And Did I Mention…? More Health 2.0

This whole Health 2.0 movement I’ve been talking about could be defined simply as the current “explosion of new personal health technologies.” Which is exciting on its own. But there’s more to it. In fact, the experts are grappling over a larger definition indicating “a complete renaissance in the way that healthcare is actually delivered.”

Things are changing, Folks, so keep your eyes peeled.

One thing that was clear at the Health 2.0 conference last week was that DIABETES will be at the forefront of these changes. Because it is one of the most widespread and fastest-growing medical conditions in the country, costing the System billions of dollars each year. Did you know, for example, that 25% of Medicare dollars currently go to cover treatment of diabetes complications? Or that 1 in 3 children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes, according to the CDC? Yeah, this would explain why almost every demo on these nifty new health technologies at last week’s conference used DIABETES as an example. As the only “out” diabetic in the crowd, I felt a little like some kind of star specimen on parade.

A few more nuggets you might like ought to know about:

* The executive from Google said it’s not enough for that company to build safe place for online medical records; people have to be able to DO something with these records. The records have to be actionable, and as yet, they’re still “a long way from delivering the value that consumers want” in health.

* The experts kept saying the critical factor missing in healthcare is relationships / behaviors / socialPatient_community change… For patients, not feeling alone and isolated is so important… Community is key! (sound familiar?)

* Trust is a HUGE factor, because health is “a business of virtue, not just a business of revenue.” Damn straight. What struck me was a woman from Blue Cross/Blue Shield demoing a search/informational site called HealthCareFacts.org where information is packaged like a nutritional label. Cute… but who trusts BCBS to give them impartial information there?

* In the longer-term, experts are expecting “disengagement of the employer as the healthcare payer” which will “open up a whole new market.” As I also mentioned last week, the prospect of wholly privatized healthcare is pretty scary for people with chronic illness. But then again, free market competition can often mean that choices get better and cheaper. Quicken_health

* One example might be cool new consumer tools that are free to the end-user — like Quicken Health, which was also previewed at the conference. I wrote about this one a while back. Imagine, the people who brought you QuickBooks and TurboTax will now offer a Medical Expense Manager for free (!)

* See Sunday’s NY Times op-ed piece on Healthcare Hopes. “It’s good to know that whoever gets the Democratic nomination will run on a very good health care plan,” Paul Krugman writes. “What remains is the question of whether he or she will have the determination to turn that plan into reality.” Luckily we’ve got this whole Health 2.0 movement pushing for change.

My thought was that our part as the (online) patient community is to keep on airing our discontent, so that every candidate recognizes the Tsunami of public opinion here, and knows that sweeping the healthcare mess under the rug for another four years will SO NOT be an option.

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10 Responses

  1. jules
    jules September 24, 2007 at 8:27 am | | Reply

    I liked your blog because it was on the cutting edge of Diabetes related news and practical applications. I get weary when you and others get in to politics especially from the left. Quoting anything from the New York Times is a big turnoff for me. If I want political discourse I go to political blogs (both right and left). I’m finding I don’t come back as much as I used to because of the political tones. Sorry, I need a break from politics once in a while. I’ll check back out of curiosity once in a great while, but Diabetes Mine is no longer on my “favorites” list.

  2. travis
    travis September 24, 2007 at 10:22 am | | Reply

    To the lady/gentleman above-

    I would just like to point out that the New York Times is hardly the darling of the left wing. Consider James Risen, who sat on his story entitled “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts” for a full two years, until after the 2004 elections. Consider the Judith Miller case; consider the Times’s abysmal coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq war.

    I’m a little bit miffed as to what exactly your criticism is – Krugman is hardly a radical, and Diabetes Mine can hardly be criticized for echoing what many, many objective observers see as a broken health care system in America.

    You cannot let yourself be so easily offended by political discourse. There’s no such thing as “a break from politics,” especially for those of us living with chronic health conditions, whose quality of life is directly influenced by the politics that dictate the efficacy of our health care system.

  3. Paul Martin
    Paul Martin September 24, 2007 at 11:02 am | | Reply

    “Health is a business of virtue, not just a business of revenue.”

    It should be but it sure isn’t.

    In your case you do derive some real benefit from having a disease that’s widespread – there’s a large market for it. Given the health insurance industry’s fixation on ever increasing profits margins, that makes you relatively “lucky”.

    For other groups, for example people like me, with rare diseases, or, in my particular case, undiagosable after over thirteen years – with, let’s just say, far less than heroic efforts made by the insurance/medical industry to arrive at one – things are worse.

    I’ve just begun a series of posts on health care reform.

  4. AmyT
    AmyT September 24, 2007 at 11:47 am | | Reply

    Thanks, Guys.

    To Jules:
    Sorry to hear that. I wasn’t quoting the NY Times in order to be “leftish.” I just thought the story brought up an interesting point — that health care reform is REALLY important, no matter who ends up in political office.

  5. Big_Dave_T
    Big_Dave_T September 24, 2007 at 2:18 pm | | Reply

    Wait a minute!

    “Did you know, for example, that 25% of Medicare dollars currently go to cover treatment of diabetes complications?”

    That’s patently absurd. I work with billing in a comprehensive medical center and I can tell you that nowhere near 25 percent of our medical dollars goes to cover treatment of diabetes complications. I’ve never heard such a ridiculous figure quoted.

    Now I see why they say there’s liars, damn liars and statistics. In this case, somebody appears to be trying to justify pushing more drugs onto an otherwise healthy diabetic or “pre-diabetic” population.

    That’s just cynical me talking.

  6. AmyT
    AmyT September 24, 2007 at 5:05 pm | | Reply

    Big Dave,

    See this JDRF report, which states that “Nearly 1/3 of every Medicare dollar is spent on people with diabetes”:
    http://www.jdrf.org/files/General_Files/chapters_and_affiliates/greater_bay_area_chapter/JDRF%20Research%20Advocacy.pdf

    The original 25% quote actually came from a prominent CDE by the name of Beverly Thomaissan, who was quoting the CDC.

  7. berberine
    berberine September 25, 2007 at 12:48 am | | Reply

    I really enjoy reading your articles. The information is very helpful. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good job!

  8. CrazyACpumper
    CrazyACpumper September 25, 2007 at 8:39 am | | Reply

    Amy I just love your site. Diabetes Mine is one of the best out there. You are a wonderful writer and you cover all aspects (opinions) and topics. This is Your site and you have every right to voice Your opinion.

    ‘In your case you do derive some real benefit from having a disease that’s widespread – there’s a large market for it. Given the health insurance industry’s fixation on ever increasing profits margins, that makes you relatively “lucky”.’

    Paul, I am truly sympathetic to you. I am sympathetic to anyone with a chronic illness as we are consistently misunderstood and “swept” under the rug.

    As a Type 1 Diabetic for 22 years, we are not lucky. Believe me. As a general overview of this lovely America we live in, Type 2 is the focus and that is what is being pushed, that is what is widespread. It is an epidemic, the stats are many. Therefore the revenue is large.
    Then you get into State and County. Where I live I have been denied left and right the supplies I need to sustain my life. All because I have a job. The provisions of gross income are unfortunate for those with a disease that is costly in which we did not ask for.

    Paul I am sure you have been through a lot. I understand where you are coming from. I have my own opinions about a lot of things because of the obstacles I constantly face.

    What is important here is: this is Amy’s site. She does a damn good job bringing forth the current issues related to Diabetes. Yet she reaches out and tries to cover the health care issues of today.

    Keep in mind, we all have our issues, they are very important to us and no one can ever take that away. We just need to keep making sure we are heard!!!

  9. Big_Dave_T
    Big_Dave_T September 25, 2007 at 9:26 am | | Reply

    Amy–

    Thanks for your response. I think I see the misunderstanding. I don’t think saying, “that 25% of Medicare dollars currently go to cover treatment of diabetes complications” is the same as saying, “Nearly 1/3 of every Medicare dollar is spent on people with diabetes.”

    Let me give you an unfortunate example to illustrate. A diabetic co-worker in my sister-in-law’s office developed some troubling symptoms, which were initially diagnosed as a “complication of diabetes.” (He had good control of his sugars).

    When the symptoms persisted and, in fact, worsened, more tests were done and this diabetic patient was discovered to have advanced stage cancer, unrelated to his diabetes.

    So this illustrates the difference between spending health care dollars on complications of diabetes versus treatment of a (unrelated) condition suffered by a PWD. It also shows one more issue diabetics face when seeking medical treatment. Often EVERY medical malady they complain of is sloughed off as a “symptom of your diabetes.”

    Hope that explains why I complained.

  10. TBTAM
    TBTAM July 8, 2008 at 1:14 pm | | Reply

    I would have loved to have gone to that conference. These are going to be very interesting days. I find myself torn between excitement at the possibilities and totla distrust of the marketplace as the arbiter of healthcare.

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