Great Presentations at The Forum12

The Care Continuum Alliance held their annual Forum12 in Atlanta last week. It was an excellent event with a long list of top notch presentations, vendor booths and great opportunities to network. Informative and engaging presentations were given by many including Jaan Sidorov, MD, who opened and discussed the history of our industry, and Mary McNaughton Collins, MD, a primary care physician who gave a hilarious view of the physician perspective and real world issues that occurred with the implementation of their Electronic Medical records system.

There were two other presentations that I found very interesting.

The first by Joseph Coughlin, PhD, the Director of the AgeLab at MIT was entitled “Care or Confusion? A Consumer’s Perspective of the Healthcare Delivery System”. Thanks to Healthways for sponsoring this one; here are some highlights from his presentation:

  • Half of the people in the rich world will live to be 100.
  • Many people are approaching the aging individuals with the concept that giving them more data is the solution. It isn’t.
  • What can health care professionals do to engage people – make them smarter.
  • The top reason the elderly want to stay healthy is so they can continue to work.
  • There are $30 to $50 billion lost in productivity to the “caregiver” of an ill person.
  • Looking for solutions, not data is the important thing to provide, helping customers get things done, help them manage complexity.
  • American’s do not trust large institutions such as hospitals or insurers, they trust their doctor, and 73% trust online communities.
  • 1/3 of those age 65 and older are using social media (Pew Trust).
  • Patients want a straight simple talker.
  • Distributed Trust, how far can you push trust out, will healthcare enabled by technology become transactional like the banks and no longer have “relationships” with their customers?
  • In terms of technology, people don’t want widgets, they want help.

Dr. Coughlin gave an interesting example of technology, behavior change and the elderly. He discussed the well-known issue of poor adherence with taking ones medications and how impactful this can be on the elderly in terms of their health and the subsequent costs to the system for non-adherence.

The AgeLab developed an adherence program that including a pill monitoring device that was connected to a robotic toy pet. So naturally I was thinking that somehow the elderly patient had the pet, but no,

the robotic pet is given to the elderly individuals grandchild. In the event the elderly patient misses a dose, the robotic pet dies! The grandchild is now going to call their grandparent and say “what happened?!!” I know on first blush this sounds harsh, I mean who wants their grandchild or child for that matter to experience that, but more important is the behavior change it can create in the grandparent, who is now thinking they would never want something like that to happen to their grandchild; so they become more diligent in taking their meds. Certainly a unique approach to adherence.

The second presentation was by Jay Walker, Curator and Chairman of TEDMED, he gave an exciting presentation on the future of health care and how it will be driven by technology, in particular the mobile phone. Here are some highlights:

  • Social tools reduce isolation and that is one of the beauty’s of mobile. It is an inexpensive way, often no cost to provide connections
  • The future of the world is social, we have tribal in our genes
  • The health revolution is driven by the consumers whether the health system(s) wants it to be or not.
  • All of the players in health care including doctors, hospitals, social workers, care coordinators, etc. will be affected by the coming intersection of technology and health
  • Mobile is:
    • The on ramp to all information
    • the lifeline to connect us to anyone or anything
    • the integration with sensors that will connect us in real-time and provide feedback.
  • Sensors on our bodies, in our bodies and in our clothes will provide data to the cloud that will give us a new view of how we are doing with our heath. This access to disparate data sets will create new opportunities.
  • People want control of their information, they don’t want it in a hospital EMR and they don’t want it on their phone or device, they want it in the cloud where they control it and access it.
  • The average teenager sends 5,000 text messages a month. They don’t want to be called on the phone, in fact they find that offensive, you are taking up their time, why would you do that.
  • Individuals do not want to know what their cholesterol is, or their Blood Pressure, they want to know “You only have 5 more years to live”, or “you have a kidney stone coming on and need to get to the hospital.” All this and more will be provided as this technology comes to fruition.
  • The virtual world will become the real world.
  • Privacy is not an issue, except to the wealthy and the elderly, all others are sharing more and more data all the time.

The Forum 12 was an excellent conference and there were many other presentations that were both interesting and informative. You can learn more about it here, and you should plan to be at the next one in Scottsdale Arizona October 23 -25, 2013 at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. Hope to see you there.

About Fred Goldstein

President and Founder of Accountable Health, LLC. My background includes over 25 years of health care experience in hospital administration, health plan management, disease management and population health.
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