Wearable research: Design? UX? No, accuracy of bio-metric data rises to the top

A 3-minute read, at best. I promise a chuckle inside the more serious business topic of wearables for health. A recent study is worth sharing; the one caveat being since the research was commissioned by a sensor company, one has to read it somewhat skeptically — yet, health wearables is a hot topic among consumers, so the research is certainly relevant.

Now for the chuckle. From the New Yorker:

Thanks New Yorker for always skewering a topic just right.

Let’s look at recent research about a conversation I have rarely thought about: health wearable accuracy. Not being a wearable person, I would have thought that accuracy of bio metric data was a given or else who’d buy one?

In this study, consumers weighed in that the most important aspect of their wearable, whether an owner or prospective buyer, was accuracy.

Methodology: The online survey polled 706 U.S. consumers, ages 18-65, on their knowledge and preferences around wearables, which were defined as a device, clothing and/or accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies. Among those surveyed:

  • More than 42% of respondents own or have owned a wearable device
  • 63% ranked accuracy as a highly important feature of that wearable.
  • Among wearable owners, 80% feel that their wearable has a positive impact on their health.
  • For those who do not own a wearable, 74% of would consider using one if accuracy in wearables could help them to better manage their health.

Conclusion? The door is open and consumers just want to know the wearable they want isn’t just ergonomically beautiful or solves 50 problems, they want to know it works like a clock. After all, who would buy a clock that wasn’t accurate?

Thank you Valencell. The Valencell site and study press release is here: http://goo.gl/7BhLxp

As always, I hope this helps deepen your thinking on devices, Pill + type strategies.

Wearable research: Design? UX? No, accuracy of bio-metric data rises to the top was originally published on Harbinger Associates

7 Things an Oncologist Should Never Say to a Patient.

Summary: 2-minute read: this is an heart-felt article on CancerNetwork about one oncologists honest admission of what NOT to say to a cancer patient. So many of us focus on aiding or informing the doctor/patient dialogue, but here is an example of the painful reality of insensitivity reality patients face. We need to understand this because emotion is a part of the discussion, and we marketers shy away from any emotional language or communication.

In reading this we should all remember one thing: in a world where automation and technology seem to have taken over many marketing conversations, humanity and empathy still rule the day as the most effective form of communication.

What are the 7 things? 

“I’m afraid I have bad news.”

“Is there some reason you did not see your doctor when this started?”

“You’re just wasting your money taking supplements.”

“I don’t want you leaving town.”

“If you had not smoked, this would not have happened to you.”

“You have (insert number) months left to live.”

“This treatment will not make you sick.”

Here’s the entire article; for each statement, the doctor supplies straight-forward, common sense reasons why each is harmful to the patient. Some of this is blindingly obvious. Still, it provides empathy and clarity around how to communicate in a way that guides, not hurts.

http://www.cancernetwork.com/blog/7-things-oncologists-should-never-say-their-patients

 

Thank you CancerNetwork and Dr Craig Hildreth.

7 Things an Oncologist Should Never Say to a Patient. was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare: It’s here but is it ready?

Summary, a 4-minute read: this covers the emergence of Artificial intelligence bots — like Alexa from Amazon — and how they are starting to be used in healthcare. But the challenges are as long as a python — from privacy to cost, customization to making it relevant. We all should know by now that AI is another industry-changing technology.

Once you study it, the concept of “Beyond-the-pill” seems one-dimensional. But to apply it to a patient app it seems a bit premature. Or is it? What is in the market now?

The AI tipping point has occurred, driven mostly by Alexa/amazon and Google Now. But people already use their voice-recognition software in their smartphones now. Just look at the landscape chart in this post and you see that there is no one leader, nor singular technological approach to AI (full chart at end of post). In a recent study by SoftServe/CD Data, the investment in AI is accelerating:

And on the adoption/satisfaction curve  MindMeld did a study of smartphone users level of adoption/satisfaction with their current use of voice-recognition:
chart-1

While the chart may be hard to read, let me spell out the dramatic findings — especially for such a nascent technology:

  • More than 50% of respondents have tried voice assistants
  • More than  30% are “regular users” (daily or weekly)
  • 50% of those who use the assistants are “satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with their experience
  • 20% consider themselves dissatisfied with the technology

So, the first chart showed the investment tipping point, but this last finding demonstrates the “human” tipping point:

  • 60% of the respondents said they adopted IA in the past year (40 percent within the past six months)

But the landscape is overwhelming; the early stage of applying this voice-recognition/machine-learning daunting to any Biopharma company looking to use AI for, let’s say, patient adherence, or providing a “Past-the-pill” solution. What is in the market now worth looking at?

Recently, I conducted a analysis of AI health apps for a chronic condition. For so many chronic conditions, especially for data-paranoid Biopharma companies, it is pretty clear that AI apps are at a very early-stage development and adoption. There’s Welldoc,HealthrhythmsCogito, and many others being tested in a variety of clinical environments. Though each is amazing, it is early for them.

On the more “mature” end of the spectrum, you can have Watson from IBM customize a part of its software for a dialog/voice active and passive recognition app; but perhaps farthest along in the Biopharma space is NextIT AlME Health Coach Bot. Not only has it been adopted by Biopharma — TEVA Copaxone being the most dramatic in-market example — it is winning awards and is so highly customizable it may be the best answer for really providing value to patients beyond trackers and other one-dimensional apps, toss-away apps.

Consider the facts of this award-winning AI App:  AlME Health Coach Bot (YouTube video here) uses brand-approved content to shape into an AI Health Coach Bot dialogue, one that offers real conversation and learns from what you say to it!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upv3EsP712U?feature=oembed&w=1080&h=608]

There is so much to say on this topic, it is too much. But to conclude: if your brand or clients are asking about “We want a REAL app that engages our patients because that last one stunk” then look to NextIT first. They have proven what others are still testing.

mobile

Just to put an exclamation point on why healthcare should dabble, but not adopt as of yet, the chart below says it all: too many choices, directions, unproven ground. But each organization needs to have some ear to the ground, a group that looks into these technologies on a regular basis. Pay attention, or you’ll miss the idea that goes Beyond-the-Pill to true help in the form of AI.

Landscape

Thank you to MindMeldSoftServeVB Profiles and IBM for not just supplying meaningful content, but for being the evangelists and change-agents we need.

Enjoy Watson!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFUg-b9qeIk?feature=oembed&w=1080&h=608]

Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare: It’s here but is it ready? was originally published on Harbinger Associates

In health is the notion of “Trust” as important as a good User Experience? A new study offers the stunning truth.

Summary: one new study by Makovsky/Kelton delves into the latest trends of online behavior and the issue of trust among key audiences and healthcare. The results seem to indicate that a good User Experience is almost as important as the source, if not more! Read on for the story and stats, and a few helpful conclusions.

Are we really so superficial? Or have we as consumers finally reached that tipping point of where our Experience with Web site content is truly how we frame our trust of that content? Just check out this chart and see how the “trust” chart line and the “ease-of-use” from the Makovsky “Pulse of Online Search Survey, 2016”.

I love human contradictions. We are so simple and yet so complex. Take a few observations from this chart: Advocacy sites are the most trusted and yet least visited…is that really because their “ease-of-use” is so crude, under-funded and under-engaging? It would seem so.

59% trust Advocacy sites, but only 19% visit them.

53% visit WebMD, but only 39% trust the content.

And for Biopharma? Only 10% visit (OUCH) but of those, around 40% trust the content and find it easy-to-use.

Does that mean that Biopharma’s (bad) reputation is the biggest block to more brand site visitation? Or, as the report teases out, is the real key that Biopharma brands need to pull down the walls and channel the authenticity of the Advocacy groups and their own branded needs? Why can’t Advocacy groups distribute their content on brand sites?  It almost seems a childish church-and-state separation.

Last eye-opening but not surprising stat:

95% of online Searchers (18+) trust their doctor. BUT 62% research the recommended treatment after a visit. Does that tell us that consumers have just embraced this habit, or is it that ever-shorter, ever-less-satisfying visit to the doctor leaves us with more questions than answers? Another reason why Biopharma brands need to accept that patients want the science — brands need to start sharing their clinical information, as well as disease state, with transparency. Patients are looking for that information — but they are not looking at the branded site.

The lead researcher is quite succinct in setting the reality, the challenge and the opportunity for healthcare brands — hospitals or manufacturers — to pay attention to: “The type of health information consumers seek online is changing, as well – with consumer behaviors clearly shifting from symptom-focused research to treatment-focused research, both before and after doctor visits,” commented Alexandra Peterson, SVP and Practice Director, Makovsky Health.“Consumer actions to prepare for and then validate conversations with physicians via online search illustrate the balance between patient empowerment and desire for professional guidance. Combined with the fact that the majority of patients are likely to ask their doctor for a prescription by name, survey results show that patients are walking into the doctor’s office armed with more information than ever, eager to have a more active role in the treatment discussion and decision.”

CX (Customer Experience) is my work and is almost the single greatest thread that goes through every marketing conversation.  As marketing professionals, digitally conversant, we all fret and obsess at the gaps and opportunities clients either do not see, or do not have the ability to act upon. Yet, with every passing day, we all are documenting the Customer Experience in ever greater detail; as we see studies like this we need to view and share them as confirmation we are doing the right thing for our clients, patients and caregivers.

The real insight here is how healthcare and health in general is fast becoming a shopping experience — it used to be “Does it work?” when it came to treatments. Now it seems we consumer are overlaying our shopping habits to health — “I don’t like how this looks or feels”.  Since Biopharma companies DO have a lot to offer patients, focusing on CX and perhaps the trustworthiness of their content needs to come to the forefront of planning any campaign.

In health is the notion of “Trust” as important as a good User Experience? A new study offers the stunning truth. was originally published on Harbinger Associates

In health is the notion of “Trust” as important as a good User Experience? A new study offers the stunning truth.

Summary: one new study by Makovsky/Kelton delves into the latest trends of online behavior and the issue of trust among key audiences and healthcare. The results seem to indicate that a good User Experience is almost as important as the source, if not more! Read on for the story and stats, and a few helpful conclusions.

Are we really so superficial? Or have we as consumers finally reached that tipping point of where our Experience with Web site content is truly how we frame our trust of that content? Just check out this chart and see how the “trust” chart line and the “ease-of-use” from the Makovsky “Pulse of Online Search Survey, 2016”.

I love human contradictions. We are so simple and yet so complex. Take a few observations from this chart: Advocacy sites are the most trusted and yet least visited…is that really because their “ease-of-use” is so crude, under-funded and under-engaging? It would seem so.

59% trust Advocacy sites, but only 19% visit them.

53% visit WebMD, but only 39% trust the content.

And for Biopharma? Only 10% visit (OUCH) but of those, around 40% trust the content and find it easy-to-use.

Does that mean that Biopharma’s (bad) reputation is the biggest block to more brand site visitation? Or, as the report teases out, is the real key that Biopharma brands need to pull down the walls and channel the authenticity of the Advocacy groups and their own branded needs? Why can’t Advocacy groups distribute their content on brand sites?  It almost seems a childish church-and-state separation.

Last eye-opening but not surprising stat:

95% of online Searchers (18+) trust their doctor. BUT 62% research the recommended treatment after a visit. Does that tell us that consumers have just embraced this habit, or is it that ever-shorter, ever-less-satisfying visit to the doctor leaves us with more questions than answers? Another reason why Biopharma brands need to accept that patients want the science — brands need to start sharing their clinical information, as well as disease state, with transparency. Patients are looking for that information — but they are not looking at the branded site.

The lead researcher is quite succinct in setting the reality, the challenge and the opportunity for healthcare brands — hospitals or manufacturers — to pay attention to: “The type of health information consumers seek online is changing, as well – with consumer behaviors clearly shifting from symptom-focused research to treatment-focused research, both before and after doctor visits,” commented Alexandra Peterson, SVP and Practice Director, Makovsky Health.“Consumer actions to prepare for and then validate conversations with physicians via online search illustrate the balance between patient empowerment and desire for professional guidance. Combined with the fact that the majority of patients are likely to ask their doctor for a prescription by name, survey results show that patients are walking into the doctor’s office armed with more information than ever, eager to have a more active role in the treatment discussion and decision.”

CX (Customer Experience) is my work and is almost the single greatest thread that goes through every marketing conversation.  As marketing professionals, digitally conversant, we all fret and obsess at the gaps and opportunities clients either do not see, or do not have the ability to act upon. Yet, with every passing day, we all are documenting the Customer Experience in ever greater detail; as we see studies like this we need to view and share them as confirmation we are doing the right thing for our clients, patients and caregivers.

The real insight here is how healthcare and health in general is fast becoming a shopping experience — it used to be “Does it work?” when it came to treatments. Now it seems we consumer are overlaying our shopping habits to health — “I don’t like how this looks or feels”.  Since Biopharma companies DO have a lot to offer patients, focusing on CX and perhaps the trustworthiness of their content needs to come to the forefront of planning any campaign.

In health is the notion of “Trust” as important as a good User Experience? A new study offers the stunning truth.

Summary: one new study by Makovsky/Kelton delve into the latest trends of online behavior and the issue of trust among key audiences and healthcare. The results seem to indicate that a good User Experience is almost as important as the source, if not more! Read on for the story and stats, and a few helpful conclusions.

Are we really so superficial? Or have we as consumers finally reached that tipping point of where our Experience with Web site content is truly how we frame our trust of that content? Just check out this chart and see how the “trust” chart line and the “ease-of-use” from the Makovsky “Pulse of Online Search Survey, 2016”.

I love human contradictions. We are so simple and yet so complex. Take a few observations from this chart: Advocacy sites are the most trusted and yet least visited…is that really because their “ease-of-use” is so crude, under-funded and under-engaging? It would seem so.

59% trust Advocacy sites, but only 19% visit them.

53% visit WebMD, but only 39% trust the content.

And for Biopharma? Only 10% visit (OUCH) but of those, around 40% trust the content and find it easy-to-use.

Does that mean that Biopharma’s (bad) reputation is the biggest block to more brand site visitation? Or, as the report teases out, is the real key that Biopharma brands need to pull down the walls and channel the authenticity of the Advocacy groups and their own branded needs? Why can’t Advocacy groups distribute their content on brand sites?  It almost seems a childish church-and-state separation.

Last eye-opening but not surprising stat:

95% of online Searchers (18+) trust their doctor. BUT 62% research the recommended treatment after a visit. Does that tell us that consumers have just embraced this habit, or is it that ever-shorter, ever-less-satisfying visit to the doctor leaves us with more questions than answers? Another reason why Biopharma brands need to accept that patients want the science — brands need to start sharing their clinical information, as well as disease state, with transparency. Patients are looking for that information — but they are not looking at the branded site.

The lead researcher is quite succinct in setting the reality, the challenge and the opportunity for healthcare brands — hospitals or manufacturers — to pay attention to: “The type of health information consumers seek online is changing, as well – with consumer behaviors clearly shifting from symptom-focused research to treatment-focused research, both before and after doctor visits,” commented Alexandra Peterson, SVP and Practice Director, Makovsky Health.“Consumer actions to prepare for and then validate conversations with physicians via online search illustrate the balance between patient empowerment and desire for professional guidance. Combined with the fact that the majority of patients are likely to ask their doctor for a prescription by name, survey results show that patients are walking into the doctor’s office armed with more information than ever, eager to have a more active role in the treatment discussion and decision.”

CX (Customer Experience) is my work and is almost the single greatest thread that goes through every marketing conversation.  As marketing professionals, digitally conversant, we all fret and obsess at the gaps and opportunities clients either do not see, or do not have the ability to act upon. Yet, with every passing day, we all are documenting the Customer Experience in ever greater detail; as we see studies like this we need to view and share them as confirmation we are doing the right thing for our clients, patients and caregivers.

The real insight here is how healthcare and health in general is fast becoming a shopping experience — it used to be “Does it work?” when it came to treatments. Now it seems we consumer are overlaying our shopping habits to health — “I don’t like how this looks or feels”.  Since Biopharma companies DO have a lot to offer patients, focusing on CX and perhaps the trustworthiness of their content needs to come to the forefront of planning any campaign.

Makovsky infographic on Search trust

 

 

Thank you to Makovsky Health for their intelligence, generosity and amazing report…

In health is the notion of “Trust” as important as a good User Experience? A new study offers the stunning truth. was originally published on Harbinger Associates

100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news?

Why would 100,000 doctors currently in medical school not go into practice? Why would they turn away from serving patients and following their mission? And why is this potentially good news?

There are many reasons, some obvious, some not. I am shocked by the number, but not surprised. And you know what, it makes sense. Let’s look at the debate and review some technologies changing health care delivery — created by doctors!

In this post we will review this trend in medicine with Healthtap and Ginger.io.

According to several studies, summarized well in a blog by a medical student, Ryan Gamlin, on MedicalEconomics.com, the list is long:

  • Pressures of the post-ACA medical practice.
  • Conflict between doctors on the front-line and hospital managers minding the spreadsheets, the tedium of a partially broken system.
  • The lure of technology and its broader, and more innovative impact on patients and the healthcare system.

From the  NPR’s December 2015 story, “Siren Song Of Tech Lures New Doctors Away From Medicine” to a recent  in the Society of Hospital Medicine’s monthlyThe Hospitalist, “Concerns Grow as Top Clinicians Choose Nonclinical Roles”, the reason for not going into traditional practice almost seems logical. In many ways, this turn away from tradition is driven by the need of many doctors to fix the system, to provide better care and deliver it through technology.

First is HealthTap: A video and text-based 24/7 doctor-on-call service. They have great marketing, a great service and as they wrote to me in  an email:

“With HealthTap Prime, you’ll have unlimited: 24/7 access to primary care; Live video or text chat virtual consults; Medical advice anytime, anywhere; Prescriptions, lab tests, and so much more!”

HealthTap opening App screen:

I have not engaged with them, but every time I call to see my GP, and begin to have what I call the “scheduling wrestling match” I pause and think about the appeal of HealthTap’s on-demand health service promise. Whats more, their branding is simple and almost charming: “Doctors are making house calls again.” Kind of appealing when you find out you can’t get to see your doctor for two weeks about that nagging cough.

Even HealthTap’s registration is very friendly and ignores the technology for the human aspect of their service.

Diving into more specific condition management and support, Ginger.io app for mental illness is truly progressive and has overcome many of the reasons the adoption of mHealth apps has been so poor — the App is multi-dimensional and evolves with you.

 Conclusion: technology has taken over the point-of-care, but not always in a positive, helpful way. The idea that doctors’ have decided to embrace technology over practice is not as simple as it sounds. If they choose in-practice, they are less masters of their own fate that chattel to the hospital procedures and formulary that owns them; yet if they chose technology, they could impact entire population grounds and be the Agents of Change we need right now.

BTW, the future of medicine is either a bull to ride or be run over by…

Thank you getreferralmd.com for the infographic.

https://getreferralmd.com/2013/11/health-care-technology-innovations-2013-infographic/

 

Many thanks to Ryan Gamlin (@ryangamlin), a former health care management consultant and current medical student at the University of Cincinnati. Also to MedicalEconomics.com and NPR being so smart and insightful with their content.

100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news? was originally published on Harbinger Associates

100,000 doctors in school now will NOT go into practice. Why is this good news? was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Does Biopharma “get” the role of caregiver? Do any of us really market to their needs? Ask 65 million people. (Part 1 of 2).

Summary: 65 million caregivers. Their role is often undefined, undeserved and undersupported. Are we as marketers, and as human beings, missing out on a key audience and the opportunity to engage with a key Influencer? Caregivers challenges are formidable — there must be ways to help. While this is an ever-growing part of the population, we as brand marketers in healthcare need them on our side — or rather, we need to be at their side!

Remember, when your branded treatment needs to be part of the conversation, a caregiver may be your best sales force! 

So, best advice: don’t reinvent the wheel. Check out the numerous existing resources (some examples in this post) before developing any strategy; look to partner for credibility and to tap into an already existing expertise. People are already doing it right: learn before you spend.

Let’s look at a recent study by AARP . In a recent study by AARP* titled “Valuing the Invaluable 2015 Update: Undeniable Progress but Big Gaps Remain”.

Here are some startling facts (with an infographic to add depth):

  • Family caregivers in the U.S. provided 37 billion hours of care
  • This is worth an estimated $470 billion—to their parents, spouses, partners, and other adult loved ones in 2013.
  • The total estimated economic value of this uncompensated care provided by the nation’s family caregivers surpassed total Medicaid spending ($449 billion), and nearly equaled the annual sales ($469 billion) of the four largest U.S. tech companies combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Microsoft) in 2013.
  • 74% of workers at some point during their career provide care to a loved one.
  • Approximately 18% of caregivers say they are “highly strained” financially because of their care giving responsibilities.
  • 1 in 3 have no help at all, paid or unpaid, the report found.
  • In the U.S. alone, 65.7 million people provide care to an older adult.

Let’s not lose sight that these aren’t numbers, they’re humans. Armies of human beings, individuals, each with their own needs and story. This is what lies behind the numbers. Let’s use these infographic from 101 Mobility to show the burden of tasks and time:

What does this mean to marketers? First, if you are going to address and engage with the caregiver as a branded treatment, study all the current digital and offline resources available — caring.com, caregiver.com, even the BMS unbrandedwww.navigatelungcancer.com.

More on what are good resources to research to help define your marketing strategy in Part 2 on Caregivers. (Part 2 later this week!)

 

Thank you to: http://101mobility.com/blog/tag/infographic. Thank you to AARP for doing the good work we as a society need.

*AARP “Valuing the Invaluable” 2015 Report.

Does Biopharma “get” the role of caregiver? Do any of us really market to their needs? Ask 65 million people. (Part 1 of 2). was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving

IMS is a highly trusted source of news and data for the entire healthcare industry. But often the focus is on Biopharma — and in this one specific instance — a new update on their tracking the evolution of health apps for patients and doctors.

They report that as of end of 2015, there were over 165,000 health-related apps in the market. In this report, IMS analyzed over 26,000 of these apps. While improvement has occurred from earlier reports (which had the abysmal stats of 75% of all health apps abandoned after 3 months!) there is still much work to do.

But this new report is a mixed bag or encouraging progress and what is still left to do to truly make a health app data-safe, integrates better User Experience customer-centric and relevant over time. Let’s look he highlights…because I have a much more in-depth post coming on cutting edge apps for mental illness.

As the leader of the report, Murray Aitken puts it very succinctly: “While much progress has been made over the past two years, mHealth apps are still far from being a fully integrated component of healthcare delivery,” said Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Healthcare providers are actively addressing the remaining barriers. These include developing and adopting trusted platforms for ongoing apps curation and evaluation, creating practical reimbursement models and ensuring true interoperability within and across healthcare systems.”

The IMS report source: https://goo.gl/jT5zJP

The highlights:

  • App connectivity becomes a major focus for developers
  • Overwhelming choice without guidance limits usefulness of healthcare apps; over half of all health app downloads come form just 96 apps. That sure speaks to a lot of wasted money and time.
  • A growing movement is underway to build evidence supporting the value of mHealth apps.
  • Providers agree that the value mHealth apps can deliver is high, but barriers to full adoption remain.

The industry is at an important stage of evolution — the old lackluster, brand-centric approach to app development is giving way to greater focus on passive data collection and relevance.

Stay tuned for more on mHealth apps…lots of change, lots to say!

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Biopharma listened! IMS reports on health apps improving was originally published on Harbinger Associates

Surprise! EHR’s are hurting not helping the doctor /patient relationship.

Summary: A healthy Patient-Doctor relationship is the core of all healthcare.  This reports on a JAMA* study as well as one brilliant doctors’ personal view on the impact of EHR’s on that hallowed relationship.

When JAMA publishes a study, everyone pays attention. But this was not a clinical study; this was research into the impact of EHR’s (Electronic Health Records) on the patient-doctor relationship. They videotaped numerous consults and them interviewed the patient afterward.

Guess what, the news is not good. (Especially for those Biopharma marketers looking at EHR’s as a new promotion channel: do you really want to annoy the doctor more by interrupting their work with a savings card?)

With the healthcare system was heading towards the abyss of being too costly, the Affordable Care Act was supposed to be the game-changer for nearly every aspect of the entire trillion dollar industry.  One mandate was for all patient records to become digital (and accessible). Incentives and punishments were created requiring doctors and hospitals to have Electronic Health Records as a means to more efficiently serve patient care, lower costs  and create Connected Health with inter-operable systems…a glorious vision of a healthcare system that is efficient and patient-centric.

Well, maybe not so patient-centric as the architects of the ACA believed. The collapse of the independent practice, the turnover of EHR’s, the bad User Experience, are all well known shortcomings.

JAMA looked at the reality of what “efficiency” really means to patient-centricity:

  • The researchers used data from encounters between 47 patients and 39 doctors at a public hospital between 2011 and 2013.
  • Doctors who entered data into computerized health records during patients’ appointments did less positive communicating, and patients rated their care excellent less often, in a recent study.
  • Doctors who used the computer more also spent more time correcting or disagreeing with patients.
  • Private practices, due to ACA, EHR and other burdens, have collapsed and been acquired in droves by large hospital networks (estimated under 30% remain private); in doing so, doctor’s are in the thrall of hospital guidelines and procedures…and no real influence on choice of EHR’s!

No wonder patients are unhappy! So are doctors! Doctors are trained to observe a patient, literally watch them closely as they speak and use their experience and observations to help in every part of their patient care. But EHR’s force them to break their training habits– type in their laptop, look up-and-down, asking the usual questions and perhaps miss the visual cues they were trained to catch.

The famous ZDoggMD  created a YouTube video just asking: “Let doctors be doctors!”  This is a witty and worthy  commentary from a doctor who is trying to bring a doctor-centric view of fixing medicine. PLEASE watch his video.

Clearly, the ACA/EHR boulder is rolling downhill at it’s own speed and regulatory-demands. Perhaps once all EHR’s are voice-activated (my ENT has one but I wonder if it catches his off-color jokes), and UX is more point-of-care centric, this mess will turn a more positive corner.

*SOURCE: bit.ly/1NiCTWw JAMA Internal Medicine, online November 30, 2015

Surprise! EHR’s are hurting not helping the doctor /patient relationship. was originally published on Harbinger Associates