stores as one example of what appears to be a growing trend throughout the drugstore industry. But it’s still not clear how these clinics will fit into the mix of healthcare offerings.
 
Walgreens now has 356 in-store clinics, and other drugstore chains are more than catching up: CVS has about 588 CVS “MinuteClinics,” and Wal-Mart includes 143 clinics across some of its stores nationwide. The consulting firm Merchant Medicine estimates that there are almost 1,400 in-store health clinics in the United States.
 
Recently, National Public Radio and Truven Health Analytics conducted a poll of consumers, and found that:
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Your Health is What You Drive: Digital Health in the Driver’s Seat

November 12th, 2012
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One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role at Popper and Company involves constantly surveying the global digital health ecosystem. Recently, I attended Dr. Leslie Saxon’s 6th annual USC Body Computing Conference (BCC).
 
While the conference offered a comprehensive overview of what’s trending in digital health (BCC never fails in this regard!), I was fascinated to see the evolution of biometric and other types of sensor-based monitoring in motor vehicles. While BMW Group (a new partner at the Center for Body Computing), was represented at the conference, Ford Motor Company is also aggressively pursuing ways to improve the driving experience and health of drivers and occupants alike. Here’s a brief rundown on the efforts of both automakers:
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Dealing with the Growing Power of “Medical Googlers”

November 7th, 2012
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The increased use of the internet by healthcare consumers has led to at least two types of medical conversations ironically illustrated by two different online features sharing a name: the “DocTalk” here, in which Arizona kidney specialists share treatment information on smartphones, and another “DocTalk,” where Ontario physician Stuart Foxman discusses such communications issues as the risks of physician’s giving too much information, and the growing irritation among physicians with patients who research conditions and treatments online.
 
Like it or not, these two “doc talks” are merging. While physicians and other providers are busily keeping up with changing practice parameters, medical literature and patient management (increasingly by computer, smartphone or tablet), patients are trying to keep up, too. WebMD receives more than 40 million hits a month, and anywhere from half to 80% of all Americans have used the internet to research a medical condition or symptoms. Even larger medical providers like Kaiser Permanente encourage the use of websites for gathering medical information. In addition, consumers increasingly have the ability to research and share opinions on their providers through sites like www.vitals.com.  Interestingly, the ability of consumers to rate and offer opinions on providers is not growing quite as quickly as other industries, due to reasons we’ll cover in a future post.
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Calling for More Than an Ounce of Prevention

November 1st, 2012
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I originally shared this post on October 27th as an announcement to the 13,000+ members of my Digital Health group on LinkedIn. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and helpful.
 
Recently, I watched the documentary film “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare.” The film poignantly shows a healthcare system designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. I highly recommend it: http://www.escapefiremovie.com/
 
Nutrition is prominently featured as part of the emphasis on the need for disease prevention. Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Dean Cornish discuss lifestyle diseases. And while Dr. Cornish has demonstrated outcomes of his prescribed exercise and diet regimen in partially reversing heart disease, it is still unclear as to what the “best” nutrition profile is for disease prevention and the lifestyle factors leading to certain diseases. I’d note that since we are all genetically unique, “best” could be different for each of us. Nonetheless, there are some nutritional choices that apply at the population level.
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