The BUSINE$$ of Obesity

Over two thirds of American adults are overweight.Because March is National Nutrition Month, we’re featuring this infographic (below) and these related articles.

  • America’s Obesity Epidemic, a BIG Problem — features the trailer and all four episodes of HBO’s documentary, “The Weight of the Nation,” along with a collection of supporting statistics.
  • How States are Battling Obesity — a byline article by Scott Kahan, M.D., an Obesity Medicine physician and Director of STOP Obesity Alliance
  • Is Obesity a Disease — discusses the pros and cons of labeling it as a disease or just a risk factor for health problems and not a disease itself
  • MyPlate replaces Food Pyramid — Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveil the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate, to serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices
  • The Hunter-Gatherer Diet — Dr. Terry Wahls presents an incredible TEDx talk, shares how she learned to properly fuel her body, and tells of the diet that cured her MS and allowed her to get out of her wheelchair
  • Six Ways TV Might Be Killing You — about typical Americans who watch an average of four hours and 39 minutes of television every day, one-quarter of their waking life, and how their lives may shorten considerably
  • Donuts Don’t Grow on Trees — a music video about healthy eating by health advocate Barry David Butler
  • A Place at the Table –- a new documentary about the relationship between Poverty, Hunger & Health
  • Working Poor Families Struggle to Pay Bills — featuring statistics and a video of Congresswoman Nancy Peloci about the direct relationship between poverty, obesity, and the cost of healthcare.
  • Poverty in America — featuring The Line, an important documentary that covers the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line
  • Sleep Apnea and Poverty — a byline article by doctors Susan Redline and Michelle Williams about how socioeconomics impacts proper diagnosis and treatment
  • Americans are Sicker and Die Younger — a byline article by Marty Kaplan, Director, Norman Lear Center and Professor at the USC Annenberg School
  • What the Fork — featuring the $100 HAPIfork device that functions like a friendly shock collar by paying attention to when you eat, how many bites you take, and the intervals between each bite, vibrating to tell you when you’re eating too fast or too much
View the Infographic and Read More …

Unpaid Caregiving in America

Image showing The economic cost of unpaid caregiving is over $480 billion per year.According to AARP, 43.5 million Americans are caregivers, and although they do it out of love and obligation, caring for a loved one takes a personal and financial toll.

The economic impact is surprisingly high. It was over $480B/year in 2009, a figure that includes lost worker productivity, reduced earning capacity & retirement income, and increases in their own physical & emotional health and related costs. That’s about 3.2% of the U.S. GDP ($14.1 trillion in 2009). It’s more than the $361B in Medicaid spending. And it’s nearly as much as the $509B in 2009 Medicare spending. It’s also more than half of what we spend on defense. The burden is even worse for long-distance caregivers.

The infographic below details caregiving in the U.S. Read More …

High Tech Advancing Future of Personalized Cancer Care

IBM Watson and Personalized Cancer CareMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, IBM to Collaborate
in Applying Watson Technology to Help Oncologists

IBM Watson combined with MSKCC’s clinical knowledge will help
physicians access and integrate latest science and knowledge

New York City – 22 Mar 2012: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and IBM have agreed to collaborate on the development of a powerful tool built upon IBM Watson in order to provide medical professionals with improved access to current and comprehensive cancer data and practices. The resulting decision support tool will help doctors everywhere create individualized cancer diagnostic and treatment recommendations for their patients based on current evidence.

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Big Data and the Future of Healthcare

Accessible introduction transcript…

  • Every day technology makes new things possible, and some predict that it’s just a matter of time until technology completely revolutionizes healthcare.
  • Some believe that medical diagnosis, general patient care, and medical practices are more expensive and inferior than they need to be.
  • The problem with health care is that it’s often the practice of medicine, rather than the science of medicine, as most medical decisions are simply based on tradition, a doctor’s limited medical knowledge, and the patient’s known symptoms and medical history.
  • The result? Three doctors could diagnose a problem three different ways. This can be a serious issue.
  • Over 40,000 patients die in the ICU in the U.S. each year due to misdiagnosis.
  • The solution? Big Data. Some believe medicine can become more of a science, rather than practice, by relying on technology.

INFOGRAPHIC follows…  Read More …

Health Care Waste: What $750 billion could buy.

What could $750 billion buy?According to the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM), “Thirty cents of every dollar spent on U.S. health care – a total of $750 billion – was wasted in 2009 on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud and other problems.”

There are many ways to portray healthcare inefficiencies. One way is to ridicule the industry by reflecting its waste onto other industries, as listed below. Another is to explore what the $750 billion in wasted money could buy, as Allison McCartney did in her infographic (below). We could also examine what’s possible if healthcare were to adopt best practices from other industries, including the computer industry.

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Senior Living Options & Costs Infographic

As seniors age, they may need help with daily tasks. Helping them decide on appropriate living arrangements is critical to staying safe and healthy. Investing in home modifications and some sort of medical alert system is a cost effective way for seniors to feel safe and secure while living an independent lifestyle, as this infographic suggests. Read More …

Social Media in Politics

Social Media In Politics - an InfographicI’ve posted several articles about social media in HEALTHCARE, including:

This article is about social media in POLITICS. While I try not to subject you to my own political views, they probably shows sometimes when I discuss things Obamacare, Medicare, regulatory oversight, and the future of medicine. But no matter what side of the issues you’re on, you may enjoy this infographic, because so many health-related issues are at stake in this year’s election. And if you feel  compelled to do so, share your thoughts below and justify your views to others.

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What’s Possible for Health Care?

If a new healthcare model saved $1 trillion per year, then those who wouldn’t get their old share would vigorously fight such disruptive change. So what’s possible and what’s likely are two different things.

The infographic below looks at some goals for the U.S. health care system and how they might be achieved by adopting practices used by other industries. It makes me think of my early days at IBM, where I compared tech innovation in the Computer industry with that of  the Airlines industry.

“If the airline industry evolved with the same speed as the computer industry, we could fly half way around the world in an hour for fifty cents worth of gasoline in an airplane too small to sit in and when we arrived at our destination it would be cheaper to throw the plane away than to have it serviced and parked overnight.”

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The Benefits of Napping

When was the last time you let yourself have a nice, leisurely nap?

Past articles promoted the health & productivity benefits of good sleep, but what about a short nap? The folks at Patio Productions shared this great infographic on the science and statistics of napping, spent inside or in the majestic outdoors. Enjoy, and pass it along to friends.

 

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Long Term Care and the Home Healthcare Opportunity

Long Term Care InfographicThis article presents statistics about the Home Healthcare Opportunity (see more statistics) and an infographic about Long Term Care costs (from Northwest Mutual).

“We can save Trillions by moving at least 50% of healthcare services from institutions to homes.” (Eric Dishman, Intel)

  • Boomers have a “fierce” desire to remain independent.(AARP)
    • >90% of people 65+ want to age at home if safe as long as possible.
    • This will lead to an expansion of organizations offering home- and community-based care.
  • Avg. Nursing Home private room = $83,000 a yearin 2010. Assisted Living rent = $39,000 a year. (MetLife)
    • Avg. Independent Living Community = $32,000/yr (Long Term Living Magazine)
    • Avg. In-Home Care = $18,000/yr (health aid, meals on wheels, maid, etc.)
  • Global Home Healthcare market = $40.5 billion  in 2009, growing to $67 billion by 2016 (GBI Research)
    • US Digital Health market = $5.7B by 2015 with 55% CAGR (Parks Associates)
    • US Home Remote Monitoring = $295M by 2015 (Frost & Sullivan)
    • US Remote Patient Monitoring = $7.1B in 2010, with 25.4% ACGR and 2015 estimate of $22.2 billion (Kalorama Information)
    • Health & Fitness Apps market = >$400 million in 2016 (ABI Research)
  • Global mHealth market = $10B by 2016 (mHealth Networking Group on LinkedIn)
    • With over 72% of the globe connected via mobile technology and over 60% of US physicians owning tablet devices, the promise of mobile health to profoundly impact, on the delivery of healthcare cannot be understated.
    • Most of these physicians are using iPads and about half of all tablet-toting physicians use the devices at the point of care.
    • Asia Pacific mHealth market = $7B by 2017 (GSMA)
    • >20,000 medical/health apps = 3rd fastest-growing, with 60% aimed at consumers vs. health professionals
  • U.S. Health Care Fraud = $80 billion per year. (conservative estimate from CNBC’s Health Care Hustle series) Read More …

How will you pay your lifetime $4 million healthcare bill?

Your $4 Million Bill and The Anatomy of Health InsuranceThe following infographic shows that a typical 22 year old worker and his employer can expect to pay over $4,000,000 in his lifetime for healthcare and health insurance. That number seemed awfully high, so I created a spreadsheet model to see if I could match it. I did, and here are my assumptions.

  • Starting salary at age 22 = $53,000 ($870,000/year by age 70)
  • Annual salary increase = 6% compounded
  • Percent of income for healthcare = 18%, increasing by 0.3% per year

I assumed a modest salary that increased at 6% compounded each year, but that’s a simplistic view since raises are larger earlier in a career and generally taper off (or even go negative) as you get older. I calculated to age 70 to account for longer lifespans and the likelihood that young people will continue working that long by then.

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Physicians find and help Patients through Social Media

In Patients Find and Help Each other in Social Media, I showed how they’re actively turning to the Internet to find solutions when their doctors don’t have the answers. And a new report by the Health Research Institute at PwC shows that patient social media activity dwarfs that of the healthcare industry.

Simplified graphic of social media in health

 

Now the infographic below is about physicians going online to find and support patients through social media and telemedicine programs. Read More …

America’s Obesity Epidemic – a BIG Problem (UPDATED)

Fatty Food, from HBO's The Weight of the NationNow that all four episodes of The Weight of the Nation have aired on HBO, I’m updating this article with new information, important statistics, and embedded versions of the trailer and each episode.

Obesity is a really BIG problem (excuse the pun), and with over two thirds (69%) of us overweight or obese,  it’s now the largest threat to the health, wellness and future survival of our nation. Obesity has become an epidemic that needs swift action and an unprecedented public health campaign. Otherwise, we’ll end up like those fat Axiom characters in Pixar’s movie, Wall-E, and we’ll bankrupt America.

I hope everyone young & old will watch HBO’s The Weight of the Nation. It’s a four-part documentary that premiered on Monday, May 14 to explore our uphill battle with obesity. If you prefer to watch on your TV or want to learn more, you can visit the link above to buy the CD or the book that it’s based on. (An online version of the book is free.)

The Trailer

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Patients Find and Help Each other in Social Media

A new PwC market research study shows that Consumers use Social Media far more than Health Companies.

Patients are turning to the Internet and Social Media to find solutions to health problems when their doctors don’t know the answers. While some docs are overwhelmed with new literature about medical advancements and resent patients who question their advice, others welcome the self-educated patient who has found treatment alternatives online and wants to discuss them. If you’re one of those e-patients and have used social media to connect with others like you to exchange stories and knowledge, I want to hear how you did it.

mHealthTalk Positioning - at the intersection of important trends and between Support Groups and Technology PagesDid you use an online support group like e-Patients.netPatientsLikeMe.com, and WebMD.com? Did you stumble upon a technology solution by landing on a website for a specific product or service? Did you use a smartphone app? Toni Bernhard uses Facebook Groups for this. Do you?

Why I ask… Modern Health Talk is positioned between these extremes, at the intersection of several important trends, including rising costs, aging baby boomers, wireless Internet access, telemedicine, and increased interest in social media, digital sensors, telepresence, and smartphones & tablets. BUT… We’ve found that the good online support groups focus on a single medical condition and NOT the combination of conditions and limitations associated with aging. We so far have been unable to build a vibrant community that engages the elderly in discussions of tech solutions for aging and want to learn from the success of others, potentially partnering with them. So please share your experience by email or a comment below.

e-Patient Katherine Leon

Below, NPR reports on patients with rare diseases who are finding each other online and promoting new research. The story features Katherine Leon, a woman with an extremely rare heart condition who managed to do what many hospitals couldn’t. She set up a virtual patient registry, allowed patients from all over the world to submit their medical records and scans online, and then used the data to convince researchers at the Mayo Clinic to run clinical trials where there was no interest before. Her story became national news. Read More …

How did we get to 7 billion people so fast?

I was born into a world with about 2.5 billion people, but there are now over 7 billion.

Better medicine and improved agriculture have resulted in longer life expectancies and a dramatic increase in world population. As higher standards of living and better health care reach more parts of the world and bring birth control, population growth should slow, but U.N. forecasters still predict a world peak of over 10 billion by 2100. As population then declines, there will be significantly fewer working people to support the elderly, and that poses an economic dilemma for future generations.

NPR’s video, 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast? uses colored liquids to visualize population growth on different continents. WATCH BELOW

 

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What makes you sick? Ask Dr. Watson

Watson's avatar, inspired by the IBM Watson is IBM’s natural language artificial intelligence supercomputer that last year competed on the quiz show Jeopardy and consistently outperformed two record holding humans, one with the longest winning streak (74 wins), and one winning the most money. Watson can process 200 million times more instructions per second than all of the computers on the recently retired Space Shuttle.

In just 3 seconds, Watson was able to parse and analyze the equivalent of 300 million books to find relevant information. For perspective, if those books were placed on a long bookshelf, the shelf would be longer than 7 football fields.

Watson in Healthcare

WellPoint is pioneering the use of Watson in healthcare, giving physicians better insight to help improve patient outcomes. (See infographic below.)

Related articles on Watson in Healthcare

Watson in Other Industries

The Infographic

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Home Improvement Trends

eLocal Home Improvement Badge

 

Modern Health Talk founder Wayne Caswell is an eLocal.com home improvement expert and contributes to their industry surveys. Their first survey for 2012 is the same as for 2011 – What are the top Home Improvement Trends.  Below is an infographic that summarizes answers from 50 eLocal experts, followed by what I submitted for this year’s survey.

 

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Physician use of Social Media

doctorAs I wrote earlier, Social Media Growth is Fastest among Boomers, but how are physicians and patients using social media?

That’s the topic of an article by Stephanie Baum at MedCityNews.com and a infographic created by oBizMedia.com for Mesotheliomapage.com. As it turns out, 90% of physicians are jumping on the social media bandwagon, but most use specialized physician communities more than more general purpose networks like Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. And while they’re starting to refer patients to online patient groups, few will interact with them directly online, largely due to concerns about liability and patient privacy. The infographic below details results from several surveys.

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Fruit drinks and the “Diabesity” problem

Diagnosing the mouse as Fat or FitAccording to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Fifty Percent of Americans Suffer From This Silent Killer, the diabesity problem is bankrupting our economy and will cost us $3.5 trillion over the next 10 years. He describes modern industrial medicine as based on a black-or-white diagnoses that largely ignores the continuum of gray areas and can miss the root causes of chronic illness.  Most doctors are taught that you either have a disease or you don’t, and they treat it that way, but Hyman’s excellent article adds a new perspective.

Similarly, conventional wisdom blames soda on the amount of sugar we drink, but the following infographic about The Dangers of Fruit Drinks shows a different viewpoint.

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