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What if Your Doctor Prescribed a Chatbot for You?

A couple weeks ago during a research meeting for our upcoming year, our colleague Lyn Jeffery challenged us to imagine a future where, at some point in the next decade, doctors start prescribing chatbots, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence as a relatively routine matter of medical practice.

More on the financial rewards of health and wellness

In a post earlier this week, Bradley wrote about the launch of a company called HealthyWages, which pays people to lose weight.  Part of their business plan involves marketing their services to corporate clients who can use the platform for corporate wellness programs. RedBrick Health is already playing in this space.

Why Oil Matters to Health Care

Last week, my colleague Jake Dunagan discussed value-based movements against plastic manufacturing and noted that "seemingly EVERYTHING in a child's world is plastic—not only bottles, but toys, utensils, diapers, food containers, bathing accessories, etc." Plastic is in practically everything, but not just in a "child's world." As this article from Miller-McCune highlights, the prevalence of plastic-based products in medicine, as part of a broader reliance on cheap oil in

What does state-of-the-art critical care vs. chronic care look like?

Tomorrow (June 25, 2009), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (more commonly known as HIMSS) is hosting a webinar entitled, "Ubiquitous Wireless Enables All-Private Room Critical Care Hospital."  This struck my interest from a technology standpoint, by it also made me pause to consider the question of how and when the hospital infrastructure in this country will start adapting to meet our growing need for chronic care?

Health CEOs for Health Reform

Health CEOs for Health Reform (HC4HR) recently released a report entitled, Realigning U.S. Health Care Incentives to Better Serve Patients and Taxpayers. HC4HR is part of the Health Policy Program at the New America Foundation. Its members include the CEOs of Group Health Cooperative; Blue Shield of California; Catholic Healthcare West; Global Human Health, Merck & Co. Inc.; Ascension Health; and several health care providers.

According to the Health Policy Program website, three principle guide the members of HC4HR:

  1. Health reform is an urgent priority for our nation and should not be postponed.
  2. Meaningful health reform entails both quality, affordable health coverage for all and delivery system reform. This will require all stakeholders to move away from "business as usual."
  3. A more sustainable health system will require all health care stakeholders to offer and accept changes to their business models as part of a catalytic package that will better serve everyone.

I am particularly intrigued by how principle #3 will play out over time.

The report contains detailed recommendations for moving away from
fee-for-service medicine and refocusing health care delivery on the
patient.  One of the recommendations included is "Implement bundled payment structures," which sounds an awful lot like one of the forecasts we presented at our recent Health and Health Care 2020 Conference.

The report summary offers: 

IBM's vision for . . .

So says IBM.  It also proclaims:

Technology alone can't cure what ails us. But it can help those who treat our illnesses, heal our injuries, and find new ways ot battle diseases do it even better. It can also help healthy individuals to make smarter choices about their health and care.

Rewarding ideas for the future of health care

The XPrize Foundation, which awards muliti-million dollar prizes for innovations in fields such as space technology and genomics, will announce on Tuesday details of the initial design for its latest competition, a proposed $10+ million Health Care X PRIZE.

Hey boss! Can I go see my PCP down the hall?

According to Brian Klepper's recent post on the Health Care Blog, onsite workplace health clinics "are re-emerging . . . at an astonishing rate."  About one-third of Fortune 1000 companies already have in-house clinics; surveys indicate that one-third more will have them in place by the end of 2010.  Many are at firms with more than 1000 employees, but some employers with as few as 150 employees have implemented them successfully.  Klepper notes, "[T]hey are scalable when properly deployed."

Scripps Florida: The Elderly as Early Adopters of Biomedical Innovation

I just returned from a brief vacation in Jupiter, Florida. As Woody Allen once famously said, "seventy percent of success in life is showing up." I often find that this is the case in research, especially when cities and regions are what you study. You need to be open to serendipitous discoveries as you travel.

Ruby's Bequest may shed light on how health care system will help Alzheimer's patients

My colleague, Rachel Hatch, tweeted this morning: "Why Ruby's Bequest?:Caring [for] 4.5mill w/Alzheimers costs $100B/year http://tinyurl.com/3wg8j7." Ruby's Bequest, which launches March 9, is IFTF's latest effort in collaborative storytelling for the public good. It is intended to help us all think more about the future of caregiving. Rachel's tweet links to a story in today's New York Times called "Zen and the Art of Coping With Alzheimer's." It opens with a bullet point: "The number of Alzheimer's patients is expected to increase dramatically in coming years, straining the health care system." That's one more sobering fact for the Health Horizons team to consider as we move forward with our research for Health Care 2020.

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