All women are health workers

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

How women define health Center for Talent Innovation

The following post originally ran on Health Populi on May 26. See the original post here.

The spiritual and emotional top the physical in women’s definition of “health,” based on a multi-country survey conducted in Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the U.S.

The Power of the Purse, a research project sponsored by the Center for Talent Innovation, underscores women’s primary role as Chief Medical Officers in their families and social networks. The research was sponsored by health industry leaders including Aetna, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardinal Health, Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co., Merck KGaA, MetLife, Pfizer, PwC, Strategy&, Teva, and WPP. (more…)


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Nurses are consumers’ trusted partners-in-health

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

In honor of National Nurse’s Week we will be running posts on nurses and all the work they do for patients and the health care field. The following post originally ran on Health Populi and can be accessed here.

The two most trusted health professionals in the eyes of U.S. consumers are nurses and pharmacists, and both of these health workers will be key partners for people wanting to engage in health/care.

That was my introductory message kicking off the annual conference of ANIA, the American Nursing Informatics Association, in Philadelphia on April 24, 2015. Meeting in the City of Brotherly Love gave ANIA the opportunity to theme the meeting a “Declaration of Nursing Informatics,” carrying that theme through the exhibition hall with a Benjamin Franklin lookalike walking the floor availing himself of attendees’ requests for selfie-taking with the man who wrote, “God helps those who help themselves.” (more…)

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#OwnYourHealth: Health is everywhere, even underground

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

jane 5 1The following first ran yesterday on Health Populi, to see the original post click here.

Living my mantra of Health is Everywhere, where we live, work, play, pray, and shop, I am always on the lookout for signs of health in my daily life. Today I’m in Washington, DC,  speaking on a webinar led by the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), discussing the findings in a survey of U.S. adults on self-care health care – my shorthand for healthcareDIY. And the hashtag for the webinar also speaks volumes: #OwnYourHealth.

Here’s the link to the survey resources.

On my walk from Farragut North Metro station to a nearby office where the meeting will take place, I came upon this poster in the underground, sponsored by UnitedHealth Group, the health insurance company: “Our reasons to be optimistic about the future of health care.” (more…)

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“What If 1 Million Americans Asked for Medical Records on the Same Day?”

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

farzadThe following post ran yesterday on Health Populi, see the original post here.

This was not a theoretical question Dr. Farzad Mostashari, former head of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT in the Department of Health and Human Services, asked yesterday at the closing keynote of Day 1 of the Patient Engagement Forum.

Dr. Mostashari issued a challenged to the community of mischief-makers in health/tech patient advocacy: tell everyone you know to contact their doctors — by phone, email, patient portal, or in-person, on one designated day which he called a “Day of Action.”

Health IT journalist Neil Versel (disclosure: also a long-time friend in the field) covered this news story here in MedCity News.

In the meantime, here is my (abridged) transcript of Dr. M’s talk, thanks to my note-taking skills. My own words are between carrots <> to provide additional context. (more…)

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The Affordable Care Act As New-Business Creator

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post ran yesterday, March 19 on Health Populi.

While there’s little evidence that the short-term impact of the Affordable Care Act has limited job growth or driven most employers to drop health insurance plans, the ACA has spawned a “cottage industry” of health companies since 2010, according to PwC.

PwC-Cottage-Industry-due-to-ACA-300x226As the ACA turned five years of age, the PwC Health Research Institute led by Ceci Connolly identified at least 90 newcos addressing opportunities inspired by the ACA:

  • Supporting telehealth platforms between patients and providers, such as Vivre Health
  • Educating consumers, such as the transparency provider HealthSparq does
  • Streamlining operations to enhance efficiency, the business of Cureate among others
  • Connecting patients and physicians, like SmartPatients and Doximity do
  • Offering health and wellness benefits that complement health plans on the marketplaces, like the novel health plan Oscar does
  • Developing new payment and care delivery models, including Iora Health
  • Performing big data analytics, such as Human API does. (more…)


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Digital health love – older people who use tech like health-tech, too

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post ran on March 4th on Health Populi.

As people take on self-service across all aspects of daily living, self-care in health is growing beyond the use of vitamins/minerals/supplements, over-the-counter meds, and trying out the blood-pressure cuff in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled. Today, health consumers the world over have begun to engage in self-care using digital technologies. And this isn’t just a phenomenon among people in the Millennial generationMost seniors who regularly use technology (e.g., using computers and mobile phones) are also active in digitally tracking their weight, for example, learned in a survey by Accenture.Seniors18

Older people who use technology in daily living (say, for entertainment or financial management) are keen to use tech for health, too. Specifically, illustrated in the infographic, Accenture found that:

  • 2 in 3 older people want to use self-care technology to manage their health
  • 3 in 5 older people are willing to track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure via a digital device (more…)


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A health agenda comes to the 2015 Oscars

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post originally ran on Health Populi.

The 87th annual 2015 Oscars show (#Oscars15) feted more than the movie industry: the event celebrated health in both explicit and subtle ways.

Julianne Moore took the golden statuette for Best Actress, playing the title role in Still Alice, the story a woman diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In accepting her award, Moore spoke of the need to recognize and “see” people with Alzheimer’s – so many people feel isolated and marginalized, Moore explained. Movies help us feel seen and not alone – and people with Alzheimer’s need to be seen so we can find a cure, she asserted. See Moore’s lovely remarks here.

Eddie Redmayne took Oscar home for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. In the role, Redmayne channels Hawking through his journey from young, healthy Cambridge University student through decades of living with ALS. Redmayne tells us in his thank-you here how his Oscar statue belongs to everyone battling ALS, and he will be Oscar’s custodian on their behalf. (more…)

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The phone is a gateway drug to health: what MyFitnessPal knows, and what Under Armour gets

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The following post first ran on Health Populi.

65 million people know that food journaling works for losing weight, that it’s engaging to do on a well-designed app, and that health is social. MyFitnessPal (MFP) has the distinction of being a top health app used longer by more people and more effectively than probably any other mobile health tool.

MFP-acquired-by-Under-Armour-Connected-Health-Feb-15Under Armour, the athletic goods company, now has MFP under its corporate umbrella, along with Endomondo, another very popular motivating mobile health tool.

You may know Under Armour as a company that manufactures and markets functional workout gear. But this deal is so not about the wearable.

It’s about building a health data ecosystem, the kind my smart colleague Carol Torgan terms an Electronic Fitness Record (EFR). Carol riffs off of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) concept, which is taking off in the health care system: in doctors’ offices and in hospitals, motivated by financial incentives afforded through the HITECH Act which was bundled into the Stimulus Bill (aka ARRA, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That’s the digital locus for patients’ personal health care information generated during visits to doctors, clinics, clinical labs, imaging centers, pharmacies, and other touchpoints in the health care system. (more…)

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Who is perfect? Advocacy ads for real people.

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

What is the nature of disability? What is the nature of beauty? What is perfection? Who among us is perfect?

These questions are at the heart (literally and figuratively) of a project undertaken by Pro Infirmis, a Switzerland-based advocacy organization raising awareness of people with disabilities, promoting the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December 2013.

Pro-Infirmis-Mannequins-and-People-300x188Mannequins in fashionable shops on Zurich’s tony street the Bahnhofstrasse were replaced by new ones, artfully, painstakingly and lovingly created, as shown in the video.

Pro Infirmis’s website tells us “who” we are looking at in human and 3-D life-size mannequin form: Miss Handicap 2010, Jasmin Rechsteiner; radio presenter and film critic Alex Oberholzer; track and field athlete Urs Kolly; blogger Nadja Schmid; and, actor Erwin Aljukic.

In Pro Infirmis’s words: Between the perfect mannequins, there will be figures with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One will have shortened limbs; the other a malformed spine. (more…)

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Trend-weaving the 2015 health care trends

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

‘Tis the season for annual health trendcasting, which is part of my own business model. Here’s a curated list of some of my favorite trend reports for health care in the new year, with my Hot Points in the conclusion, below, summarizing the most salient trends among them.

TechCrunch’s Top 5 Healthcare Predictions for 2015: In this succinct forecast, Walmart grows its presence as a health plan, startups get more pharm-funding, hospitals channel peer-to-peer lending, Latinos emerge as a “most-desired” health care segment, and Amazon disrupts the medical supply chain.

Experian 2015 Data Breach Forecast: Healthcare security breaches will be a persistent and growing threat in 2015, with “the expanding number of access points to Protected Health Information (PHI) and other sensitive data via electronic medical records and the growing popularity of wearable technology,” based on this credit/risk management company’s assessment. The value of medical identity threat is very high. As a result, the FBI warned the health care industry that their security systems were insufficient compared with other industry sectors, according to Reuters. (more…)

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Women-centered design and mobile health: heads-up, 2014 mHealth Summit

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

This post is written as part of the Disruptive Women on Health’s series celebrating the 2014 mHealth Summit taking place December 7-11 Washington, DC.

Women and mobile health: let’s unpack the intersection.

12.3 1On the supply side of the equation, Good Housekeeping covered health tracking-meets-fashion bling in the magazine a few weeks ago in article tucked between how to cook healthy Thanksgiving side dishes and tips on getting red wine stains out of tablecloths. This ad appeared in a major sporting goods chain’s 2014 Black Friday pre-print in my city’s newspaper last week. And along with consumer electronics brand faves like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, Sony’s plans for a watch were hiding in plain sight on a Japanese crowdfunding site since September 2014; speaking of fashion-meets-wearables, the strap is designed to morph into 24 different designs. (more…)

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Food = Health for employers, hospitals, health plans and consumers

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Food is inextricably bound up with health whether we are well or not. Several key areas of the Food = Health ecosystem made the news this week which, together, will impact public and personal health.

On the employer health benefits front, more media are covering the story on CVS strongly incentivizing employees to drop body mass index (BMI) through behavioral economics-inspired health plan design of a $50 peer month penalty. (more…)

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Health at SXSW13 vs. HIMSS13: the yin, the yang, and the blur

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

I endured what very few people could (or would) do in the past ten days: I traveled to New Orleans to the annual conference of HIMSS, the Health Information Management Systems Society, which features hundreds of suppliers to the health care information technology industry. I returned home to kiss my family hello and goodbye, and a day later flew to Austin for the annual South-by-Southwest conference for music, movie and digital folks. The health track at SXSW has grown over the past five years, and provides a start contrast to “health care” as embodied at HIMSS, and “health” translated through SXSW’s lens.

That contrast represents the confounding nature of the chaos and creative destruction, as Eric Topol has coined it, that the health/tech industry is undergoing. (more…)

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The Internet as self-diagnostic tool, and the role of insurance in online health

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

1 in 3 U.S. adults have enough trust in online health resources that they’ve gone online to diagnose a condition for themselves or a friend. “For one-third of U.S. adults, the Internet is a diagnostic tool,” according to Health Online, the latest survey on online health from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Nearly one-half of these people eventually sought medical attention. One-third did not. Women are more likely to do online medical diagnoses than men do, as do more affluent, college-educated people. (more…)

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Social media in health help (more) people take on the role of health consumer

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

By Jane Sarasohn Kahn. One in 3 Americans uses social media for health discussions. Health is increasingly social, and PwC has published the latest data on the phenomenon in their report, Social media ‘likes’ healthcare: from marketing to social business, published this week.

PwC polled 1,060 U.S. adults in February 2012 to learn their social media habits tied to health. Among all health consumers, the most common use of social media in health is to access health-related consumer reviews of medications or treatments, hospitals, providers, and insurance plans, as shown in the graph.

Social media enables people to be better health “consumers” by giving them peers’ views on health products and services. Notably, PwC found that 45% of consumers said information found via social media affects their decision to seek a second opinion from another doctor — this, above the 42% of people who use social media to help them cope with chronic conditions, diet, exercise or stress management. Furthermore, 41% of people said information they find via social media helps them choose a specific hospital or physician. And — listen up, pharma and medical device companies, along with health insurance plans – one-third of people said social media influence their decisions about taking certain medications or undergoing specific procedures, or selecting a health plan.

Social media also helps people manage personal health administration, such as making appointments, getting appointment reminders, referrals, and discounts for services (think: Groupon for dermatology), customer service, and determining wait times at emergency rooms.

The report features examples of health industry segment leaders who are successfully engaging in social health, such as Aetna. The health plan offers Life Game, an online social game that engages people in setting and working toward personal wellness goals. What’s notable about this is that health plans haven’t historically been trusted by consumers to get up-close-and-personal with their health. But as health consumers look for useful and well-designed online tools, the health industry can build bridges for both health and trust. (more…)

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