Is Disruptive Health Care Technology an Absurd Idea? by Ting Shih

Albert Einstein said, “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” To many, the concept of ClickMedix, to use mobile phones to help a billion people have access to fast, effective, affordable health care, was at first absurd. Today, with published success in a number of pilots, reach in over seven countries and partners that include Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Health, there is an abundance of hope for this idea. Click here to read the full Huffington Post Impact Blog article.

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Hospitals Face Pressure to Avert Readmissions by Jordan Rau

After years of gently prodding hospitals to make sure discharged patients do not need to return, the federal government is now using its financial muscle to discourage readmissions.

The crackdown on readmissions is at the vanguard of the Affordable Care Act’s effort to eliminate unnecessary care and curb Medicare’s growing spending, which reached $556 billion this year. Hospital inpatient costs make up a quarter of that spending and are projected to grow by more than 4 percent annually in coming years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The readmission penalties will recoup about $300 million this year. But the goal is to pressure hospitals to pay attention to what happens to their patients after they walk out the door. The penalties have captured the attention of hospitals, and many are trying to improve their supervision of discharged patients’ recoveries. Click here to read the full New York Times article from November 26,2012.

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With Telemedicine as Bridge, No Hospital Is an Island by Pam Belluck

When Sarah Cohen’s acne drove her to visit a dermatologist in July, that’s what she figured she’d be doing — visiting a dermatologist. But at the hospital on Nantucket, where her family spends summers, Ms. Cohen, 19, was perplexed.

“I thought I was going to see a regular doctor,” she said, but instead she saw “this giant screen.”

Suddenly, two doctors appeared on the video screen: dermatologists in Boston. A nurse in the room with Ms. Cohen held a magnifying camera to her face, and suggested she close her eyes.

Why? she wondered — then understood. The camera transmitted images of her face on screen, so the doctors could eyeball every bump and crater. “Oh my God, I thought I was going to cry,” Ms. Cohen recalled. “Even if you’ve never seen that pimple before, it’s there.”

That, she realized, was the point. Technology, like these cameras and screens, is making it affordable and effective for doctors to examine patients without actually being there.

More hospitals and medical practices are adopting these techniques, finding they save money and for some patients work as well as flesh-and-blood visits. Click here to read the full New York Times article.

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