The Debate Over Transparency

Having more information is a must.

Among many other issues, we know of the debate over transparency with regard to all aspects of our health care.

As we reported before, here are related posts:

In 2020, the Debate Over Transparency Goes On

Recently, Wolters Klur conducted a major survey on the American healthcare system. Note: Click the image below to access the 15-page summary of the report. A free login is required.

“Healthcare continues to be elevated to the national stage. Hospital leaders, those on the front lines of care, and consumers are assessing their priorities In the coming year (2020), and beyond. Due to shifting healthcare policies and rising costs.”

“Providers and payers are preparing for a cadre of tougher policies on everything from sharing patient data across a broader network of healthcare players to more pricing transparency. Including real-time pricing. As well as information about medications. Hospital leaders are making tough decisions on how to squeeze further costs out of the system and more effectively manage care over the next few years. And, consumers are contemplating the best ways to manage their own health under the burden of higher costs, new models of care, and rules on benefits and coverage.”

The Debate Over Transparency
 

Five of the Best Health-Related Innovations in 2019

As we begin 2020, consider these innovations.

Trendwatching studies global trends from a variety of perspectives. For many different industry sectors. In this post, we look at five health-related innovations for 2019 that it identified.

According to Trendwatching, these are the top trend-driven innovations for the healthcare industry in 2019:

“The consumerization of healthcare — behaviorally, technologically, culturally — remains the biggest industry trend on our radar. People will always still want world-class ‘traditional’ (i.e. hospital-based) reactive medical care in an emergency. But innovations that empower people to engage with their health in new ways will bring huge benefits to both individuals and over-stretched healthcare systems. Here are five to inspire you.”

          1. Seed — “The D2C probiotics company launched an Instagram Stories-based ‘certification’ to train influencers in the science behind its products and FTC regulations. #accountable > #adfraud.”
          2. University of Washington — “Researchers launched an app that can detect fluid behind the eardrum using a paper funnel attached to a standard smartphone. Dr. DIY and the democratization of healthcare in action.”
          3.  AXA Insurance — “Hong Kong-based patients with social anxiety can access a six-week therapy program. The twist? The sessions are delivered in virtual reality.”
          4. Life Kitchen — “Medical treatment is just a small slice of healthcare. This cooking school for cancer patients offers those going through chemotherapy an experience filled with empathy and humanity.”
          5. United State of Women — “The best ideas are often the simplest. The Womanikin is a breast attachment for CPR mannequins, designed so that first aid givers can get familiar with giving chest compressions to female bodies.”

         

Health Care Coverage by Age Category

Uninsured rising. Young adults losing coverage.

For many of us, good medical care is essential. But, in fact, how much does the use of health care insurance vary by age category? The answer : A lot!!!

According to Katharina Buchholz, writing for Statista:

“The number of Americans who have no healthcare insurance increased again in 2018, the first time since 2010, which was the year the Affordable Care Act went into effect. From 2017 to 2018, the number of people with no health care plan rose most steeply among those 35 to 64 years old.” <a

According to the CDC, it is young adults in the age group of 19 to 34, however, who are most likely to be uninsured in the U.S. In 2018, 14.3 percent of 19-to-25-year-olds and 13.9 percent of 26-to-34-year-olds had no health insurance. After 2010, the share of uninsured Americans decreased in all age groups.  Recently, public healthcare enrollment has declined due to eliminating 90 percent of the ACA’s advertising budget in 2018″

Take a look at the Statista chart.

 
Health Care Coverage by Age Category
 

An Exciting New AI Application

Better diagnosing lung cancer and other illnesses early.

As the post title indicates an exciting new AI application now exists. It involves better screening for lung cancer and other diseases!

Previously, we offered these posts on artificial intelligence:

Diagnosing Lung Cancer: An Exciting New AI Application

As reported by Denise Grady for the NY Times:

“Computers were as good or better than doctors at detecting tiny lung cancers on CT scans, in a study by researchers from Google and several medical centers. The technology is a work in progress, not ready for widespread use, but the new report, published in the journal Nature Medicine, offers a glimpse of the future of artificial intelligence in medicine.”

“One of the most promising areas is recognizing patterns and interpreting images — the same skills that humans use to read microscope slides, X-rays, MRIs,  and other medical scans. By feeding huge amounts of data from medical imaging into systems called artificial neural networks, researchers can train computers to recognize patterns linked to a specific condition. Such as pneumonia, cancer,  or a wrist fracture that would be hard for a person to see. The system follows an algorithm, or set of instructions, and learns as it goes. The more data it receives, the better it becomes at interpretation.”

Click the image to read more.

An Exciting New AI Application
“A colored CT scan showing a tumor in the lung. Artificial intelligence was just as good, and sometimes better, than doctors in diagnosing lung tumors in CT scans, a new study indicates.” Credit: CreditVoisin/Science Source

 

Knowing YOUR Bone Density

Free testing with Medicare coverage.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Bone density is 

“A measure of the amount of minerals (mostly calcium and phosphorous) contained in a certain volume of bone. Bone density measurements are used to diagnose osteoporosis (a condition marked by decreased bone mass), to see how well osteoporosis treatments are working, and to predict how likely the bones are to break. Low bone density can occur in patients treated for cancer. Also called BMD, bone mass, and bone mineral density.”

Do YOU know your own bone density? And your proneness to osteoporosis?

Do you know that Medicare covers bone density testing every two years? Or more frequently if needed? Click on the image to visit the Medicare bone density measurement Web site. And then access the resources.

Knowing YOUR Bone Density
 

Profits and Cancer Drugs

Drug prices expected to keep rising.

How do YOU feel about this: profits and cancer drugs? We know that many related drugs are quite expensive — and often required by us!! And in many cases, the situation is getting worse. 😦

As Katharina Buchholz reports for Statista:

Worldwide cancer drug sales are way ahead of those of other drugs. And the revenue generated by them will grow even larger by 2024. This is according to a report recently released by consultancy Evaluate, which analyses trends in the pharmaceutical sector. As per Evaluate’s calculations, oncology drugs reached US$123.8 billion in sales in 2018, more than double that of the next item on the list, drugs treating diabetes with US$48.5 billion dollars in sales. By 2024, cancer drug sales are expected to almost double to US$236.6 billion dollars.”

“Cancer drugs are extremely pricey. Therefore, they generate high revenues, with costs of a cancer treatment at above US$100,000 per patient. Cancer rates themselves are also rising with humans increasing their lifespans. Money funneled into cancer research means new medications coming out, which improves cancer treatment but might also increase its price as pharmaceutical companies charge a premium for the newly researched and released drugs.”

Take a look at the following chart.

Profits and Cancer Drugs
 

Giving Back to Whom?

Picking the best nonprofits!

If you want to do volunteer work or donate money, how do you determine which organizations are excellent? And which should we avoid?

One objective source for information on nonprofits is Charity Navigator:

“Founded in 2001, Charity Navigator has become the nation’s largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities. In our quest to help donors, our team of professional analysts has examined tens of thousands of nonprofit financial documents. We’ve used this knowledge to develop an unbiased, objective, numbers-based rating system to assess over 9,000 of America’s best-known and some lesser known, but worthy, charities.”

“Specifically, Charity Navigator’s rating system examines two broad areas of a charity’s performance; their Financial Health and their Accountability & Transparency. Our ratings show givers how efficiently we believe a charity will use their support today, how well it has sustained its programs and services over time and their level of commitment to good governance, best practices and openness with information.”

Here is an example of a Charity Navigator review, the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Click the chart to see the full rating of Lustgarten.

Giving Back to Whom?