Guiding Patient Engagement

I spent some time over the weekend thinking about patient engagement. Specifically, how we assess the effectiveness of programs and ideally gauge the return on the investment for engagement efforts and initiatives.

Guiding Patient Engagement

There are limited resources to create and implement engagement programs, especially in light of the recent hefty investments most organizations have made in EHRs. Assessing effectiveness is crucial to assure proper allocation of limited resources.

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News 5/2/14

MedStar becomes the fourth and final founding partner for 1776, a shared working space in Washington, DC for startups. The others are Microsoft, Comcast, and the City of DC. I’ve been told 1776 has grown extremely fast, using many of the lessons of 1871, a similar space in Chicago.1871, not to be outdone when it comes to healthcare, is dedicating 25,000 square feet to Matter as a health-focused co-working space. MedStar getting involved could start a great trend, especially if it’s even partially true that "MedStar Health clinicians and administrators will have a significant presence at the 1776 campus so they can actively work alongside the startups that are building solutions to health care and other major challenge areas." Providers are getting involved with health startup communities in more and more cities.

News 5/2/14

Telemedicine is facing an interesting issue in Idaho. The state is pursuing action against a physician who prescribed an antibiotic after a virtual visit, which violates the state’s rules. The doctor could lose her board certification. The incident in question involved Consul-a-Doctor, a company that was acquired later by Teladoc (Teladoc does not work in Idaho any more.) It’s an interesting case and one that highlights the stupidity of practice rules that vary from state to state. The root of the problem is that nobody wants to give up control over their fiefdom, so we’re stuck with huge variations in telemedicine laws from state to state. Adding in lobbies to protect local docs doesn’t help the cause of standardization. Docs get around some of the state rules by getting licensed in multiple states, but still some states can’t treat without doing a physical exam (new or existing patients.) The inconsistency only serves to create confusion and more cases like this, ultimately reducing access to safe and affordable telemedicine-based care.

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Connected Health Data Report

Gigaom published a new report earlier this week titled "The Internet of Things and the Future of Health Care." The Internet of Things is connected stuff — glucometers, TVs, thermostats, sensors, pedometers, RFID-tagged equipment, etc. The report mentions the "health IoT," a term I hadn’t heard that describes what we write about and think about with regard to connected health.

The report effectively outlines the case for connected devices in healthcare. It’s not revolutionary material, but it is well thought out with good case studies. I agree with the conclusion that connected health has potential. The 10-year horizon mentioned in the report can be seen as either pessimistic or optimistic depending on how long you’ve spent in the industry.

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News 4/25/14

On the heels of Nike pulling out of the digital health hardware space and stopping development on its Fuelband, Moves app is acquired by Facebook. Nike has chosen to focus on software, not hardware, and to leverage the technology already being made by handset makers and other hardware makers. Moves similarly focuses on software and built its software product to track activity using iPhone hardware. The Moves app is solid and has improved a lot over time. It’s interesting to see Facebook getting into activity tracking and it maps to Facebook’s focus on mobile engagement. Ultimately Facebook derives value from data about people and higher levels of engagement and Moves fits well with that.

News 4/25/14

Filament Labs has moves beyond wellness to digital care plans. Filament started with a wellness app called HealthSpark, but has now gone beyond that to a model of digital, mobile care plans. Filament and its digital care plan platform PatientIO is targeting home care and infusion. Rethinking the paper-based care plan is a huge need with much potential, especially with health providers endorsing it, which is how Filament distributes its care plan platform. I also think targeting specific types of episodes and care plans, like infusion, is the right approach.

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Nike’s Smart Move Out of Hardware

Nike is getting out of the digital wearables business. It’s been big news for the past week or so that Nike is laying off most of its hardware team. It won’t stop selling the FuelBand, but it won’t be making new versions of it, either.

I wore a FuelBand for several years and liked it, though it wasn’t without its issues. Bluetooth connections were inconsistent and I had to exchange the Fuelband several times for both hardware and software (firmware) problems. My wife had a FuelBand and had similar problems.

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