Latest Survey Findings from the Society for Participatory Medicine

A new national survey from the Society for Participatory Medicine found that patients overwhelmingly believe a partnership with their health care provider improves their overall health. The survey also found that people see benefits in monitoring and sharing their health information between visits. The results can be seen in the infographic below (also available for download here). (more…)

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Consumers Take Better Preventive Care of Pets Than Themselves, CIGNA Finds

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

People Care Deeply About the Wellbeing of Their Pets Not So Much WellbeingThe post below first ran January 18 on Health Populi.

Nine in 10 pet owners know when their dog or cat is due for their shots. Eight in 10 women know the frequency with which they get manicures and pedicures. 80% of men know the mileage between old changes.

But only 50% of family health care decision makers know their blood pressure, and only 20% know their biometric numbers like cholesterol and BMI.

Americans are great at doing preventive care for their pets and automobiles; but not so much for their own bodies and health, finds the report CIGNA Preventive Care Research, a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers between 25 and 75 years of age who have health insurance and are the health care decision makers for their families. The survey was conducted in September 2015. (more…)


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Disruptive Women and the White House Collaborate to Improve Men’s Health

mens 1During an afternoon’s worth of inspiring stories crystalizing the need to get men more engaged in their health, one speaker perhaps shared the day’s most powerful moment, speaking from a podium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, among an audience of esteemed guests, advocates and stakeholders.

John Kevin Hines recalled a day in San Francisco when he felt that he could no longer go on. Seeking just some simple positive interactions with other members of his community – an offer of encouragement or support – he instead got silence. Soon after, he found himself at the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, where, amidst his feelings of hopelessness, he hurled himself off the side. He said, upon his descent towards the water, he immediately regretted the decision; he had made a mistake.

He wanted to live. (more…)

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Meet Disruptive Woman to Watch: Judy Faulkner

just-faulkner2In telling the Judy Faulkner story, let’s get the essential facts out of the way first.  She is the CEO of one of the nation’s leading companies providing the technology for electronic health record keeping.  Epic Systems had 2014 revenues of $1.77 billion.  Its client base includes some of the leading names in the health provider world – Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, CVS Health, Johns Hopkins.

And Forbes has cited Faulkner’s personal net worth at $2.6 billion, placing her at number six on the magazine’s list of the nation’s most successful self-made women and calling her the most successful female founder of a technology company.

What makes all of this profoundly interesting is that, if there is such a thing as a rule book for contemporary companies on how to succeed, Judy Faulkner has completely ignored it. (more…)

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Disruptive Innovation in Childbirth Care

nanstrauss1 PhotoIn considering what to write for Disruptive Women in Health Care, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of disruption juxtaposed with the experience of birth and the US maternity care system.

In the context of maternity care, the concept of “disruption” hints at intriguingly different possible meanings: the consequences of a newborn entering a family, disruption during the childbirth process, or the urgent need for disruptive innovation in maternity care.

Birth itself is an absolute disruption of the status quo. Birth can be tumultuous, even when it is a joyous occasion. It is a turning point, beyond which things are never the same for those who give birth and those who incorporate a newborn into their lives, not to mention for the baby who is born.

Disruption of the process of birth is a different type of disruption. Few things are as important to a positive birth experience as feeling safe, private, and calm – in other words, being free from intrusion and interference. (more…)

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Pregnant in Prison: Maternity Care for Incarcerated Women

myheadshotWhen thinking about maternal health access, one group of women are often forgotten, even silenced – incarcerated women.  According to the two part TV series “Babies Behind Bars,” the number of women in US prisons has climbed 400% over the past 30 years. It is estimated that the majority of these women are in jail for non-violent crimes. Each year, 6-10% of all incarcerated women are pregnant.

Adequate maternal care for inmates has multiple components. Do they have access to prenatal care? Are they allowed more food? If they sleep on a top bunk can they be moved to a bottom bunk? Is access to mental health services provided to help with post-partum issues that may arise as the result of separation from their infant? Can the women breastfeed? Is shackling used?

Restraining women during labor and delivery and post-labor poses potential harms to the health of the mother as well as the baby.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, along with numerous other notable organizations advise against shackling pregnant women. However, it is up to state and local jurisdictions to decide. While some states and local leaders have made great strides to prohibit shackling of pregnant women, many still have not enacted laws to protect pregnant inmates against this inhumane treatment. (more…)

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Food from Different Worlds—Finding Foods that Nourish and Heal Across Cultures

josephineWhen I was a college freshman starting life on campus, I found the food available in our college cafeteria very confusing. Though ranked among the most diverse and delicious offerings, many times, I would walk through and find myself still with an empty plate. I could not find anything to eat. I had grown up on non-typical food, lots of roots and tubers, legumes and pulses, kale before it became a dietary hit, and lots of plain old water. Now I was part of a place that had fun theme food nights, and I could not find something that resembled my normal diet. Where I should have been thrilled, I was feeling tense, and very hungry. Many times, the most familiar thing was pizza. It often made me feel full, long before I felt satisfied with the meal.

Saved by a last-ditch connection with a wonderful nutritionist named Mimi in those first few weeks, I quickly started looking at our college food theme nights, and their accompaniments with new eyes. I could not find the foods I knew well, but I could find their close cousins in the dining hall. Since then, I began a lifelong practice of looking for the familiar foods, among those that may appear radically different. Foods from cultures that are not our own hold secrets to our own health, and happiness, if only I could get into them. (more…)

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Recap – The Intersection of Health and Housing: Opportunities and Challenges Panel

Tim_HeadshotIt was an honest, eye-opening remark during the Alliance for Health Reform panel on Friday, when speaker Barbara DiPietro talked about a common obstacle for patients when they receive a prescription for an illness: many drugs have side effects, some of which may lead to a few more visits to the restroom. For most people with a permanent home or workspace, especially when it comes to making a recovery from an illness or condition, this is an inconvenient, but necessary, reality.

However, for homeless people who do not have access to bathroom facilities 24/7, they do not have the luxury of taking a treatment with such side effects; otherwise they risk a legal citation or worse, arrest, for public indecency. As a result, they choose to not use their medications to avoid going to jail, and thus, they do not get better and have a hard time improving their prospects of finding more permanent housing and employment. (more…)

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TBT: Happy 48th Birthday to Medicare!

OWL logoWith today being the 50th birthday of Medicare and Medicaid we thought it was appropriate to throwback to a post we ran two years ago. Do you think the sentiments and concerns around the programs are the same today?

It’s July 30, 2013. You are 48 years old, and if YOU TWO don’t have a Happy Birthday, who will? We will all suspect something is wrong. Maybe you haven’t been getting enough sleep, or maybe you are not eating right. The Congress isn’t treating you badly, is it? Maybe, too, you are both very proud of your lives, as you work your way through middle age; or maybe you are a little disappointed in your accomplishments.

Maybe you could have done more, and aren’t thinking right now about all of your millions of friends and supporters, let alone the nearly 1.5 million people who consider Medicaid and Medicare nothing less than lifelines to participation in the game of life, no matter how many years go by. (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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What the SCOTUS ACA ruling means for health consumers

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The post below ran on Health Populi on June 29. Disruptive Woman Jane Sarasohn-Kahn puts together a great piece on what the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act means for consumers.

Now that the Affordable Care Act is settled, in the eyes of the U.S. Supreme Court, what does the 6-3 ruling mean for health/care consumers living in America?

scotusI wrote the response to that question on the site of Intuit’s American Tax & Financial Center here. The top-line is that people living in Michigan, where the Federal government is running the health insurance exchange for Michiganders, and people living in New York, where the state is running the exchange, are considered equal under the ACA’s health insurance premium subsidies: health plan shoppers, whether resident New Yorkers or Michiganders, can qualify for health premium discounts. This means that people shopping for health insurance under the ACA are all-American, whatever state they live in. The yellow and the white states, when it comes to insurance subsidies, are all one color now. (more…)

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  • July 6th, 2015 Pope Francis’ Visit and Philadelphia Healthcare
    By Glenna Crooks
  • 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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