Conference report: MedCityNews CONVERGE

Guest columnist Sarianne Gruber (@subtleimpact) attended Breaking Media’s annual MedCityNews CONVERGE two-day conference at Philadelphia’s Hyatt at Bellevue earlier this month, and has a few observations on the surface contradiction of innovation and health insurance.

Breaking Media rightly titled this year’s MedCity News conference “Converge”. Listening to the speakers, meeting the founders of new startups and talking to presenters, it became clear that today’s healthcare ecosystem is interdependent on the all the players to move the needle for better quality health. It was fascinating to learn was how innovation is breaking down the old silos of engagement, and is emerging from all the industry players, as well as joining at new intersections. The proliferation of better products, methodologies and engagement is closing the gap with more data, technology and ideas.

When you think of your health insurance company, usually two words comes to mind, cost and coverage. Keynote Speaker, Daniel Hilferty, President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, wants to change the focus to consumer and care. Hilferty paralleled the new ventures at Independence to the work of the great innovator, Thomas Edison. Not only did Edison invent the light bulb, but his work is evidenced in the scalability of electricity that changed the world and how we now live.

In what directions is Independence Blue Cross converging? (more…)

CHF readmissions cut 53 percent with telehealth tablet

Favorable news for the growing area of tablet-based telehealth. A six-month trial of an tablet-based telehealth system for congestive heart failure (CHF) with patients at Philadelphia-area Penn Medicine’s (University of Pennsylvania) post-discharge program reduced readmissions from an already low 8 percent to 3.8 percent, a 53 percent positive change, versus the national average of 19.5 percent. The provided 4G tablet+app program through Health Recovery Systems is used by the patient for an average 85 days. He or she sends vital signs, symptoms, medication information (including side effects) to a nurse care coordinator; the app on the tablet provides coaching via patient education, instructional videos and individualized self-care plans coordinated with the telehealth nurse on the program. (more…)