JAMA Features Our Thoughts on mHealth

BOSTON– March 24, 2014: While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidelines for the regulation of mobile health (mHealth) apps that act as medical devices or as accessories to medical devices, the vast majority of mHealth apps remain unregulated and unevaluated. In a Viewpoint article, “In Search of a Few Good Apps“, published in JAMA on March 24, 214, co-authors, Adam Powell, PhD, president of Payer+Provider Syndicate, along with David Bates, MD and Adam Landman, MD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), call for the creation of mHealth (mobile health) app review and certification organizations to evaluate apps that are not regulated by the government.

“This article gives health care providers, patients, policymakers and mHealth app developers a perspective on how the issue of determining which apps are most useful might be addressed,” said Bates, who is Chief Quality Officer at BWH and chaired the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Workgroup that made recommendations to the government about regulation of HIT and mobile apps. “Establishing an unbiased review and certification process is a key step in helping mHealth apps achieve their potential.”

The concept for this Viewpoint article was conceived by Landman and Powell after discussing their mutual concern about the lack of oversight over the accuracy, quality, and security of mHealth apps at the BWH Hackathon, an event sponsored by BWH’s Innovation Hub (iHub).

“Dr. Powell and I examined numerous mHealth apps and it was difficult to assess app credibility,” said Landman, Chief Medical Information Officer for Health Information Innovation and Integration and an emergency medicine physician at BWH. “The currently available reviews of mHealth apps have largely focused on personal impressions, rather than evidence-based, unbiased assessments of clinical performance and data security. With more rigorous certification criteria and unbiased accrediting bodies, both clinicians and consumers could be more confident in their selection and use of mHealth apps.”

In the article, authors describe the potential for multiple organizations to be created that could review and objectively certify mHealth apps for quality, accuracy, security and safety, similar to the role that Health On the Net Foundation (HON), a non-profit, non-governmental organization, plays in evaluating the quality of online medical content.

“People are increasingly turning to their smartphones for assistance in improving their health, but are having difficulty determining which apps are the securest and most effective. We hope that our article will instigate action that will enable clinicians and patients to make more effective use of mHealth apps,” said Powell, lead author of the article. “We foresee a potential future in which physicians will be able to confidently prescribe apps to their patient, and will have the tools that they need to interpret the resulting data. The establishment of an unbiased app certification and review process will play a key role in getting us there.”

The article was subsequently summarized and commented upon by numerous healthcare journalists:

Summaries of Speeches on mHealth, ROI Analysis, and Pharma Alliances Now Available

BOSTON– December 16, 2013: Summaries of three of Dr. Adam Powell’s recent speeches are now available online. Over the past three months, Dr. Powell gave speeches on the current challenges that mHealth apps face, the role that design plays in determining the return on investment of mHealth apps and behavioral change efforts, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on pharmaceutical company alliance managers. Two of the three speeches were subsequently documented by members of the press.

On October 2nd, Adam Powell, President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, and John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discussed the impact that mobile healthcare technologies are having on consumers and healthcare providers as part of the Open Classroom lecture series at Northeastern University. The lecture examined why apps are currently driving change, how the regulatory environment is changing, and how smartphones and Google Glass are impacting physicians. WBUR, Boston’s NPR station, summarized the two lectures in an article and posted a video recording of the lecture on its website.

DesignAndROI Summaries of Speeches on mHealth, ROI Analysis, and Pharma Alliances Now Available

Slide from the speech at THE MEME delivered by Adam C. Powell, Ph.D.

On December 12th, THE MEME, a Cambridge-based design firm, invited Powell to speak on a panel titled “Design, Technology and Behavioral Change”. The discussion was moderated by Kris Nybakken, General Manager at THE MEME, and also featured Robert Reimann, Principal Interaction Designer at PatientsLikeMe, and Juhan Sonin, Creative Director at Involution Studios. During the event Powell spoke about how Payer+Provider assesses the return on investment (ROI) of behavioral interventions, using the impact of Fitbit on employers as an example. In the speech, he highlighted the powerful role that small design decisions can play in determining the impact of innovations. A copy of Dr. Powell’s presentation on the impact of design on the ROI of tools for behavioral change is available for download.

On November 22nd, Powell shared the stage with Nathaniel Welch, Senior Manager at the Center for Applied Research (CFAR), to discuss how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the pharmaceutical industry and creating new opportunities for alliance managers. The speech was the finale of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals BioPharma Conference, and was attended by pharmaceutical alliance managers from around the world. The perspectives in the speech were developed through nine months of research and stakeholder interviews conducted jointly by Payer+Provider Syndicate and CFAR. The Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals summarized the speech in an article that it posted on its website.

Provider Web Presence Index Released

BOSTON-October 1, 2013: Following on the heels of the well-received release of the Payer Web Presence Index, Payer+Provider Syndicate has released a similar index ranking the web presence of hospitals and health systems. Announced today at CareFWD, the Provider Web Presence Index enables health systems and hospitals to benchmark the quality of their web presence against competitors by providing a single indicator which incorporates measures of web traffic, inbound linking, and site relevance. As hospitals consolidate and fight for patients in the wake of healthcare reform, understanding the impact of consumer marketing efforts will only grow in importance. Updated on a quarterly basis, the Provider Web Presence Index enables providers to track whether their online marketing efforts are having the desired effect.

According to the Index, the 30 hospitals and health systems with the best web presence are:

1. VA Healthcare System (299)
2. New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (266)
3. Massachusetts Dept. of Health and Human Services (262)
4. University of California San Francisco Medical Center (256)
5. Indiana Family & Social Services Administration (252)
6. University of Kentucky Medical Center (247)
7. University Hospital (University of New Mexico) (243)
8. 59th Medical Wing (Air Force) (234)
9. Tennessee Dept. of Health (222)
10. Maine Dept. of Health and Human Services (219)
11. Johns Hopkins Medicine (218)
12. MD Anderson Cancer Center (212)
13. Mayo Clinic (206)
14. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (204)
15. University of Maryland Medical Center (204)
16. Texas Dept. of State Health Services (204)
17. Oregon Health Sciences University and Hospital (203)
18. Arkansas Dept. of Human Services (203)
19. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (200)
20. Boston Children’s Hospital (200)
21. Keller Army Community Hospital (200)
22. University of Kansas Medical Center (199)
23. University of Texas Health Sciences Center (198)
24. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (198)
25. University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Center (197)
26. Cleveland Clinic Foundation (197)
27. University of Michigan Health System (194)
28. Brigham and Women’s Hospital (194)
29. Kaiser Permanente (194)
30. Mount Sinai Hospital (193)

To obtain the full Index, visit http://www.payerprovider.com/provider-web-presence/

According to Adam Powell, Ph.D., President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, “In the years ahead, web presence is likely to become a Key Performance Indicator used by providers. Increasing patient panel size is one of the few means that providers have to grow their revenue under value-based payment. By effectively engaging consumers online, providers can bolster their reputations and increase their utilization.”

The Provider Web Presence Index was calculated by using data from Alexa and Google captured in September 2013. Estimates of site traffic were measured by a proprietary toolbar which reports traffic data to Alexa. Google PageRank data were used to assess Google’s perception of the relative importance of the sites. The Provider Web Presence Index ranked every hospital and health system in the country by assigning a score to its domain. As government-run health systems often share domains with high-traffic government websites, many of the top scoring health systems were government-run. The top three private provider organizations were Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

About Payer+Provider Syndicate
At Payer+Provider Syndicate, we believe that the toughest operational and strategic challenges in healthcare are best addressed by subject matter experts with deep industry experience. Our experts have advised health insurers, hospitals, and numerous other organizations interacting with them. Whether analyzing a market, evaluating a business, or devising a methodology for improving operations, we rely upon our collective understanding of economics, healthcare policy, managed care, medicine, statistics, and strategy to serve our clients’ needs.

Press Contact
Adam Powell, Ph.D.
Payer+Provider Syndicate
powell@payerprovider.com
(617) 939-9168
8 Garrison St. Ste. 101
Boston, MA 02116

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Payer Web Presence Index Released

2013 Payer Web Presence Index Released by Payer+Provider Syndicate

BOSTON-September 12, 2013: Once Health Insurance Exchanges open on October 1st, 2013, it will be essential for health plans to maintain a high level of consumer awareness. To assess how major health plans have prepared for the transition, Payer+Provider Syndicate assessed their web traffic, number of inbound links, and Google PageRank, and combined the numbers into an index. Payer+Provider Syndicate’s Payer Web Presence Index combines data on traffic, inbound links, and site relevance to assess how well health plans have marketed themselves to consumers.

According to Payer+Provider Syndicate’s Payer Web Presence Index, the seven major insurers with the best web presence are:

  1. Aetna (529)
  2. Cigna (451)
  3. UnitedHealthcare (373)
  4. Humana (333)
  5. Kaiser Permanente (323)
  6. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (311)
  7. Anthem (WellPoint) (230)

To view the full list of rankings, visit payerprovider.com/payer-web-presence-2013

According to Adam Powell, Ph.D., President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, “The importance of having a well-conceived web presence will only increase in 2014 and beyond. We’re entering an environment in which more and more people will be responsible for selecting their health plans. As health insurance moves from being a B2B to a B2C business, web strategies that would have been adequate three years ago will no longer suffice.” One surprise that the ranking revealed was that Anthem had a stronger web presence than its parent, WellPoint. In response to this finding, Dr. Powell remarked, “Historically, several managed care organizations have maintained separate branding in different markets. Going forward, payers may wish to consider adopting unified branding across markets in order to strengthen their relationships with consumers.”

The Web Presence Index was calculated by using data from Alexa and Google captured on September 9th, 2013. Estimates of site traffic were measured by a proprietary toolbar which reports traffic data to Alexa. Google PageRank data were used to assess Google’s perception of the relative importance of the sites. The Web Presence Index only ranked major managed care organizations operating in multiple state markets.

About Payer+Provider Syndicate

At Payer+Provider Syndicate, we believe that the toughest operational and strategic challenges in healthcare are best addressed by subject matter experts with deep industry experience. Our experts have advised health insurers, hospitals, and numerous other organizations interacting with them. Whether analyzing a market, evaluating a business, or devising a methodology for improving operations, we rely upon our collective understanding of economics, healthcare policy, managed care, medicine, statistics, and strategy to serve our clients’ needs.

Part of the Payer+Provider mission is to be a thought leader in health services research. To facilitate this, we actively engage with the healthcare press, publish academic research, and facilitate the discovery of existing healthcare knowledge. Payer+Provider experts have been featured in popular outlets including CNN.com, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Reuters. Payer+Provider also regularly contributes to industry sources, including Becker’s Hospital Review, Healthcare Finance News, and HealthLeaders Media.

Press Contact

Adam Powell, Ph.D.
Payer+Provider Syndicate

powell@payerprovider.com
(617) 939-9168

8 Garrison St. Ste. 101
Boston, MA 02116

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John Halamka and Adam Powell Discuss mHealth

BOSTON– September 10, 2013: On October 2nd, Dr. John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Dr. Adam Powell, President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, will discuss mobile healthcare technologies at an open lecture held at Northeastern University. Each year, Northeastern hosts an Open Classroom course, which is free for the public to attend. The name of this year’s course is Policy for a Healthy America. Drs. Halamka and Powell will speak in a session titled, The Doctor is In (Your Pocket): When Your Smart Phone Takes Care of You. The lecture will take place on October 2nd from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and will be held in Northeastern’s West Village F, Room 20.

For more information on the Open Classroom series, see: http://www.northeastern.edu/policyschool/lectures-and-seminars/open-classroom/

About John Halamka

John D. Halamka, MD, MS, is Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN), Co-Chair of the HIT Standards Committee, a full Professor at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing Emergency Physician. His blog, Life as a Healthcare CIO, is widely read by people within the industry.

About Adam Powell

Adam C. Powell, PhD, is President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, Adjunct of Health Informatics at Northeastern University, and a Visiting Professor of Health IT at the Indian School of Business. At Northeastern, he teaches the Master’s courses Emerging Technologies in Healthcare and Public Health Surveillance and Informatics.