Money, Stress and Health: The American Worker’s Trifecta

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Financial stress impacts health, relationships, and work productivity and attendance for employees in the U.S. It’s the American worker’s trifecta, a way of life for a growing proportion of people in the U.S. PwC’s 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey for 2016 illustrates the reality of fiscally-challenged working women and men that’s a national epidemic.



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Learn or Die!

Lisa-Suennen-photoThis post originally appeared on The Timmerman Report and then ran on Venture Valkyrie.

I have a new favorite TV show: Join or Die with Craig Ferguson. Ferguson is a irreverent, sometimes raunchy Scottish comedian who used to host the Late Late Show alongside his skeleton puppet sidekick Geoff.   Join or Die airs Thursdays at 11 pm on the History Channel, which is your first clue that this isn’t your run of the mill late night talk show.

The premise of Join or Die, named after Ferguson’s tattoo, is that four people, a random assortment of comedians, actors, historians and scientists plus Ferguson, debate a historic question of the day. The first show asked “What Was History’s Biggest Political Blunder?” (Answer: Elliot Spitzer’s hooker indiscretions). The most recent show determined that history’s greatest “Frenemies” were Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But the show I have liked the best so far, naturally, was the one that focused on, “What Was History’s Worst Medical Advice?” You can watch the entire episode here. (more…)

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Sleep And Health/Tech – It’s National Sleep Awareness Week

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

The post below originally ran on Health Populi on March 9.

One in three people suffer from some form of insomnia in the U.S. With sleep a major contributor to health and wellness, we recognize it’s National Sleep Awareness Week.

As a health economist, I’m well aware of sleep’s role in employee productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism. U.S. companies lose 11.3 days of lost work performance per person who suffers from insomnia, according to research from a Harvard-based team published in the journal Sleep. The cost of this to U.S. business is about $63 billion annually.

Science writers at the BBC developed a long list of modern-life issues that deter us from sound sleeping. The major culprits are pervasive technology, lights, noise, heat, and stimulants (like alcohol and coffee), as illustrated in the BBC’s drawing of How We Live Now.

Some key health issues you may not know about sleep are that… (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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Please Don’t Cut Off My Pants

Meryl Bloomrosen

Patient involvement, patient empowerment, patient activation, and patient centered care are among the many popular phrases increasingly uttered within the health industry.  Some authors, writers, speakers, and bloggers have focused on analyzing  if and when certain terms and/or terminology (consumer versus patient versus person) are more (or less) appropriate or applicable to a particular situation.

Yes, there are signs of positive change. Innovations in care delivery and design along with new approaches to payment reform (from volume to value-based) are gaining momentum. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Patient Focused Drug Development (PFDD) Program and the FDA’s efforts to include patient perspectives in medical device development are admirable endeavors to increase patient involvement.  The Patient Centered Research Institute (PCORI) has focused its efforts on patient engagement and patient centered outcomes research. The Precision Medicine Initiative is moving forward to develop its 1 million plus cohort. (more…)

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Leveraging the Expertise of America’s Most Trusted Profession

Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

The following post was first published in Huffington Post’s Politics Blog on December 29, 2015.

During a time when Americans’ confidence in many U.S. institutions has declined, the public’s trust in nurses remains unmatched.

For the 14th year in a row, the public rated nursing as the most honest and ethical profession in America, with an 85 percent rating, according to a recently released Gallup survey. Nurses have claimed the top spot since 1999, the first year they were included in the survey, with the exception of 2001, when firefighters were voted No. 1 following the attacks on September 11.

While the U.S. health care system struggles to retain the public’s confidence, with only 37 percent of respondents saying they have a “great deal” or a “quite a lot” of confidence in the system according to findings from a June 2015 Gallup poll, the evidence is clear that nurses have the respect of Americans. (more…)

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My Letter to Santa

Lisa-Suennen-photoThe following post originally appeared on author Lisa Suennen’s blog Venture Valkyrie.

Dear Santa,

imagesI’m writing to you with my Christmas wish list. I realize that I am a little over the typical age limit for this activity, but I am pretty short so maybe I can still pass for a kid? I also know that, as a venture capitalist, I may automatically default to the “naughty list.” But I am an eternal optimist and I’m hoping that the social value inherent in investing in healthcare instead of video games and drones can help me put a few points on the Santa board.

Here’s to hoping that my wishes will be fulfilled, For what it’s worth, I will be listening for Rudolph et al on Christmas Eve, cookies at the ready. I make really good cookies. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

1. Great companies with rational valuations –I know it’s hoping for a lot, particularly the latter part, but hey, it never hurts to ask. (more…)

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The Future 100 from JWT – Health Is Everywhere in 2016

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

Today’s post first ran on Health Populi on December 9.

Food + Drink, Beauty, Tech + Innovation, Retail, Lifestyle…JWT pulls out their crystal ball for 2016, and I see health, everywhere.

JWT-Future-100_FINAL_COVER-HR-300x194The Future 100 – Trends and Change to Watch in 2016 is J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Innovation Group’s annual trend forecast, which I highly value and mine each year to help THINK-Health continue to hone our own environmental analyses for health and healthcare. [Here’s what I wrote one year ago about JWT’s 2015 forecast].

Health is baked into JWT’s 2016 trendscape, well beyond their “Health” chapter. (more…)

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It’s the Holiday Season: Do You Know Where Your Meds Are?

swhr_icon-2-solidThe post below was first published on HUFFPOST Healthy Living.

What do you think of when it comes to Thanksgiving? Spending time with friends and loved ones? A giant turkey or tofurky with all the fixings? You’re likely thinking of all the planning, cooking, and entertaining — and storing your medications couldn’t be further from your mind, right?

If the answer is “yes,” you are not alone. But drug misuse or abuse can happen, especially during the holidays with guests in your home — even those you may know well. It’s important to ensure they do not accidentally or purposefully misuse your medications.

Nearly 10,000 emergency room visits each year for children under the age of 18 are attributed to misusing medication; including accidentally swallowing pills or taking too much of something [1]. (more…)

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Social Determinants Impact Health More Than Health Care

Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

imageToday’s post first ran on Health Populi on November 9.

The factors of where people are born, live, work and age — social determinants — shape human health more than health care. Yet in the U.S. much more resource per capita is funneled into healthcare services than into social ones.

Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity was published by The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured in November 2015, calling attention to the opportunity and wisdom of baking health into all public policy.

The social determinants of health (SDOH) include economic stability, the physical environment and neighborhood, education, food, community and social context, and the health care system, shown in the second exhibit. (more…)

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A Thoughtful Discussion on Drug Pricing and Innovation

Mary R. Grealy

This post first appeared October 5 on the Prognosis Blog.

There has been a lot of talk of late about the price of prescription drugs.  Most of it, unfortunately, has come in the form of 30-second sound bites, largely driven by one hedge fund investor’s decision to significantly raise the price of a single product.

Determining the correct price for an innovative, life-changing product to achieve both consumer accessibility as well as a return on investment, which is vital to fund future research and development, is a complex topic that warrants a thoughtful discussion, not glib attack lines.

Credit, then, goes to the Washington Post for its lengthy question-and-answer article with Joseph Jimenez, the CEO of Novartis, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.  In the interview, Jimenez made, I believe, several striking and instructive points.  Among them: (more…)

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PSA Serum Testing: To Test or Not to Test?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Lewis W. had everything going for him. Recently remarried to the love of his life with a job he enjoyed and was good at it. He had so much to look forward to. But about a year into his new marriage, something didn’t feel right. He wasn’t as interested in sex as a newlywed might usually be and he was struggling to be the husband he wanted to be. His wife, thinking he had lost interest, moved on, leaving Lewis alone again at 53. During the following year he dealt with a divorce and during that time went to the doctor for a checkup. During the visit he mentioned his marital difficulties, not thinking that they were relevant to his health, other than the stress that a divorce carries. His doctor surprised him a few days later with the news that his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels were very high. The normal range, his doctor told him, is below 4.0 ng/mL, but the normal, baseline range for each man varies so Lewis’s PSA serum level was not necessarily a danger signal, but really a trigger for additional testing.

PSA serum levels can provide an indication of one’s risk of prostate cancer, but alone, are not enough to diagnose cancer. When levels rise above 10.0 ng/mL the probability of cancer increases dramatically. Accompanied by a digital rectal exam, PSA levels can be used to make a decision regarding whether additional testing and/or a biopsy is needed. (more…)

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Opportunities in the Connected Health Market

rania nasisThe connected health market has been growing exponentially, resulting in the consumerization of healthcare. Connected devices are increasingly becoming a routine part of lives with roughly one-fifth of the smartphone and tablet owners using a health app on a monthly basis, according to research from Parks Associates. If there’s any doubt of the role connected devices will play in our lives, check out Apple’s recent special event. Following Tim Cook’s welcome address, Airstrip, a veteran in the connected health space, took the stage to showcase their Sense4Baby app, which allows doctors to remotely monitor a mom and her baby during pregnancy.

The recent Connected Health Summit in San Diego brought together a panel of investors to discuss opportunities in the growing connected health market. The investors highlighted key areas of opportunity and provided sage advice for entrepreneurs in the space. Panel participants were Casper de Clercq of Norwest Venture Partners, Jason Russell of Citi, Euan Thomson of Khosla Ventures, Jeannine English of AARP, and David Schulte of McKesson Ventures. (more…)

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Hormone Imbalances and Testing: Which Test is Right for You?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412As we age, one of the first things to go is often our hormone balance. Hormones are the critical chemicals that keep our bodies in alignment, help us get enough sleep and maintain our energy levels. As we get older our hormone levels change. Throw in the stress that many of us feel from raising children, managing careers, taking care of ill or aging parents, and the result? Low energy and an overall feeling of exhaustion!

Lori Van Popering, a Certified Holistic Practitioner and Coach, has been there! She knows what it’s like to feel exhausted, foggy and just “not herself”. Her hot flashes, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, lack of motivation and low energy left her feeling miserable and stuck. The surprising results of a saliva hormone test showed that her hormones were out of whack. As a Holistic Practitioner, she knew that hormone imbalance could be causing her symptoms.

Hormone tests can offer valuable insight into the current state of the body. (more…)

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American Hospitals Need to Stop Offering Fast Food, Quick!

heather farthingBan on Hospital Smoking: A Model

In the 1950′s the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published what was, at the time, an incredibly surprising finding: smoking is detrimental to health1. By 1964, the Surgeon General had publically acknowledged the linkage between smoking and cancer and, by the seventies, the smoking-cancer relationship was standard curricula in U.S. medical schools 2. Despite both medical and public awareness, however, hospital policy lagged behind the science; most healthcare centers had little to no official regulation regarding smoking in their facilities2. Reducing Smoking in Hospitals. A time for Action, published in a 1985 issue of the JAMA, declared a forceful criticism of this oversight:

Six years later, the Joint Commission: Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) ordered that all American hospitals be smoke free by the end of 19934. Today, American hospitals are plagued by a bad case of déjà vu. This time the paradox is not the presence of the cigarette at the bedside, but rather the burgers, the fries, and the soft drinks.

What’s Wrong With Fast Food? (more…)

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