ACOsFuture of Health CarePopulation HealthValue-Based Health CareWomen and Health Care
March 13, 2019

Women’s Health Research Needs an Infusion: 
How Health Systems and ACOs Should Help Correct Gender Disparities

Women receive health care that is below par, and the consequences are unnecessary morbidity and death. It is fact, not fiction—borne out by significant data that reveal disparities across many major conditions—that inattention to women’s unique symptoms, risk factors, disease biology and treatment effects are causing harm to women. Despite the reality, a poor body of research exists to point women’s health in the right direction. Value-Based Health Care (VBHC) assumes that we can measure providers’ delivery of health care against clinical standards. What if we don’t even know how half the population exhibits disease or responds to therapies? At…
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Future of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingResearch
March 6, 2019

If Not Now, It’s Too Late: Clinical Science Is Futile If We Study the Wrong Population

In 1936, the Literary Digest, a respected national magazine, undertook a public opinion poll. Who would win the race between Republican Alfred Landon, governor of Kansas, and Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt? Mock ballots were mailed to 10 million Americans. About 2.4 million responded—one of the largest survey samples ever created. Their prediction? Landon would carry the day. They were wrong—by a landslide for FDR. That’s because respondents were biased toward Landon and did not accurately represent the distribution of presidential preferences across all voters. Notably, George Gallop accurately predicted FDR’s victory using a smaller representative sample of about 50,000…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health CareWomen and Health Care
February 27, 2019

How Gender Discrimination Against Women Physicians Handicaps Value and Patient Care

We need to get women’s health care right. This is not a parochial issue, important only to women, and disconnected from Value-Based Health Care. Gender disparity in health care is real, with significant ramifications for outcomes—for the patients, certainly, as well as for providers’ ability to succeed under risk. Just as quality measurement is necessary to improving quality, achieving the triple aim of quality, cost and patient experience must include both measurement and elimination of gender and gender-race impediments. ACOs and providers accept that they must help patients overcome social attributes of health if those patients are to improve. Yet…
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ACOsFuture of Health CareValue-Based Health CareWomen and Health Care
February 20, 2019

Providers, Take Note: Prepare for the Future Health Care of Older Women

Our review of women’s health care has called attention to disparities in risk factors and biological disease differences, treatment variances, and lack of adequate research. Gender and race have obscured perceptions of women’s symptoms, creating delays in diagnoses and treatments and even early death. A serious gap in gender-specific research and gender-analyzed data contributes to this profound lack of understanding of differential biology and treatment options. Even for conditions that are more specific to women, such as breast cancer and maternity, clinical care and research funding is heavy on front-end detection and prevention but fails to focus on women at…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingResearch
February 13, 2019

If Not Now, It’s Too Late: Clinical Science Needs Fixing

In 1967, the year I graduated from high school, my family’s television required “rabbit ear” antennae with perched aluminum foil. Our farming family had little time to watch TV, but when we did, the ritual included a side trip to reset the antennae’s angle to ensure good reception. Today, I watch a clear picture on myriad devices, no antennae needed. In the 1980s, my trips to a library to find medical literature were few. A single trip to the library would take hours and net only a small number of papers. Now, I obtain articles on any topic in a…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareMedical Decision-MakingWomen and Health Care
January 30, 2019

Lessons in Health Care Empowerment from Women With Breast Cancer

For the one in eight women who will get breast cancer—more than 242,000 new cases were reported in 2015, alone, according to the CDC’s most recent data—the treatment is bad enough. Even more frightening is the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Will the cancer recur? And if so, when, and what’s next? Breast cancer kills 40,000 American women each year. Fear is a powerful motivator, because many women experience a recurrence of disease years after they were declared “cancer free.” Nonetheless, women with breast cancer have created an extraordinary movement that has changed how people see the disease and how…
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Future of Health CareValue-Based Health CareWomen and Health Care
January 23, 2019

Silent, Deadly Heart Disease in Women: How Population Health Can Help

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among women. But we hardly talk about it. Indeed, CVD offers a remarkable lesson about complex, broad-based gender disparity that contributes to poorer health care for women. For acute myocardial infarctions (AMI or heart attacks) in particular, sex-specific health risk factors, disease variants tied to gender biology, limited medical research on sex differences in CVD, and cultural attitudes all contribute to the prevalence of heart disease among women—and increased mortality risk. CVD Affects Women Differently Than Men Cardiovascular disease was once assumed to occur predominantly in men rather than women. But…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CareWomen and Health Care
January 16, 2019

The Real Trend to Watch in 2019: #MeToo for Health Care

Health care pundits need to sharpen their game. Year-end trend predictions are mostly old news. Growth of Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, entry of non-traditional business in health care, and pressure on the bottom line from Value-Based Health Care—all have been well underway for several years. Further, these developments only reinforce health care providers’ inward focus on managing internal machinery and health care financing, instead of real health care. But consider this underreported trend that promises to reshape demand and shake up the supply of health care services: We are in the midst of a dramatic transformation of health care…
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Future of Health CareMedical EducationPerformance Improvement
December 19, 2018

There’s More to be Learned from Good Results than Bad—and Why It Matters

Becoming a physician requires passing many tests, beginning with premed studies, all the way through residency and, ultimately, board certification. You spend countless hours focused on passing examinations or rotations and learning to avoid pitfalls. As a residency program director, I and my colleagues invested considerable effort to determine which residents were struggling and to develop strategies to help them. We focused on finding deficiencies that would impede them from being excellent physicians. A fellow faculty member ran a Morbidity and Mortality conference that he nicknamed the “boo-boo” conference. This process of identifying and analyzing medical errors produced competitive physicians,…
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Consumers & PatientsFuture of Health CarePopulation HealthValue-Based Health Care
December 5, 2018

Should Value-Based Health Care Help Improve Life Expectancy?

As Americans in a highly developed and prosperous economy, we have ascribed a value to our highly sophisticated, expensive health care system—that it should enable us to achieve better health. If we didn’t believe in the value of our health care system, we would not support health coverage, most people would not visit health care providers, and the public health system would not get be funded. This may sound all too obvious, but it isn’t. Whether our health care system actually achieves that ascribed value of improving health status is now in question. Given last week’s release of Center for…
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