Technology Trends Transforming Health Care – Deloitte Dbriefs Health Sciences series

Technology will drive more value, patient empowerment, care quality increase and more collaborations

eyesDeloitte top managers regularly host webcasts about health care trends. Yesterday they spoke about technology in health care and how it will transform the way we do business in this industry.

They talked about the landscape as an introduction and more specifically about 2014 digital health funding where Analytics and Big Data were one of the hottest spot together with Health care consumer engagement (see more on page 5 of the slide deck below) or by following this Rock Health link.

Big data is today unavoidable in health care. We need to manage all this amount of information in order to better care for the patients. The transformation will happen quickly as many science and technology breakthroughs are advancing faster than Moore’s law.

Deloitte spotted several trends:

Harnessing the real potential of the Internet of Things by connecting some of the available sensors and objects in order to create a chosen and deployed network.

Biosensing wearables allowing a more natural way to interact with the network to select services.

Cognitive computing augmenting human thinking for enhanced decision-making and quicker data processing.

Amplified intelligence to increase productivity of workers and helping them.

Cheap and Good Complexity. No more financial barrier for product design and customization.

Cyberdefense will be crucial with increased connectivity. Machine learning and predictive analytics will help in this field.

New roles in top management: Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Innovation Officer,… and the need of a Chief Integration Officer to promote collaboration between these functions and the more traditional responsibilities.

Technologies are fundamentally changing the health care landscape. It has implications for all the stakeholders: patients, payers, health care providers, researchers, life sciences and technology companies, governement… But in the end, it will enable the whole system to evolve toward more value (instead of volume), to empower patients/customers, to increase the quality of care and to encourage more collaborations.

Slide Deck: TechnologyTrendsTransformingHealthCare_Deloitte_April2015

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Evidence-based medicine: Save blood, save lives – Nature

Transfusions are overused in modern medicine – How can we limit their utilization to save blood and lives?

BloodTransfusionSeveral billions of dollars are spent on blood orders and transfusion procedures. It is not only the cost associated with it but also patient outcomes. Two studies detailed in the Nature article show that reducing the number of transfusions is leading to huge savings and to a decreased mortality. Even tough transfusions can be lifesaving, they are often unnecessary and are sometimes even harmful.

If a patient is healthy enough to get by without a transfusion, the doctor will not order blood for him. Less is more.

Using less transfusion is now globally recommended but changing established medical practice is a real challenge as sometimes doctors do not follow recommendations.

Nature Article (free access)    Transfusion Medicine History

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From Iceland to White House, Precision Medicine’s Promises & Hurdles – Xconomy

WatchNot just the promise of precision medicine, but the long haul until that promise is fulfilled

A great post on the Xconomy website from one of my favorite writer: Alex Lash.

In this post (definitely worth a look!!), he extracted the key points from what happened last week about the advances in precision medicine (personalized drugs for specific group of people).

The two events from last week: 1. Iceland’s deCODE Genetics (subsidiary of Amgen) published research studies covering detailed genomic information about that island nation’s people. 2. Governments (US and UK) initiatives were launched to build large health databases.

For this enormous data collection to be a success, it is essential to change the patient’s perception. He/She will have to engage for the future of care and be considered as a person (and not a number) by all the health care providers and researchers. Collective intelligence and collaboration will enable the success of these initiatives.

Xconomy article

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WHO urges Europeans to work together to counter high drug prices – Reuters

More collaboration, more transparency & more value for money

DoctorsPatientsThere is a lot of fragmentation in European healthcare systems. Some of them have very comprehensive methodologies to assess the value of medicines, others are lacking these processes. Moreover, drug supply and prices are negotiated between stakeholders without making discounts and rebates publicly available.

Assessing the economic benefit of drugs is crucial today.

The last link is very interesting as it will land you on the page of the European Observatory on Health Systems & Policies website where you could find resourceful reports on health systems currently established in Europe.

Reuters article    WHO website    European Observatory on Health Systems & Policies website

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The true value of a life is not about the pharmaceutical costs – Financial Times

Drug pricing should be re-thought & Government should commit more according to John Kay

lifeA very interesting article in the Financial Times written by a well-known economist, John Kay, about life.

His conclusion: “Perhaps the greatest challenges in modern healthcare are not those of meeting the spiralling cost of advanced medical technologies. They lie in accepting that we are all going to die, and learning to do so with dignity.”

The business model of the pharma industry is based on drugs against chronic diseases (mass markets). Huge volumes of pills at moderate prices = covering the expenditure involved in drug development and clinical trials + good profits. However, less and less drugs fit that model, especially with the emergence of personalized medicine (drugs tailored to the specific DNA profile of each patient).

John Kay is talking a lot about Sovaldi (an HCV drug marketed by Gilead) and its very high price point. Personally, I think that despite the high price, this drug will cure people and it’s worth the spend. On the contrary, cancer drugs only prolong life without curing and, maybe, without a decent quality of life for the patient (especially at the end), and they have extremely high price tags. Another example: antibiotics. They have low price tag and they cure and very often save the lives of people.

As quoted by John Kay: “Perhaps governments should finance the payment of a national licence fee for drugs, with supplies then made available at a price close to production cost. A rising proportion of medical expenditure is now devoted to prolonging the lives of the very old and the terminally ill. The costs of this are potentially unlimited.”

I expect a real rethink of the whole drug pricing system. We should pay for the outcomes, for the real value delivered to the patients and the healthcare system.

FT article    Link to the article on John Kay website

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You’re The Doctor Now, And Your Office Is In Your House – Fast Company

DIY Tools and Telemedicine could help patients stay at home for a doctor’s appointment

TelemedicineThis article is one among the World-Changing Ideas edited by Fast Company. At-home diagnostic tests can change the way we interact with our family doctor. This article shows several tools that can help us in diagnosing diseases and seeking help by calling a healthcare professional when necessary.

This trend has 2 implications: it can help emerging markets and remote areas but in developed countries it will contribute in containing healthcare costs.

Fast Company article    WHO Report on Telemedicine (2009)

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3 key challenges to health IT – HealthcareDIVE

Beyond the implementation challenges of health IT

MazeThere are several challenges once health IT has been implemented. HealthcareDIVE mentioned 3 main issues:

1. Maintaining EHRs (Electronic Health Records)

2. Addressing physician concerns

3. Leveraging meaningful use

HealthcareDIVE article    Trends in EHRs use (2014 National Health Statistics Report)

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From Fee-for-Service to Fee-for-Value – Strategy+Business

Medicare is starting a new paradigm in paying for healthcare – focus on outcomes and not volume

SuperiorAppliancesSwitching from volume-based to value-based payments is key to the sustainability of the healthcare system. Why? Because all the healthcare providers will be encouraged to focus on the outcomes for the patients instead of the number of procedures undertaken for him or her.

It is not a new principle: the first author who has been speaking about Value in Healthcare is M. E. Porter in 2006 when he published a book about it. Since then, he committed a lot to raise the awareness about the importance and extent of this concept. He founded the Harvard Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness which dedicates a research area to healthcare.

I think it is really the direction where we have to go if we want to provide care to all people without wealth discrimination.

Strategy+Business article

How can we address the high price of cancer drugs? – Mayo Clinic

The high price for cancer drugs is not only a burden for patients but also for the whole society

Affordability is one of the key word coming back every time we speak about cancer drugs. This time, oncologists are joining the cancer price revolt. The Mayo Clinic published a 4-minute video really worth watching and an article detailing all the points where oncologists can act upon.

Cancer care is not only the issue for the patient but for all the stakeholders (doctors, healthcare providers, insurances, governments, relatives,…). We all need to team up to find solutions. Mayo Clinic is giving us a starting point.

The Mayo Clinic Article    The Mayo Clinic Proceedings Article

Virtual drug screening – Google Blog

When Google enters the drug discovery landscape

testtubesThis blog post by Google is deeply interesting as it shows how the “new economy” companies like Google could help the “old economy firms” like the Big Pharma. Bringing new cheaper medicine faster to the patients is important today but will be key in the future as health systems will not be able to cope with never-ending rising healthcare costs. Maybe Google has the solution to help us all?

Google blog post   Venture Beat opinion    The Research paper

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The Future of Health Is More, Better, Cheaper – Strategy+Business

digital_technologyConsumer will take more power in health-related decision and will drive the market

Within a decade, the health business will look and feel much more like other consumer-oriented, technology-enabled industries . It will have its own Amazon-style, iconic brands—companies that give consumers an easy way to access information, doctors, and treatments; provide them with a variety of services and products at a variety of prices; and centralize their care through user-friendly interfaces. And thanks to this growing trend, plenty of entrants into the market would like nothing better than to upend the old model of care, empowering consumers while taking some of the industry’s annual US$2.9 trillion market for themselves.

Read more   More on Digital Health

U.S. Rx Spending Increased 13.1% in 2014

The Express Scripts Drug Trend Report shows amazing trends

Charts3The 19th edition of the Express Scripts Drug Trend Report reveals new hepatitis C therapies with high price tags and the exploitation of loopholes for compounded medications drove a 13.1% increase in U.S. drug spending in 2014 – a rate not seen in more than a decade. Hepatitis C and compounded medications are responsible for more than half of the increase in overall spending. Excluding those two therapy classes, 2014 drug trend (the year-over-year increase in per capita drug spending) was 6.4%.

The Report    The Summary

Smartphone diagnosis – The Economist

smartphoneSmartphone diagnosis can help us in the developed world but could also be a better way to care for patients in developing countries

By offering lab-type diagnostics to almost any population with access to a smartphone, such devices would be particularly useful in remote and resource-poor areas. But they are bound to give hypochondriacs yet another reason to fiddle with their handsets.

The Economist article

Don’t kill Obamacare – The Economist

Despite all the critics against Obamacare, the initiative seems to be good for both patients and costs

clever2 key achievements:

  • First, despite the incompetent rollout of healthcare.gov (the website that allows people to use the federal exchanges), the proportion of Americans who lack cover has fallen from 16.2% to 12.3% since 2009.
  • Second, the previously terrifying pace of medical inflation has slowed. The amount that America spends on health care grew by 3.9% a year in nominal terms between 2009 and 2011—having grown by 7.3% a year in 2000-08.

Read the article in The Economist

Americans are making a big mistake about health care – VOX

Americans don’t understand their own healthcare system

QuestionMarkButtonIf you want to understand the politics of health care in the United States, you really need to understand this finding from a recent Economist/YouGov poll that shows why it’s so difficult for wonky ideas — of either a left-wing or right-wing slant — to gain much toehold with the American people. The way people in the policy community see it, this is totally backwards. Better explanations to catch up!