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Showing posts from May, 2011
StatCounter alerted me that someone washed up here after searching for "mentally off my game." In fact, for this particular query, Health Care Strategist ranked #1 on Google

"I'm #1!  I'm #1!  With people off their game!"

Wait.  Uh-oh.  This time let's try for those mentally ON their game!

"My Customers Would've Asked For...

...a faster horse." (Henry Ford)

"Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it."  (Seth Godin, Seth Godin's Blog, 07-28-06)

Customer research is necessary and occasionally enlightening.  But it's not a sure road to competitive separation.  What are YOUR standards? Are you leading your customers to something new or holding them hostage to some outdated orthodoxy?

Innovating Innovation In Hospitals

Hospitals are developing 'healthcare system innovation centers.'  Another buzzword in a herd-following industry or an early sign of a fundamental transformation?  Stay tuned.

And then ask yourself what would happen if Steve Jobs turned up at any one of these hospitals, resume in hand?

If it was the REAL Steve Jobs, no problem.  But the NEXT Steve Jobs, the FUTURE Steve Jobs?  The unknown Steve Jobs saying "I want to put a ding in the universe?"

Ah well.  Too bad.  THAT Steve Jobs would be sent packing.

Same Page? Not Even the Same Library!

From Quintiles:New research indicates that managed care executives, physicians and patients are not on the same page on a wide range of issues:
"A question about personalized medicine found that 88 percent of biophama executives and 84 percent of managed care respondents felt these new products will be effective. But 75 percent of patient respondents answered “no” when asked if they had heard of personalized medicine. Respondents also could not agree on what constitutes “value” in healthcare. About 38 percent of pharma executives said any definition of value must include both cost and outcomes, while just 2 percent of patients felt that way"(Thanks to MedCity News for the heads-up.)

The "Older Americans Overtreatment of the Month" Award

NY Times:
"We’ve already learned that nearly 20 percent of elderly women with advanced dementia are subjected to pointless, disturbing mammograms. We’ve also learned that nursing home patients frequently take antibiotics (and the wrong kinds, and for too long) for suspected urinary tract infections, in direct contradiction of medical guidelines. Frail, older diabetics are pushed to maintain very low blood sugar levels even though they’re unlikely to live long enough to benefit. All these treatments pose risks and can cause more harm than good when they’re used on the wrong people.

"Maybe we should institute an Older Americans Overtreatment of the Month award. Picking a winner might be a tough task, though."(More...)

ACO: "Assuredly Cockeyed Opinions?"

"I don't want my patients to have access to their clinical data via a portal. They'll just call my office and waste my time with stupid questions!"

A direct quote (and I have the transcript to prove it) offered some years ago by a certain primary care physician and medical staff leader, someone who should've known better.

With that attitude he'll do wonderfully in someone's ACO, don't you think?  Heck, he's probably already on the board.

But here's an excellent summary of portal trends from Health Leaders Media: "Patient Portals: A Look Forward."

Wondering about the value of disaster drills and crisis planning?  I'm sure the staff at St. John's Hospital in Joplin, MO could enlighten you.

"I underestimated how much that cost would affect my behavior."

Says a patient quoted in this NY Times article about how recession-strapped consumers are shopping more carefully for their health care needs.  Health care was once thought to be recession-resistant.  No more, says the article;
"Even with a halting economic recovery, doctors and others say many people are still extremely budget-conscious, signaling the possibility of a fundamental change in Americans’ appetite for health care."


"(Dr. Jim King, a family practice physician in rural Tennessee) said patients were also being more thoughtful about their needs. Fewer are asking for an MRI as soon as they have a bad headache. “People are realizing that this is my money, even if I’m not writing a check,” he said.In this mix are undoubtedly some consumers deferring care that is appropriate and necessary for their long-term health.  That may change as the economy approaches something nearer 'normal'  - whatever that is these days.

But beyond that, is this shift '…

Will Employers Eliminate Health Coverage In 2014?

'Yes' says the smart money.   From AIS's Health Reform Week;
"Health insurance reform mandates already in effect are having a major cost impact on midsized employers across the U.S., according to a new actuarial modeling analysis by Lockton Benefit Group. On average, employers with 2,000 to 10,000 employees tacked another 2.5% onto their health insurance costs since mandates went into effect last September — primarily due to reform requirements extending dependent coverage to age 26 and eliminating lifetime and raising annual coverage limits, the firm says. Moreover, costs related to these mandates are just the tip of the iceberg — to the point where many employers could consider termination of their plans in 2014."


"Employers deciding to eliminate health plan coverage in 2014 will save an average of about 44% off their current health care spending, according to Lockton’s actuarial modeling. Thus, an employer spending $10 million today would spend $4.4…

Producing Real Value In Health Care

Health care leaders pondering value-based organizations and incentives should consider this "Radio Free Dylan" episode where MSNBC commentator Dylan Ratigan interviews Umair Haque, author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business, founder of Bubblegeneration, Director of the Havas Media Lab and blogger at the Harvard Business Review.

The contrast here is between productive wealth versus destructive wealth.  Both count toward Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but only the former really contributes.

Says Umair,
"It’s easier to make money in the short-term through exploitation and the extraction and much more labor intensive with a higher failure rate and a much greater degree of challenge to actually advance and create something that is new and different and differentiates in its creation of value. “So to me, this is a crisis that is about failing to create real value, but it is a crisis of our institutions. And it’s a crisis that is of things …

Want Big Answers In Healthcare?

Look down under.  Australian MP Andrew Laming offers a concise problem summary;
"Market failure and irrationality are constant companions for health planners, as they battle powerful human expectations like survival instinct, compassion and greed."Laming's prescriptions for improvement are not bad either.  Read the whole thing, here.

Meanwhile, Michael Dell shares his vision of information-empowered innovation.

And watch the innovators at DocFroc fight hospital-acquired infections;

Succeeding At Innovation Requires More Failures

Says Tim Harford, author of "Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failures." from an interview in today's NY Times Economix blog.

Here's Harford on how the U. S. can promote more innovation:
"...this is fundamentally an organizational problem: how to harness the diversity of the private sector with the long-term funding of the public sector?

"I see two promising approaches. One is to earmark more government research grants for high-risk projects. A fascinating research paper compares conservative medical research grants from the National Institutes of Health with more speculative grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The Hughes approach produces more failures but many more “big hits.” Clearly, there’s a balance to be struck.

"A second approach is the use of innovation prizes. These have received increasing attention but there’s potential to put up far larger prizes — multibillion-dollar affairs."
Count me in for that multi-billion dollar…