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‘Care About Your Care’ videos

As promised last week, I have found the videos from last week’s Care About Your Care consumer-outreach program launch. Only one is embeddable, this 88-second PSA that tells the public that there is such thing as bad care and that it’s important to ask questions:

If you want to see the kickoff webcast featuring TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey and AHRQ Director Dr. Carolyn Clancy, you have to go to the main Care About Your Care site and click on the Dr. Oz box. Wouldn’t you know, it starts with the above PSA.

Last week, I questioned how much impact this program could have in a month. I see that there is no mention of it on the home page for Oz’s TV show. That would be a good place to add a link in a prominent location, no?


September 20, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Health Wonk Review: Could meaningful use be outdated already?

There’s a fresh edition of Health Wonk Review up at the Health Business Blog, hosted by David E. Williams. My post on the new Care About Your Care campaign merits a mention, but I have to say it’s far from the most intriguing commentary in the blogosphere over the past two weeks. I direct you to another post that made Health Wonk Review, namely one from Dr. Jaan Sidorov, author of the Disease Management Care Blog.

Sidorov wonders if “meaningful use” of EHRs isn’t designed for a PC-centric world, even though tablets and cloud computing have started to assert themselves:

It’s too early to assess the implications of this generational shift away from the PC for the Feds’ efforts to digitalize the practice of medicine.  The provider community is still coming to grips with information technology and meaningful use” (MU). Hopefully EHRs won’t share the fate of “shovel ready” and clean energy loan guarantees.

Upon review, the MU criteria may still ultimately apply, but the shift away from PCs may require some changes in how they are implemented.

I’m sure policymakers who are writing future MU rules are aware of this sea change, but the federal government moves slowly, and one never knows what will happen when lobbyists get involved. HIPAA privacy and security rules, first drafted during the Clinton administration, were practically obsolete by the time they took effect halfway through Bush’s first term.


September 15, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Public urged to ‘Care About Your Care’

Hmm, maybe I was on to something?

Last week, I posted two items about the federal government encouraging individuals to take a more active role in their own care, first the fact that I noticed AHRQ had brought back an older campaign that I thought really needed an update, and then about ONC introducing a consumer Web site about health IT.

Today, we learn that ONC and AHRQ have teamed with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and many other healthcare, consumer and business groups in a new campaign called Care About Your Care. It’s a month-long project to raise awareness about the issue of quality of care and teach consumers how they can search for and receive better healthcare.

There was a kickoff event this morning, featuring a live webcast hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz. (Whoever built the site posted that it started ran from “11:30 – 1 p.m. EST.” It’s still daylight time, and will be until November. You also forgot the “a.m.,” since it started before noon. Hire an editor next time.) The video isn’t archived yet, so I don’t know exactly what was said. I’ll try to link to it or embed it later. Apparently, there were some local events surrounding the launch, too, as the Puget Sound Health Alliance hosted a live event in Seattle early this morning PDT (yes, daylight time) moderated by a local TV news anchor and featuring a cancer survivor among the speakers. A similar gathering took place in Bangor, Maine.

I’m liking what I see on the site, especially a rotating list of facts about the sad state of healthcare in the U.S. that people can click on to tweet. A few examples: “30% of health care spending is for services that may not improve people’s #health”; “7% of Americans have used information about quality of care to make a decision about their care. #health”; and “91,000 Americans die annually from bad care for conditions like high blood pressure, #diabetes and heart disease. #health.”

What I’m not so sure about it how much difference this campaign can make in just a month. Old, bad ideas are too deeply ingrained.

UPDATE, 6:05 pm CDT: Oz and RWJF President/CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey co-authored a piece explaining Care About Your Care in the Huffington Post today, pretty much guaranteeing that millions of conservative-minded folks will tune out, or, worse, suspect a liberal conspiracy to meddle in healthcare. I sincerely hope nobody still believes the lie that U.S. has “the best healthcare in the world.” By the way, I just Googled “us best healthcare in the world.” The first page of results listed a couple of media sources that tend to lean left, namely the New York Times and CBS News, plus a story from The Guardian (London) that reported on Jon Stewart exposing a bit of Glenn Beck hypocrisy. There also was an item from the Daily Progress. It’s not a hyperpartisan liberal blog, as the name might suggest, but rather a long-established newspaper in Charlottesville, Va. I only knew that because I took the time to check it out.

I truly hope people will view this campaign for what it really is, an effort to engage patients in their own care and open some eyes about the quality problem, not an insidious plot. Unfortunately, in a society that values sound bites over substance, this may be a losing battle.

By the way, that story from the Charlottesville paper was a 2010 letter from a reader contending that the U.S. really does have the best healthcare in the world, making a flimsy argument based mostly on waiting times for services, the prevalence of MRIs—as if volume somehow equaled quality—and a survey that laughably asked people whether they were in “excellent health.” This letter suggested that all that need fixing are cost and access.

Sorry, I don’t care what your political views are, there’s one problem that underlies all of the others. It’s quality, stupid.

September 12, 2011 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.