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  • HxRefactored Speaker Spotlight: Keynote John Brownstein Ph.D, Harvard Medical School

    CBMIPhoto_smallThis week, we enthusiastically welcome John Brownstein Ph.D, to the HxRefactored Keynote line-up. John is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical Center and he directs the Computational Epidemiology Group at the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program in Boston. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s his work championing Healthmap.org that really caught our attention at Health 2.0. Collecting data from over 10,000 disparate sources, including informal online publications, the HealthMap system arranges information into a beautifully visual and interactive platform that allows users to zoom into their local neighborhood or view global trends. Even renowned organizations such as the CDC, DHS, HHS, and the EU regularly turn to HealthMap for insight on the state of infectious disease. John’s voice and influence ripples through the World Health Organization, International Society for Disease Surveillance, the White House, and soon the HxRefactored audience.  John will discuss the power of design and how data intelligence — including from non-traditional sources like eyewitness accounts — can fast track interception of emerging global health concerns.

    We at Health 2.0 define health 2.0 as solutions that are interoperable, data-driven, and focus on user experience, and HealthMap encompasses all of these.  We’re honored to include John Brownstein as our first featured Keynote Speaker onstage at HxRefactored, April 1st.

    Register today and take advantage of the Early Bird Rate, $899. Startup rates are available through an application basis.

    Keep a close eye on this blog space as every week we announce a new HxRefactored Keynote Speaker in our Speaker Spotlight.

    Revolutionizing Retail and Health – Walmart drives care into new settings

    CC-Institute-Gala-3-of-32One cannot discuss consumer health without addressing the drastically changing environment of care. At Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape speakers from Walmart, Target, and Optum will join Matthew Holt to dive into how major retailers are disrupting the way millions of Americans not only access acute care services but also purchase prescriptions, access health education, and more. Ben Wanamaker, Senior Manager of Strategy and Operations at Walmart sat down with Matthew last week to shed light on what 2015 will bring for Walmart’s Care Clinics.  Continue reading →

    Smart Apps For Your Post Holiday Fitness Routine

    For most people, finding the time, money, and motivation to lose weight is often a struggle. After a busy day, it’s just easier to order a pizza and watch a movie instead of cooking a healthy dinner or going out for a jog. This cycle can be broken, and your smartphone can be the key. Especially now, when the holiday season is wrapping up, and your bathroom scale is being honest about your indulgences, the following apps will help you get back on track and stay healthy in the coming year. These apps will help your body and heart stay fit without costing you an arm and a leg in gym memberships.

    1. EveryMove

    An app so good that your insurance company wants to know if you use it. EveryMove is a solid moral boosting app, great for your health and your budget because many insurance providers offer discounts or rewards for using it.

    All you have to do is log your workouts and watch the reward points build. You can also connect with friends and compete in challenges to keep yourself motivated. It even hooks up to most wearable trackers.

    2. Fitocracy

    Fitocracy is one of the best apps around to help track your workouts. Its free, and offers brief videos to help you learn basic workouts. Also, there’s a large community on Fitocracy, which means that there’s lots of support to help keep you on top of your game.

    If you feel like spending a few dollars, they also offer fitness coaching. The fitness coaches will tailor a nutritious meal plan and design workouts just for you.

    As a bonus, Fitocracy offers a separate app to monitor your macronutrients — if you count macros instead of calories, that is.

    3. MyFitnessPal

    MyFitnessPal is another popular calorie counter that helps you connect with friends and family to stay motivated on your weight-loss journey. The food database is easy to use and allows you to add your own recipes. In addition to monitoring your weight, you can track your neck, waist, and hip size.

    Feeling worn out? The app also keeps track of your nutritional information, so you can check your protein or carbohydrate intake and see if that might be the problem.

    4. Sleep Cycle

    You know that feeling when the alarm clock goes off but you still feel like you haven’t slept in days? Sleep Cycle helps you fix that. This free app monitors your REM cycle, and ties in with your alarm clock so that it wakes you up during a light sleep phase instead of a deep phase that leaves you feeling like a monster for the rest of the day.

    5. Shopwell

    The hardest part of starting a new way of eating is often re-learning how to navigate the grocery store. Shopwell allows you to scan product barcodes and compare the nutritional information between multiple products. It’s sort of like having a nutritionist in your pocket.

    It’ll even help you steer clear of foods that interfer with dietary restrictions. So, if you’re avoiding gluten, this app will give you strong hand. With brands going out of their way to try and appear more nutritious than they really are (saying “less salt!” doesn’t mean it’s healthy), Shopwell makes it easy to get the facts.

    6. Noom Weight Loss Coach

    Color-coded food tracking is Noom’s unique feature. When you log your food, Noom uses different colors to teach — and gently remind you — what foods are healthy. There’s a free and a pro version of Noom.

    7. Withings

    This cheerful app is known for its motivational messages and the brightly colored butterfly that shows the user just how healthy they are at any given time. Withings wearable trackers monitor blood pressure, activity, weight loss, and even your sleep cycle, and combine all this data in the app to help you stay healthy.

    8. LoseIt!

    LoseIt! feels that connection and calorie tracking are the keys to weight loss. The app helps you set manageable goals for everything from weight loss to blood pressure and sleep. In place of manually tracking food from a database, you have an option to scan the barcode on the food’s package and add it to your log.

    9. Moves

    Moves is a simple app that focuses on (surprise!) your daily movement. What’s special about this app, though, is that it not only automatically tracks any movement, including cycling, running and walking, but tells you how many calories you burned for each activity.

    10. Argus

    Nearly the Superman of the app world, Argus tracks your sleep cycle and quality, offers a way to link with friends and family, tracks your weight and ties in with fitness wearables. It even helps you keep track of your caffeine intake.  There are free and paid versions of this app.

    Get off of the sofa and back on your feet! The above apps will help you monitor your health without breaking the bank. No need to wait until the New Year! Start now and fend off the last few pounds of the holidays.

    Scott Huntington is a health enthusiast and writer for the Oxford University Press. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington

    The Power of Price – Affordable Alternatives and their Impact on Consumer Health

    2d966d0As the wearable market continues to expand with dozens of new trackers for the body emerging on the market, Health 2.0 sat down with Pivotal Living to discuss the ways one wearable is disrupting the entire market. David Donovick, Co-Founder and CEO of Pivotal Living shared his reasoning for designing and selling a fitness tracker starting at $12.00. Look for a demo at Health 2.0 WinterTech, January 15th.

    Indu Subaiya: Okay. Great! All right! So David, I’m going to start off by asking you about the unique business model that you guys have at Pivotal Living and if you want to just kind of give me some background about what your inspiration was to have this unique business model subscription service.

    David Donovick: Yeah, great question. Well, really, it kind of stems on the research that we did back in 2010, as you may know. We, especially my business partners, had a 20-year working relationship with the University of Washington School of Nursing, Social Work, and Pharmacy. We got together with them on an Elder Friendly Futures’ initiative in 2010 whereby we did a 30,000 person survey and five focus groups. The research really focused into kinds of key tenets or pillars. One is, what are the health and wellness needs of adults of different ages? What do they really care about? What matters to them most? Then two, how do they use technology? Which technology do they use? How do they use it? What matters most to them? The research kind of informed two different things. Continue reading →

    Fact vs Fiction – Navigating the Health Care Marketplace with Consumer Reports

    2606555At Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape we are exploring the platforms that empower the informed consumer movement by providing objective reviews of consumer products. Senior Director, of Health Impact and Consumer Reports, Tara Montgomery will be joining us at WinterTech to speak to their research on all the products, Rx and providers that contribute to the changing consumer health landscape.

    Health 2.0: Tara can you start by speaking to what really pushed this expansion into research and advocacies surrounding health products and when you sort of saw this started shifting?

    Tara Montgomery: Yes. Well, actually, you might not know, but we have been in health since day one, and it was actually in our charter back in 1936 to look out for the well-being of all consumers. We started in our very first issue of our magazine and we rated Alka-Seltzer and said that its claims vanish — like gas bubbles in the air.  So that was our first foray into health, but that was in a small scale, and I think it was typical of the kinds of health products being advertised to consumers earlier in the 20th century, but over the decades, we covered health lightly. And then, really, about 10 years ago, we saw the shift in healthcare where the consumer’s role really was shifting much more consciously from a compliant patient to a need to be a more savvy health consumer. That was a real call to action for us because our role in helping consumers out in the world is really to give people savvy information about value, and everything we’ve done in washing machines and cars and toasters has been about helping people evaluate the benefits, their satisfaction, and the value for money of the products and services they choose. When the burden of health costs started to shift towards consumers, and you know that definitely has been more intense in the past couple of years, we’ve needed to rise to the occasion and help Continue reading →

    Health is All Around Us : How Our Environment Informs Our Health

    Headshot-200x300As we gear up for Health 2.0 WinterTech, January 15th in San Francisco, Health 2.0 sat down with Environmental Working Group Executive Director, Heather White to discuss the many pathways consumer health advocacy takes and the challenges that continue to keep many of us in the dark about the relationship between our health and our environment.

    Health 2.0: To get things started, Heather, I wanted to talk with you a little bit about some of the insight you’ll be providing at WinterTech, which is in relation to the Skin Deep App. From what I’ve researched, it offers ratings on over 70,000 products. I was hoping you could share your thoughts on how you and your team envisioned this app and the way it’s changing how consumers shop for skin products, and what has been the response thus far?

    Heather White: Yeah. Well, it definitely has been making waves in the market for a pretty long time. Our site was developed 10 years ago, but we launched our app last year. So far, we’ve had about 300,000 downloads on iPhone and about 95,000 on Android, so close to 400,000 consumers have downloaded the app and are able to make decisions on safer cosmetics and personal care products right at the store. So, we’ve gotten a lot of response and support from our community, but we’re also finding that our brand is reaching a much broader audience. It’s really exciting for us because EWG is all about making sure people make this connection between our health and the environment and really start thinking about the environment as something that they connect to everyday. It’s not just that place you go on vacation, but it also incorporates the chemicals that you buy and that you put on your skin and the chemicals that you buy and then you bring into your home. Skin Deep is trying to really push the market for safer cosmetics and we’ve really seen a lot of consumers make more switches to safer alternatives and we’re also seeing each day new brands coming onto the markets that are less toxic. So, there’s been a tremendous response so far. It’s a free app. It’s available both on the Android and iPhone and our supporters and people who are interested in this issue have really welcomed it.

    Continue reading →

    Reactive vs. Proactive Health Care: The Intersection of Payment Reform & Consumer Data Powering Clinical Insight

    One of the greatest opportunities that exists in moving from “turnstile medicine” (or fee-for-service) to value-based payment models is the shift from reactive to proactive health care. The focus on accountability for population health forces providers to adopt a completely different mindset: Instead of waiting for sick patients to come knocking on your door, you need to figure out what they need, when they need it, and how to get it for them.

    At the upcoming conference, Health 2.0 WinterTech: The New Consumer Health Landscape (January 15, San Francisco), I will moderate a panel on “Consumer Data Powering Clinical Insight.” The panel  features several different perspectives on how consumer-facing technologies can translate discrete consumer-generated data into useful information that providers and others can use to deliver more personalized and proactive support and care management.

    The dramatic proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs) in the last five years means that much more clinical patient data exists in electronic form than ever before. True meaningful use of that data involves organizing it into meaningful and useful information by building algorithms, leveraging machine learning principles and delivering the right information to the right person at the right time. In addition, de-identified data in the cloud provides a scale for that kind of data analytics. Practice Fusion, a cloud-based EHR company uses patient-derived data—everything from booking an appointment to patient intake questionnaires—to drive proactive health management. CEO Ryan Howard will discuss how, in early 2015, they’ll begin incorporating qualitative and quantitative data from the patient and machine learning based on how physicians react to it to better target diagnosis, treatment and other support. Continue reading →

    Biogen Idec Hacks MS Stress

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    Life can be complicated for us all, but fortunately we have technology — and those behind it — to give us a hand. That’s why Biogen Idec is hosting Hack MS, a weekend-long hackathon to encourage the tech community to use their brains and (coding) brawn to create technologies that help people with multiple sclerosis (MS). Join us February 2015 in Boston for an event full of fun, prizes and innovation.

    MS is a serious autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system and may impact vision, sensation, balance, and muscle control. There is a continuous need for people with MS to find solutions tailored to their everyday needs that include methods of stress management, since stress can aggravate MS symptoms. Biogen Idec is sponsoring this event to help individuals with MS manage their stress through technology.

    We’re looking for creative solutions that are fun and easy to use. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 tech solutions focused in the areas of stress management, which include prioritization, problem-solving techniques, and relaxation skills. Solutions that focus on these areas have the potential to genuinely assist people living with MS in their daily lives.

    So get ready to Hack MS with Biogen Idec on Friday, February 6 –Sunday, February 8th, 2015 at District Hall in Boston, MA. You don’t want to miss out on the chance to change the lives of people with MS and win $40,000 in prizes!

    Register today to participate! 


    Personal Health and The Collective Data

    Remember when sharing was a chore? Now that we live in a world where owning a computer, mobile phone, or health device allows us to share thoughts, data, and media at the click of a button, sharing has become fun. Why? It allows us to further ourselves while benefiting others. This is the philosophy behind personal health interfaces and their emerging role providing data informed insights on large populations. Personal health devices, which typically track metrics, health data, and individuals’ physical changes, have the potential to create networks of like-minded users and facilitate open forums where people can connect and collaborate for not only a healthier individual but a stronger community. Yet social and federal barriers continue to limit the utilization of personal health data for medical research and population health insight. At Health 2.0 WinterTech we examine the power of personal health data and their role in changing the larger landscape.

    A significant portion of data from consumer friendly wearable devices and smartphone apps is voluntarily shared information and metrics, and typically exists in a non-traditional domain, while conventional health and medical research is continually reliant on more formally collected information from clinical trials or surveys. Providing those in health research with information gathered from self reporting individuals would result in greater variety of data with an increasing usefulness to patients and providers. While individuals seem receptive to the use of their data to help others, concerns exist surrounding information privacy, access, and user consent. Devices, apps, and other platforms must remain steadfast in their commitment to informed user consent of data release and rigorous in their efforts to maintain users’ anonymity.

    For those programs that can successfully share data, the user benefits are enormous. Health 2.0 WinterTech will showcase a variety of startups and companies who are well versed in responsibly and effectively utilizing user data to create both a user experience and a beneficial network. MyFitnessPal providers users with an app to log their daily intake, exercise, and weight. Users can also connect and ask and answer questions. Ginger.io provides services for both patients and providers looking for specialized care and attention. Pivotal Living offers a band that tracks steps, exercise, and sleep. The accompanying app exists as a place to view progress and data and to either share or restrict information from the requests of others.

    Personal health data is still yours. However the emergence of secure and innovative programs and platforms ensures that data sharing is easy, safe, and rewarding.

    Health 2.0 WinterTech: The Informed Health Consumer’s Knowledge is Power

    At the upcoming Health 2.0 WinterTech conference, January 15th in the heart of San Francisco, I will be moderating a discussion on what it means to be an informed health consumer in this digital day and age. Working from the foundation, “Knowledge is Power” the WinterTech “Informed Health Consumer” panel builds on how the Health 2.0 community actively contributes to the creation of a more educated health audience than has ever existed before.

    This topic surrounding health information consumption is fascinating because it implies a very different kind of seller-buyer transaction than most commercial enterprises. Typical to most exchange, a seller offers a good or service “X” – maybe it is a car or a clothing item or a piece of software – and a buyer chooses whether or not to purchase that good or service based on price, perceived need, scarcity, and a host of emotional factors. Although information is never perfect, it has historically rarely been positioned as the chief good or service provided in the exchange. That is, until now.

    In part thanks to advances in technology and shifts in cultural expectations, health care transparency, prices for surgery, and quality of care to patient satisfaction has become a good-service hybrid. As increasing numbers of consumers utilize these transparency tools, we can all expect to see a health care ripple effect that will cause seismic change to the current landscape. As a MD leading my own functional medicine practice, I look forward to seeing first hand the difference the informed health consumer movement can make in helping my patients make decisions in regards to treatment, lifestyle, and even in choosing me as their physician.

    At WinterTech join our discussion alongside benchmark organizations like Consumer Reports and startups like Iodine and Better Doctor to continue driving transparency towards a path that is good for consumers and positively disruptive to health care sellers. Look forward to seeing you at Health 2.0 WinterTech!

    PokitDok Launches E-commerce Site with Price Transparency Tools to Support New Consumer-Driven Healthcare System

    PokitDok Launches E-commerce Site with Price Transparency Tools
    to Support New Consumer-Driven Healthcare System

    NEW YORK, Dec. 4, 2014 – Today at the Forbes Healthcare Summit, PokitDok unveiled a comprehensive site update with new enhancements created for U.S. consumers and health practitioners. The site introduces an expanded library of localized prices for non-acute healthcare procedures, appointment booking, extensive procedure and specialty search, plus support for real-time, flexible payments so consumers and health providers can complete co-pays and out-of-pocket-owed at any time including during the online appointment booking. This latest PokitDok release makes healthcare more accessible and efficient in the $2.8 trillion healthcare industry for all stakeholders.

    Providers Can Easily Package and Sell Services
    PokitDok now gives providers an improved foundation to support e-commerce as consumers shift to high deductible health plans and cash-based healthcare purchases. The timing of the rollout supports the year-end peak of healthcare appointment scheduling and consumer push to use remaining funds in tax-advantaged Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA).

    Practices and health systems can cater to this demand by using their digital storefront on PokitDok to package services and customize pricing. Drawing from PokitDok’s powerful database of health information, providers have access to cash and insurance prices billed in their area so they can set their own rates based on market conditions. Once rates are posted, providers can quickly respond to quote and appointment requests or accept payments from consumers directly.

    “Whether it’s scheduling appointments or assessing insurance coverage before I see a patient, PokitDok’s latest enhancements relieve our practice of administrative burdens, so we can spend more time delivering care,” says Dr. Linda Li, a Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon. “On PokitDok, I can see what my colleagues are charging for surgery and then determine if our practice’s fees are in line with the market. And, my patients can come to my office strengthened with the knowledge of what I can do for them and a sense of what it’s going to cost. No patient wants to leave the doctor’s office wondering how big the bill will be when it arrives in the mail weeks later.”

    Retail E-commerce Meets Healthcare for Consumers
    Consumers requesting a quote for a procedure or service with PokitDok will now receive up to five responses for a single request based on the providers they choose or recommendations in their area. Quotes and appointment requests can be made for themselves or a dependent such as a child, spouse or aging parent. Consumers can now compare average cash and insurance prices for a procedure in their area – from Botox injections to a hip replacement – and schedule and pay for treatment with participating providers through PokitDok.com. Consumers who use the service before the year ends can optimize the benefits of their tax-advantaged FSA and make the most of their insurance coverage if they have already hit their deductible.

    “U.S. healthcare consumers are recognizing their growing roles in decision-making and paying for health care,” says Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, Health Economist, THINK-Health. “Like eBay for goods and Kayak for travel, PokitDok gives consumers the real cost of care for medical services based on the current day and date, and not based on historical claims data. With more financial skin in the game, consumers are proactively choosing treatment options where they get the most value. Health providers who will survive will respond to this inevitable consumer-driven retail environment.”

    PokitDok is immediately available to consumers at no charge. Providers can claim and manage their e-commerce storefront today for free at PokitDok.com/Providers. Standard credit transaction fees apply for all services sold on PokitDok.

    About PokitDok
    PokitDok is a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based platform for healthcare purchases, connecting consumers directly with practitioners in a transparent, e-commerce experience. PokitDok provides Enterprise access to market-driven provider, treatment, pricing and scheduling information through Application Programming Interfaces (API), plus X12 claims, authorization, eligibility and referrals solutions. Health systems, technology providers and start-ups seeking to reduce expenses and streamline health-related business processes can sign up at platform.pokitdok.com to request an API key. PokitDok is based in San Mateo, CA and Charleston, SC and is backed by New Atlantic Ventures, Rogers Venture Partners, and Subtraction Capital.

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