Contributors

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What Employers Want

Several years ago, more than I can specifically recall, I was at a dinner meeting with fellow Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health board members and physicians from a local physician group. We were discussing the state of healthcare and looking for ways to partner with the physician community to improve the care being delivered to our employees. This was way before the concepts that form the dialogue about improving healthcare today. One of the physicians asked “What do employers want?”  Without so much as a blink of an eye, I replied, “Reduced death, reduced disability, and early return to… Full Story

Why People Make Unhealthy Choices

Americans are constantly bombarded by health information. Television, magazines, the internet, and other media sources are full of information about the critical role that healthy behaviors play in preventing disease, improving quality of life, and reducing long-term healthcare costs. As a result, most people understand the crucial importance of regular exercise and healthy eating to long-term health. One would think that this abundance of data would yield a nation full of people who are in excellent shape and run little risk of developing conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, says Laura Ten Eyck, Ph.D., a clinical outcomes expert with… Full Story

Update on DFW Healthcare Projects

For better or worse, as healthcare consumers we expect the best. We don’t want to walk into an old hospital or physician’s office. For one, we want the best available technology. Second, we expect the best doctors and the best doctors want the best facilities. This controversial issue as related to the cost of care is about driving the business forward for many hospitals. Dallas-Fort Worth is no exception. From 2005 to 2015, more than $5 billion in healthcare industry construction projects have been or will be completed. These projects directly and indirectly employ thousands of people, from architects, lawyers,… Full Story

Successful Client-Vendor Relationships

As a benefits professional, my phone is always ringing and my inbox is always full, thanks to friendly and eager vendors. I’m bombarded with calls from sales reps, emails about new programs, and invitations to “can’t miss” seminars. Am I aware of the new offerings from such-and-such provider? Would I like to hear more about the ways our company/employees/leadership can take advantage of this tool/program/partnership? The short answer: Maybe. I won’t pretend to speak for all benefits professionals, but I’ve learned a few things about what makes a good pitch and what doesn’t, about what might make sense for our… Full Story

The “Piggly Wiggly” Effect

I once worked for a company in Georgia that owned hospitals across the United States. Each year, executives gave every employee a gift certificate for a free Thanksgiving turkey at the grocery store Piggly Wiggly. A nice gesture, but employees in California and Colorado had never heard of the chain, as no branches were within their states. So, although hundreds of employees were given a free turkey, they had no access to Piggly Wiggly. Something akin to this could happen in Texas. Many residents do not have a primary care provider to assist in coordinating their healthcare. They seek treatment… Full Story

No Magic Pill for Prescription Non-adherence

Do you take your medications as you and your healthcare practitioner agreed to? Every day? Exactly as recommended? Surely, as people who work in and around healthcare, we take our medicine correctly—right? In a recent study of 40,000 adults, Express Scripts Inc. found that more than 90 percent of respondents agreed that taking medications as prescribed was important, and 81 percent felt that skipping doses had negative consequences. And interestingly, when ranking healthy behaviors, respondents said taking medications as prescribed was more important than quitting smoking or eating a healthy diet. So, why does the published literature report that on… Full Story

A New Look at Preventive Medicine

Most people go to their doctor when they’re ill. I prefer to see patients when they’re feeling healthy. That way, I can identify any early signs of underlying medical issues. If so, most of the time the problem is preventable and even treatable before any long-term damage occurs. Yet this concept—the practice of preventive medicine—is still not widely known by patients or supported among mainstream primary care settings. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is trying to help fix that. The Task Force makes recommendations about which preventive services, such as screenings, counseling services or preventive medications, should be incorporated… Full Story

Economic Impact of Healthcare in DFW

We all interact with the healthcare system. Individuals stop in at their doctor’s office for an annual physical or visit the pharmacy for a prescription refill. Business executives calculate and deduct the cost of care for employees from their budgets. And for more than 600,000 people in the North Texas region, interacting with the healthcare system means going to work each day to provide care and products for the region’s 6.5 million residents. Healthcare is a big business in North Texas. The industry makes up about 15 percent of the local economy—some $52 billion in gross metro product is created… Full Story

Healthcare: The Business We’re In

While standing in line to board a cross-country bus, a middle-aged man crumples to the floor. Stunned momentarily, bystanders gasp then began trying to help. Someone calls 9-1-1. A woman kneels to see if he’s OK. No response. A nearby man begins pushing on the chest, hoping he is doing it right. An approaching siren announces the arrival of the EMS ambulance. Paramedics come through the door and take over. Many things happen at once, each of the medics playing their role. They work on the patient until a decision is made to transport. At the nearest hospital the EMS… Full Story

When Collaboration and Innovation Collide

Innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords in healthcare for 2012. Innovation differs from both invention and improvement in a fundamental way. Invention is original creation of an idea, process, product, technology, etc. Improvement is doing this same thing better. Innovation refers to the notion of doing this existing thing not only better, but differently. In fact, the Latin word innovare means “to change.” Collaboration is yet another hot topic and can be used when discussing anything from bundled payments to patient-centered medical homes. Collaboration is not just working together, but it is a process where two or more organizations… Full Story