Well, they are calling it the golden age of rectums! The trends are simple and straightforward. First, Baby Boomers and beyond are aging and staying alive longer. The gut, a hidden culprit behind many ailments, requires continuous maintenance. Colonoscopies, EGDs and ERCPs. These require services of gastroenterologists (GIs) who are always in short supply (14,000 in the U.S.).4 Second, gastroenterology practices are fragmented like hotels were before the Hilton. Regulatory, technological and ...

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In country after country, I witness the same sad situation: caring, often-brilliant men and women toil in the health care industry to care for others, but to do so they must battle the system itself. That system has lost sight of what matters, which is humans caring for other human beings. To simplify things a bit, every health care system on earth has three main stakeholders:

  1. Patients
  2. Physicians and clinicians
  3. Administrators
Yes ...

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“I love what I do. I hate what I have to do.” It's a quote that doctors attribute to their profession behind closed doors. As patients, we are so overwhelmed with our own problems. We fail to notice that our doctor may be battling her own problems with a complicated system. But what do we care? Our meeting with the doctor is a paid transaction. We are owed our money's due. Empathy ...

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It's easy to get excited about technological advances such as nanobots that swim in blood to deliver drugs or 3-D printers that print human tissues. However, in our enthusiasm to find the next fix, we are failing to notice the ground slipping underneath the health care industry. Here are four trends that are changing health care but on the surface are too unsexy for us to care about. Trend 1: The doctor-patient ...

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Before the invention of the stethoscope, doctors routinely laid their ears on chests of patients to check how they were doing. Homemade concoctions, essentially placebos, often made people feel better. Doctors visited homes of patients who would later pay them whatever they could afford. Local apothecaries sold morphine, a derivative of opium, to reduce pain. Medicine for its part was a nascent science - most of today’s diseases were yet ...

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Before managed care became the dominant force that it is, patients and doctors had the opportunity to get to know each other well. Doctors treated multiple generations within families. This helped establish a strong bond among patients and their doctors. While it might have intended to mean preventing expensive care, managed care began to mean organized care. Run by institutions such as health maintenance organizations. Insurances began to decide which doctors you ...

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As a system, we don't invest as much time in understanding the broader context of the patient in front of us. The before/after factors that we don’t notice have a far-reaching impact on care. Recently, I shadowed a patient through a day procedure at an endoscopy center from the time that the nurse checked her weight to the time that she was discharged. Let's call her Nancy. She was 82 years old ...

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Say we met ten years ago. And you asked me: Would health care delivery be more complicated in the future? I would've said, "No, it would be simpler!" Pointing you to technology trends, I would’ve told you that health care transactions will indeed become more automated, much simpler. Repeatable administrative tasks would be tech-enabled and algorithm-driven. My company started life in billing claims for doctors. Back then I was quite sure billing would ...

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I'm sitting in the waiting area across the endoscopy room of a major hospital. Mindless talk show TV runs in the background. Patients are waiting patiently. They anxiously look up every now and then from their phones towards the reception desk. It's a scene I've experienced for years while working in health care while waiting for doctors. But there's something different in the air now. Patients, like those around me, will encounter a ...

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It’s more complicated to create an engaging app than many business managers expect. Especially in health care, one of the most complex industries. There are often different, opposing forces at work that make the task more challenging. Your odds of an excellent outcome increase significantly if you keep one word in mind: prioritization. In other words, deeply understanding a user’s priorities based on a changing context makes all the difference. What’s important ...

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