Apps are Transforming Healthcare

Millions of Americans report that smartphones and apps have changed the way they manage their health and wellness.  As Americans begin to use wearable devices to track and collect their personal health data, we will see more of a willingness to share that data with healthcare providers and intermediaries.  Apigee Institute recently conducted a survey to look at smartphone and app usage in the United States as it relates to health and wellness.  The 2015 Digital Impact Survey surveyed 1,000 smartphone owners over the age of 18 and found a 70% increase (over its 2013 survey) in adoption of smartphone and apps to manage health and wellness.  Here are some highlights of the survey’s findings:

86% of those using both a fitness device and apps to manage their health and wellness feel their devices give them more control over their lives.

80% of those surveyed expect a doctor to offer key services via apps either now or within the next one to two years.

78% of those who use both a fitness device as well as apps via their smartphone to manage their health and wellness claim that they are healthier.

71% of millennials say smartphones and apps have changed the way they manage their health and wellness.

66% of those who use either fitness devices or fitness and health apps to track health and fitness claim that they are healthier.

60% of smartphone owners over the age of 18 say smartphones and apps have changed the way they manage their health and wellness.

53% of millennials want their doctors to use data from their fitness tracker and/or from health apps as part of their care; 49% of the total surveyed also desire this.

37% of those surveyed claim that they are healthier thanks to their smartphone and apps.

28% of millennials would prefer a doctor who uses app and fitness tracker data as a regular part of their practice.

The survey can be found here.

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Contact ABISA, a consultancy specializing in solo and small group practice management.  Visit us at ABISALLC.com.

Debunking Physician Satisfaction Surveys

Many studies have been done regarding U.S. physician satisfaction.  With all the changes resulting from healthcare reform, it would stand to reason that there should be some sort of shift (up or down) in physician satisfaction.  Surveys, generally speaking, do not seem to reflect that.  My own experience as I meet with physicians across the country is a growing disheartening of the field of medicine and the healthcare industry as a whole.

Alas, a composite analysis of 22 studies regarding physician satisfaction was undertaken by several professors at Northeastern University in Boston.  Looking at empirical studies published between 2008 and 2013 that examine U.S. physician job, career, or work satisfaction, they compared their review findings with a review covering studies published between 1970 and 2007.

The two reviews (theirs looking at 2008-2013 studies and another looking at 1970-2007 studies) were consistent regarding satisfaction findings with few exceptions.  One of those exceptions was a study from 2012 that found dermatology, pediatrics, and preventive medicine had higher satisfaction levels than surgical subspecialties and obstetrics/gynecology.  So, at this point it appears that physician satisfaction has not changed at all since 1970.  Is that accurate?  Perhaps not.

The Northeastern University crew had many issues with how data was being looked at for these studies in their 2008-2013 review.  “Clearly, given the fluidity of the system and the internal changes affecting the U.S. medical profession, future studies of physician satisfaction require an expansion of methodological approaches, a greater emphasis on primary data collection, and increased use of real-time data that more accurately capture the current satisfaction-related realities.”  They noted that future studies of U.S. physician satisfaction should focus more on variables that reflect the key dynamics occurring within and to the profession of medicine today, such as age and gender.

The review concluded that much of the U.S. physician satisfaction research published over the past 5 years has been unable to examine satisfaction relative to the current organizational and practice contexts within which physicians under study currently find themselves.  They correctly call out current research and identified a need for future research to examine how the satisfaction of U.S. physicians is affected when they practice in settings where performance-based pay constitutes all or most of a practice’s reimbursement.  Additionally, they noted that there remain a number of other important workplace variables such as commitment, burnout, empowerment, and role conflict, which merit study in terms of physicians as a group.

The review, titled “Understanding U.S. Physician Satisfaction: State of the Evidence and Future Directions,” has been published in the Journal of Healthcare Management.

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Contact ABISA, a consultancy specializing in solo and small group practice management.  Visit us at ABISALLC.com.

2016 Top Health IT Trends

It’s that time of year when many are making predictions for 2016 and the subject matter of health IT in the United States is a hot topic for discussion.  Based on a survey of IT decision makers from healthcare providers, here, in order of anticipated priority, are Health IT Outcomes’ Top 10 Health IT Trends for 2016:

1.  PHI Security: Over 66% of respondents rated this health IT initiative as a top priority or priority; another 21.5% rated it as important.

2.  ICD-10 Compliance: Respondents ranked this initiative as a close second, also receiving over 66% in the category of top priority or priority; another 15% rated it as important.

3.  HIE / Interoperability: Nearly 63% consider this to be a top priority or priority initiative for 2016; 18.5% put it as important.

4.  Clinical Decision Support / Evidence-Based Medicine: 61% of those surveyed stated this is a top priority or priority for them next year; 22% stated it is important.

5.  Patient Portals / Patient Engagement: 60% of respondents categorized this as a top priority or priority; nearly 18% placed it as an important initiative.

6.  EHR Adoption / Meaningful Use: Over 58% of respondents rated this health IT initiative as a top priority or priority; 20.5% rated it as important.

7.  Population Health Management / Analytics: Approximately 57% consider this to be a top priority or priority; approximately 18.5% put it as important.

8.  Secure / Unified Messaging: Nearly 55% of those surveyed stated this is a top priority or priority for them next year; 26% stated it is important.

9.  Mobile Computing: 46% of respondents categorized this as a top priority or priority; 32% placed it as an important initiative.

10.  Revenue Cycle Management: 52% of respondents rated this health IT initiative as a top priority or priority, which is more than mobile computing; however, only 21.5% rated it as important, thus overall this initiative fell to tenth place.

The initiative receiving the largest increase, raising its ranking over last year’s list was EHR Adoption / Meaningful Use.  The initiative receiving the largest decrease, lowering its ranking over last year’s list was Mobile Computing.

Which health IT initiative do you think should have made the 2016 Top Ten List?

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