June 28, 2010
Should CEOs write their own blogs? Or is it OK for their PR person to do it for them?
The online community is of two minds on this. On one side are the purists that say no, blogs are different from business forum speeches and annual reports. Thus, the expectation is that all bloggers, including CEOs, are writing their own words.
In the other camo, are PR professionals who say 1) most CEOs are not good writers; 2) a blog is not that different from a trade publication or a business magazine (where ghostwritten CEO articles run all the time).
In the corporate world, time is money and having the CEO sitting at a keyboard, scratching his chin and summoning his inner muse, is a huge waste of resources.
June 25, 2010
Dr. Yan Chow, Director, Innovation & Advanced Technology Goup, Kaiser Permanente, spoke today to the HIMSS So. Calif. chapter’s annual clinical IT conference.
Dr. Chow said his center has just received a grant to develop software for the iPad and iPhone. However, he also cautioned athat Kaiser itself has no current plans to distribute iPads to its physicians. The iPad lacks two key Kaiser requirements for mobile devices:
1. the device has to be able to sustain a three-foot drop;
2. the device has to have a washable screen.
June 21, 2010
According to two different speakers addressing the Healthcare Financial Managment Association, the new reform law is either good news or bad news for hospitals.
According to Lambert van der Walde, an investment adviser, hospitals made out better than any other part of the healthcare system in the reform law. The $155 billion in cuts to Medicare payments that the industry agreed to in support of reform could have been much more severe. In the future, the industry will be able to lobby against those cuts each year.
Another speaker, futurist Ian Morrison called hospitals “losers” with the new law, since they lose money on Medicaid patients. He said an increased volume of these and other low-paying newly insured patients will push providers closer to the red. “We’re on an unsustainable path,” he said. “You can’t just give people an insurance card to a dysfunctional system.”
One key fact is that many hospitals have already stopped taking Medicaid patients. The ones that continue to see these “underinsured” patients will have to either find other sources of revenue, or lower their cost structure further.
Maybe the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should look at donating some funds here in the U.S. – at least to hospitals that provide substantial charitable care.
June 17, 2010
The general public has conflicting views about EMRs. Many people are unsure exactly what they are. When a description is given, however, 71% believe they would be valuable.
This according to a new Harris Interactive poll reported in the Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com).
Only 7% report using an ERM themselves and 42% “don’t know” if their own physician has one. 78% of those surveyed believe “all physicians treating me should have access to the information in my ERM,” but only 30% want their insurance company to have access to it.
People do not understand how much of their medical information is available to insurers, employers and other parties. If they did know, would they be more concerned?
I think the public is generally aware that virutally all of an individual’s financial information can be purchased for a fee, but there is no movement afoot to restrict that practice.
June 13, 2010
Most consumers have no idea of the complexity of pricing in healthcare. The non-system is so complex that many large hospitals have more staff employed in billing than in nursing.
A June 11 article in The New York Times discusses a new company, Castlight, that is building a search engine for employers (and later consumers) to compare health care prices. The goal is to enable patients to search for local doctors and find out how much they will charge, depending on their insurance coverage.
The article notes that many large hospitals may have up to one hundred different contracts with insurance carriers, each with a different rate for a given procedure.
Since most insurance companies refuse to publicly divulge their contracts with various hospitals and medical groups, how does the company pulled the information? It has developed a way to search across millions of EOB (evidence of benefit) forms provided to it by employers.
Searching EOB forms is a clever idea. It will be interesting to see if patients want to abjure the prestige of UCLA or Cedars-Sinai in favor of less well-known (but clinically respected and cheaper) hospitals like Valley Pres or Good Sam.
June 6, 2010
A fascinating – and troubling – new study is out in the latest issue of Health Affairs.
Researchers commissioned by an employer group conducted in-depth interviews of some 1,600 employed, insured individuals.
According to the report:
” We found many of these consumers’ beliefs, values, and knowledge to be at odds with what policy makers prescribe as evidence-based health care. Few consumers understood terms such as ‘medical evidence’ or ‘quality guidelines.’ Most believed that more care meant higher-quality, better care.
“The dominant role of physicians in determining patient care has been a fact of medical care delivery for many decades. Therefore, many consumers may find it difficult to move into a more active and accountable role in which they are expected to understand and weigh multiple pieces of complex and potentially conflicting evidence.
“For health care experts, variation..in quality among health care providers, the evidence base regarding therapies, and the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of treatment options—is a well-established fact… Yet such concepts are unfamiliar to many Americans and may even seem threatening, to the extent that they raise unwelcome questions about the quality of medical care that people receive.
” The idea that getting high-quality care or the ‘right’ care could mean getting less care was counterintuitive. As one interview participant said, ‘I don’t see how extra care can be harmful to your health. Care would only benefit you.‘”
Clearly, healthcare providers and payers have a lot of explaining to do to patients.
The full article is available free at www.healthaffairs.org
June 3, 2010
If you or a loved one has a bad experience at a hospital, is there any recourse, other than suing for malpractice?
In California, you should call the state Department of Public Health. They keep a record of “adverse events.” And if the states learns about an adverse event the hospital did not report voluntarily, it could mean a big fine.
A new report shows that in 2009, the state fined more than 100 acute care hospitals a total of more than $1 million for failing to promptly report adverse events.
Adverse events that state law requires be reported to public health officials include wrong surgery, blood or transplant organ incompatibility, transmission of an infectious agent to a patient, administration of an incorrect medication or dosage, in-hospital falls or burns, pressure ulcers, catheter-acquired infections, and surgical site infections.
According to the report in today’s Healthleaders, information that hospitals have not promptly or properly reported an adverse event as required by law often comes from hospital officials themselves. In other cases, the state hears about such cases in the form of a complaint from a patient, a family member, nurse or doctor or other hospital staff member.
So far, California is the only state fining hospitals for failure to report these events.