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What are you #HITThankful for?

Posted on November 23, 2017 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.

It’s Thanksgiving in the US and for many this means spending time with family and friends over insane amounts of cooked poultry (or tofu for our vegetarian friends). It is also the time to stop and think about all the things we are thankful for.

This year, Brian Mack @BFMack, Marketing & Communications manager at Great Lakes Health Connect and member of the #HITsm #HITMC and #hcldr communities, started the #HITThankful hashtag as way for people to share what they are thankful for in HealthIT.

From the tweets that have been shared it’s clear that being thankful for family is at the top of the list, but there have also been many who have been thankful for supportive coworkers and online friends.

This year I am tremendously thankful for the support of all my friends and colleagues in healthcare and HealthIT. I seriously would not have made it through the year had it not been for the encouragement and thoughtfulness of friends like John Lynn, Rasu Shrestha, Joe Babaian, Robert Blount, Nick Adkins, Regina Holliday, Nick van Terheyden, Sarah Bennight, Amy Hamilton, Brittany Quemby, Erin Wold, Cristina Dafonte, Janae Sharp, Tim Kinner, Dennis Nasto, Steve Nickerson, Daniel Kube and Colleen Young.

I got a wake-up call in the spring this year and it forced me to give serious thought to where I was heading professionally. Over the summer I must have spoken with at least 100 friends and family who all told me the same thing – it’s time that I get back to doing something I love doing. For me that’s helping small HealthIT companies grow into big ones. I’m thankful to have the opportunity now to pursue my passion.

I do have to give a special shout-out to John Lynn who has allowed me to contribute blogs to HealthcareScene.com and for believing in me. You are a true friend John and I’m so happy that we are now getting the chance to work together more closely.

I also have to thank everyone in the #hcldr #HITMC #HITsm #pinksocks #HTReads #HealthITChicks #HealthXPh #irishmed and #hcsmsa communities. All of you inspire me to keep the flame burning.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

Healthcare Robots for Elderly – Triumph or Tragedy?

Posted on August 21, 2017 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.

When most people talk about robots in healthcare they often are referring to the self-guided machines that help deliver medications, food and other items to patient rooms.

Robots of this type can be very helpful and alleviate some of the mechanical tasks on overburdened staff. There is, however, another type of robot that is making in-roads in healthcare – companion robots like Softbank’s Pepper and Intelligent Systems Research’s PARO.

Instead of performing a physical action, the aim of these robots is to serve as patient companions. PARO, for example, has been used extensively in Japan with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia – where it has helped reduce wandering, agitation, depression and loneliness. Below is a short video from Alzheimer’s Australia about PARO.

From a technology standpoint this is an amazing triumph. A machine providing emotional support to a patient was the stuff of Science Fiction a decade ago. At the same time, however, do these robots represent a failure of society? Does the fact that these robots exist demonstrate that we would rather delegate human contact with elderly patients to machines rather than go ourselves?

The #hcldr community debated this topic on a recent tweetchat.

A manual analysis of the tweets shows that approximately 80% of the community saw robot companions as a positive development. Most people, like Grace Cordova, pointed to the fact that our aging population already outstrips the existing infrastructure so why shouldn’t we invest in robots to help us manage (as a society).

Some responded with tempered positivity. Jon McBride saw the potential in robots but cautioned against relying on them solely for human companionship.

Many echoed Jon’s sentiment.


Personally I see robots as an innovative solution to addressing a problem that already exists – the lack of human interaction with elderly patients. I believe we have to admit to ourselves that staff are stretched thin in elder-care facilities and there are long stretches where patients are on their own. If those hours can be filled by interacting with a robot companion that responds in a human or animal-like way…I’m all for it.

What are your thoughts?

Vendor Involvement in Online Communities – Caution but Proceed Forward

Posted on May 22, 2017 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.

At the Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategies Summit #HMPS17 (May 8-10 in Austin TX), I presented alongside Dan Dunlop @dandunlop President of Jennings and Cindy Price Gavin @cindypricegavin, Founding Executive Director of Let’s Win! Sharing Science Solutions for Pancreatic Cancer. The three of us will discuss Online Communities

The same week on the #hcldr tweetchat we asked the community for opinions on vendor involvement in online healthcare communities:

  • Should healthcare vendors join online communities or stay clear?
  • Should online communities like #hcldr #lcsm #LupusChat or #bcsm be accepting of sponsorships or would they lose too much credibility?

These questions generated a lot of discussion and a variety of viewpoints were shared.

In general, most people were favorable to vendors participating in online communities – as long as they didn’t try to push their products/services while interacting with community members.

One particularly interesting viewpoint was shared by Ken Gordon @quickmuse:

Ken’s point is well made: people want to connect with people, not faceless company avatars. In an online community, members want to interact with other members and get useful information. So if a company wants to participate, one easy path to success is to allow individuals from the company be the participant not the company account itself. The company “wins” twofold with this approach. First, employees will feel valued and trusted since the company is allowing them to express themselves online. Second, the company will gain goodwill be seen by the association to active members who are contributing to the conversation.

There are plenty of great examples from both the #hcldr and #HITsm communities. Just look at @TextraHealth, @OchoTex, @burtrosen, @MandiBPro, @drnic1 and @techguy – each represents the company they work for/at AND contributes to the community as unique individuals. They are all trusted individuals and by extension we look upon the organizations they represent more favorably.

One of the most important factors to vendor involvement in an online healthcare community is disclosure. This was brought up several times when #hcldr discussed the second question:

Many recommended that community leaders establish clear guidelines for how sponsorship money would to be used and to publish what vendors could expect/not expect in return for their $$$.

Other practical advice for community administrators and hosts included:

Personally, I believe vendors SHOULD get involved in online healthcare communities – even if just to listen to what their target audiences are saying. They could learn so much just by seeing what topics are being discussed and the frustrations people are experiencing. Product marketers and developers would have a field day with all the information being shared online.

One word of caution though – when vendors do decide to participate, they need to realize that many in the community will be very skeptical at the start. Online communities are typically outgrowths of individual passions and interests. As such, corporations can be viewed by many as “invaders” into a private space. So caution…but please proceed forward.

Healthcare Price Transparency Driving Choice – Just The Wrong Direction

Posted on July 25, 2016 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 month, the Healthcare Financial Management Association held their annual conference – #HFMA16ANI. The topics covered in the sessions and discussed in the aisles of the exhibit hall were wide-ranging. Financial patient experience, scoring based on propensity to pay, patient loans, financing options and price transparency were on the lips of many attendees.

The discussions on price transparency were particularly interesting. Attendees were not talking about transparency as the silver-bullet for reducing costs in healthcare like they were last year. Instead, attendees were talking about it as being just the first step in a long journey to a truly open market in healthcare.

Just a few years ago, price transparency was touted as the necessary catalyst for true consumer/patient choice in healthcare. It was believed that with detailed price information patients would be able to “shop around” for their care using price as a determining factor. Having this choice would mean healthcare organizations would have to become more price competitive – thus driving overall costs lower.

Check out this excellent post from Dan Munro @danmunro back in 2013 that captures the hope of price transparency at that time.

I believe that all the work around price transparency in the past few years has indeed pushed patients to make choices in their healthcare – just not the choices that we want.

This tweet from Annette McKinnon @anetto, a patient advocate from Toronto, during a recent #hcldr tweetchat perfectly illustrates the choices patients are making when they know the price of care:

Armed with price information, patients are not choosing to shop around for more affordable options, instead they are making the choice between forgoing care vs getting treatment. A Gallop poll found that in the US, 33% of families have put off medical treatment because of cost. That same poll shows that 22% of Americans have put off medical treatment for a “very” or “somewhat serious” condition.

So why aren’t patients taking the pricing information they receive and shopping around for cheaper alternatives? The biggest reason in my opinion is that patients do not have value transparency.

To me, value transparency is a state where patients purchasing healthcare services have a clear understanding of the expected outcomes, health benefits, disadvantages, risks and costs associated with it. In addition, patients would know how those services will be delivered (the workflow) and who is doing it. When a patient has access to this type of information and has the knowledge to interpret it, that’s when they have value transparency.

So what do we need to get to this state of value transparency in healthcare? Members of the #hcldr community had some interesting suggestions:

I believe that one day we will have value transparency in healthcare. Price transparency is an important first step. However, price in and of itself is not sufficient information to spur most patients to choose between different providers of care. In its current form, price transparency may be doing more harm than good for patients with chronic conditions that get worse without treatment – they may choose to forgo care due to cost only to end up in a more critical situation later because of the delay in treatment.

My hope is that someone will take today’s healthcare pricing tools and merge them with standardized quality metrics, crowdsourced patient experience data and provider histories to create a value transparency tool. In the meantime, the current crop of price transparency tools can at least help to reduce the fear of the unknown medical bill.

What Happens After We Get Access to Our Medical Records?

Posted on March 18, 2016 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.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing choir of patient voices asking for access to medical records. It started with a few courageous e-patients asking for their data – most notably David deBronkart aka @ePatientDave and Regina Holldiay @ReginaHolliday.

Now with the proliferation of tracking devices and wellness apps, more and more people are joining the choir including: vendors, government agencies and leading medical institutions. Although progress is still slow, it is now possible to imagine a day when all patients will have free and open access to their medical record.

This week’s #hcldr tweetchat asked the question…So What Next? What would be the first thing you would do if you had complete access to your own medical record? Below are some of the more interesting and notable answers.

Correcting errors in the medical record in order to avoid future adverse events was the most popular answer from the #hcldr community. Sharing the medical record was a close second:

There were a few data geeks in the #hcldr crowd who saw access as an opportunity to mine the record:

I think @mloxton is spot on with his tweet. I would definitely do the same – mostly to find out if there was a pattern in my medical record that could help predict future health issues. Armed with that information I would then make changes to my current behavior.

The most interesting use of medical record data came from Andy DeLaO @CancerGeek:

I’m thinking the world could use a few more @CancerGeeks…even virtual ones.

Matthew Katz MD had the most thought-provoking tweet relating to medical records:

Nothing comes without a price and Katz’s tweet certainly highlights a potential headache if the level of health literacy is not improved ahead of open access to medical records. I have faith though, that over the next few years we will see many more startups with technologies that can read medical records and produce plain-language interpretations as well as recommendations. That utopia can’t come soon enough.

For a curated summary of the #hcldr chat see this Storify.

What would you do if you had access to your medical record?

Are We Patients or Healthcare Consumers?

Posted on September 15, 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.

Hello My Name is 221-365 - Robert Occhialini

On the weekly #hcldr tweetchat last Tuesday, I posed the question “Are we patients or healthcare consumers?” What resulted was a flurry of comments that made it clear that people are very divided on the issue.

Some like Laurel Ann Whitlock (@twirlandswirl) felt that the consumer moniker is appropriate:

Others like Sarah Greene (@researchmatters) and @EyeSteve felt the opposite:

This line of thought is interesting. There is an underlying assumption that “consumer” implies a commoditized and transparent market – one where the service, outcomes and pricing are all well known to the individual making the purchasing decision. Most of healthcare doesn’t fit into this nice little box – except with routine health/wellness visits. For many this is where the consumer analogy breaks down. People do not feel like consumers not because they don’t want to be, but because healthcare is so confusing and opaque that normal consumer behavior is the exception rather than the rule. There was a little bit of negativity directed at calling patients consumers, a sentiment that was called into question by none other than Dr. Nick van Terheyden (@drnic1):


Steve Sisko (@ShimCode) put forth the notion that this shouldn’t be an either/or discussion:

I agree with both gentlemen. I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about being a healthcare consumer. It would be wonderful to have a system where we were all so healthy that our interaction with healthcare providers was a simple transaction. I believe that for the most part, “patient” is the appropriate name because it speaks to the deeper relationship with healthcare providers. This is especially true for those with chronic conditions and rare diseases.

D’Anna Holmes (@PoPculture_px) summed up the discussion nicely:

 

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?