Why healthcare should take cues from the retail industry, how Facebook users may be putting their health information at risk, and more.

1. Chronic care patients spend too much time in ED

Patients with chronic conditions accounted for 60 percent of all annual visits to the Emergency Department (ED) in 2017, says a Premier report. That’s $8.3 billion in spending. Over 4.3 million of these visits could have been prevented, according to the report. Experts say the need for patients with chronic conditions to access better primary care is evident.

“It is widely known that people with chronic conditions contribute to high healthcare expenditures, making them a critical population for more strategic, preventative care,” said Joe Damore, Premier’s Senior Vice President of Population Health Consulting.

2. Snacks to boost your spirits

Fruits and vegetables aren’t just good for your physical health; they promote mental health, too. People who ate more fruit and vegetables reported improvements in their psychological well-being and life satisfaction, according to the UK Household Longitudinal Study.

Researchers say adding one portion of produce to your diet daily could have the same mental health benefits as going for a walk an extra seven to eight days a month. A portion is about one cup of raw veggies, half a cup of cooked veggies or chopped fruit, or one whole piece of fruit.

3. A complaint filed against Facebook over lack of privacy

Consumers who join disease-centered Facebook groups may put their private health information at risk, according to a report filed by CareSet Systems CTO, hacktivist Fred Trotter and healthcare attorney David Harlow. Facebook’s privacy and access controls do not consistently protect group members and their personal health data, charges the report.

For instance, in April 2018 Trotter was able to download the real names of 10,000 members of a group who tested positive for the BRCA mutation.

“Sharing of privately posted personal health information violates the law, but this serious problem with Facebook’s privacy implementation also presents an ongoing risk of death or serious injury to Facebook users,” states the report.

4. BCBS and HCSC launch food delivery service

Do you live in a food desert? You’re in luck. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Institute and Health Care Services Corporation (HCSC) have launched foodQ, a health food delivery service to reduce food insecurity and health disparities for plan members. A food desert is a part of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods.

“Food deserts are one of the key social determinants of health impacting millions of Americans,” said Manika Turnbull, HCSC’s vice president and community health and economic impact officer. “With this program we are meeting people where they live to provide access, affordable pricing and education that can influence healthy behaviors, reduce health disparities and improve their quality of life.”

5. Healthcare should take its tech and data cues from retail

Healthcare must do a better job of leveraging technology, said Doctor Roy Beveridge, Humana senior vice president and chief medical officer, at this year’s HIMSS19 conference. Beveridge said healthcare should mimic the retail industry.

“You know, when smart devices were introduced a number of years ago, clinicians just said ‘What a dumb piece of technology. It just tells people whether someone walked 5,000 steps or 8,000 steps,’” Beveridge said, during a session. “But the retail sector was very smart. They took the data from steps and they combined it with purchase history. And all of a sudden there was an explosion of understanding.”

Beveridge said the technology to help guide patients through their care already exists; the healthcare industry is just 10 to 20 years behind the retail world in implementing it.

 

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