Next Things First

The Week in Numbers
May 8, 2009, 9:51 am
Filed under: week in numbers

Installment #17:

GE CEO Jeff Immelt is scheduled to be in Washington this morning, talking up the company’s plan to spend $6 billion over six years in an effort to expand its health-care business. [WSJ Health Blog]

Obama said the government will save $22 billion annually starting in 2012 by eliminating Medicare payments to private health insurances “as a broader effort to reduce healthcare costs.” [HealthLeaders Media]

If our customers are not 100 percent satisfied with the Limeade [employee wellness] service, we will refund their most recent three months of prepaid service fees – in donut form. [Press release]

Despite widespread interest in employer-provided wellness programs, less than 40 percent of workers have access to programs that address diet, exercise, stress reduction or disease-management, according to a study released Thursday. [Baltimore Sun]

Health Records from Government Site Held for $10M Ransom [Chilmark Research]

Texas, a state with more than 250 hospitals analyzed in the study, showed an average Hospital Value Index™ score of 45.2, ranking the state in the bottom ten. [Press release]

On Tuesday, the Harris County Commissioners Court in Texas allocated $6.2 million in federal stimulus funding for a jail inmate electronic health record system… [iHealthBeat]

HCA makes more than $75M with ED coding procedure [FierceHealth Finance]

Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown profiled four lesser-known movers and shakers in the coming brawl over health care reform (as well as a fifth party, the anecdotes of regular Americans being amassed as weapons on both sides) [Covering Health]

Posted by CharlotteGee



This Will Be Our Only Commentary on H1N1
May 8, 2009, 9:17 am
Filed under: disease management | Tags:

Margate Beach Party H1N1 2009

via consumerist

Posted by CharlotteGee

via consumerist, via flickr:


The Week in Numbers
May 1, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: week in numbers | Tags:

Installment #16:

… the WSJ’s Laura Landro today details how the government already has invested billions of dollars over two decades to develop a software for a records system that’s available free for any hospital that wants to use it. [WSJ Health Blog]

Barry Hendrix, a primary-care physician in Paragould, Ark., says he paid dearly for just such a mistake, wasting $100,000 on an electronic records system. “It was a complete disaster,” he says of the equipment he bought… [BusinessWeek]

… a conservative group is mounting a $1 million television ad campaign asking Congress not to enact a government-run health plan along the lines of Britain and Canada. [FierceHealthcare]

So where will lawmakers find the money? President Obama proposed a $634 billion “reserve fund,” paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy, but even if that passes, experts say it won’t be enough to cover even half the cost of comprehensive health-care reform over the next 10 years. [Time]

… average healthcare costs for those involved in the [pharmacist coaching] project were reduced by $1,079 per patient annually… [HealthLeaders Media]

Senate may add 5 percent bonus to Medicare for primary care MDs [FierceHealthcare]

“We’re not producing enough primary care physicians,” Mr. Obama said at one forum. “The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they’ve got to specialize.” New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate. [New York Times]

More than one in five American adults is reporting that they have a disability, a number that has increased by 3.4 million between 1999 and 2005… [HealthLeaders Media]

…employees who smoked got as much as $750 spread over a year if they quit. Nearly 15% did after a year, compared with 5% of those who didn’t get incentives. [Wall Street Journal]

Over the 35+ years since, Steve and Sherry have been photographed on more than 127 different tandem bikes and used in advertising for more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems. [Weekly Probe]


Posted by CharlotteGee


The Week in Numbers
April 17, 2009, 8:57 am
Filed under: week in numbers | Tags: ,

Installment #15:

RUSS CUCINA, 37, lives a double life. For two months of the year, he practices internal medicine, treating patients at the UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. The rest of the year, he helps the hospital develop its electronic medical records and other data systems.

A year ago, she switched her 3,000 patients from paper charts to electronic health records, a core feature of most plans for healing the nation’s ailing health system. Now, working with computers and printouts, her staff of part-time nurses and shared front-office workers has more time to help her meet the needs of patients. “I’ll never go back to the old system,” said Dr. Brull, 37, who runs a solo practice in Plainville, Kan.

According to the survey, 64 percent of the CIOs say it’s impossible to balance the demand for health information technology with the need to cut costs, and half of the CIOs who preside over hospitals with at least 500 beds say federal funding is “crucial” to the implementation of EHRs.

The survey found that while only 9% of consumers surveyed have an electronic personal health record, 42% of respondents are interested in creating an online PHR that connects to their physicians.

Express Scripts Inc., one of the country’s largest pharmacy-benefits managers, said it saw prices rise more than 10% to 15% between the 2008 first quarter and this year’s first quarter.

New figures indicate drug reps don’t get in the door to see a doctor on 13% of their visits.

The American Medical Association launched a Twitter profile on April 1 as a way to keep physicians informed on important issues.

Only 40 venture capital firms in the U.S. raised money in the first quarter, the lowest level in six years. That was nearly half the number of firms raising money in the first quarter of 2008 and nearly 15 percent fewer than firms raising money in the final quarter of last year. Fundraising for venture capital firms nationwide came in at $4.3 billion.

EB Brands is voluntarily recalling fitness balls after receiving 47 reports of balls “unexpectedly bursting, including reports of a fracture, and multiple bruises.” (Yikes. I used to sit on one of these in my cubicle. An unexpected bursting would have been quite embarrassing.)

Posted by CharlotteGee


Health Innovation in the Northwest … Buzz Is Building
April 14, 2009, 7:34 am
Filed under: innovateHealth, seattle market, start-ups | Tags: , ,

This week, Dave Chase’s Seattle P-I blog, Seattle Startup Buzz, highlighted the health care innovation taking place in the Pacific Northwest:

It’s clear there is an innovation revolution taking place around the health care industry. The need for transformation is huge given the size of the market (16% of GDP and relentlessly growing). I worked in Healthcare I.T. in the 80’s and 90’s and always described it the industry as a paradox. On the one hand, it was at the cutting edge when it came to medical technology but was in the dark ages when it came to information technology. …

The Northwest is quietly staking a claim to leadership in this new innovation economy… and it makes sense. The region is home to some of the most successful software companies on the planet and we also have an extremely vibrant health care ecosystem with significant stakeholders like Swedish, Virgina Mason, Fred Hutch the UW and many others. Combine these elements and what you get is the makings of a first-tier health care innovation environment that will very likely produce the next great companies from the Northwest and could very well become difference makers in the US and even worldwide health care marketplaces.

Recognition of this potential is exactly what spurred Davis Wright Tremaine and a group of health care entrepreneurs to launch innovateHealth…a recently formed organization connecting innovators in the region and creating access inward and outward with potential clients, government leaders, capital resources and more. The folks behind the group are Rob Coppedge of Faultline Ventures, Peter Gelpi of Clarity Health Services, Tobin Arthur of iMedExchange, Joe Whitford and Stuart Campbell both of Davis Wright Tremaine.

We’re thrilled about the building “buzz” around the many innovative health care companies in the area and look forward to more.

More on innovateHealth: innovateHealth // Supporting Health Care Innovators in the Pacific Northwest

Posted by CharlotteGee

The Week in Numbers
April 10, 2009, 7:48 am
Filed under: week in numbers | Tags: ,

Installment #14:

Venture capitalists’ confidence in the U.S. economy rose in the first quarter from a five-year low … to an average of 3.03, on a scale of 1 to 5, from 2.77 in the fourth quarter.

She used an ID purchased on the black market to get roughly $530,000 worth of hospital care, some of which was paid for by Medicaid.

A Three-Way Fix For Health Reform That Saves Money … From Tom Cigarran, Healthways

The AMA said  that it’s laying off 100 people as part of budget cuts to offset falling revenue.

President Obama announced plans on Thursday to computerize the medical records of veterans into a unified system … The Veterans Affairs system has a backlog of 800,000 disability claims, which means that veterans typically wait six months for decisions on their cases.

China is pumping in 850 billion yuan ($124 billion) to reform the ailing [public health care] system in the next three years as part of an ambitious — and still only hazily outlined — plan to provide basic medical coverage and insurance to all of China’s 1.3 billion people.

(How many health care companies made it on Business Week’s list of the 50 Most Innovative Companies?)

Posted by CharlotteGee

NY Times “Bits” Blog: Health Care Industry Moves Slowly Onto the Internet
April 6, 2009, 8:12 am
Filed under: electronic medical records, health it | Tags:

From the New York Times’ “Bits” blog: Health Care Industry Moves Slowly Onto the Internet. (Sounds a bit like an Onion headline, no?)

The health care industry, a well-known laggard in information technology, is where most of corporate America was a decade or more ago in adopting Internet-style computing. There are innovators, intriguing experiments and lots of interest, but the technology hasn’t yet gone mainstream.

Still, the direction is now clear, and only the pace of the shift is in question. The Obama administration’s plan to spend $19 billion to hasten the adoption of electronic health records that can share data across networks — “interoperable,” in techspeak — will only give more impetus to the shift toward Internet-style computing. And there is plenty of evidence of the emerging transition being demonstrated and announced this week at the health information technology’s big annual conference and trade show in Chicago, sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, or HIMSS.

One good example of the trend is a joint project, announced on Sunday, between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and GE Healthcare. The project will deliver individually tailored public health alerts to electronic health records in doctors’ offices. The goal, for example, is to have an alert pop up on a physician’s screen that a certain patient, based on location, age and perhaps occupation, might be at risk for an influenza outbreak that is nearing a certain community or for contracting a food-borne illness.

More interesting (to me, anyway) than the actual post are the reader comments, many from doctors about the now-ubiquitous EMR. For example, the first comment concludes: “These public health alerts are in theory, great, but in practicality, the pop ups will only work if GE and the CDC have invented holograms that pop up out of their paper charts.”

(Curious: I wonder how many EMR booths there are at HIMSS? I should go count.)

Posted by CharlotteGee