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…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse: Are You Doing Your Part?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Do you know what your teen is up to when you’re not looking?  What about your spouse, your parents and your friends?  Hopefully they aren’t rummaging through your medicine cabinet to find something they can take to get high. Many of us would never think to use a prescription drug for something other than its intended purpose, or to take something that wasn’t prescribed for us and absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people who not only consider this, but act on the impulse to misuse and abuse prescription drugs.  Sometimes they work the system and see a doctor, or multiple doctors, and get the prescription for themselves, but often, they are looking through your medicine cabinet when you’re in the other room, getting them for free from friends or buying them online or from dealers.

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem; according to the Centers for Disease Control it is an epidemic.  Just like any addiction, it can ultimately ruin or even end someone’s life.  (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Free the Data Announces New Partnership with Rep.Wasserman Schultz

Sharon Terry

FTD_logo3WASHINGTON, DC (October 8, 2014)—Free the Data, a national coalition of organizations dedicated to freeing genetic information, announced that U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) was named its Honorary Chair.

“The time for hoarding data as a commodity is over,” said Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, the nonprofit health advocacy organization that coordinates Free the Data. “The Coalition is thrilled to have a powerful partnership with Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. In Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are confident that the Congresswoman adds strength and momentum to the Free the Data movement, particularly as we work to free data associated with breast and ovarian cancer!” (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

An Interview with Kimberly Baxter, Director of the Iowa Accountability Program

baxter

Kimberly Baxter

Domestic violence can strike both rural and urban communities, impacting over 6,000 Iowans each year.  And while African Americans only make up approximately 3.2% of the state’s population, the 2011 preliminary Iowa Uniform Crime Report states that African Americans comprise 15% of domestic violence victims and 24% of domestic violence offenders.   In addition, 18% of cases in which the victim was also the offender involved African American victims.

The Iowa Accountability Program (IAP) is doing something about it.  The program—a grant project funded through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women—aims to improve the judicial system’s response to domestic violence in Iowa.  Recently, the IAP launched a Judicial Training Institute and the Domestic Violence Court pilot program in Black Hawk County.   The IAP legal fellow, Julianne Toia, recently sat down with Kimberly Baxter—Director of the Iowa Accountability Program—to discuss these newly implemented programs and how they will impact the handling of domestic violence incidents in the State of Iowa. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Linking Domestic Violence and Chronic Disease: An Issue Missing from the Headlines

With domestic violence getting attention lately due to the Ray Rice video and the newly crowned Miss America Kira Kazantsev’s domestic violence platform, the Society for Women’s Health Research believes it is important to highlight an important subject missing from the headlines.

There has been radio silence about the acute and chronic health conditions that affect women who suffer from this abusive behavior. Black eyes, bruises and broken bones are all what we expect to hear from victims who experience violence at the hand of a loved one.

There has been little to no attention, however, given to other health conditions, such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, just to name a few of the afflictions that may develop long after the violence has stopped. In addition to these physical health consequences, there are psychological effects and conditions that women may experience – fear, anxiety and PTSD, all of which may indirectly give rise to other ailments. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Rise of Consumer Centricity: Comments on the Gamechanging Opportunities

Cyndy Nayer

In commenting on the new IMS Pharma Letter, we highlight the emergence and widespread build up of the consumer’s role in prevention, care and outcomes. Consumer centricity is being driven by the rise of CDHP (consumer directed health plans), but it’s quite different from these insurance products, with their high deductibles and variable co-pays.

Consumers are learning and experiencing more about consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) as they enter the exchanges, even though CDHP has been around for fifteen years or more.  Most new health insurance products have a deductible that must be met, so consumers must pay for services and treatments until they reach that goal.  NOTE:  the ACA (Obamacare) mandates that no individual pay more than $6350 in total out-of-pocket costs in Y2014).  If they have not paid the sum, they will pay more of their own money for the care.

Consumer centricity in health care means that control for choice of service and for outcomes will shift to the  consumers and they will become the ultimate arbiters in their health and health care.  It’s a value-based concept that drives this shift in decision-making. IT supports the data so that the consumer can decide where, when, why and who to choose for care based upon personal preferences and goals, total costs, incentives to engage and time to get to the outcome preferred. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Why I Fight for Change in Domestic Violence Legislation

In 2009 I became the victim of a violent crime, domestic assault with a weapon. The local newspaper’s front page story included the following phrases: “Felony Assault,” “Domestic Assault with a Weapon,” “False Imprisonment,” “beaten,” “hit about the head and body,” “beaten with hands, knees and feet,” “urinated on,” “beaten with a wrought iron cross,” “refused to let leave or use the telephone,” “numerous injuries,” “numerous bite marks about her body,” “lost consciousness,” “escaped.” Lucky to be alive should have been included.  (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Consumer Choice Clashes With the Affordable Care Act

Trudy-Lieberman -- biggerIncreasing consumer choices in health care may have just gotten far less likely.

Recently the Department of Health and Human Services proposed that most of the federal health exchange policyholders, including the 83 percent who receive subsidies to help pay their premiums, be automatically re-enrolled next year in the same policy offered by the same company.

That’s right, no shopping around. No consumers looking for a cheaper plan or one with a lower deductible or less (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Iowa Accountability Program’s Judicial Training Institute Aims at Improving the Handling of Domestic Violence Cases

iapDomestic violence is an epidemic that impacts an estimated 6,000 Iowans each year. While many view domestic violence as a private issue, Kimberly Baxter, Director of the Iowa Accountability Program, identifies how domestic violence is truly a community concern: “Domestic violence affects everyone from service providers to families and the community at large. We need to address domestic violence as a community. Brutality behind closed doors is not only real, but also taboo. It is not something we want to discuss, but if we cannot discuss it, how can we address it? How can we mitigate it?” For nearly ten years the Iowa Accountability Program (IAP) has worked to assist victims of domestic violence and the communities in Iowa that support them. This year, the IAP aims to strengthen its impact through its new Judicial Training Institute. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

“Give me your tired, your poor…”

Laura JacobsonThe rapid influx of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the last few months has spurred a national conversation regarding the United States’ role in offering refuge to these children, the majority of whom are fleeing widespread gang violence and delinquency in their home countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. A key talking point for some in the debate has become the supposed threat to public health that these children pose. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

My Remarks from Eliminating Telehealth Barriers Briefing

Wen Dombrowski

Thank you for inviting me to share my perspective on telehealth barriers as a physician who is specialized in the care of older adults, people with disabilities, and technology. Much of my clinical experience has been house calls to visit patients who are too frail to leave their home.

Currently I am the Chief Medical Information Officer at the VNA Health Group, a nonprofit with a mission to care for as many vulnerable and underserved patients as possible in their homes and communities.

I have spent more than a decade watching technologies that would be helpful to people with sickness or disability. However, while many telehealth engineering inventions have existed for over a decade, they have been largely unused – not deployed to help patients. These patients could have been your spouse, grandparent, neighbor, or friend. Why isn’t technology that could enhance care not being utilized? It is disheartening to see that federal and state policy and regulatory barriers are preventing patients from receiving the best care that could be available to them.

Let’s think about an analogy for a moment: email – can you imagine doing your job today if you weren’t allowed to use email? (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Eliminating Telehealth Barriers Briefing Recap

7.18Yesterday, Disruptive Women was on the Hill to host a briefing that looked at the need to accelerate the use of telehealth. Through telehealth we have the technological know-how to remotely bring the doctor to the patient, but because of current barriers it cannot be used to its fullest extent.

Telehealth allows physicians to monitor vital signs and symptoms remotely and conduct consultations over the Internet. It can improve the quality of health care delivery while also making it more cost efficient.   Additionally, it has the potential to address the growing shortages in the health care workforce. So with all these benefits why isn’t telehealth being deployed to its fullest extent? The panelists at yesterday’s briefing discussed the various barriers and why it is critical to address these barriers as soon as possible. (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

In Observance of Jessie Gruman

jessie-gruman picOn July 14th, 2014 we lost a truly outstanding woman to her battle with a long time illness. Jessie Gruman was the president and founder of the Center for Advancing Health. A true patient advocate, she promoted not only patient engagement but the use of evidence-based medicine to support the adoption of healthy behavior.  In addition to her professional career, Gruman defined herself as a musician, avid reader of poetry and interested in foreign policy, the media and global health. She was a true disruptive (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

A Different View – with a Broken Ankle

Meryl Bloomrosen

It felt as though I was having some type of “out of body” experience…falling down the metro escalator and realizing that I could not move. My predicament caught the attention of several Good Samaritans who sensed that something was wrong as I simultaneously screamed in agony and cried out for “HELP.”I am grateful for the willingness of fellow commuters to help me slide off the bottom of the escalator and out of the way of others. I am thankful that no one was right in front of me as I tumbled. I am enlightened by the emergency medical response process and appreciative of the emergency medical technicians (EMTS) who come to my aid, eventually taking me away by ambulance to a nearby hospital emergency department (ED). I was triaged in the ED and diagnosed with (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stop Expecting Antibiotics to Be Handed Out Routinely: Here’s Why

Trudy-Lieberman -- biggerFor years, my colleagues on the Prepared Patient site have preached the importance of being an advocate for your own care. And they’ve noted that at times it is necessary to push back against doctors’ recommendations if a suggested treatment does not seem right. I just returned from a visit to the U.K., which drove home the importance of that advice. Coming down with a common cold gave me a chance to experience differences in how British and American doctors approach the nasty symptoms of an all-too-common medical problem.

Let’s face it. Most of us have been given too many antibiotics for sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, even the flu caused by viruses for which antibiotics are not helpful. As we (more…)

Subscribe to our newsletter