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Monday, December 15, 2014

Mobile Health, Telemedicine and Walgreens

Walgreens app makes virtual doctor visits a reality


The service is immediately available to residents of California and Michigan and will be rolled out in other states in the next few years. Illinois residents should be able to use the app by the end of 2015.  Appointments cost $49, most of which goes to physicians. That fee is also not much more than a copay for an in-person doctor's visit through some insurance plans. “Some insurance companies cover telemedicine”, Leider said.

Walgreens is launching a virtual doctor visit feature on its mobile app, the company announced Monday. The nation's largest drugstore chain is teaming up with MDLive, a provider of virtual health services, to connect Walgreens customers with certified doctors via video chat on a smartphone, tablet or computer. 

"Consumers are demanding to do everything through mobile," Parker said. "Everything else they can do through mobile, and now they can do this too."

MDLive stands to gain 2 million people a day through Walgreens' mobile app and website. CEO Randy Parker said the company has 2,000 doctors available.
Last year Walgreens launched a Pharmacy Chat feature on its app to allow users to instant message with pharmacy staff. The company said it averages 9,000 chats a week.
"I think this will become a normal part of health care in three to five years," Leider said. "We have got some real forces that are going to make this very compelling."
He said a shortage of primary care physicians coupled with more people becoming insured through the Affordable Care Act means the market is growing for people who might find telemedicine useful.
Dr. Leider made the bold statement, “"I think this will become a normal part of health care in three to five years," Leider said. "We have got some real forces that are going to make this very compelling."
In October, Deerfield-based Walgreen announced a similar telehealth initiative partnership with health information website WebMD to encourage customers to increase exercise to earn discounts at Walgreens stores. The company said it now awards points on its Balance Rewards loyalty card for logging activities on the WebMD Healthy Target app.

The service is immediately available to residents of California and Michigan and will be rolled out in other states in the next few years. Illinois residents should be able to use the app by the end of 2015, said Dr. Harry Leider, chief medical officer  for Walgreens.  Appointments cost $49, most of which goes to physicians. That fee is also not much more than a copay for an in-person doctor's visit through some insurance plans. “Some insurance companies cover telemedicine”, Leider said.

"Consumers are demanding to do everything through mobile," Parker said. "Everything else they can do through mobile, and now they can do this too."

Chicago Tribune


Saturday, December 13, 2014

CellScope’s iPhone-enabled otoscope, remote consultation service launches for CA parents

Parents in California who have children who get chronic ear infections will soon have a more convenient way to get their kids care.


San Francisco-based CellScope, a Khosla Ventures-backed Rock Health alum, has begun taking preorders for its FDA registered smartphone-enabled otoscope,called Oto Home. The director-to-consumer device is priced at $79 and will ship in four to six weeks. A feature-rich, $299 version of the system, called Oto Pro, is also available for preorder now to physicians located anywhere in the US.

There are caveats in using this device and parents should be trained how to insert the scope. The Otohome will come with an FDA approved label for  users, the same as any FDA approved device or medication.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Buffaloed ?

Thanks to Martin Samuel M.D. I now know why the Canadian Health System works as well as it does.



According to him:

"Some years ago, I was acting as a visiting professor in Canada. I was discussing a patient with a disorder that I thought required a rapid, though not urgent, intervention. I was discussing the optimal timing of the intervention, when a chuckle arose in the audience. I inquired about why people seemed so amused and they told me that considerations of that type did not apply to this particular patient because he was going to be “Buffaloed.”
What could that mean, I inquired?
It means that this patient had private insurance and would go to Buffalo for the procedure rather than wait in the queue in the regular Canadian health care system. The reason the Canadian health care system works as well as it does (and that is not by any means optimal) is because 90% of the population is within driving distance of the United States where the privately insured can be Seattled, Minneapolised, Mayoed, Detroited, Chicagoed, Clevelanded and Buffaloed, thus relieving the pressure by the rich and influential to change a system which works well enough for the other people but not for them, especially when they are worried or in pain."
In the United States, there is no analogous safety valve so the influential simply demand a different level of care and receive it. This includes all the authors of the major books, articles and policies that have been written to repair our allegedly hopelessly expensive and error prone system. The array of suggestions is practically incomprehensible partly because there is a secret hypocrisy. Will the pundit actually use their proposed system themselves?
Whenever anyone writes about the rehabilitation of our health care system, they should be required to publish their own health care history, so the public can see where these experts obtain their own medical care. To protect their privacy, specific diseases need not be declared; just the method by which the pundit handled his or her own medical problems. This would be analogous to requiring that politicians reveal their income tax records or that academic doctors report any real or perceived conflict of interest when publishing a paper. Articles, proposals and laws written by anyone who is unwilling to publish his or her own health care history would simply not be considered or published. If just the leading newspapers and opinion magazines would agree to this system the degree of credibility of proposals for changes in our health care system would be dramatically improved.
Where will you Buffalo ?
My thoughts exactly, and Dr. Samuel expresses it so well
reprinted from The Health Care Blog
Martin Samuels is a practicing neurologist and founder of two Harvard-affiliated neurology departments. He holds a membership in the American Neurological Association, a fellowship in the American Academy of Neurology and a mastership in the American College of Physicians.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Did Jonathan Gruber mean Congress is Stupid

Congress just completed it's hearing on the economic planning prior to  the passage of the Affordable Care Act.  The keynone witness was Jonathan Gruber, PhD, whose credentials include MIT.

This is a continuation of our last post here.


Gruber, who most know was the  financial economic planner for Obamacare.  Any clinician and hospital administrator knew that Obamacare is the 'Kool Aid' for liberals wishing  for change and hope. Since Obamacare became law insurance deductibles tripled.

Darrell Issa, chairman of the committee quizzed Gruber and pointedly, asking him if he  was "stupid'. Gruber, who is obviously smart enough  to be at MIT. Gruber responsed, no he was not, but smart people make stupid comments or decisions.  Jonathan Gruber, PhD is a  theoretical economist, observing and making decisions from orbit, with no clnical expereince based upon reality.

Wikipedia's article on Gruber includes the following,

"An American professor of economics at theMassachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, where he is a research associate. An associate editor of both the Journal of Public Economics and the Journal of Health Economics, Gruber has been heavily involved in crafting public health policy. He is an academic professor of economics at MIT


He was a key architect of both the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform, sometimes referred to as "Romneycare", and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as the "ACA" and "Obamacare".[1]He became the focus of a media and political firestorm in late 2014 when videos surfaced in which he made controversial statements about the legislative process, marketing strategies, and public perception surrounding the passage of the ACA.

Most of the Affordable Care Act is based upon Gruber and President Obama's face-to-face meetings. It failed the self-proclaimed promise of openness and transparency promise of President Obama"






Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Obamacare, Is the American Public Stupid or were they Deceived....Again




According to government sources, Obamacare is a resounding success. Yet industry experts and pundits examining the implementation say otherwise.

More information is forthcoming about ObamaCare. Jonathon Gruber, Professor of Economics at M.I.T a primary author for the Affordable Care Act was interviewed by

He was a key architect of both the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform, sometimes referred to as "Romneycare", and the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as "Obamacare".[1]


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made a guest appearance on “Hannity” Monday and said that embattled Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber should be made to give back the money he received for his work on the health care bill.

ObamaCare Architect Thinks You’re Stupid; Pelosi Does Too

Gruber admitted multiple times that Obamacare was written in a non-transparent way intentionally, to exploit the “stupidity” of the American voter.






Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Affordable Care Act and Mid-term Elections

Many wonder how the mid-term election will afffect the Affordable Care Act ?

Perhaps not at all, however a recent exit poll of GOP voters indicated an unhappiness factor for most GOP voters.   Almost 60% want the Affordable Care Act repealed.

The current structure of the executive branch, and congress may not make this a practical reality until the Presidential election in 2016.  Obama would veto any motion to repeal the act.  Republicans may thwart a ny further plans Obama has for immigration, unless he complies with GOP plans.

There are no doubt some citizens who benefitted by coverage, if they can meet the extremely high deductibles and copays, and find a physician.  The next two years will shake out those who cannot comply for financial reasons.  The underlying formula is based upon the federal poverty rates, which are unrealistic. Basing any ability to pay any amount on the formula is fantasy 101.

People's incomes show large variations in many cases, month to month, especially for low income workers, average income figures fall far short for eligibility purposes.






Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Affordable Care Act and Mid-term Elections

The ACA has had some effect resulting in the Democratic loss of seats in Congress.   Many Democrats feel the pain from voter displeasure with the ACA.   Whether this will make a difference to the ACA is still questionable since President Obama will cast a veto against any proposed changes in the law.  Although some changes have been made to the law, most have been waivers or delays in dates.

In a midterm election with many implications for healthcare, Republicans pulled off their expected takeover of the Senate, which they hope will enable them to rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), even if they can't repeal it outright. Health Train's opinion is the mid-term will not repeal the ACA.

The Republicans can boast that they gained seats due to the backlash against Obama, the ACA.  Some of the backlash due to Obama and his statement, "If you like your doctor and hospital    you will be able to keep your doctor." That was a statement not based upon Obama'sl understanding of the law, when he signed it.

The second act of healthcare.gov enrollment begins again.

Significant changes will have to wait until the next Presidential election.