A Controversial New Demonstration In Medicare: Potential Implications For Physician-Administered Drugs

According to an August 2015 survey, 72 percent of Americans find drug costs unreasonable, with 83 percent believing that the federal government should be able to negotiate prices for Medicare. Recently, Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt commented that spending on medicines increased 13 percent in 2014 while health care spending growth overall was only 5 percent, the highest rate of drug spending growth since 2001.

Spotlight

Westmont Living, Inc.

Westmont Living is a leading provider of senior independent living, assisted living and memory care services in California and the Northwest. Our full service retirement communities are the leaders in each of our markets. Westmont Living is focused on living its mission and values each and every day. Our company culture values each and every employee as an essential piece which makes up our whole. Westmont's mission is to provide inspiring life experiences that enable our resident and their families to lead full and enriching lives.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Impact of Social Media on Healthcare Marketing

Article | July 14, 2023

Social media has become a powerful tool to connect people with friends, relatives, family, and other loved ones. Worldwide, around 4.2 billion people are actively using the internet. Among them, 3 billion are regularly active on social media channels. Social media is not just about interpersonal conversations; at least 80 percent of users follow one business on Instagram. With all the ads on your Facebook news feed, you connect with various brands or become aware about many brands. But does social media in healthcare make any impact? Almost all industries have started to realize the power of social media and how it can impact connecting with consumers. Various social media platforms help companies share information, increase brand awareness, and partner with industry influencers. Social media has overpowered traditional marketing strategies. Social media has become the wave of the future. Regarding the uptake of social media, the healthcare industry has been a bit slower. However, the industry now has accepted the undeniable importance of social media in healthcare. The reluctance might have been due to the risks associated for the providers as well as patients. Privacy and confidentiality of patient information has to be maintained always. Those were the challenges of social media in healthcare. However, consumers can get information from social media faster than any other tool. The Healthcare industry includes both the healthcare technology providers as well as the healthcare service providers. Whether you are a service provider or a technology provider, social media can impact your customers equally. This article discusses the positive effects and benefits of social media in healthcare, especially healthcare service providers. Embraced by the Medical Community The healthcare industry took notice of social media when government agencies and other business industries started to reap the benefits of social media. A recent survey revealed an interesting fact about the use of social media in healthcare. More than 1500 healthcare providers around the US have social media presence online. Hospitals miss key opportunities if they don’t use social media. These hospital systems have started effectively using social media to reach out to their past, current, and future patients. Social media in healthcare is an easy medium to share vital information with consumers and patients in the industry. The survey also revealed that more than 30% of medical professionals use various social media platforms to network with their peers. Many physicians also use these social media platforms for multiple activities in open forums. Having an active online presence evokes transparency among clients and peers. Healthcare providers can join various platforms such as Twitter to become healthcare influencers. Through social media in healthcare, providers can make connections, engage the community, and explore the industry. The Case of Cleveland Clinic, Ohio Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, US is the best example of how social media can be used to reach out to patients, engage them online, and stay ahead of competitors. They have more than 2 million followers on Facebook, 1.9 million followers on Twitter, and around 5 lack followers on LinkedIn. They have very different and unique social media strategies. They do post about whatever happens on the campus, including doctors practicing in their respective departments and interactive sessions with doctors and HODs, etc. Also, they do provide health tips and information, general health advice, and updates on the latest medical technologies and treatments. Apart from these, the hospital also reaches out to patients for queries and feedback through social media and responds to them promptly. These effective social media strategies help them in building up a brand, reputation management, create a patient relationship and build patient loyalty. Loved by Healthcare Consumers To find advice and new treatments, healthcare consumers widely use social media. This creates an opportunity for providers to connect with consumers through various forms of healthcare educational content. More than 40 percent of consumers believe that social media in healthcare affects their wellness decisions and health. Among 18 to 24 years old, 90 percent of people trust the medical information they get on social media. This shows the importance of healthcare providers on social media channels. Mobile healthcare is expanding as consumers depend more on the internet for information. Countless fitness and health apps are available online. However, many of them are not effective and do not cure diseases but can change behaviors. Having an app will help you increase your accountability, as a provider, among consumers. Positive Impact of Social Media on Healthcare The healthcare community is widely embracing the scope of social media in healthcare. Healthcare technology providers, hospitals, and other service providers are opening new accounts to create a consistent image among consumers. There are many ways to improve care by reaching out to patients through social media in healthcare. Some of the positive impacts of best practices for social media in healthcare are as follows: Increasing Access Across Generations Healthcare companies have almost stopped employing the traditional ways of advertising. Patients always need quick access to information to reduce the risk of getting flu or to find new providers, including baby boomers, every generation is online. According to Forbes, as of 2017, 9 percent of Facebook users were above 55 years of age. This present generation is very tech-savvy, they search online for local healthcare services and healthcare information. They use Facebook and YouTube. So, you need to create a marketing strategy that targets baby boomers. Generation X also searches health-related topics online, which accounts for 1.5 billion views on YouTube each day. As they care for children and aging parents, they may search for the best long-term care facilities, how to soothe a colicky baby, and so much more. As millennials are focused on healthy living and being cost-conscious, they depend more on social media platforms for healthcare information. Ninety-three percent of millennials say that they do not rely on healthcare providers for preventive health information. Thus, as everyone goes online for healthcare information, healthcare service providers should consider the role of social media in healthcare seriously. By providing reliable and accurate information, healthcare providers can engage with consumers and increase the patient experience through social media. Creating Authenticity The days that the patients trust doctors blindly have gone. Healthcare consumers have become smarter and want to have relationships with providers who care for them. Allowing your tech-savvy employees to share videos and pictures of events or office helps have a human touch. It also improves patient engagement and overall patient satisfaction. If patients know the people in your reception or nurses of respective departments, it helps them relax, engage, and makes them share their health history more openly. This is possible as they connect with those in the office through your social media in healthcare. It increases your authenticity. Keeping an Eye on Competitors Administrators and marketers keep an eye on their competitors through their social media platforms. They evaluate pain points, community involvements, service lines, and marketing strategies sitting in their offices. Hospitals and other providers can quickly get feedback on technologies and marketing strategies the competitors are using. This would help them if they want to incorporate these things in their care process before investing. You can take note of the social media platforms where your competitors are performing well. This approach to social media in healthcare would remove the possibility of failure with your social media strategy, especially when you begin with it. Real-time Updates During emergencies and other situations, social media in healthcare allows you to communicate quickly. Social media updates can provide life-saving information, from crisis alerts to census notifications. World Health Organization (WHO) is an excellent example; they provide real-time information to the masses regarding any health crisis, warnings, and other critical safety information during disasters, using social media, especially Twitter. Similarly, by providing real-time information to your consumers through your social media channels, you can increase your authenticity, authority, and dependency. Real-time access to information saves lives. Gathering Feedback Patients often want to communicate with their doctors quickly. They may need to share something about a recent appointment or about a reaction they had to medication. Making patients provide feedback on social media helps you learn how they feel about their medicine and care. You can get essential feedback that might help you improve your care. It also helps you recognize and reward the staff that the consumers recognize. As a provider, you can also get back to them for additional information after the feedback you get from them on social media. This possibility of social media in healthcare will work more to provide better care next time. Social Media for the Future Social media in healthcare is going to stay here and have advancements from time to time. Most of the modern consumers are tech-savvy and want to have everything at their fingertips. Modern patients have no patience. Therefore, social media works to engage patients and enhance the patient experience and satisfaction. Whether you are a large service provider, a solo practitioner, or run a hospital, you need a social media presence. For engaging with your community, social media in healthcare helps a lot. It can make an impact beyond your imagination. Use these strategies to improve the quality of the healthcare you provide. It may be a tiresome job to do it all alone. We, at Media7, provide social media services to engage your consumers. Whether you are a service provider or a technology provider, we are here to help you with our compelling social media strategies. We help healthcare companies generate leads, brand themselves, increase sales, and make them your happy customers. For more details about us, visit https://media7.com/. Frequently Asked Questions What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in health care? When used cautiously, social media can provide clear benefits, such as clinical education, professional networking, and patient’s health promotion. However, there can be disadvantages too, including privacy and confidentiality of patients, resulting in formidable consequences. How has social media influenced the marketing of health care? For establishing public awareness and managing reputation, social media is practical means. As part of an effective marketing plan, social media has become an essential medium for healthcare professionals to interact with consumers and engage them. What is the Importance of Social Media in the hospital? By providing important and general information on healthcare, hospitals can make their presence more valuable to consumers. Encouraging patients to share their feedback and thoughts makes hospitals connect with them and improve the care process. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the advantages and disadvantages of using social media in health care?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "When used cautiously, social media can provide clear benefits, such as clinical education, professional networking, and patient’s health promotion. However, there can be disadvantages too, including privacy and confidentiality of patients, resulting in formidable consequences." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How has social media influenced the marketing of health care?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "For establishing public awareness and managing reputation, social media is practical means. As part of an effective marketing plan, social media has become an essential medium for healthcare professionals to interact with consumers and engage them." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the Importance of Social Media in the hospital?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "By providing important and general information on healthcare, hospitals can make their presence more valuable to consumers. Encouraging patients to share their feedback and thoughts makes hospitals connect with them and improve the care process." } }] }

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

COVID-19: How do we get out of this quagmire?

Article | August 21, 2023

The COVID-19 virus (C19) pandemic is turning out to be the event of the century. Even World War seems timid in comparison. We are in the 4th month of the virus (in non-China countries) and have gone past the lockdown in many places. Isn’t it time we re-think the approach? What if there is another wave of C19 coming soon? What if C19 is the first of many such events in the future? Before we get into analysis and solution design, summarizing the C19 quirks: While a large section of the affected population is asymptomatic, for some it can be lethal There isn’t clarity on all the ways C19 spreads It’s known to affect the lungs, heart, and kidneys in patients with weak immunity It has been hard to identify a definitive pattern of the virus. Some observations in managing the C19 situation are: With no vaccine in sight, the end of this epidemic looks months or years away Health care personnel in hospitals need additional protection to treat patients Lockdowns lead to severe economic hardship and its repeated application can be damaging Quarantining people has an economic cost, especially in the weaker sections of society If one takes a step back to re-think about this, we are primarily solving 2 problems: Minimise deaths: Minimise the death of C19 and non-C19 patients in this period Maximise economic growth: The GDP output/growth should equal or higher than pre-C19 levels One needs to achieve the 2 goals in an environment of rising number of C19 cases. Minimise deaths An approach that can be applied to achieve this is: Data driven health care capacity planning Build a health repository of all the citizens with details like pre-existing diseases, comorbidity, health status, etc. The repository needs to be updated quarterly to account for patient data changes This health repository data is combined with the C19 profile (disease susceptibility) and/or other seasonal diseases to determine the healthcare capacity (medicines, doctors, etc.) needed The healthcare capacity deficit/excess needs to be analysed in categories (beds, equipment, medicine, personnel, etc.) and regions (city, state, etc.) and actions taken accordingly Regular capacity management will ensure patients aren’t deprived of timely treatment. In addition, such planning helps in the equitable distribution of healthcare across regions and optimising health care costs. Healthcare sector is better prepared to scale-up/down their operations Based on the analysis citizens can be informed about their probability of needing hospitalisation on contracting C19. Citizens with a higher health risk on C19 infection should be personally trained on prevention and tips to manage the disease on occurrence The diagram below explains the process Mechanism to increase hospital capacity without cost escalation Due to the nature of C19, health personnel are prone to infection and their safety is a big issue. There is also a shortage of hospitable beds available. Even non-C19 patients aren’t getting the required treatment because health personnel seek it as a risk. This resulted in, healthcare costs going up and availability reducing. To mitigate such issues, hospital layouts may need to be altered (as shown in the diagram below). The altered layout improves hospital capacity and availability of health care personnel. It also reduces the need for the arduous C19 protection procedures. Such procedures reduce the patient treatment capacity and puts a toll on hospital management. Over a period, the number of recovered C19 persons are going to increase significantly. We need to start tapping into their services to reduce the burden on the system. The hospitals need to be divided into 3 zones. The hospital zoning illustration shown below explains how this could be done. In the diagram, patients are shown in green and health care personnel are in light red. **Assumption: Infected and recovered C19 patients are immune to the disease. This is not clearly established Better enforcement of social factors The other reason for high number of infections in countries like India is a glaring disregard in following C19 rules in public places and the laxity in enforcement. Enforcement covers 2 parts, tracking incidents of violation and penalising the behaviour. Government should use modern mechanisms like crowd sourcing to track incidents and ride on the growing public fear to ensure penalty enforcement succeeds. The C19 pandemic has exposed governance limitations in not just following C19 rules, but also in other areas of public safety like road travel, sanitation, dietary habits, etc. Maximise economic growth The earlier lockdown has strained the economy. Adequate measures need to be taken to get the economy back on track. Some of the areas that need to be addressed are: One needs to evaluate the development needs of the country in different categories like growth impetus factors (e.g. building roads, electricity capacity increase), social factors (e.g. waste water treatment plants, health care capacity), and environmental factors (e.g. solar energy generation, EV charging stations). Governments need to accelerate funding in such projects so that that large numbers of unemployed people are hired and trained. Besides giving an immediate boost to the ailing economy such projects have a future payback. The governments should not get bogged down by the huge fiscal deficit such measures can create. Such a mechanism to get money out in the economy is far than better measures like QE (Quantitative Easing) or free money transfer into people’s bank accounts Certain items like smartphone, internet, masks, etc. have become critical (for work, education, critical government announcements). It’s essential to subsidise or reduce taxes so that these items are affordable and accessible to everyone without a financial impact The government shouldn’t put too many C19 related controls on service offerings (e.g. shops, schools, restaurants, cabs). Putting many controls increases the cost of the service which neither the seller not buyer is willing or able to pay. Where controls are put, the Govt should bear the costs or reduce taxes or figure out a mechanism so that the cost can be absorbed. An event like the C19 pandemic is a great opportunity to rationalise development imbalances in the country. Government funding should be channelized more to under-developed regions. This drives growth in regions that need it most. It also prevents excess migration that has resulted in uncontrolled and bad urbanisation that has made C19 management hard (guidelines like social distance are impossible to follow) Post-C19 lockdown, the business environment (need for sanitizers, masks, home furniture) has changed. To make people employable in new flourishing businesses there could be a need to re-skill people. Such an initiative can be taken up by the public/private sector The number of C19 infected asymptomatic patients is going to keep increasing. Building an economy around them (existing, recovered C19 patients) may not be a far-fetched idea. E.g. jobs for C19 infected daily wage earners, C19 infected taxi drivers to transport C19 patients, etc. In the last 100 years, mankind has conquered the destructive aspects of many a disease and natural mishap (hurricanes, floods, etc.). Human lives lost in such events has dramatically dropped over the years and our preparedness has never been this good. Nature seems to have caught up with mankind’s big strides in science and technology. C19 has been hard to reign in with no breakthrough yet. The C19 pandemic is here to stay for the near future. The more we accept this reality and change ourselves to live with it amidst us, the faster we can return to a new normal. A quote from Edward Jenner (inventor of Small Pox) seems apt in the situation – “The deviation of man from the state in which he was originally placed by nature seems to have proved to him a prolific source of diseases”.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Getting cancer screening programmes back on track with AI and digitisation

Article | September 8, 2023

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, with the diagnostics industry taking centre stage and rising to the challenge of a global pandemic. One of the silver linings of this mammoth task has been the unprecedented time and focus dedicated to finding new technologies and solutions within the sector. The lessons learned from the pandemic now need to be taken forward to improve breast and cervical cancer detection, prevention and treatment across the UK over the coming years. In the more immediate term, the diagnostics industry, alongside public health leaders, faces a daunting backlog as screening programmes for breast and cervical cancer were put on pause for months. These two life-saving tests have been some of the most overlooked during the pandemic and getting back on track with screening is critical as we start to turn the corner. We believe innovation in diagnostics, particularly artificial intelligence guided imaging, is a key tool to tackle delays in breast and cervical cancer diagnosis. The scale of the backlog in missed appointments is vast. In the UK, an estimated 600,000 cervical screening appointments were missed in April and May 2020. And an estimated 986,000 women missed their mammograms, of which an estimated 10,700 could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer. It is clear that hundreds of thousands of women have been affected as COVID-19 resulted in the reprioritisation of healthcare systems and resource allocation. Both cervical and breast cancer screening are well suited for digital technologies and the application of AI, given both require highly trained medical professionals to identify rare, subtle changes visually –a process that can be tedious, time-consuming and error prone. Artificial intelligence and computer vision are technologies which could help to significantly improve this. What does AI mean in this context? Before examining the three specific areas where digitisation and AI can help, it is important to define what we mean by AI. It is the application of AI to medical imaging to help accelerate detection and diagnosis. Digitisation is the vital first step in implementing an AI-driven solution – high quality images demand advanced cloud storage solutions and high resolution. The better the quality of the input, the more effectively trained an AI system will be. The first area where AI-guided imaging can play a role is workflow prioritisation. AI, along with increased screening units and mammographers, has the potential to increase breast cancer screening capacity, by removing the need for review by two radiologists. When used as part of a screening programme, AI could effectively and efficiently highlight the areas that are of particular interest for the reader, in the case of breast screening, or cytotechnologist when considering cervical screening. Based on a comparison with the average time taken to read a breast screening image, with AI 13% less time is needed to read mammogram images, improving the efficiency with which images are reviewed. This time saving could mean that radiologists could read more cases a day and potentially clear the backlog more quickly. For digital cytology for cervical cancer screening, the system is able to evaluate tens of thousands of cells from a single patient in a matter of seconds and present the most relevant diagnostic material to a trained medical professional for the final diagnosis. The job of a cytotechnologist is to build a case based on the cells they see. Utilising these tools, we are finding that cytotechnologists and pathologists are significantly increasing their efficiency without sacrificing accuracy to help alleviate the backlog of cervical screening we are seeing in many countries. Prioritising the most vulnerable patients Another key opportunity is applying AI to risk stratification, as it could help to identify women who are particularly at risk and push them further up the queue for regular screening. Conversely, it would also allow the screening interval for those women at lower risk to be extended, creating a more efficient and targeted breast screening programme. For example, women with dense breast tissue have a greater risk factor than having two immediate family members who have suffered from breast cancer. What’s more, dense breasts make it more difficult to identify cancerous cells in standard mammograms. This means that in some cases cancers will be missed, and in others, women will be unnecessarily recalled for further investigation. A simple way to ensure that those most at risk of developing breast cancer are prioritised for screening and seen more regularly would be to analyse all women on the waiting list with AI-guided breast density software. This would allow clinicians to retrospectively identify those women most at risk and move them to the top of the waiting list for mammograms. In the short term, to help tackle the screening backlog, prior mammograms of women on the waiting list could be analysed using the breast density software, so that women at highest risk could be seen first. Finding new workforce models Being able to pool resources will allow resource to be matched to demand beyond borders. Globally, more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and the majority of these occur where there is a lack of guidance to conduct the screening programme. The digital transformation of cervical screening can connect populations that desperately need screening to resources where that expertise exists. For example, developing countries in Africa could collect samples from patients and image these locally, but rely on resources in the UK to support the interpretation of the images and diagnoses. Digital diagnostics brings the promise of a ‘taxi-hailing’ type model to cervical cancer screening – connecting groups with resources (drivers with cars) to those who are in need (passengers): this is an efficient way of connecting laboratory professionals to doctors and patients around the world. It’s going to take many months to get cancer screening programmes up and running at normal levels again, with continued social distancing measures and additional infection control impacting turnaround times. But diagnostic innovation is on a trajectory that we cannot ignore. It will be key to getting cancer screening programmes get back on track. AI is a fundamental piece of the innovation puzzle and we are proud to be at the forefront of AI solutions for our customers and partners.

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Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Applications and Threats

Article | April 22, 2020

Remember Big Hero 6's beloved Baymax? The lead character’s personal pudgy robotic healthcare companion was much loved and adored by the audience. We might not have wondered back then but the fascinating machine had actually been powered with Artificial Intelligence, programmed to scan a human body for any illnesses or injury while also examining the environment, offering treatment and even catering to the emotional requirements of the patient.

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Spotlight

Westmont Living, Inc.

Westmont Living is a leading provider of senior independent living, assisted living and memory care services in California and the Northwest. Our full service retirement communities are the leaders in each of our markets. Westmont Living is focused on living its mission and values each and every day. Our company culture values each and every employee as an essential piece which makes up our whole. Westmont's mission is to provide inspiring life experiences that enable our resident and their families to lead full and enriching lives.

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