Hospice Reflections

jane lincolnJane Lincoln and I are Facebook friends. We met (on Facebook) through a mutual friend and colleague when the two of them worked together at AARP. Jane’s career has involved helping and caring for those who need it most. Jane not only provides hands on care but through her powerful posts, is able to share the heart wrenching reality that people go through when they are most vulnerable, scared, lonely, and struggling. With her poignant pen, Jane allows us to peer in to a world where few dare to go. You cannot read her reflections and not be moved. Jane graciously allowed me to share two recent pieces that really moved me. You may be working on hospice policy, aging issues, or care management.  You may be dealing with a similar personal situation. Read this. So much depth and wisdom—the kind of learning that comes from the front line. For those of you looking at policy and business ROIs, not sure how you quantify this. Pretty sure you can’t begin to do justice to the caregivers all of us will eventually depend upon.   – Robin Strongin, Disruptive Women in Health Care Founder

July 18 at 3:29pm Facebook Post (permission to repost on Disruptive Women)

Yesterday, I met a new patient who’s starting home hospice care. He mentioned that he’d had polio as a child, and when he went into a hospital at age 4, it was so far away from his home that he’d forgotten what his parents looked like when they came and got him 2 years later.

Can you imagine? (more…)

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DW to Watch Shout Out: Martha Lane Fox to lead NHS digital healthcare


The following was posted on UKAuthority.com.

Lane Fox to take lead on new digital healthcare

Former digital champion to work out practicalities on promoting take-up with National Information Board

Martha Lane Fox has been appointed to lead the government’s work on promoting the take-up of new digital technologies in healthcare.

The appointment of the former government digital champion and co-founder of lastminute.com was announced by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Lane Fox’s main task will be to develop practical proposals for the National Information Board (NIB), the body responsible for the campaign. (more…)

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We couldn’t agree more..investing in nurses does save lives

The following is an op-ed by Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH) that was published in today’s Ashtabula Star Beacon, an outlet in his home district. Joyce is the co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, along with Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), who founded the caucus in 2003 and is retiring at the end of the Congressional term. Both have been instrumental in educating their colleagues on the value of nurses and the health policy issues that impact the nursing profession.

The post is being published in conjunction with the American Nurses Association Lobby Day, when nurses will be meeting with members on Capitol Hill, advocating for issues important to nursing. Follow along by using the #hashtag #ANALobbyDay.


“Investing in Nurses Saves Lives”

DaveJoyce2By Congressman Dave Joyce

Every day, 10,000 people turn 65 years of age. While we all want to believe that we “age with grace,” reality reminds us that we need to focus on our health, the health of our friends, family members and loved ones. More than ever, patients need clinicians of all kinds to meet the demand that comes with an aging population.

As co-chair of the House Nursing Caucus, I am acutely aware that we are going to need more than 1 million new nurses by the year 2022—less than 10 years—in order to meet increasing patient demand. While striving to build a more quality-focused health system that prioritizes wellness, disease prevention and coordinated care, we must recognize the value that nurses bring to these efforts.  As the husband of a full-time nurse, I certainly do.  (more…)

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Direct Access Testing: Putting Consumers in the Driver’s Seat

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Angela Young knew something was wrong. She hadn’t felt well for months but didn’t know what was going on. Her doctor ran tests for immune problems and endocrine issues. They all came back normal. Finally, Angela went to an independent direct access testing (“DAT”) laboratory and had them run some additional tests, including a test for something she suspected, but her doctor didn’t want to test her for: Lyme disease. When the Lyme disease test came back positive, she was relieved, because finally she knew what was wrong, could seek treatment and begin to get healthy again.

Michael S. is a typical 55 year old American man. He knows he doesn’t eat that well, too many quick stops at the McDonald’s on the way home from work and too much time sitting on the couch. He really should start working out, but life kept getting in the way. He felt OK, not great, but there wasn’t any reason to get to a doctor. His wife kept pushing him to get to the doctor, so to save time he just went into a direct access testing laboratory for some basic tests to get his wife off his back. He was shocked to discover that his cholesterol levels were in the upper 200s. He knew it was really time to lose weight and get moving. (more…)

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In Alzheimer’s Disease, Caregiving May Be Just As Trying As the Disease Itself

swhr_icon-2-solidThe post below originally appeared on HuffPost’s Living Healthy blog on July 15.

When most of us think of Alzheimer’s disease, our first thought isn’t usually of the quiet caregiver alongside the patient, devoting their time to helping someone living with the disease. But caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is often a full-time job, taking its toll on the caregiver.

According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, the “typical” family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who takes care of a relative. Nearly 25 percent of America’s caregivers are millennials (adults aged 18 to 34) and are more likely to be female than male. In fact, 66 percent of all caregivers are women, and female caregivers devote as much as 50 percent more time providing care than their male counterparts. Caregivers older than 75 years tend to be the sole support system for their loved one, providing care without any outside help.

Nearly half of caregivers who provide 21 or more hours of care each week report high emotional stress, and with an average household income of $45,700, caregivers feel not only emotional strain, but also immense financial strain, as the cost of caregiving is at least $5,000 annually. (more…)

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One Thousand Lives

Angela Rich pictureSomeone told me that they just wanted to live. I found it curious and inspiring
As I have lived a thousand lives.
I have been a saint
A sinner
A valedictorian at the pulpit
I’ve been backhanded by a dragon
And embraced by an angel.
I have been a student
An athlete
A world traveler
A daughter
I’ve seen death in the casket and refused to touch it.
I’ve been a wife
A supporter
And shattered so badly I thought I’d never recover
I am not resilient
I survive. There is a difference. (more…)

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TBT: Health Disparities in the LGBT Community and the Importance of Data

In light of Caitlyn Jenner’s 2015 Arthur Ashe Courage Award acceptance speech at the ESPYs last night we are running the post below for TBT. It first ran on Disruptive Women in June 2014. 

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals are becoming increasingly visible in our society. Unfortunately, they are subjected to discrimination and stigma similar to other marginalized groups such as racial and ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The current political and social context and unique health care needs, impact the health of LGBT individuals, resulting in health disparities (poorer health outcomes compared with their heterosexual and/or non-transgender peers). In order to identify and eliminate these disparities, health care providers must 1) be willing and able to competently gather information about whether their patient identifies as LGBT, 2) understand the risk factors associated with such identities, and 3) use that information to improve their patient’s health. Collection of sexual orientation and gender identity in public health surveys and at the clinical level in electronic health records is the first step to eliminating health disparities in the LGBT community.

LGBT is an umbrella term used to describe an entire group, yet it is important to understand that each subgroup (lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals) has unique health needs and issues. (more…)

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Consumer Engagement through Patient Portals and Innovative Care Delivery Models

connectedThe upcoming Connected Health Summit: Engaging Consumers, September 9-10 in San Diego, will examine the growth of the connected health market through analysis of new devices, technologies, and integrated platforms and its consumer-oriented focus.

2014, the first year of the conference, was a significant year in the evolution of this market. A record number of ACOs formed to deliver accountable care, and it was also the maiden year for health insurance exchanges, which are now attracting more private insurers as the current healthcare model solidifies. Large CE companies, including Apple, Google, and Samsung, officially entered the consumer health and wellness market, leading to record sales of connected fitness trackers, the emergence of Fitbit as a market leader, and an influx of new consumer brands in the wearables market targeting health and wellness applications. Parks Associates’ consumer research finds nearly 30% of U.S. broadband households now have a connected health device.

To have value in the connected healthcare market, technology must demonstrate its worth for both consumers and healthcare industry stakeholders. (more…)

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Poor Quality Sleep: A Silent Source of Disability in Breast Cancer

The post below ran on Huffington Post Healthy Living on May 13. It is authored by Hrayr Attarian, MD, FACCP, FAASM, Member of the Society for Women’s Health Rearch Network on Sleep and Associate Professor of Neurology, Northwestern University, Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Research Lab for the Society for Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep.

Poor quality sleep is a major contributor to reduced quality of life and can have a negative impact on mood and energy, cognition, metabolic and immunological function, as well as lead to weight gain [3].

Sleep-related complaints are quite common in women with breast cancer, affecting around 70 percent of them [1]. In fact, more than 60 percent of women with either metastatic and non-metastatic disease are diagnosed with insomnia [1,2]. This prevalence exceeds both age-matched healthy adults and women afflicted by other cancers [3].

There are many causes for sleep disturbances in breast cancer sufferers, including age, socioeconomic status, lifestyle choices, and other co-existing medical conditions. Some of the prominent contributors to poor sleep, however, are the treatments themselves. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are associated with more sleep disturbances than hormonal treatments and surgery. In fact, surgery reduced the occurrence of insomnia from 69 percent to 42 percent in a group of women with non-metastatic breast cancer [2]. (more…)

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Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease: Families Struggle for Resources to Cope

candaceCandace Y.A. Montague, a health reporter for Capital Community News authored the article below. It originally ran here.

It started off with small, inexplicable acts like leaving raw chicken in the microwave or putting bread in the freezer. But Angela Byrd knew that something wasn’t right about her 67-year-old mother Shirley. It escalated to car accidents where Shirley would hit another car and argue that it wasn’t her fault. Then one day Byrd got a call from her grandmother explaining that Shirley was lost in Takoma Park, Northwest. She had no recollection of how she got there. The Byrds live on Alabama Avenue in Southeast.

“That’s when I took her car keys away,” said Byrd. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” With the support of her aunt, her grandmother, and her mother’s best friend, Byrd convinced her mother to go to a doctor, who diagnosed her as having the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. “I think my mother already knew this. She just wasn’t telling everybody else about it. She’s a strong woman.” (more…)

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Haven’t checked out Tech Tonics, the Podcast? You should!

Tech TonicsA couple of months ago Disruptive Woman to Watch Lisa Suennen and her colleague David Shaywitz launched  Tech Tonics, the Podcast, building on the success of Tech Tonics, the bookTech Tonics, the Podcast occurs twice a month and is focused on the people and passion at the intersection of technology and health. Drawing from their experience in business, medicine, and health IT Lisa and David hope to bring the people in their field to life. They engage intriguing guests in discussions that enable listeners to appreciate the stories behind the startups and the people.

The most recent podcast is with David Goodman an inventor, entrepreneur and doctor. You can listen to it here. You can find the other podcasts here or on iTunes by clicking here.

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About the National Health Service

nhsThe following content was pulled from the National Health Services website. Always a good idea to take a look at other country’s health systems!

The NHS was launched in 1948.

It was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth – a principle that remains at its core. With the exception of some charges, such as prescriptions and optical and dental services, the NHS in England remains free at the point of use for anyone who is a UK resident. That is currently more than 64.1 million people in the UK and 53.9 million people in England alone.

The NHS in England deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. It covers everything from antenatal screening and routine screenings such as the NHS Health Check and treatments for long-term conditions, to transplants, emergency treatment and end-of-life care. (more…)

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“I will not stop until we have the right to see our own information” – Part 2

The post below original ran May 21 on Ted Eytan’s blog.Ted was one of our very first Men of the Month. See his March 2009 Man of the Month post here.

This is the scene in which I encountered @ReginaHolliday yesterday

Regina Holliday Paint In 55551

That’s her with others, in front of the imposing low-rise brutalistic structure of the Hubert H Humphrey Building which is the headquarters of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (@HHSgov). (more…)

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Data Independence Day Series

my dataOur posts this week will all focus on health data and individuals right to access it in honor of “Data Independence Day”. Data Independence Day initiated by Former National Health IT Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari (you will hear more from him later this week) is a movement that will come to a head on July 4 when the Get My Health Data effort launches. The movement is focused on consumers demanding electronic access to their health information. It began when patient advocates responded to the recently loosened rules governing the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program. In April, CMS announced it was changing the provision that requires eligible providers to prove that five percent of EHR users have viewed, downloaded, or transmitted information contained in their patient portal. The change, eligible providers now only need to prove that “equal to or greater than 1” patient has interacted with their record. You can see why patient advocates were outraged. (more…)

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Skin Cancer Myths, Busted: Parts 1 & 2

The following post first ran on HuffPost’s Healthy Living blog and can be accessed here. With summer’s arrival and more time spent outdoors everyone should take a minute to read the information below.

Did you know 10,000 people in the U.S. will die from a preventable cancer this year alone?

That preventable cancer is skin cancer. And yes, we know you’re tired of being told to wear sunscreen, put on a hat, and hang out in the shade, but these practices can be life-saving.

About 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, will account for more than 73,000 cases of skin cancer this year alone. Of those cases, 10,000 people will die [1]. Of those cases, 33,490 are women, and 4,220 of those women will die [2].

This summer, let’s all take better care of our skin, starting with busting some common skin cancer myths.

Myth 1: Putting On Sunscreen Is Good Enough (more…)

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