Consulo Indicium 5/11/18

Information for your Consideration…

Technology Reading Your Mind – And, you thought it was way out into the future…  Researchers at MIT Media Lab have been working on a wearable device that can read your mind – literally.  The device is like an extended ear piece for a mobile device except that it has an elongated attachment that follows your jawline and attaches to the skin just under the lower lip.  It picks up neuromuscular activity in the face and jaw which are activated by verbalizations.  The result is that this activity has been translated into the specific words, thereby allowing verbalization of your thoughts.  Dubbed the AlterEgo, the device is now at 92% when trained with a limited vocabulary of 20 words.  But, after all – it is only May 2018.  Just think what it will be able to do by Christmas!!

Cost Of Health Care Continues To Increase – It’s not too surprising but a recently released study reveals that the major drivers of high healthcare costs in the USA are essentially higher prices for nearly everything—from physician care to hospital services to diagnostic tests and on to pharmaceuticals to say nothing of the costs associated with administrative complexity. The study was completed by researchers from the Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Economics and published in the March 13, 2018 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association).  The researchers compared USA health care cost data with 10 other comparable countries (i.e. Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) on nearly 100 data points. 

And, the findings?  In no surprise to many of us, the study confirmed that USA health care costs are way higher with worse population health outcomes and less access to care than all of the other wealthy countries. For example, the USA percent of GDP for health care in 2016 was 17.8% and growing.  The next highest was Switzerland at 12.4% to a low of 9.6% for Australia.  In a point of further humiliation, our USA life expectancy was the lowest of the entire group at 78.8 years (range = 80.7-83.9 years); and, the percent of the USA population with health insurance coverage was 90% - again lower than all of the other nations (range: 99%-100% for the remaining 11 nations).  I recommend that you read the study.  It blows away a lot of myths about USA health care.  Folks…I keep saying it: “We’ve got a problem”.  If we continue the current course with the current demographic trends, the entire system is unsustainable.  Health care is Job #1 in America but: 1) not well understood, 2) complex, 3) system-centric rather than consumer-centric; and, 4) disconnected from the average person because of the way health insurance is structured.  Change will happen one way or the other.  Either we lead the change or change will happen to health care.  Either way – it’s moving forward… 

Not That I’m A Bearer Of Bad News, But – Since I’m on a downer today, I thought you should also be aware of that the well-being of USA citizens took a hit in 2017, according to the annual Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index results released last month. In fact, 2017 saw the worst decline in well-being in the 10-year history of the survey, marking the worst results since the Great Recession. The top five states in well-being included:

  1. South Dakota (64.10)
  2. Vermont (64.09)
  3. Hawaii (63.39)
  4. Minnesota (63.12)
  5. North Dakota (63.06) – we’ll stop right here :-) 

Something is going right in the Upper Midwest.  Perhaps it’s the winter storms?  Or, the prairie mentality?  Any ideas on why? 

“It’s Not The Money, It’s The Money!” – I’ve used this moniker before which I learned from a close friend and colleague nearly 30 years ago in referencing the problems with the health care system.  So, it wasn’t surprising to learn that 71% of the Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs recently indicated that were likely to leave the program if forced to take on risk.  The results came from a survey conducted by the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS).  In responding to the survey, the ACOs noted that the three biggest reasons for their decisions were: 1) the risk is too great, 2) ACO and CMS rules are too unpredictable; and, 3) the financial projections are often unreliable. As Clif Gaus, President/CEO of NAACOS, in responding to the results of the survey noted, "It's naïve to think ACOs that aren't ready will be forced into risk in what is ultimately a voluntary program. The more likely outcome will be that many ACOs quit the program, divest their care coordination resources and return to payment models that emphasize volume over value."  Such a result would be a wrong turn at the busy intersection of health care…

Healthcare Consultants

    ...Inspiring creative change to benefit the human condition