July Man of the Month: Farzad Mostashari, MD

Casey Quinlan

July 4 is Independence Day in the United States. Every year, we celebrate an unruly bunch of guys – the ones we now call the Founding Fathers – who, fed up with draconian rule from far away, decided to plant a new American flag and say “we’re running this show from here on out!”

farzad_mostashariThere are plenty of analogies that can be drawn between the patients’ rights movement, healthcare reform, and our Founding Fathers. One of the champions of “data liberación” – the battle cry of healthcare open data efforts – Dr. Farzad Mostashari has consistently called for people, the ones commonly called “patients” by the healthcare system, to have equal rights within the system purportedly designed to help them maintain or achieve health.

From the stage of Health Datapalooza 2015, Farzad threw down a gauntlet to the entire healthcare industry, encouraging every American to declare #dataindependenceday this July 4 by accessing their medical records online.

“We believe that right now is the moment when patient demand for their records will be the ‘unknotter’ of the problem that we have — of the lack of access for patients to take their data and do what they want with it.” ~ Farzad Mostashari, MD (more…)


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Let Freedom Ring

Regina Holliday

The following post ran on May 3 on Regina Holliday’s Medical Advocacy Blog.

This winter was hard for me. Winter always is.  In my mind, I walk through yesteryears and live through the months I lost my husband Fred.

I had a bad cough in January and February just like I had in 2009.  My cough was pertussis this time, not a chest cold.  This time it was my ribs that broke from explosive coughs, instead from metastasis as Fred’s had.

This winter I felt I had to finish my memoir, so while coughed I wrote.  I tied together the story that I have been working on for five years.  This past week it became available on Amazon and it is called The Writing on the Wall.   I had wondered why I felt so frantic about quickly finishing my book on the importance of patient data access, but I have learned not to question such feelings.  I just act on them.

Then I went to HIMSS15 in Chicago.  Then I heard CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) was considering cutting a key measure that affected patients in Meaningful Use Stage 2.  Facilities and Providers complained that they were not able to ensure 5% of patients would view, download or transmit their data in the Meaningful Use Stage 2 reporting window.  Anyway, they assured CMS, patients did not want access anyway.  So CMS proposed gutting the legislation, removing the 5% requirement and replacing it with literally “1” patient. (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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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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TBT: Birth Control and the Obama Adminstration

Sally Greenberg

The ACA requires insurance companies cover quite a few women’s health services at no additional cost beyond premiums. But two new studies found that insurance plans around the country are not providing many of these services including birth control. Today’s TBT post (which originally ran in February 2012) is a reminder of why birth control should be covered. For more information on the recent studies read this Kaiser Health News article.

This has been a tumultuous week for the politics surrounding women and their reproductive choices. We support women’s right to reproductive health care as an overall good practice for women’s health. Providing women access to birth control should not be a political issue, though it seems to be. Contraception has proven health benefits both for women and their children. Controlling the frequency of pregnancies can prevent a range of complications that can endanger a woman’s health, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and placental problems, among others. Also, women who wait for a period of time after delivery to conceive again lower the risk of adverse perinatal outcomes, including low birth weight, pre-term birth, and small-for-size gestational age. Contraception means healthier mothers and families. (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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What Do Women Know About Obamacare That Men Don’t?

Susan-DentzerThe post below originally ran on The Health Care Blog. Susan Dentzer is one of Disruptive Women’s 2015 Women to Watch, read the post and you will see why!

For the second year running, more women than men have signed up for coverage in health insurance marketplaces during open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, enrollment ran 56 percent female, 44 percent male, during last year’s open enrollment season; preliminary data from this year shows enrollment at 55 percent female, 45 percent male – a 10 percentage point difference.

What gives? An HHS spokeswoman says the department can’t explain most of the differential. Females make up about 51 percent of the U.S. population, but there is no real evidence that, prior to ACA implementation, they were disproportionately more likely to be uninsured than men – and in fact, some evidence indicates that they were less likely to be uninsured than males. (more…)

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Disruptive Women & Service join forces: Care for Military & Veteran Women Series

stodder headshot DCWe are grateful to Disruptive Women in Health Care for giving us a platform to present solutions to the range of obstacles faced by women who serve. In the posts we will introduce highly informed contributors with an eye toward solutions. The writers will be military and veteran women as well as all those who care about them and for them.

Patricia Lee Stotter, a multiple award winning composer, addresses all issues of health care, and has created the opportunity for this collaboration. As co-producer of the Emmy award-winning film, “Service: When Women Come Marching Home”, Stotter threw herself into creating social media bridging many gaps and bringing women together. Whether working on Sesame Street or suicide prevention, Stotter is all about the right voice at the right time, creating strategic partnerships to lift the voices of the disenfranchised. (more…)

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  • January 13th, 2015 Filming in the ER: A Policymaker Perspective
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Congress Passes ABLE Act: Major Victory for Persons with Disabilities and Their Families

    Congratulations to one of our 2015 Disruptive Women to Watch Madeleine Will for all her work on this legislation and on behalf of persons with disabilities. 

    (Washington, D.C. – Dec. 17, 2014) – Last night, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 by a vote of 76 to 16. First introduced in 2006, and subsequent sessions of Congress, the ABLE Act will allow people with disabilities (with an age of onset up to 26 years old) and their families the opportunity to create a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life.

    “Today marks a new day in our country’s understanding and support of people with disabilities and their families,” Michael Morris, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director, said. “A major victory for the disability community, ABLE, for the very first time in our country’s policy on disability, recognizes that there are added costs to living with a disability.” He continued. “For far too long, federally imposed asset limits to remain eligible for critical public benefits have served as a roadblock toward greater financial independence for the millions of individuals living with a disability.”  (more…)

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    Kaiser Family Foundation Understanding Health Insurance & Open Enrollment Resources

    The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released the resources below to help people understand insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. We found them helpful and hope you do too.

     Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources

    • Understanding Health Insurance: Consumer Resources (Updated Web Page)
    • Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator (Interactive)
    • Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have It Covered (Video)
    • Health Reform Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
    • Health Insurance Quiz (Quiz)
    • Health Coverage, HIV & You (Web Portal) (more…)


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    A Week of Music and Health Quality

    Cyndy Nayer

    Highlights from Stevie Wonder and the meetings of Boston and DC.

    albumsIt was a week of meetings, concert, new ideas, gorgeous weather, and finding new friends–a week of quality, indeed.  Here are some findings, some musings, and some encouragement to all who are seeking to build quality and safety into health outcomes.

    Boston:  No surprise that this beautiful city is accelerating some of the changes we want to see in health care and health outcomes. Meetings with new folks have fueled my energy in advancing the agenda in the all-important Rx development and access.  What’s missing is the value of new and developing treatments in improving the total value proposition:  what’s the worth in a family (quality of life during treatment), a worksite (lower absenteeism and lowering income loss), and to a person (less side effects, easier adherence, getting to cure [where possible]).  Of course I’ve written about this before (Framework for Outcomes-Based ContractingSovaldi Value of a CureSovaldi OBC Contract–Kiss is Still a Kiss), providing the business and outcomes models for using a high-cost drug that gets the person to goal. (more…)

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