Category Archives: e-health

Castlight Enterprise Healthcare Summit: Magic and the President

Castlight Health is expanding beyond its origins in cost transparency, today announcing the Castlight Enterprise Cloud, which includes four “solution centers” — that encompass analytics, incentives, and personalization. The company made the announcement in a grand way, with an Enterprise Healthcare Summit featuring President Bill Clinton, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Steve Forbes, Toby Cosgrove (Cleveland Clinic) and Castlight executives Giovanni Colella and Naomi Allen.

I had the opportunity to attend, learn more about the company’s latest, and mix and mingle with a high-powered crowd. Here’s my scrapbook:

Magic Johnson reflected on his basketball and business career, while dropping in a few words about price transparency in healthcare

Magic Johnson reflected on his basketball and business career, while dropping in a few words about price transparency in healthcare

Magic Johnson gave President  Clinton a rousing introduction

Magic Johnson gave President Clinton a rousing introduction

I expected Clinton to give a stump speech, but instead he personalized the speech to focus specifically on price transparency and Castlight's role

I expected Clinton to give a stump speech, but instead he personalized the speech to focus specifically on price transparency and Castlight’s role

CEO Giovanni Colella asked Clinton some follow-up questions, and the prez had plenty to say in reply

CEO Giovanni Colella asked Clinton some follow-up questions, and the prez had plenty to say in reply

Once Giovanni was done with the President he found some time for me

Once Giovanni was done with the President he found some time for me

The Cleveland Clinic's CEO Toby Cosgrove took part in a panel discussion. His fellow panelists were a little surprised when he called for provider monopolies

The Cleveland Clinic’s CEO Toby Cosgrove took part in a panel discussion. His fellow panelists were a little surprised when he called for provider monopolies

Steve Forbes never got to be president but he did get to speak in the same conference as one

Steve Forbes never got to be president but he did get to speak in the same conference as one

Castlight's Naomi Allen laid out the details of the new Castlight offerings

Castlight’s Naomi Allen laid out the details of the new Castlight offerings

American Social Club played some great crowd pleasers

American Social Club played some great crowd pleasers

82 Mercer might never be the same after Castlight's conference wraps

82 Mercer might never be the same after Castlight’s conference wraps

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams of the Health Business Group

Some docs start to get the hang of online reviews

Doctors Check Online Ratings and Make Some Changes in the Wall Street Journal starts out like many articles on the topic: by giving physicians the opportunity to vent about the evils of online reviews. We hear docs complain that reviews can be unrepresentative, that drug-seeking patients who are denied Vicodin write spiteful things, and that doctors sometimes have to give difficult news that patients don’t like. Oftentimes this feedback from doctors is merely hypothetical and provides evidence that they don’t actually go online and look at the reviews.

But this article is better than many, and it goes on to report that most physicians reviews are actually positive and that the reviews are reasonably well correlated with objective quality measures.

I also sense from this article a turn for the better in the evolution of online reviews and physicians’ reactions to them. One practice monitors the web daily for new reviews, responds to negative ones, and encourages those with issues to contact the office. Another physician looks to the reviews for constructive feedback –for example he is trying to lift his head up from the computer screen and make better eye contact.

Patients are paying attention to more than just the content of individual reviews, and physician practices would be wise to take notice. One 50 year old patient says that he is suspicious of physicians with no online reviews. “If no one is reviewing them… then I don’t feel like they are keeping up with the times, which says something about them,” he told the Journal.

Discerning patients also pay attention to whether and how the practice responds to online reviews. My sense is that patients are willing to give doctors the benefit of the doubt if they acknowledge issues and respond in a courteous manner.

Interestingly, some physician practices seem to be taking a page from the old car dealer playbook, by actively trying to influence the reviews they get. Remember when dealers used to provide a free oil change to patients who brought in their blank customer satisfaction survey? Doctors aren’t going quite that far but they are handpicking satisfied patients and encouraging them to participate.

As online reviews become more common and more important, what’s needed is a trusted third-party to make sure the reviews are representative and insightful. Commercial vendors like Vitals, RatedMDs and Healthgrades do a decent job, but there’s also a role for non-profit initiatives like the DOCTOR Project that apply rigorous approaches to provide the best information possible.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams of the Health Business Group

 

HealthCare SocialMedia Review #53

All the news that's fit to link

All the news that’s fit to link

Welcome one and all to the 53rd running of the HealthCare SocialMedia Review #HCSM. Social media in healthcare is going more and more mainstream, so there’s plenty of good new stuff to profile.

Bad hair day? Wax Impressions offers advice on how to handle a social media crisis. Hint: Don’t wait around doing nothing!

Type a doctor’s name into Google and chances are you’ll find dozens of links, many for physician ratings sites. What’s a poor practice to do to exert some influence on the message? Joe Chierotti has some practical ideas.

Twitter’s new profile has implications for marketers, including those in healthcare. Marie Ennis-O’Connor explains what’s new and what one should do.

Doctors’ lounges are pretty empty these days, but cloud-based lounge equivalents show some promise for keeping up with the latest medical knowledge (and gossip, too). Practice Fusion’s blog advises docs to get their own e-librarian, be social, and gamify.  Gamify? I thought that was something you did at the gym.

Whether docs are into it or not the drug pushers are trying gamification with consumers. Zyrtec has a Facebook App that lets allergy sufferers walk a fake dog through a fake park, reports Create Conversation. I wonder if we’ll see any of the generic makers of Zyrtec (cetirizine) put out a cut-rate version of the app, perhaps in black and white.

And finally, MD Connect share five ways docs can used LinkedIn to market their practices. Good stuff.

That’s it for today! Sam Welch at brandgagement is up next!

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams of the Health Business Group

My #HIMSS14 exhibit hall photo tour

Today was the day to catch up with old colleagues and meet a few new ones on the massive floor of the #HIMSS14 exhibit hall in Orlando. Here are a few highlights —

 

With PatientKeeper CEO Paul Brient

With PatientKeeper CEO Paul Brient

Paul Brient at PatientKeeper is making great traction with CPOE tools for hospitals. See my earlier podcast on their outstanding rating by KLAS.

With GetWellNetwork CEO Michael O'Neil, Jr.

With GetWellNetwork CEO Michael O’Neil, Jr.

I was impressed with Michael’s story of how his own battle with cancer led to the creation of GetWellNetwork, a patient engagement company.

With Atrilogy Chief Castle Officer Cinderella

With Atrilogy Chief Castle Officer Cinderella

Cinderella showed me the “prince pose” at the Atrilogy booth. Can you tell by these photos that I’m more comfortable with the health care exec types?

With Alere Connect CEO Kent Dicks

With Alere Connect CEO Kent Dicks

I first met Kent Dicks when he was running start-up MedApps, which was acquired by Alere and  has now grown into a much broader and grander remote health monitoring offering.

with Noridian Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Sandeep Wadhwa

with Noridian Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Sandeep Wadhwa

Sandeep Wadhwa and I go way back to college days, when he was president of our senior class at Wesleyan. We’re getting ready for our 25th reunion and trying to decide whether it’s better to be bald or grey. Meanwhile, he’s making things happen at Noridian, a leading Medicare administrator.

Health care business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group at HIMSS 2014 in Orlando with Ken Tarkoff, General Manager of RelayHealth

With RelayHealth General Manager Ken Tarkoff

Ken Tarkoff runs clinical solutions at RelayHealth, a very dynamic division of McKesson.

By health care business consultant David E. Williams, president of the Health Business Group.

#HIMSS14 first impressions

The exhibit hall at the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) 2014 conference is pretty humungous. Even with tens of thousands of people milling around there’s still plenty of elbow room. The central part of the floor is dominated by the huge booths (some with two levels) of the industry giants. Those booths are pretty informative and impressive.

Yet I enjoy starting off by exploring the outskirts of the hall where the small booths reside. This is an admittedly hit or miss approach, but there are some real gems among the exhibitors. It’s always a learning experience for me.

A few of the interesting companies I met today for the first time are:

  • PatientSafe Solutions (booth 3983) a point-of-care mobile solution that integrates positive patient identification workflows into existing EHRs by using a modified iPhone
  • Applied Pathways (booth 3989), which offers a cloud-based platform to enable clinicians and business analysts to develop and curate clinical rules and to implement custom workflows without IT support
  • Condusiv Technologies (booth 3392) whose software improves hardware performance, e.g., by optimizing input/output processes– thus reducing the need to add expensive new gear
  • IMAT Solutions (booth 3792), an advanced data aggregation, analysis and reporting company

I’m sure there are many more interesting companies I haven’t met yet. I look forward to finding some of them over the next couple days.

By health care business consultant David E. Williams, president of the Health Business Group.

How 23andMe got in trouble

Open sesame?

Open sesame?

Lukas Hartmann shares a great, detailed story (My deadly genetic disease was just a bug) of what happens when a self-described nerd is “confronted with a life threatening situation,” in this case a message about him from 23andMe that read:

“Has two mutations linked to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. A person with two of these mutations typically has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.”

Turns out this was the result of an error by 23andMe’s computer system. Now I’m all for patients having control over their lab results and getting away from the paternalistic idea that all results have to be filtered through a doctor. I support the new rule that gives patients direct access to their lab data. Still, this report on 23andMe is troubling and demonstrates what can go wrong when lab results are misinterpreted –either by patients, or, in this case, by a computer program.

Since I am stuck at the Cartoon Guide to Genetics level, I asked a scientist friend for his interpretation. Here’s what he told me:

The errors made by 23andMe are pretty basic:

1.  Lumping all forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy into one entity and calling a biallelic mutation based on monoallelic mutations in two different diseases

2.  Even calling a compound heterozygote based on two different mutations in the same gene is sloppy because they could both be in the same copy of the gene, leaving the other copy functional.

Reporting such stuff directly to the patient when their output leaves much to be sorted out is a setup for false positives.  And using single nucleotide polymorphisms in the first place is less than reliable in diagnosing disease.  The results can be correct, but they can also be the genetic version of racial profiling.

23andMe is an expression of the approach that fancy software is more important than careful medicine.

There are definitely great opportunities to leverage knowledge and patient data to assist in diagnosis, treatment and clinical research. Companies like iCardiac, SimulConsult and Brain Resource are doing just that. But the technology has to be based on hard science and careful programming, and we still need expert physicians and scientists to interpret the results.

photo credit: widdowquinn via photopin cc

By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.

When using a free health care website, consider the business model

Is a free lunch worth the price?

Is a free lunch worth the price?

When Google first came along I assumed that their business plan was to get users addicted to search and then start charging for searches. But it turns out they were a lot savvier than that. Instead of thinking of Google as a service to help users search out content, they thought of it as a service to help advertisers target customers. Users revealed their interests through their search habits, and Google delivered relevant customers to advertisers. Brilliant!

For a long time now Internet users have expected useful sites to be free. That’s true of consumer sites and it’s also true of professional sites. But before getting too involved with these sites it’s worth stopping for a moment to ponder their business models. That’s especially important for medical sites, where privacy is often a concern.

iMedicalApps  reveals the business model behind popular websites used by physicians:

Many free apps aren’t really free, though. We talked about the hidden price of free medical apps about two years ago, an issue that was later highlighted in the New York Times as well. In essence, the price of these apps is that we share enough personal information to enable targeted advertising, surveys, and so on.

What may come as a surprise to many healthcare professionals is that many apps they frequently use like Medscape and Epocrates share users’ names, NPI numbers, and other identifying information with pharmaceutical advertisers. As it turns out, Facebook and Twitter have stricter privacy policies than some of your favorite free medical apps.

The comments section is interesting. Most of those posting profess not to care if their information is shared. Maybe that’s reasonable, but at least it’s worth knowing that it’s occurring.

If you stop to think about it, it’s kind of obvious that “free” apps are leveraging user data to make money from other parties. Even so, many people are surprised when they learn about these business models. But even when the user pays there’s no guarantee that their data will be protected. Marketers are eager for information on doctors and others regardless of whether the user is getting a freebie. If anything, marketers are more interested in obtaining information about users with a demonstrated willingness to pay. And the purveyors of the information see no real reason not to double dip.

Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA spying are having an interesting effect on the market. Snowden has raised awareness that information is often improperly used. Theoretically that might make people wary of signing up for sites that disclose their information. On the other hand, some may reasonably conclude that since the government is looking at their information anyway there’s no reason to try to protect it.

photo credit: webted via photopin cc
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By David E. Williams of the Health Business Group.