1. Health insurance costs spiked 8-9% in 2011. It’s no secret that we’re paying more for health insurance every year, but never before has the increase been so high. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a study Tuesday that showed the average annual premium for employer-provided family coverage in 2011 was $15,073, a staggering amount that obviously cuts into already-stressed budgets.
In my opinion, The New York Times published the best recap of the Kaiser study, with this standing out:
“The increase in premiums was striking because in a poor economy, many people put off going to doctors, to avoid co-payments and higher deductibles. Despite a decrease in the use of medical services, companies have defended higher premiums — and their high profits — reasoning that their costs would rebound once the economy recovered.”
The article goes on to say that 1-2% of the increase can be attributed to health reform, including preventative services and coverage for children up to 26 years old.
2. Designing a smarter patient. What are the hidden influences that lead us to make medical decisions? There are many, according to an article coauthored by two physicians in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. The article discusses how hidden influences, inside and outside the patient’s mind, can influence their medical decisions. The authors include several factors including advertisements, word of mouth and how unexpected decisions often are made in the presence of actual facts.
3. That’s Healthrageous! I’m sure that phrase has been written in 500 headlines by now, and I still can’t resist. Healthrageous is a new fee-based medical social media site launched by Harvard Medical physicians that offers users tracking devices for their health, including pedometers, BP monitors and scales. All these tools upload users’ personal data onto the website, which helps them track their goals. Technology Review published a good article about the site and included information about something called the “quantified self” movement… I guess there’s a term for everything.
4. Standards needed for healthcare social media? A joint survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine discusses how social media sites for diabetic patients answers medical questions. Healthcare IT News provided a good summary of the study. Researchers recognize the value of the sites, but have concerns about the quality of available health information.
5. Cool technology – digital pens. Our friends at Search Health IT published a story on how some organizations are having great success getting physicians and medical staff to comply with EHR adoption by providing them with digital pens. Quoted sources suggest this technology is a good way to get physicians who refuse to type to jump on board with EHR initiatives.
#HITsm Tweet Chat Topics. Sept. 30, 11 a.m., CT.
Topic 1: Should social media use in healthcare be required to have standards?
Topic 2: Health costs: Can hospital IT departments help reduce the cost of care?
Topic 3: Educating patients. How can EHRs/EMRs help patients obtain unbiased facts/figures on treatment options?
See you Friday!