Critical Issues In Health Care

Health-care providers are facing increasing competition for consumer dollars. Providers are getting bigger and more specialized. Threading these trends into a marketing plan is the major challenge for health- and medical-care providers in the last half of this decade. They have to convince consumers their quality of outcomes is worth the price. To do this, providers must market themselves into brand names.

Consumers are making more independent choices about where to go for service and who is going to provide it. The opportunities for choice are dramatic in fields like rehabilitation, diagnostic testing and treatment, physical, speech, and occupational therapies. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are treating and prescribing medicines among other services. Consumers are frequently employing midwives for childbirth. In some advanced countries like Israel, midwives deliver a majority of newborns. Continue reading

Healthcare Enhanced by Wearable Technology

Humans slept curling in a ball close to a fire, laid heads on a stone, spears close at hand, and dropped off for the night following a long physically arduous day of hunting and food gathering. In time, our days became less physically taxing. We are awake longer hours because of indoor electricity, working and playing late into the night. Sleep deprivation is a medical syndrome doctors are treating with wearable technology. Is this health-care progress?

The boom in wearable computing created a new dynamic Steven Mann calls “Existential Technology.” Personal privacy is compromised from “invasive surveillance technologies,” but people are also empowered “to be free and collegially assertive” in spite of the innovations. MIT-educated Mann coined the term sousveillance describing how the computing boom created an industry of wearable electronic devices with computational capabilities. Continue reading

Healthcare Financing and Reform Worrisome Issues For Executives

A 2014 survey of CEO health-care providers taken by the American College of Healthcare Executives lists financial challenges, reform implementation, government mandates, and patient safety and quality of care as their top concerns. They expect reimbursements to continue the downtrend, while their organizations are expected to do more with less income. Only my mother was ever able to manage that trick!

Collecting fees for services is increasingly problematic and complex. Government and other third-party-payer reimbursement cutbacks are seen nearly across the patient-care field to offset inclusion of marginalized and excluded low-wage workers and unemployed. Millennials are severely under- or uninsured. They are largely responsible for paying their own health-care services while repaying student-loan debts in a still sluggish job market. Many work in service industries (without unions) where employers traditionally do not provide medical insurance. Others are self-employed small business owners and subcontractors working on freelance assignments. Continue reading