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What’s the Cost of Not Incentivizing Preventative Care?

When 50-year-old Michael Kelly recently ended up in a Dallas emergency room, he was told his diabetes was out of control and was now threatening his life. He already knew he was diabetic—he was actually diagnosed 10 years earlier; but he says he simply wasn’t eating right or taking care of himself and didn’t realize the impact that would have on his condition. Mr. Kelly was referred to the Baylor Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute in Southern Dallas, which offers free diabetes education classes. It wasn’t necessarily a diagnosis that he needed, or a prescription. Kelly needed to learn exactly… Full Story

Sharing Healthcare Information Throughout the Region

In 1994 a group of companies got together to solve a common problem. The group included Compaq, DEC, IBM, INTEL, Microsoft, NEC, Nortel and would later expand to include HP, Lucent, and Phillips. The goal of this unusual coalition was to make it easier for consumers to connect external devices to the multitudes of computers manufactured by the participants. Rather than compete on the basis of incompatibility with each other’s products, they set aside competitive differences and put the interests of the consumer first to create the USB. I am old enough to recognize this as a major improvement over… Full Story

Designing the Right Decisions

Designing the right decisions starts with the right tools. When the right decisions are made at the first opportunity, time and money are conserved. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in design and construction. In the built environment, decisions have long-lasting impact. In the healthcare environment, they can impact patient satisfaction, staff productivity, and business success. Professionals design effective decision trees for clients and organizations because mistakes are costly. Architects, engineers, and construction professionals are called upon by owners to provide tools to aid in making the crucial decisions to support the business case for a project. The demands… Full Story

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