Why American Health Care is So Expensive

[Private] Health Spending as share of GDP

This video by Vox and Ezra Klein explains why American health care is so expensive, and it does so simply and effectively. It mentions each of the top issues I write about here at Modern Health Talk, including the political influence of a medical cartel that profits from treating illness and injury with a fee-for-service business model.

The video gives me an opportunity to highlight the many issues contributing to our high costs, with a short description and reference articles for each.

  1. There’s No Easy Fix
  2. Market Forces Don’t Work in Health Care
  3. A Medical Cartel Influences Public Policy
  4. Direct to Consumer Advertising Influences Public Attitudes
  5. Incentives are Misaligned with Goals
  6. Health is Not a Policy Objective but a Political Weapon
  7. Inequality affects Health Wealth, Opportunity & Influence
  8. Single-Payer is Not Enough
  9. Public Health Programs are Effective
  10. Medical Schools teach Diagnosis & Treatment, not Prevention
  11. Disruptive Business Models Break From Fee-for-Service
  12. Tech Solutions Define the Future of Healthcare
  13. Aging Populations Stress Support Systems
  14. Important Documentaries

Read More …

How will IBM Watson affect the Future of Healthcare?

Watson: a Healthcare Future with Artificial Intelligence? Does AI help doctors or replace them?

How will IBM Watson affect the Future of Healthcare? Will it replace physician functions or just be another tool for them?

IBM made healthcare news when it directed its Watson supercomputer and artificial intelligence (AI) research to target a high-profile target: CANCER. But it seems that many in the medical industry lack the imagination needed to envision the potential that Watson offers. That’s why I’m writing today.

I was disappointed by a Business Insider article, Doctors say IBM Watson is nowhere close to being the revolution in cancer treatment it was pitched to them as. It appeared overly critical and caused me to respond this way: Read More …

Tissue Nanotransfection can Heal Organs with a Touch

Tissue Nanotransfection can Heal Organs with a Touch

According to this article at MedicalXpress.com

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State’s College of Engineering have developed a new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), that can generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body. This technology may be used to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells. Read More …

Fixing Healthcare – Searching for a Healthcare Unicorn

Fixing Health Care is more than Searching for the Healthcare Unicorn

By Brian Holzer MD, MBA, President, Kindred Innovations

[This blog post, originally published on LinkedIn, is based on my personal view and does not in any way reflect the opinions of the current organization I work for].

Last week I came across the article titled, “Cuts threaten rural hospitals hanging on by their fingernails” which reported that 673 rural hospitals were at risk of closing. The data came from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, which also cited that states including California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia were most at risk with as many as 79% of their rural hospitals facing possible closure.

Reports like these that imply an impending doom of the healthcare system, as we know it are almost a daily event. And the sensationalism of healthcare by politicians and the media only adds further distractions to a system that is starving for patience and unbiased pragmatism. There is also no shortage of articles professing solutions that say nothing more than we need to 1) create a system that ensures that everyone has access to health insurance; and 2) make sure that we contain the huge cost increases.

The real problem we are facing as a society is that Healthcare is a Unicorn…Healthcare is not the same as other markets. There is a widespread lack of transparency about both the costs and the effectiveness of treatments, and many other details that a customer or end consumer might use to make purchasing and utilization decisions in healthcare. If life were as simple as it is often taught in business school classrooms, fixing Healthcare should be as easy as learning from other industries and adopting best practices. So, let’s [apply lessons from] two industries-airlines and auto insurance. Read More …

Evaluating Market Research

What factors influence growth projections in market researchHere’s my advice for evaluating market research, as founding editor of Modern Health Talk and someone who has both purchased and written major market research reports.

Market Research can be biased and short-lived, so before you buy any expensive research reports, make sure you get a chance to interview the authors personally so you understand their assumptions, research process, and what shaped their conclusions. Read More …

Big Data Revolutionizing Healthcare

Big Data Revolutionizing Healthcare

Byline article by Jessica Oaks

The healthcare industry has long been a hotbed for technological and pharmaceutical development. Consider the discovery and later development of penicillin in the 1920s and 1930s to fight bacterial infection, or the use of X-ray imaging in the 1890s to see inside the body. Technology furthers the cause of healthcare and medicine by enabling better treatment and better outcomes.

So it should come as no surprise that technology continues to revolutionize the modern healthcare industry. What may surprise you, however, is the role that technology increasingly is playing in healthcare. After years of evolutionary development, in which existing processes and technologies were slightly refined and improved upon, healthcare is truly undergoing something of a seismic shift in the way patient care is approached. Read More …

One Poll surveys 1000 people about Sleep – Interesting

New Survey Explains the Importance of Sleep

By Paula Davis-Laack, Lawyer turned burnout prevention expert

OnePoll Sleep SurveyAre you a sleep worker?

No, not a sleepwalker, but a person who goes to work and attempts to function on too little sleep? It turns out, one-third of American workers are sleep working — not getting enough sleep to function at peak levels, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

On the home front, men and women experience interrupted sleep, but often for different reasons. Women are more than twice as likely to interrupt their sleep to care for others, and once they’re up, they are awake longer: 44 minutes, compared with 30 minutes for men.

According to a new sleep survey conducted by One Poll, 1,000 people aged 18 – 55+ were asked a series of questions about their sleep habits. Here are some of the findings: Read More …

Enjoy Aging! And What’s Going On With Your Body

Enjoy Aging!

By Alfred Stallion

Elderly Couple
Aging is a fact of life and part of this is a change in your body’s ability to handle certain tasks, an increase in vulnerability to illness, and a variety of other conditions that can affect your ability to do things that were once straightforward. By understanding the natural changes that occur in your body with age, you can expect them and adjust accordingly, ensuring that you enjoy an active and happy life. Read More …

FUTURE: “Smart Skin” monitors Vital Signs

The following 2011 story of nano-scale technology caught my eye but may need an introduction. It’s about the ability to embed sensors and other electronic components into a flexible film that’s half the thickness of a human hair, can be applied like a temporary tattoo, and is worn with comfort.

Updated Video from November 2015


The “smart skin” can be packed with micro-circuits including sensors, receivers, transmitters, diodes, transistors, antennas, and miniature solar cells. That means there are many potential applications, including:
Read More …

Senior Housing and Care Settings

Should Older Americans Live in Places Segregated From the Young?

by Stephen M Golant, Professor of Geography, University of Florida, republished here with permission

Residents play shuffleboard at Limetree Park in Bonita Springs, Florida. Steve Nesius/Reuters

Demographers frequently remind us that the United States is a rapidly aging country. From 2010 to 2040, we expect that the age-65-and-over population will more than double in size, from about 40 to 82 million. More than one in five residents will be in their later years. Reflecting our higher life expectancy, over 55% of this older group will be at least in their mid-70s.

While these numbers result in lively debates on issues such as social security or health care spending, they less often provoke discussion on where our aging population should live and why their residential choices matter. Read More …

10 Surprising Benefits of House Work

benefits of house work

Getting out the mop and sponge does not qualify as fun for many people, but the benefits extend beyond just getting their houses clean, and in surprising ways.

1. By cleaning the house, you are getting a workout. When you go from not cleaning the house at all to scrubbing it down on a regular basis, you may begin to feel as though you’re losing pounds. While skipping the gym entirely is probably out of the question, you may quickly find that the amount of times you need to go is significantly reduced. You can use that time to clean instead. Read More …

Google expands Health Search feature

People won’t trust Dr. Google if the search results they get are from Joe Blow or who knows who with no assurance of information accuracy, so Google is improving the quality of health information we find online using the company’s its prolific search engine, and this has tremendous potential.

Maybe you just heard a news story about gluten-free diets and then go online to ask, “What is celiac disease?” Or maybe a co-worker shook your hand and later you found out she had pink eye, so you look up “pink eye” to see if it’s contagious and what the symptoms and treatments are. It’s comforting to know that real medical experts have vetted the information presented.

Mobile search example

Starting back in February, when you asked Google about common health conditions, relevant medical facts from reputable sources began to appear, such as this one for tonsillitis. Google Health Info Curated

Google expands Health Search feature

Read More …

Ain’t the way to Die – video

Ain’t the way to Die

After you watch this RAP video by ZDoggMD, read Zen and the Art of Dying Well, a New York Times editorial.

What is the ‘right’ way to die? We’re experiencing a zeitgeist moment about that. ‘Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,’ by Atul Gawande, is a best-selling book. Videos by Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who wanted to die in a way of her own choosing, went viral last year. And in more than 20 countries, thousands of people have dined and discussed dying through a project called Death Over Dinner.

Read More …

When I was born – Can you guess?

Roy Rogers

Certain pivotal events cause us to reflect on the past or envision the future. New Year’s day is one such event; birthdays are another. Since my birthday is tomorrow, I thought it might be fun to see if you could guess when I was born, based on interesting tidbits I found online. After all, this site already has over 100 articles on The Future and several more on Preserving Your Digital Legacy. Isn’t it time to just look back and see how much change has occurred in our lifetimes? And document it? Read More …

How to Manage Arthritis Pain

Arthritis Pain

5 All-Natural & Effective Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain

If getting out of bed in the morning is difficult due to a chronically sore back or knees, or your hands or ankles ache throughout the day, you may be among the 52.5 million adults in the United States that the CDC estimates have some form of arthritis.

While many people who suffer from osteoarthritis are prescribed pain medication by their physicians, some may wish to find alternative ways of dealing with their discomfort.

Fortunately, there are a variety of natural and simple ways that can help people manage their arthritis pain. Read More …

Understanding Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Source: Synergy Health Clinic

Understanding Back Pain

By Dale Powell

It’s a real pain in the… well back I suppose. Do you ask yourself, “Why me?” Well it might be comforting news for you that lower back pain is a very common issue as 80% of people will suffer its wrath at some time in their life.

While you can have back pain at any age, it’s said that people between the ages of 35 and 65 are to occur and suffer lower back pain more than any other age groups. No matter what age you are, lower back pain can strike, often based on your lifestyle and daily habits. Read More …