Missy Krasner

With the election around the corner, everyone is hammering about the economy, healthcare reform and the war. Given the critical time in our election history, I found it amusing that I attended the Stanford Healthcare Policy Conference, “Can Innovation Save Healthcare Reform” last week and found the speakers debating the same problems they were talking about 10 years ago. Don’t get me wrong. I bow to the legends at Stanford, like Alan Garber and Alain Enthoven. Those were the giant minds in graduate school that got me interested in healthcare in the first place. But seriously, someone could have peeled me off the floor, I was so bored.

It was like nothing had changed since I left my dorm room in Escondido Village in 1998. It was the same academics muttering about “access, affordability, and quality.” And it dribbled on…“rising healthcare expenditures, cost containment, rationing resources,” …blah, blah, blah. This is why I loved it when Mark Smith, M.D., CEO and President of the California Healthcare Foundation, took the stage and opened his talk with the slightly irreverent comment. He said, “Here we all are talking about healthcare reform, and not one of you has mentioned the patient yet.” I wanted to stand up and applaud (and in full disclosure Mark serves on the Google Health Advisory Council).

I do not pretend to have the magic bullet for healthcare reform in the U.S but here is what I do know about the average “Joe” on the street and what I have learned working on the Google Health team for the past 2 years.

When it comes to healthcare, we are all in denial!

  • No one cares about their health until they or a family member gets sick.
  • The average consumer (over 52% surveyed) does not understand their health insurance benefits. (Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 2008 Survey of Healthcare Consumers).

    The Un(der)insured are no longer an abstract term. We know them, we are them.

    • If 1 in 4 Americans are insured but not adequately covered (Consumer Reports), you most likely know them. These people are your friends or ex-colleagues who have left big companies to go out on their own as sole proprietors and are forgoing comprehensive health insurance until their business takes off. It’s your neighbor who recently got laid off and could not afford his COBRA extension.

      People Are Online and Getting Information from Non-Experts – So Deal With It!

      • People are hungry for information and want to hear from other patients like them.
      • I mean think about it, everyday 8 million Americans research a health related topic on the internet, 66% (>5 million) start with a search engine (Pew Study, October, 2006). Roughly 65% of internet users use the web as their primary source for researching health issues and about 87% of all U.S .physicians use the internet on a daily basis. (Harris Interactive/Google Study, Assessing the Impact of Online Behavior on Healthcare Decisions, May 2007, not published online)
      • More than 20% of American internet users have created some sort of user-generated health-related content – like an online community about a certain condition (Jupiter Research, February 2007).
      • Roughly 10 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute, so you can imagine how much is getting loaded on health related experiences or personal health diaries. Just go and search on it today.

        People are Spending A lot of Money to Stay Beautiful and Young

        • People seem to be willing to spend a lot of money on maintaining their looks, beauty, and wellness.
        • There were 11 million plus plastic surgeries performed in 2007 (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and surveys show that more than half of the U.S. adult population use vitamins, herbs and other forms of nutraceuticals (FDA).

          These are just some interesting consumer trends that I think about every night as I commute home from Google. Google Health is our first foray into the area of consumer health. We have just gotten started and we have a lot more to do and learn. But if there is one thing I learned this week, healthcare reform enthusiasts should take a hard look at what consumers are already doing today. We could all learn from how we are currently activated and NOT activated in our own healthcare rather then recycle old debates on access, quality and costs.

          The views expressed in this blog post are mine alone and not those of my employer.

          Subscribe to our newsletter




          15 Responses to “Health Care Reform & the Average “Joe””

          1. Doretha Says:

            Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely great.
            I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you
            are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it sensible.

            I can not wait to read much more from you. This is actually a
            terrific site.

            My web page – Agnes Y. Underdue

          2. Ursula Says:

            hello there and thank you for your info – I have certainly picked up anything new from right here.
            I did however expertise a few technical issues using this web site, as I experienced to reload the website many times
            previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if
            your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage
            your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
            Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for a lot more of your respective
            exciting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.

            my webpage: Alix I. Preedom

          3. Leilani Says:

            Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.
            Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a
            marvellous job!

            My page – Domitila H. Corujo

          4. Avis Says:

            If you would like to get a good deal from this post then you have to apply such strategies to your won blog.

            Have a look at my weblog Sandra Y. Shin

          5. Julienne Says:

            Amazing blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from
            somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.
            Please let me know where you got your design. Bless you

            Here is my blog; Danelle U. Gobler

          6. Malorie Says:

            I am in fact glad to read this blog posts which includes tons of
            useful information, thanks for providing these information.

            Feel free to surf to my web page :: Shelby B. Rviz

          7. Leonora Says:

            At this time it sounds like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform available right now.
            (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

            My web-site … Charlie Q. Schomberg

          8. Cameron Says:

            I got this web page from my buddy who shared with me on the topic of this web site and now this time I am visiting this site and reading very informative content here.

            my webpage :: Leilani D. Patnaude

          9. Regan Says:

            My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different website and
            thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so i am just following
            you. Look forward to checking out your web page for a second time.

            My site: Brigitte C. Twedt

          10. Linda Says:

            Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my site so i got here to go back the favor?.I am attempting to to find issues to
            enhance my web site!I assume its good enough to make
            use of some of your ideas!!

            my website :: Paris Y. Yarboro

          11. Lashawn Says:

            I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and
            was wondering what all is needed to get setup?
            I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
            I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.

            Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.
            Thanks

            Check out my homepage – Pamala J. Hartsough

          12. Janelle Says:

            Hi there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg
            it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident
            they’ll be benefited from this site.

            My blog … Shayne G. Harriger

          13. Sal Says:

            Hi terrific website! Does running a blog such as
            this require a large amount of work? I’ve no expertise
            in coding however I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyways,
            should you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners please share.
            I know this is off topic however I just needed to ask.
            Thanks!

            my blog … Shelby M. Platner

          14. Christin Says:

            Incredible story there. What occurred after?
            Good luck!

            My web page best comfort fit

          15. Desiree Says:

            Thankfulness to my father who stated to me regarding this weblog, this web site is truly
            awesome.

            my site health solutions vita

          Leave a Reply