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Showing posts from 2012

Innovating Education In Chicago

Interesting summary of the innovators and incubators reforming education in Chicago: Smart Cities: Chicago's Collaborative and Chaotic Reform Record
"For over a generation, Chicago has served as the epicenter of for-profit, technology-enabled education entrepreneurship and investment." "According to Patrick Haugh, The Chicago Public Education Fund, "Chicago sports not only an impressive set of ed investors (Sterling, GSV Advisors), established industry leaders, and an emerging cohort of promising edtech startups, it also possesses a vital network of innovative ed organizations with great local leadership, and creative funders." Understatement of the waning year:  "...Chicago kids would benefit from coherent state policies aimed at equity, options, and innovation." 

Jobs Available: VP - Health Care Management Services & VP - Provider Relations

For more details about these opportunities, contact Katie Coleman, Solutions Delivery Coordinator at Catalyst Solutions.  Candidate identification closes in a few days, so don't delay!

Main: 1-800-903-9574 | Office: 303-603-3211 | Website:

VP of Health Care Management Services (Virginia Beach, VA)

Responsible for understanding functional area of responsibility and how the functional areas interrelate, gathering requirements, performing analysis, supporting the development and testing processes, and understanding the applications, data, and associated technologies for supported areas. Support departmental methodologies and provide input for improvement to tools and processes. Provide leadership within the team, department, and organization by chairing meetings, writing and executing test plans, and coordinating with business owners.
The preferred candidate will have the following experience:
Perform detailed requirements gathering, analysis, and process and …

What's the Finance Function's ROI?

"Ads proliferate across St. Louis as hospitals push services, name-recognition" is the headline above this interesting article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's website.  Featuring all sides of the debate, the article includes this from Samuel Steinberg, decribed as a Florida-based hospital finance consultant who "...remains skeptical about the benefit of advertising."

“It’s very difficult to be able to demonstrate that these things are worth the investment,” he said. “Hospitals and health systems that put a lot of money into advertising say it is beneficial. But when you ask them to prove it, there’s a real shortage of good research that verifies that it’s worth it.” Yes, hospital marketers are frequently remiss in not building more value-driven metrics into their work.  Too many of these marketers (those with limited job prospects) devolve from saying that measuring marketing is difficult to concluding it's a waste of time to try.  And in my experience, f…

An Industry Bankrupting Its Own Customers Cannot Thrive

Wonder why you haven't gotten a raise recently?  Does it seem your income goes less far than in years past?  Blame healthcare inflation.  Or, as one economist said recently, " stole your raise."

, blogging at predicts that healthcare is in for a new organizational structure.

At our first meeting years ago, Tom Emerick, Walmart’s then VP of Global Benefits, told me, “No industry can grow continuously at a multiple of general inflation. It will eventually become so expensive that purchasers will simply abandon it.” He said it casually, as though it was obvious and indisputable. Health care is playing out this way. From 1999 to 2011, health care premium inflation grew steadily at 4 times the general inflation rate. During that same period, the percentage of non-elderly Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage fell from 69.2 to 58.6 percent, a 15.3 percent erosion rate. Health care’s boosters like to argue that it has buttr…

Social Media's Biggest Pitfall May Be All Those Missed Opportunities

Says Bryan Vartabedian, MD in this article:
Speaking to the great responsibility point, Vartabedian contends physicians are complicit in the controversy surrounding the unproven, but social media-fueled association between the MMR vaccine and autism. "There are 65,000 pediatricians in the American Academy of Pediatrics," he says.

"If all of us just once a year had created a small piece of content, be it a blog post, even a comment, we would have ruled the search engines, and none of this really ever would have happened." "When we think about social media, and when your institution talks to you about social media, almost invariably it will be viewed from the perspective of risk. All we see is the risk associated with it, and all your orientation and your programs, everything will center on risk and nothing will center on opportunity."

Why Can't Healthcare Solve Its Own Problems?

An interesting question posed at 4 health leaders offer wide-ranging suggestions, including building trust and collaboration, reducing the number of stakeholders yet finding ways to work together, and reforming the tort liability system.

Hard to argue against 'more trust' isn't it? Yet it's axiomatic in healthcare that one person's 'waste' is another person's 'income stream.' You mess with my income stream and I may have a problem trusting you.

"Go get some trust..." sounds a little like comedian Steve Martin's promise to teach us how to be rich. Says Martin, "First, go find $1 million dollars!" Umm, OK. I'll go find some trust while I'm at it and fix healthcare's problems too.

Maybe it's fair to consider the requirements for more trust. What preceeds trust? What creates the right conditions for trust to occur? There's no tried-and-true formula, no "add two parts water, …

An App That Tries to Predict the Future of Cities

From TheAtlanticCities  "The Harvard Graduate School of Design released the new Ecological Urbanism app last month. The interactive app, available at the iTunes store, adapts content from the GSD book of the same name, which explores how designers can unite urbanism with environmentalism. Combining data from around the world, the app "reveals and locates current practices, emerging trends, and opportunities for new initiatives" in regard to the future of cities." Imagine something like this for predicting the future of health systems and hospitals, combining measures of community health, strategic trends, financial viability, with experts from around the world adding data and context. Hmmm.

Most Hospital M&A Transactions Are Financially Unsuccessful

From  "Most hospital M&A transactions are financially unsuccessful, study says."

"According to a recent study, a majority of hospital and health system merger and acquisition transactions have not been financially successful.

"Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm, analyzed a sample of 220 hospitals with pre- and post-transaction performance data over a 10-year period (between 1998 and 2008) and found that less than half (41 percent) of all acquired hospitals outperformed their market.


"Sanjay suggested that it’s important for hospitals to merge with other hospitals that have like-minded views about the future and culture, as well as shared views around their positioning in the market. "So, for example, a merger between an academic medical center and a small, community hospital in an underserved area may not be ideal."

Steve Jobs On Process Vs. Innovation

“The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.
“But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.
“And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important." [BusinessWeek, Oct. 12, 2004]

Is There An App for Patient Engagement?

No, says Steve Wilkins, MPH, writing at

Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by  industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, smartphone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement.   It’s not.

Part of the misunderstanding concerning the role of HIT comes from how the discussion about patient engagement is being framed.  According to the pundits, patient engagement is the physician or hospital’s responsibility.  And like everything else these days, we can fix it if we just throw more technology at the problem. Can anyone say Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements? [...]

 The role of physicians, hospitals and other providers is not so much one of needing to engage patients in their care.  Rather, providers need to “be more engaging” to patients who are already actively engaged in their health.

Take the simple act of a trip to the doctor’s office.  Before a person shows up at the doctor’s office…

Let's Gather Some Data, Shall We?

The story goes that, upon hearing of Richard Nixon's election triumph, a resident of New York's tony Upper East Side exclaimed "But how could that happen?  Everybody I know voted for McGovern!"

Usually attributed to film critic Pauline Kael, it's an example of the logical fallacy known as hasty generalization: drawing an overbroad conclusion based on a statistically insufficient sample. 

From the Wall Street Journal:

"In reality, Kael was more self-aware than that. What she actually said, as reported by the Times in December 1972, was: "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon." But you see how the fallacy works: By her own account, Kael led a parochial life, seldom venturing outside her "special world." If she had mistaken her circle of acquaintances for a representative sample of Americans, she would have been mystified by the election outcome."

To a certain extent, we all live "parochial li…

NFP Hospitals Hit the Wall

Have nonprofit healthcare providers' improvement efforts hit a wall?  Standard & Poor's Rating Services seems to think so, in this story (via Reuters.)   From the story:

"Adding to pressures, inpatient volumes are dropping."With pending budget sequestration at the federal level, health reform implementation, and continuing pressure on state budgets, we believe the next several years will be difficult for most providers," said S&P. "Furthermore, we believe that the improvements of the past several years may be reaching their limit and thus will not be able to keep pace with longer-term revenue pressures, especially in light of weaker volumes."

"S&P says more rating downgrades are possible for not-for-profit healthcare systems over the next two years. It noted that the proportion of systems with positive or stable outlooks is shrinking, which "supports our opinion the multiyear trend of improved financial ratios is unlikely to contin…

What Does Culture Eat For Breakfast?

Not strategy.  Leaders, more likely, at least those managing by catchphrase, as Dan Beckham suggests.

From the article:

"The Problem of Buying into the Catchphrase

"One proponent of the "culture eats strategy" catchphrase, Shawn Parr, an innovation and design consultancy CEO, made his case in a Jan. 24, 2012, Fast Company article holding out shoe company Zappos as an example. In response, Bob Frisch, a strategy expert with experience at the Boston Consulting Group, had this to say in the same publication a month later:

"Parr attributes the success of Zappos to a culture that is inclusionary, encouraging, and empowering.' Customer service representatives write zany emails and company leaders have often affirmed their belief that if you get culture right, success follows. But Zappos also has fast delivery, deep inventory, a 365-day return policy and free shipping both ways. That's a strategy — not a culture — and if Zappos weren't competitive with catal…

ClickZ Webinar: Privacy As A Brand Asset

Though you'll never hear them say so publicly, many health care organizations view privacy as just another costly bureaucratic mandate, not a strategic differentiator.  Have you ever seen a hospital or medical practice compete as "the organization best equipped to protect your privacy?"  I thought not.

And I can't explain why this is so.  Certainly the "protect my privacy" segment is, numerically, substantial enough to gain an astute marketer's attention.

Perhaps some marketers underestimate their customers' privacy concerns.  Or it could be that, when push comes to shove, health care consumers value other things in their health care experience more than they value privacy, in which case those marketers are making a smart decision about priorities.

It could be that health care organizations are (rightly) terrified of making a brand promise they can't keep.  Perhaps 'privacy' lacks the sex appeal of  brands built around 'high-tech…

"These Aren't Your Typical Loos..."


"These aren't your typical loos. One uses microwave energy to transform human waste into electricity. Another captures urine and uses it for flushing. And still another turns excrement into charcoal."

Read more, here.

Going Rogue: A Fable, But True

Lest you think my last post overstated the case FOR "rogue" employees and AGAINST all you IT traditionalists, let me tell you a story.

Recently, my team and I searched for a way to connect ourselves and a dozen or so vendors - designers, agencies, printers and consultants.  Something like Dropbox or Google Drive.  "No go" said IT.  Not secure enough.
What alternative(s) were we offered?   SharePoint of course, assuming that my modest little corner of the empire would fund the expense (ranging anywhere from a few tens of thousands to the low six figures.)  I countered with a fast "No thanks.  At that price point, I'd have to sell a kidney or something."
But without knowing it at the time, IT's response was a blessing in disguise.

Now I'm (quietly) using iDoneThis (free) to track projects and team and vendor accomplishments,  IdeaScale (free) to generate engagement around innovative ideas and strategies,  Evernote (free) to organize snippets of…

"Enterprise IT has plenty of room for improvement..."

"Rogue IT" is about to wreak havoc at work" is Fortune's headline.  Not a moment too soon, I might add. 
From the article:

"Rogue IT is the name given to the informal, ad hoc software and devices brought by employees into the workplace. If you've ever taken your own iPad to work or used cloud-based software like Evernote or Dropbox in the office, you may well be an offender. And you're not alone. Some 43% of businesses report that their employees are using cloud services independently of the IT department, according to a recent survey of 500 IT decision makers.

"In the past, these enterprise software and hardware decisions were often the exclusive domain of a company's chief information officer or CIO, the senior executive in charge of information technology and computer systems. "Sitting in his high chair in a grey suit barking orders, [the CIO would make] product decisions for big companies with even larger user bases," explains Pe…

Wearable technology market to exceed $6B by 2016

Computerworld - Demand for real-time data, including personal health information, is driving the market for wearable, wireless devices that will grow from 14 million items this year to as many as 171 million in 2016.

In four years, the market for wearable wireless devices is expected to achieve minimum revenues of $6 billion, according to new research from IMS Research, a subsidiary of IHS.

Health Systems Have Been Slow To Innovate...

And Canada's 'My Healthcare Innovation' hopes to bend the innovation curve upward.
"My Healthcare Innovation is a spin-off of the Innovation Cell, a non-profit think tank at the University of Toronto. Incubated since 2009, MHI is a private and secure global platform configured specifically for healthcare workers to more effectively collaborate and share timely, locally relevant solutions. " [...] "Health systems have been very slow to innovate and we under-realize our return from our investment in medical research and human resources. What we need is a health system that can distill and articulate its high priority problems, share them to the innovation community (internally and externally), reward innovators and facilitate rapid implementation of "disruptive" technologies. HTX is interested in My Healthcare Innovation as a way of creating and interconnecting communities of interest to share problems and best practices, while maintaining a safe a…

Tracking Afib On Your iPhone

From Dr. Westby G. Fisher, writing at MedCity News:  "Patient illustrates how the iPhone and $1.99 could disrupt the medical device industry."

"Today in my clinic, a patient brought me her atrial fibrillation burden history on her iPhone and it cost her less than a $10 co-pay. For $1.99 US, she downloaded the iPhone app Cardiograph to her iPhone.


"I got a relative picture of how often she was having afib and she got the opportunity to help me with her care.

"Was this a medical device? No, it was an iPhone app. Was it perfect? No it wasn’t. I certainly couldn’t differentiate frequent PAC’s or PVC’s from atrial fibrillation reliably. It was NOT an EKG after all. But we were past that point in her evaluation. I just needed to know how often she was having her known paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and she wanted to keep a convenient record of her episodes.

"Was it helpful in this case? Absolutely.

"More importantly, she just saved herself and …

Healthcare's Biggest Problem Is...

...too much money.  Wait.  What?

Interesting opinion yesterday from the blogosphere, that healthcare's biggest problem is too much money.  Too many resources, leading to too many people, too much time spent deliberating and too few imperatives toward action.

That's why, in our best leisurely fashion, we approve capital budgets just once a year.  Miss the cycle and it's 'wait 'til next year.'  And that's OK; it's not like it's life & death or anything.

Making the cycle, especially in IT, means launching RFP processes lasting another year and pilot projects lasting one more.  And system-wide rollouts lasting two more...assuming everything goes as planned, which it seldom does.  (Can you count to five?)

That's why off-the-shelf solutions costing 'a little' are rejected in favor of customized (yet corporate-approved) offerings costing twice as much and taking thrice as long.

That's why $8.99 iPhone apps are pooh-poohed as "not …

An Easy Solution To Self-Pay Writeoffs?

An article in a recent issue of Hospitals & Health Networks magazine told the story of Sharp Healthcare reducing its self-pay writeoffs by $3.4 million through using a website from the Foundation for Health Coverage Education. From the article:
"In 2008 and 2009, Sharp HealthCare saw a $3.4 million drop in self-pay net revenues. The region's increase in unemployment inversely aligned with cash collection, says Gerilynn Sevenikar, vice president of patient financial services for the San Diego-based system. "In an effort to stop the bleeding, Sevenikar reached out to the Foundation for Health Coverage Education, a San Jose, Calif., nonprofit that helps people nationwide find health insurance. The two organizations began an initial 30-day trial in which all self-pay patients entering four Sharp emergency rooms were given the FHCE eligibility quiz, a tool that asks patients without insurance five questions to help determine their eligibility for public or private health…

NEJM: Escaping the EHR Trap

From the New England Journal of Medicine:  "Escaping the EHR Trap — The Future of Health IT."

Authors Kenneth D. Mandl, M.D., M.P.H., and Isaac S. Kohane, M.D., Ph.D. offer a devastating critique of health IT's current state:

Even as consumer IT — word-processing programs, search engines, social networks, e-mail systems, mobile phones and apps, music players, gaming platforms — has become deeply integrated into the fabric of modern life, physicians find themselves locked into pre–Internet-era electronic health records (EHRs) that aspire to provide complete and specialized environments for diverse tasks.

We believe that EHR vendors propagate the myth that health IT is qualitatively different from industrial and consumer products in order to protect their prices and market share and block new entrants. In reality, diverse functionality needn't reside within single EHR systems, and there's a clear path toward better, safer, cheaper, and nimbler tools for managing heal…

Et Tu Facebook?

As of today, and assuming you haven’t already given enough of your life to the social networking juggernaut, you can double down with a share or two of Facebook’s common stock.  Now I’m not a licensed investment advisor so I can’t tell YOU what to do. But I will tell you what I’M going to do.

One word: FLEE.

Listening to CNBC while driving to an appointment yesterday, I heard a commentator rave about this “historic investment opportunity,” saying something like:

“Even at this valuation level, Facebook’s stock is cheap.  With that huge behavioral database, they'll find a way to monetize their 900 million users...”Notice the choice of language.  It's not “They've FOUND a way..."  It's "They'll FIND a way..."  In the future.  Someday.  Hopefully.
But the future's a tricky thing.  All along, I’ve assumed the right sequence of events is this:
Find a way to make money (i.e. a business model.)Make money (i.e. prove that your business model actually works…

A Small Rant

A major teaching hospital (that shall remain nameless because I don't belive in giving the terminally clueless even more attention) has a Twitter account with 1,200 followers. So far so good.

Yet this hospital follows NOBODY. That's right. Apparently in the vast Twittersphere, there's absolutely NOBODY from whom this organization cares to hear. Nobody whose thoughts and ideas matter nearly as much as the hospital's own.

It's as if they're saying "We're not about listening. We talk, you sit up straight and pay attention.  We're about US and that's how we like it!"

How smug. How institutionally narcissistic. How utterly last century-ish.

I wonder what they find unclear about 'social media' - the 'media' or the 'social?'

"What a bunch of clueless chumps"

Fox News: "Facebook users heap baggage on Spirit Airlines after dying vet refused refund."

That we're living in the age of the Facebook mob assures Spirit Airlines that they'll lose far more in business and customer goodwill than the $197 refund would've cost. And somehow I doubt that many of Spirit's customers are, today, saying "Thanks for looking out for us and keeping fares low."

More likely they're saying "What a bunch of clueless chumps."

There's following policies and procedures to the letter, and then there's doing the right thing. Frequently the two converge. Not this time.

UPDATE:  The chump caves.

Retail Clinics, Big Name Medical Centers Poised For Dramatic Expansion

"Clinic retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Safeway, Kroger, Target and Rite Aid are beginning to see major growth opportunities and new business models that actually make economic sense," according to Hammerle, the founder and chairman of Health Resources, Ltd., based in Tampa. "Many in the healthcare field talk about 'creating medical homes,' but fail to recognize that patient homes and well-established channels of service already exist," said Sanders, one of the founders of the ATA, chairman of a conference panel and an internationally-known pioneer in the field of telemedicine. "Healthcare providers have largely failed to knock on those doors or use established channels of distribution and low cost technologies to serve patients better at far lower costs to all," he noted."The next round of growth will electronically link large numbers of clinics, pharmacies and independently-owned and operated primary care clinics to a small number o…

What If All Hospitals Were Like Mercy - North Iowa?

It's my honor to be associated with Mercy Medical Center – North Iowa, a Top 100 Hospital in the nation according to Thomson Reuters, a healthcare information firm.

Though I can't take any of the credit, having been here only a short while, this is the ninth year Mercy – North Iowa has been named to this list, making it the only Iowa hospital to have achieved this level of success. Furthermore, Mercy – North Iowa is one of only 15 hospitals in the nation to have made the list for nine or more years.

This award recognizes hospitals for being a reliable provider of high value and effective care to patients and the entire community.

According to Thomson Reuters research, the 100 Top Hospitals have higher survival rates, keep more patients complication-free, and have lower expenses — all while maintaining financial stability. Thomson Reuters Healthcare estimates that if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those in the 100 Top Hospitals:
More than 186,000 …

Rating 7.7 Million Meals To Learn...

...that we think pizza is WAY healthier than it really is! From Massive Health (via Forbes Magazine): "Massive Health Analyzes 1/2 Million Meals to Understand Our Eating Habits [Infographics]."
"Over the past 5 months, Massive Health has collected over 7.68 million food ratings from people in 50 countries through The Eatery, an iPhone app that helps users track and analyze their eating patterns. Today, they are releasing some of their key findings about when people eat, where people eat, what they eat, and who they eat with, as a series of infographics. For more information about the company and to see the infographic detailing at how people think they eat (and how healthy they actually eat) click here.
"Key Finding on When We EatWe eat 1.7 percent less healthy after each hour that passes in the dayBreakfast is the healthiest meal of the day. Dinner is 15.9 percent less healthyPeople who eat breakfast eat 12.3 percent healthier during the dayOn the weekend, we eat…

De-Bugging Starbucks

Today's story is about the power of social media and a global company's quick response.  From USA Today: "Starbucks de-bugs its menu offerings."

Recently, Starbucks began coloring its Strawberry Frappucinos with cochineal extract. Sounds innocent enough, except cochineal extract is made by crushing the shells of cochineal beetles. Bugs.

And so a vegan barista tipped off a vegan blogger who alerted PETA who.. .you get the idea.

And now that yummy pink color comes from lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract. (Of course several species of beetles co-habitate with tomatoes, presumably making it into our food chain at some point, but that's another story for another day and another blogger.)
At least one consultant thinks Starbucks acted quickly and decisively. "That's pretty quick when it come to companies making major changes in ingredients," says management strategist Barbara Brooks. "They were aggressive and didn't set up a commission …

The News and Nothing But the News

Well, maybe a snide comment or two. In the news today:
Fox News: Hospitals are making progress in reducing the spread of care-related infections.Reuters and CBC News: Meanwhile, thanks to the vaccination-averse among us, cases of measles hit a 15-year high in 2011 and a whooping cough outbreak is expanding in Canada's Fraser Valley.WTVG: Another reason to exercise: lower Alzheimer's risk.And from the Commonwealth Fund (via U.S. News & World Report): "One in four working-age Americans went without health insurance for at least some time in 2011. And the majority of those people—nearly 70 percent—lacked coverage for more than a year..."Finally, from CBS News: researchers successfully grew hair on a bald mouse. So many things I could say, but for now I'll just thank all those researchers hard at work on such an important medical mystery. I mean, c'mon, why work on things like CANCER when there's toupee-wearing mice out there needing our help?

Graying America Gets Wired costs get slashed. Who says old folks don't use computers? From Reuters: "Graying America gets wired to cut healthcare costs"
...Marilyn Yeats, 79, is suffering from congestive heart failure and uses a personal healthcare computer, Connect, provided by the health insurer Humana Corp. She calls it My Little Nurse for helping her keep track of her blood pressure, weight, temperature and whether she is taking her medicines on time. "It rings me up every morning at 10 am, and there I am, on my machine measuring myself, and if I have gained weight, it asks me additional questions. I say it is like having your own nurse come into your house every day." said the Naples, Fla., resident. If these programs succeed, home technologies could help slash billions of dollars from the nation's $2.6 trillion healthcare bill by keeping elderly people in their homes for longer and out of expensive hospitals and nursing homes. Again, pay attention to the growing…

Taking Social Media Beyond Marketing

From "Many Doctors Don't Take Social Media Beyond Marketing."

Good article with some interesting ideas. I fear our social media strategy has been a mile wide and an inch deep - all things to all people to put it another way. It's time to build useful communities and solve real problems. It's time to get very serious, very targeted, very outcomes-focused and very conversational.

It's time to think and act 'social,' and NOT like we're controlling the conversation (control that we've NEVER possessed, by the way. We just ACTED like we were in control, to our own detriment and that of our patients.) As a communications strategy, "I talk, you listen and do exactly what I say..." is a non-starter. So what should we do?
"Healthcare organizations in the United States should learn from their peers abroad and expand the use of social media beyond marketing functions, suggests a new report from technology consulting fi…

Diabesity: What if our best practices are the wrong practices?

The Daily Beast:   "...what if we are coordinating the wrong kind of care? What if our best practices are the wrong practices? Our toxic industrial diet, our sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and environmental toxins cause diabesity and its attendant downstream ills (often mislabeled as something else, such as hypertension, cancer, heart disease, dementia). Drugs and surgery are feeble, ineffective, costly, and often harmful treatments for lifestyle-induced illness. They are misguided efforts at best, dangerous at worst. Mounting evidence proves that the solution to lifestyle- and diet-driven obesity-related illnesses won’t be found at the bottom of a prescription bottle; they will be found at the end of our fork."


"Health it seems happens outside the clinic, where people live, work, play and pray. We need to rethink how we treat chronic disease. It is not only better medical management, which often just barely if at all staves off complications and death, but wi…

Study: iPads Improve Doctors' Efficiency

(CBS News) "iPads not only make doctors feel more efficient at their jobs, the device actually improved their work flow according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine."

75% of residents said iPads saved them about an hour each day.

I'll bet physician loyalty and integration rank high on your hospital's agenda.  Yet what have you done lately to save YOUR docs an hour a day?  No, really, I'm asking!  Leave a comment...

Or connect with me (Steve Davis) on Twitter @whatifwhynot.

Got Problems? Better Have Answers!

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media:Your Hospital is Not Invisible.

"It doesn't matter if your hospital is in midtown Manhattan or Manhattan, KS. It doesn't matter how many licensed beds you have or how high you scored with HealthGrades. If you've got problems at your hospital—from labor disputes, to HIPAA violations, to dirty sheets—you'd better be prepared to have answers for the government, public advocacy groups, plaintiffs' attorneys, and the news media."

Just ask 88-bed Sheridan (WY) Memorial Hospital.

"Why do doctors think their time is more valuable than yours?"

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media:Patients Set to Unleash Feedback on Doctors.

"Doctors should brace for an earful about scheduling difficulties, hour-long waits, perceived disrespectful attitudes, and unreturned phone calls.

"I know doctors think these aspects of the care process are, in the big scheme of things, minor annoyances that have nothing to do with their skills in diagnosis and treatment.

"But perceived mistreatment by physicians and their staffs may have an enormous indirect, much more subtle, impact on patient compliance, and ultimately on quality and outcomes.

"And I don't think doctors are at all prepared for this. They'll no longer be able to brush away a bad review as just another outlier on Yelp. In time, there will be a real cost associated with bad reviews. "Many physicians have no idea what CGCAHPS is, and that value-based purchasing is coming soon for them," says Patricia Riskind, senior vice president of medical service…

One-third of hospitals closed by 2020?

  From David Houle and Jonathan Fleece blogging at "Why one-third of hospitals will close by 2020."
Why?  Because hospitals are expensive, unsafe, "abysmal" at delivering customer care and poorly equiped to compete in the networked, transparent, not-so-distant future. 
"One-third of hospitals gone in eight years."   Long-time readers of this modest little blog probably aren't surprised.  But I'll bet it's caught a few CEOs off guard, especially those fond of saying things like "I don't have to outrun the bear, just the other guys."  You know what I mean.  You've heard the joke.  Except it was never very funny and now, as strategies go, it might be deadly.
(Houle and Fleece are the authors of "The New Health Age: The Future of Health Care in America." )
"If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run - and often in the short one - the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative." - Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - ), The Exploration of Space, 1951

Healthcare CEO's Guide to Avoiding the Newspaper Industry's Mistakes

Imagine an industry, slow-moving, comfortable and secure in assuming its own irreplaceability.  Health care?  Well, yes,  But also newspapers, and therein lies a lesson or two.

From Forbes here's the Healthcare CEO's Guide to Avoiding Newspaper Industry Mistakes: (note that the underlined emphases are mine.)

"Health system CEOs would be well advised to study what newspaper industry leaders did (or perhaps more appropriately, didn’t do) when faced with a dramatic industry change. Turn back the clock 15 years and the following dynamics were present:
Newspaper leaders knew full well that dramatic change was underway and even made some tactical investments. However they didn’t fundamentally rethink their model.Newspapers were comfortable as monopoly or oligopoly businesses allowing for plodding decisions. Their IT infrastructure mirrored the plodding pace with expensive and rigid technology architectures.Newspaper companies bought up other newspaper chains and took on huge debt…

Jobs Available: Critical Access Hospital Administrator/CEO (2)

Mason City-based Mercy - North Iowa is currently searching for Administrator/CEOs for two thriving critical access hospitals. Positions are located in Osage and Emmetsburg, IA.

Major challenges include furthering the strategic focus and service complement, ensuring financial stability, and developing infrastructure, goals, indicators and targets, CQI/value improvement/measures of success, and culture.

QUALIFICATIONS: Master’s degree in hospital administration or related field (MBA, MSN, MHA). Three years of hospital management experience. Strong human relations skills. Proven ability to articulate values. Demonstrate commitment to the philosophy and mission of the organization, Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, and Mercy Health Network.

Apply online or contact Gayla Toebe at  No recruiters please, but feel free to say you read about the position on Health Care Strategist!

The fine print: I post interesting executive-level and strategy-related job opportunities a…

Apple Destroys the Textbook. Parents Cheer!

Michael Comeau:  "According to Apple's press release, most titles for the iBooks 2 iPad app will be priced at $14.99 or less, cheap enough relative to standard textbooks that they''ll offset the cost of an iPad within two or three semesters.

" the end of the day, we should all celebrate the decimation of a very anti-consumer industry. Well done Apple, and well done publishers."

Yes, well done and we SHOULD celebrate.  My only regret is that this announcement came AFTER I put four daughters through college and graduate school.

Read more here.

Ford seeks to develop "the car that cares."

From  Ford, Microsoft Corp. and Healthrageous are researching how connected devices can help people monitor and maintain health and wellness.
"According to a study conducted by Pew Research:
93 percent said they seek out online health information because it's convenient - they want to get information on their own timetable, not the doctor's. 83 percent said it's because they can get more information from the Web than they can get from their own doctor.80 percent said getting this information privately is important to them."As people spend more time in their cars, the ability to manage health and wellness on the go becomes more important. There are several reasons why the automobile is an ideal platform for research and development in this area:
It's convenient and private.It facilitates personalized access to the information, products and services people need.And it's a logical place for them to manage their health while they are more often st…

5 Reasons Your Healthcare Integration Strategy Is Going To Fail

From Eliot Muir, iNTERFACEWARE, Special to ZDNet:

" I hate being the bearer of bad news, but I can tell you, with 100 percent certainty, that your integration strategy is going to fail. That’s the good news. The bad news is that when your strategy fails, there will be a start-up with only a handful of employees and even less money waiting in the wings to take over your market share. I am not trying to paint a gloomy picture; I am just sharing hardcore facts upfront.

" organizations looking to inoculate themselves from integration failure should follow a few common-sense, tried and true rules: develop a clear strategy up front, keep current with technology, leverage the cloud, be flexible about standards and always look at the opportunity costs inherent in custom development."
[Read more...]