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Connecting Data with Effective Interventions

Posted on September 9, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently had a chance to talk with Robert Slepin, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Axispoint Health. They’re doing some fascinating work in population health management. During our conversation he pointed out what I think has been the missing connection in most of the health analytics solutions I see on the market today. Most healthcare analytics doesn’t connect the data to the intervention. Obviously, Robert and Axispoint Health are striving to fix that disconnect.

I think most of us agree that data is going to drive many costs savings and health benefits in the future. This is true with the limited data sets that are available today and is only going to get better as the data becomes higher quality and more comprehensive. It’s great that we’re collecting all of this data and understanding what it means, but then what?

The same is true for the many interventions that are available to improve someone’s health. There are a plethora of solutions on the market, but many of the patients that need these solutions don’t know their options. If you missed Melissa Adams VanHouten’s story on Gastroparesis, you’ll see first hand what I mean. There were solutions available, but the data that said she had Gastroparesis wasn’t connected to the possible interventions that could help her.

The moral of the story is that we need to better tie the health solutions with the data if we’re going to move the needle in healthcare. It’s not enough to just know what’s wrong with someone or which patients are going to cost the most money. We have to do something with that data and connect those patients with the assistance they need. Otherwise we’re going nowhere fast.

This also came up in a conversation I had with Mandi Bishop from Aloha Health. We were talking about SDOH (Social Determinants of Health) and pushing that data to the point of care. While it would be great to inform a doctor about the various SDOH that are impacting a patient, what next? What’s the doctor suppose to do with a patient who has a fever because they can’t afford heat in their home? That’s right. It’s not enough for us to push the data to the provider. We have to also connect them to the tools and interventions that can impact the patient.

Meeting Patients Where They Are

Posted on November 19, 2015 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Last week the sixth pediatric school clinic in Toronto opened its doors at the Nelson Mandela Park Public School. This clinic is part of the model schools pediatric health initiative – a joint program between St. Michael’s Hospital, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

This clinic represents some truly inspired thinking. Despite Canada’s universal healthcare system, there are families that fall through the cracks. Just because you don’t have to pay for the care in Canada, there is still a cost associated with healthcare – the cost of getting yourself to the doctor and taking time off work are two examples. For economically challenged families where both parents work, taking time to bring their children to a doctor is a luxury they cannot afford – even though the visit itself is free. Many therefore forgo care.

By opening a pediatric clinic inside an inner city school, the TDSB and St. Michael’s Hospital are not only bringing healthcare to where it’s needed most, they are doing it in a manner that is convenient for families too. Since parents are dropping off their children at their local school anyways, there are no extra transportation costs. On top of that, children don’t miss an entire day of school and their parents can still make it back to work. This is a win for families.

These clinics may also be a win for the health system. By providing care to people who would otherwise forgo it, they are reducing health risks and potentially eliminating future hospital ER visits. St. Michael’s and the TDSB are studying the impact of the six in-school pediatric clinics to quantify the impact on public health.

This initiative is a fantastic example of innovative healthcare thinking. Faced with the problem of poor pediatric health, healthcare and educational officials didn’t opt for the “easy solution” – a public awareness campaign to get parents to bring their children to a doctor. Instead they flipped the problem on its head met patients where THEY ARE. They brought healthcare to a trusted place in the community – schools.

Healthcare needs more innovative ideas like this one.

Should Every Patient Have a Number of Health Scores?

Posted on September 4, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In today’s #HITsm chat, I saw an interesting tweet from Gus Gilbertson (@gusgilbertson) about incorporating various environmental scores into the healthcare analysis we do:


Which I retweeted with a question:

In another tweet (which I can’t seem to find), someone else suggested that every patient should have a health score as well. I think it’s interesting that Gus compared these scores to the FICO score that we each have. Would it make sense for every patient to have their own FICO like health score?

My question above was sincere: Would a score be enough to do any good?

My feeling is that the answer to that is no. Unless of course we were given a whole range of scores as opposed to one overall health score. For example, maybe we’re given a diabetes score and a cholesterol score and a heart disease score, etc. If we were actually treating a healthy patient and trying to keep them healthy, then having these scores could help a doctor focus on the things that were most at risk for a patient. Plus, the change in score could help the doctor tell a story to the patient which would hopefully encourage the patient to change some behaviors like eating right or exercise.

I’ve seen some related scoring in hospitals already. The Rothman index is one example. As I understand it, that index essentially scores a patient in the hospital on how they’re doing and if that patient’s condition is deteriorating. Could we apply that same principle to a patient’s health status? Even those patients who “feel” healthy?

What’s clear to me is that we have too much data that’s heading doctors way. We need to find some way to present this data and the change in data to the doctor so they can actually use that data for the patient’s benefit. Plus, the data might promote a patient to seek medical care earlier. No doubt all of these changes will transform how we think about medical care. I think that’s a very good thing!

Are 3 Square Meals the Key to Avoiding Hospitalizations?

Posted on July 16, 2015 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

We’d like to welcome a new guest blogger to our ranks. If you’re on social media, you probably know Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung), Co-Host of #hcldr. Colin is also head of Marketing for @PatientPrompt, a product offered by Stericycle Communication Solutions. We look forward to many posts from Colin in the future.

On our weekly #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat, we had two special guests who have done pioneering healthcare work – Leonard Kish (@LeonardKish) and Dave Chase (@chasedave). Together Kish and Chase authored the #95Theses, a wonderful call-to-action for those of us in healthcare that’s written in same style as the seminal Cluertain Manifesto.

The first topic of last night’s #hcldr chat was “What are some creative/effective ways patients can use to avoid hospitalizations?”. There were many interesting and insightful answers, but one tweet from Chase really caught my eye:

The first statement was fascinating – Meals on Wheels as a way to reduce hospital admissions.

This concept is at the heart of the discussion around Social Determinants of Health (#sdoh) – a topic that has gotten a lot of buzz over the past couple of years. There is a really great definition of SDOH on the WHO website. I’d also recommend this blog post from John Lynn on a similar topic from earlier this year.

As we move towards a system that is based on wellness rather than sickness, I wonder if healthcare providers and organizations will look to preventative measures such as providing meals or teaching basic nutrition as a way to keep their communities healthy? Will the day come when this type of service will become necessary for a provider to remain relevant?

I doubt that most providers and healthcare organizations will reach this point by their own volition. However, I do believe that some innovative organization and entrepreneurial companies will emerge that will make this a reality in specific communities.

I would love to see a future where we will have community wellness centers where we used to have hospitals – places where local people can gather to learn about how to stay healthy and get social as well as emotional support from their peers. These centers would be helped by a network of technologies that combine an individual’s personally tracked data with insights gleaned from “Big Data” analytics resulting in a personalized wellness plan. A plan that includes recommendations for 3 square meals each day that would optimize a person’s health and has the facilities to then create those meals and a mechanism to deliver them (especially to elder adults who lack mobility).

I am excited and intrigued by the possibility that something as simple as a meal can be the key ingredient in reducing healthcare costs while improving health.

Know anyone who is doing this already?