Innovation Digest – May 2018 vol. 2

The first article in this edition was a gut punch for me. With the daily stream of announcements about mega-mergers, billions in venture capital funds chasing new technologies and cures, how is it possible that we can ignore the real health issues of our most vulnerable citizens? The shuffling of patients through endless tests, misdiagnoses and the poorest quality of care is not isolated to Kenneth’s story.

Several years ago, my own disabled, elderly uncle, who suffers from both physical and mental health issues, nearly died from an overlooked medical condition that landed him in ICU and then evolved to a dangerous Clostridium difficile infection. Like me, many family members trying to manage similar situations from afar not only encounter well-intentioned but mis-applied privacy policies that make getting accurate information impossible, but also experience anxiety for their loved one who is frightened, sick and unable to represent their needs and preferences for care. Thankfully, my uncle’s outcome was better, but I worry about the next episode.

All the policy talk about world-class, affordable, “value-based” health care doesn’t mean a thing if we can’t first achieve the Golden Rule of health care: First, do no harm. The article is a clarion call. We have an attitude problem in the U.S. The purpose of a health system is (should be) care, especially for those made vulnerable by disease, age and socio-economic status. I’m a fan of free markets, innovation, cost-effectiveness, cures and all the rest. We’ll all be patients at some point in our journey, after all. But our habit of looking beyond to the next “best thing” is literally killing us.

In this issue:

  • The Best Medical Care in the World
  • Evaluating and Valuing Drugs for Rare Conditions: No Easy Answers
  • Caring, accountability, and continuity: What patients and caregivers want during hospital care transition
  • Employers Play an Increasingly Important Role in the Move to Value-Based Care
  • Seeing Value From the Patient’s Perspectives
  • GAO: Patients Say Fees for Accessing Medical Records are Excessive
  • Financial Strain Has Major Impact on Patients’ Health Care Decisions
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