September 10, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: Attitudes Toward Health Care

We do a lot of talking about health care topics on this blog, but a vital part of what we do at Best Doctors is actually listening. The world of health care is constantly changing and we want to continually ‘take the pulse’ of people’s attitudes in this area. So recently we conducted a survey to gauge thoughts toward key health care topics.

We asked 1,000 people things like, what did they think about preventative care, how important are regular doctor’s visits, and what are their biggest health care concerns. And, of some interest to employers and others, we asked questions about what would be most effective in nudging people to get a second opinion on a health condition. The results were really interesting, and potentially instructive. Take a look:

Best Doctors Health Care Attitudes

We do a lot of talking about health care topics on this blog, but a vital part of what we do at Best Doctors is actually listening. The world of health care is constantly changing and we want to continually ‘take the pulse’ of people’s attitudes in this area. So recently we conducted a survey to gauge thoughts toward key health care topics.

We asked 1,000 people things like, what did they think about preventative care, how important are regular doctor’s visits, and what are their biggest health care concerns. And, of some interest to employers and others, we asked questions about what would be most effective in nudging people to get a second opinion on a health condition. The results were really interesting, and potentially instructive. Take a look:

Best Doctors Health Care Attitudes

September 03, 2014

How a Smartphone Selfie Could Save Your Life

A doctor gives you a diagnosis that you have a sneaking suspicion is off the mark. You feel unsettled, and then a light bulb goes off – why not use your smartphone to film your symptoms as they’re happening in real time?

Sure, this gives a whole new meaning to taking matters into your own hands, but it’s exactly this type of creative thinking that might have saved the life of one Canadian woman.

By now, you might have heard of Stacey Yepes, who had originally been misdiagnosed with stress after she experienced numbness in her face and had difficulty speaking. When her symptoms recurred a few days later, Yepes had the wherewithal to film herself with her smartphone. This video gone-viral, led doctors at a different hospital to conclude that Yepes had been in the throes of a mini-stroke, and they were able to treat her accordingly.

smartphone

While it’s a unique example, Yepes’ highly publicized case highlights the fact that we are often our own strongest health care advocates. It also underscores the important role that consumer technology can play in ensuring we get the right diagnosis and right treatment from health care professionals. In fact, in many ways, a smartphone selfie diagnosis seems like a natural extension of telemedicine.

These days, people are taking control of their health with digital tools, including health apps that allow us to do things like measure our heart rate, monitor our respiratory status (useful for asthma sufferers) and upload information from devices such as blood glucose monitors – this information can then be shared with our health care providers. There are also blood pressure monitors that can be connected to the Internet or video equipment, allowing for real-time interaction with health care professionals.

Home health monitoring is especially helpful for people with chronic diseases. Thanks to advances in consumer technology, we have easier access to medical care and advice than ever before.

But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also exercise good judgment in how we use the plethora of technology available to us when it comes to managing our health. Social media comes to mind here – some people post pictures of physical ailments on Facebook, crowdsourcing a diagnosis from friends or even strangers. It’s not hard to imagine how such a misuse of technology and social media can end up having disastrous consequences.

Instead, we should take a page from Yepes’ experience, which perfectly illustrates how technology can enhance our ability to manage our own health. Her story is a reminder that the onus lies with us to be proactive, and if we suspect a diagnosis or treatment isn’t right, it might not be. The good news is that being proactive is becoming much easier with an ever-growing arsenal of tools available at our disposal, some of them even easily accessed from our back pocket.

A doctor gives you a diagnosis that you have a sneaking suspicion is off the mark. You feel unsettled, and then a light bulb goes off – why not use your smartphone to film your symptoms as they’re happening in real time?

Sure, this gives a whole new meaning to taking matters into your own hands, but it’s exactly this type of creative thinking that might have saved the life of one Canadian woman.

By now, you might have heard of Stacey Yepes, who had originally been misdiagnosed with stress after she experienced numbness in her face and had difficulty speaking. When her symptoms recurred a few days later, Yepes had the wherewithal to film herself with her smartphone. This video gone-viral, led doctors at a different hospital to conclude that Yepes had been in the throes of a mini-stroke, and they were able to treat her accordingly.

smartphone

While it’s a unique example, Yepes’ highly publicized case highlights the fact that we are often our own strongest health care advocates. It also underscores the important role that consumer technology can play in ensuring we get the right diagnosis and right treatment from health care professionals. In fact, in many ways, a smartphone selfie diagnosis seems like a natural extension of telemedicine.

These days, people are taking control of their health with digital tools, including health apps that allow us to do things like measure our heart rate, monitor our respiratory status (useful for asthma sufferers) and upload information from devices such as blood glucose monitors – this information can then be shared with our health care providers. There are also blood pressure monitors that can be connected to the Internet or video equipment, allowing for real-time interaction with health care professionals.

Home health monitoring is especially helpful for people with chronic diseases. Thanks to advances in consumer technology, we have easier access to medical care and advice than ever before.

But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also exercise good judgment in how we use the plethora of technology available to us when it comes to managing our health. Social media comes to mind here – some people post pictures of physical ailments on Facebook, crowdsourcing a diagnosis from friends or even strangers. It’s not hard to imagine how such a misuse of technology and social media can end up having disastrous consequences.

Instead, we should take a page from Yepes’ experience, which perfectly illustrates how technology can enhance our ability to manage our own health. Her story is a reminder that the onus lies with us to be proactive, and if we suspect a diagnosis or treatment isn’t right, it might not be. The good news is that being proactive is becoming much easier with an ever-growing arsenal of tools available at our disposal, some of them even easily accessed from our back pocket.

April 29, 2014

PwC Report: Consumerization is Coming to Healthcare

The PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute recently released a report called Healthcare’s new entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com? It’s a great read for anyone who’s trying to make sense of the shifting healthcare marketplace, not to mention anyone who’s looking to select a healthcare vendor, invest in the sector, or even look for employment in the field. This richly illustrated report makes a couple of top-line points:

1)      In the U.S. we have a $2.8 trillion healthcare system, and

2)      That system is fragmented, and we’re not getting our money’s worth

best doctors remote

But not to fear! New entrants to the healthcare marketplace – companies from tech-savvy industries, some of whom have been around for a while – are continuing to enter (and disrupt) the space. The report states that 24 of the most recent Fortune 50 companies are considered new entrants to healthcare in some way. That’s significant because of another point that PwC makes: that many other industries have been remade and many complacent incumbents have been toppled at times when consumers wanted change that was not being delivered.

And as the report’s title implies, consumers (or “patients”, or “people”) are going to be pulling the train. Many have expressed this sentiment before – the notion that the traditional healthcare experience will become consumerized, so that healthcare will start to feel like using Amazon.com. Meaning, the healthcare tools we use will make predictions and recommendations based on our individual preferences and behaviors, which could lead to more timely interventions and better outcomes. We know there’s infinite data out there, so now it’s largely a matter of harnessing and parsing that data to shape a better experience.

It’s all part of what PwC calls the “New Health Economy,” which promises to be the biggest shift in American healthcare in generations. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be seamless, but it’s a necessary next step and consumers are calling the shots, whether we really know it or not.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute recently released a report called Healthcare’s new entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com? It’s a great read for anyone who’s trying to make sense of the shifting healthcare marketplace, not to mention anyone who’s looking to select a healthcare vendor, invest in the sector, or even look for employment in the field. This richly illustrated report makes a couple of top-line points:

1)      In the U.S. we have a $2.8 trillion healthcare system, and

2)      That system is fragmented, and we’re not getting our money’s worth

best doctors remote

But not to fear! New entrants to the healthcare marketplace – companies from tech-savvy industries, some of whom have been around for a while – are continuing to enter (and disrupt) the space. The report states that 24 of the most recent Fortune 50 companies are considered new entrants to healthcare in some way. That’s significant because of another point that PwC makes: that many other industries have been remade and many complacent incumbents have been toppled at times when consumers wanted change that was not being delivered.

And as the report’s title implies, consumers (or “patients”, or “people”) are going to be pulling the train. Many have expressed this sentiment before – the notion that the traditional healthcare experience will become consumerized, so that healthcare will start to feel like using Amazon.com. Meaning, the healthcare tools we use will make predictions and recommendations based on our individual preferences and behaviors, which could lead to more timely interventions and better outcomes. We know there’s infinite data out there, so now it’s largely a matter of harnessing and parsing that data to shape a better experience.

It’s all part of what PwC calls the “New Health Economy,” which promises to be the biggest shift in American healthcare in generations. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be seamless, but it’s a necessary next step and consumers are calling the shots, whether we really know it or not.