Costs of Healthcare, Benefits of Healthcare IT and Health Tracking at #chs11

Seems like people really liked my tweets from yesterday at the Connected Health Symposium. So, I thought I’d do it again today. Here’s some of the interesting tweets I saw and wrote during the Connected Health Symposium.
http://twitter.com/#!/techguy/status/127448679899611136
The cost of healthcare was a major theme throughout the entire conference. I agree completely that as patients start to pay more of their healthcare, they need more information and make better decisions.
http://twitter.com/#!/Independa4U/status/127451676603973633
I found this really interesting. Twitter (and even this blog) doesn’t quite capture the irony of the statement. Basically, Dr. Tippets from Verizon really highlights how if we did IT right in healthcare we have the potential of saving lives and live longer. Both noble goals.
http://twitter.com/#!/techguy/status/127434491684851713
I think Blumenthal might have actually said Healthcare IT instead of EHR, but there’s a lot of overlap in this. I agree with Blumenthal that the media and even blogs like mine love to write about the negative more than the positive. It makes for a compelling headline. Maybe the people behind the good research studies need to promote themselves more too.
http://twitter.com/#!/drnic1/status/127452037939073025
This kind of hit me on multiple levels. First, I found it interesting that 15% are tracking their weight and exercise. Is that too low? It’s probably the highest level of any other healthcare data tracking app. I wonder where the rest of the apps stand. The second thing that hit me was the fact that doctors aren’t using this data. Finding some way to make it easy and useful for doctors to use all this collected information is going to be a challenging, but important next step. I’ll be interested to see how EHR companies work through the process of taking that data and integrating it into their EHR software. It won’t be easy, but I believe patients will love this type of integration. Plus, it would encourage many others to start using these medical devices.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

4 Comments

  • Two issues regarding physicians making use of patient-initiated data capture (weight/diet/exercise/etc.): first, how do the physicians get a hold of these data? Second, is the patient willing to make these data available to the physician?

    In the first, we don’t have 360 health-information management. We have the heathcare providers’ records, we have the patient’s own record, and rarely are the two identical. We also don’t have as much transparency between providers (PCP, specialist, pharmacist, etc.) as we should, and I would not be surprised to find pockets of interspecialty distrust similar to those between patients and providers.

    This leads to the second issue. People are afraid of being “caught out” and may choose to hide unhealthy behaviors rather than change them. Would the average obese adult be willing to let on to my physician that he had a Dunkin Donut at the office? Not if he don’t want him (or his health insurer) to raise their voices, his rates, and All Holy Hell, in roughly that order! So instead, he will “forget” to log that donut, wonder why he’s gained three pounds this year, and be without information for either the doctor or the registered dietician or the mental health professional to help him.

  • tmana,
    You bring up some great points to consider. I appreciate you adding to the conversation.

    You’re right on the first point, but I think that we’re going to see that data coming together more and more. Although, you’re right that the distrust between sources of data will be a challenge that has to be overcome.

    The second issue does worry me a bit more. There’s little doubt that some of these concerns will stop many from sharing the data. However, this new Facebook/YouTube generation aren’t afraid to do this type of sharing at all. In fact, it’s quite normal for them to do it. So, watch for them to lead the sharing and then based on the results, the others will follow.

  • John, I’m quite active in the diabetes online community. Themes we hear over and over are people forgetting to log their blood glucose levels (either because they forgot, or had no time or supplies, to test, or because they knew they would be high or low at a given time), and people afraid that if a health insurer or a potential employer found out in advance that they had diabetes, they would be denied employment (although under pretenses other than having diabetes, which is protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act). This behavior transcends age; it is perhaps at its worst amongst teenagers and young adults — the very Facebook/YouTube generation you speak of — because they want to appear as “normal” as possible to their peers. While this behavior is generally admitted to in “gated” online communities and often “in the past” (unless burnout or lack of money/coverage has become an issue), the community itself is composed of people who are more likely than the average adult to be proactive about managing their health.

  • tmana,
    Thanks for sharing the perspective. I can see how some of those things are potential problems. Certainly, many of the younger demographic also don’t care about their health. So, they’re less likely at a younger age to participate in things that track their health. So, we have a ways to go with all this.

    I love the online communities that are bringing these people together. It’s an incredible thing.

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