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The Need for Consumer Health and Employer Health to Collide

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Towers Watson study looked at telehealth services that are offered by large employers. The main study result isn’t that surprising: more employers are offering telehealth services and more employers plan to offer telehealth services. This is part of a much larger trend where employers realize that easy access to health services is great for their employees and their business.

What was a bit surprising from the study was that despite offering telehealth services, many of the employees of these large companies aren’t actually using those services. Here’s how Megan Williams described this finding on the Insights blog:

The Towers Watson study in particular highlights one of the greatest challenges employers face in realizing the full benefit of telemedicine solutions — awareness. Many employees aren’t even aware of traditional options, so it’s highly likely that their options of digital health tools are being overlooked.

Why is it that consumers don’t realize the full breadth of telehealth options their employer provides?

The problem here is that most of us don’t look to our employer for healthcare. We look to them for insurance, but not health care. We don’t expect our employer to take an active interest in our health. In fact, often our employer would step away from suggesting “the best” doctors to us and just provide us the list of in-network doctors. It was up to us as patients to figure out who was “best.”

Given this dynamic, we’ve had to figure out how to navigate the healthcare system on our own. We were more likely to discover a new healthcare option through email, Facebook or Twitter than we were through our employer. To date, telehealth services have largely been consumer driven and so it’s no surprise that most patients discover telehealth services through other consumers and not their employer.

Will the day finally arrive that the consumer health options we seek overlap with the employer health options that my employer supports? I think we’re heading that direction. In the telemedicine space, for example, we’re starting to see some dominant industry players emerge. Large companies will only need to support a small set of telemedicine companies to cover their entire workforce and allow their employees to discover and use whichever telemedicine service they find on their own.

Patients’ interest in telehealth services will only continue to grow. Each of us has a smartphone in our pocket and we’re used to getting the answers to all our questions wherever we are and whatever we may be doing. The same is true for our health. Our health choices will be more influenced by our smartphone than our employer. That’s why employers need the consumer health and employer health worlds to collide.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare.

August 31, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Has the Smartphone Become So Usable that Anyone Can Use One?

We’ve long heard about how seniors didn’t have smartphones and so they wouldn’t have access to all these incredible mobile health apps and sensors that are tied to the smartphone. In some respects this is true and I’ve always argued that it didn’t really matter, because their caregivers (often their children) is going to be the one using it and they use smart phones. It’s an important discussion since our seniors make up a large chunk of healthcare spending.

This tweet from David Doherty had me stop and think about this subject again.

It’s true that in many ways the tablets and smartphones have gotten so easy to use that even older people are using them for all sorts of amazing things. Would you rather teach a senior to use an iPad or a desktop computer? As someone who once was hired by an elderly couple to teach them how to use their computer in college, I’d much rather have taught them how to use the iPad or smartphone. It would have been so much easier.

We have to remember that Seniors still have an insatiable desire to be connected to the ones they love. That’s why they care about these technologies and are willing to learn them. Adding on some health related applications is an easy next step.

I still think there’s an interesting market out there for customized tablets for seniors that make them even easier, but like David it’s interesting to see how tablets and smartphones have become so usable that seniors of all ages are using them. This trend will only increase and more seniors will be using this technology.

August 18, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Using Your Mobile Trail to Improve Your Health

Mobile Health Trail

I’d always heard people talk about the value of the data collected on a mobile device and how that could be leveraged to benefit your health. However, this is the best illustration of this concept that I’ve ever seen. It’s really easy to see how much of this data could be leveraged to improve your health. There’s certainly some privacy questions, but the next generation seems to not care about it. I wonder what apps we’ll see that leverage all of this data about our habits.

June 1, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Are We More Honest with Our Phones Than with Our Doctors?


This is such a great question, but like most great questions requires more than a Yes or No answer and usually leads to a depends response. If you’re asking for my short answer though, I’d say that usually yes.

Certainly there are some exceptions. There are certain people that won’t share anything on the internet and that includes their phone. So, of course they’re not going to be more honest with their phone than they are their doctor. However, social media proves that the majority of people don’t mind sharing. In fact, when you look at what people are willing to share publicly, you have to wonder what they’re sharing online privately.

From a health perspective, this can be a huge benefit as you try to track someone’s health. In the article linked above they talk about how a smart phone app was a much better way to get data from teenagers participating in their research. They described the paper surveys as homework and the mobile app as fun. No doubt that resonates with anyone that has spent time with teens.

However, that really only addresses the accessibility and ease of providing the data. There’s a disconnect from reality that happens on the phone which allows us to be more comfortable sharing some things that we wouldn’t likely share face to face with the doctor. In healthcare, we’re usually battling against this issue as we talk about Telemedicine and how it’s not the same as an in person office visit. They’re right. Telemedicine isn’t the same as an in office visit. In some ways it feels less threatening and people are more willing to share. While this “disconnect” can be a down side, it can also be used as an upside.

Like most things in life, there are pros and cons. The key as we approach digital health solutions is to understand the benefits and challenges and make the most of what’s possible.

April 6, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Samsung CMO Uses Gear S2 to Monitor Passed Out Patient on Plane

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m always impressed by stories of doctors doing amazing things on airplanes. So, you can imagine my interest in this tweet from Dr. Rhew, Samsung’s Chief Medical Officer.

A doctor doing something to help someone who’s sick on a flight is nothing new. Some of you might remember that Colin Hung wrote about how Dr. Rasu Shrestha helped a passenger during his flight to HIMSS. Eric Topol is also famous for saving someone’s live on a flight and for averting an emergency landing after using his AliveCor ECG to help a man who lost consciousness.

Each of these stories should be applauded. I can only imagine how grateful these people were to have a doctor on their flight that could help. Although, the stories about Dr. Topol and the one from Dr. Rhew from the tweet above are particularly interesting to me since they both used a piece of mobile health technology to assist them in their work with the patient. In Dr. Topol’s case it was an Alivecor ECG and in Dr. Rhew’s Case it was the Samsung Gear S2 watch.

I’ve actually heard from doctors that the medical kit on an airplane is surprisingly good. However, they no doubt don’t have an ECG or heart rate monitor. So, it’s pretty amazing that each of these doctors had these tools at their disposal and that each of us could easily be carrying one of them around with us now with no trouble at all. In fact, in the case of the heart rate monitor, a lot of us are already carrying one around.

This will get even more exciting as more sensors go mainstream and are able to monitor other parts of our health. Of course, use of these sensors doesn’t have to be on a plane. It could just as well have been on a soccer field at your kid’s soccer game. In that case, you may not even need one of the other parents to be a doctor. Your cell phone could quickly Skype/Facetime in an emergency response doctor who could walk you through what was needed and assist you with the injured child. Plus, that doctor could remotely see the vital sign readings coming from sensors on/in your phone and on/in the injured person.

We’re not there yet organizationally and politically with some of what I described, but the technology is definitely there for everything I described. It’s just a matter of time for it to become a reality.

It’s an exciting time to be working in healthcare.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

Update: Here’s a nice little postscript from Dr. Rhew:


I agree with the passenger. That is so cool!

March 24, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HIMSS 2016 Moved from Mobility to Devices

Thinking back on a week at the HIMSS Annual Conference, I think it’s fair to say that the industry has moved beyond the smart phone and moved on to new devices. That’s not to say that mobile doesn’t matter, but mobility has just become a feature of most software the same way we talk about a cloud application. No one buys cloud, but they might look at whether the application is a cloud application. The same is true for mobility. You don’t buy mobility, but you might want to know if the application is available on mobile devices.

With that said, there are still many that use the term mobile health to describe any devices that could be used in your health. That’s a pretty broad definition since it could include apps on your smartphone, the watch on your wrist, the Fitbit in your pocket, or some other sort of sensor attached to your body in some way. This leaves off ingestibles and implantables which I guess could apply to this broad definition of mobile health as well.

I believe 2016 was a breakout year for consumer health device companies at HIMSS. While in previous years I might see a number of these consumer health device companies at CES, very few of them really had any presence at HIMSS. HIMSS 2016 had a lot of these device manufacturers with much larger presences. This includes large companies like Philips (who killed it on the #HIMSS16 hashtag) and Qualcomm (of course they acquired CapsuleTech which has always had a good presence at HIMSS), but also a large smattering of smaller device companies scattered throughout the HIMSS 2016 exhibit hall floor.

I can’t say that I saw anything new from these companies, but HIMSS isn’t really the place for them to launch new products. Most of these companies save product launches for other events like CES or Mobile World Congress. Instead, their presence at HIMSS shows an interesting evolution in the journey of these generally consumer focused health devices. HIMSS is about the healthcare enterprise. What’s still not clear to me is how many of these consumer health devices can find a foothold in the enterprise healthcare world. However, it’s notable that so many are trying.

March 9, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Online Diagnosis and Treatment App – Zipnosis

I was recently introduced to an online diagnosis and treatment app called Zipnosis. The video embedded below does a pretty good job describing how the app works and what they’re trying to do with the company.

In some ways, this technology reminds me of Vinod Khosla’s famous quote that “technology will replace 80 percent of doctors.” In the case of Zipnosis, it seems that the technology isn’t quite replacing the doctor, but it’s one step closer to being able to do so. They told me that’s not their vision, but you can see how this could be the start of a very interesting algorithm that could treat patients.

I’m sure many people reading this are wondering how a doctor can treat someone who they’ve never talked to, met, touched, etc. In fact, it seems that with Zipnosis the doctors is treating and prescribing for a patient who has just filled out what amounts to an online form (in the form of an online app). Lest you get too concerned, here’s the list of conditions they treat:
Zipnosis Online Diagnosis Treatment Options

I’ll be interested to see how this list expands and contracts. No doubt, there are a lot of situations where an online form is probably more than enough to treat the patient. Add in pictures and you have a bunch more things you can treat. Add in other external devices and you can treat even more. I’ll be interested to watch Zipnosis and see how they expand and how the market responds to what they’re offering.

October 22, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Samsung’s $50 Million Digital Health Investment Fund

Fred Pennic over at HIT Consultant posted a great story about the new $50 million digital health initiative coming out of Samsung. Here’s a portion of Fred’s article about the announcement:

The new initiative will utilize a new health open reference design platform tailored to take advantage of the latest sensors, behavioral algorithms, battery technologies and displays.
To aggressively support this initiative, Samsung has also announced a $50 million investment fund dedicated to innovative start-ups and technologies in the digital health space. The goal of the fund is to stimulate creative new approaches to digital health and Samsung’s open platforms.

I’ve long been interested in the role that cell phone companies will play in the digital health space and specifically in the health sensors space. There’s always been a bit of a problem for me with the various health sensors out there in the market today. I just don’t care enough about them to wear one every day. The watch comes closest to a natural product that I could see myself wearing it regularly, but the clip on products just aren’t something I want to do every day. I have too many other things to think about.

Of course, you wouldn’t catch most of us without our cell phones on us. This is why it’s always made sense why the cell phone would be the ultimate health tracker. It doesn’t require a habit change by the end user.

Until this cell phone-health sensor vision comes to fruition we’re going to have to limp along with these other wearable technologies and no doubt Samsung wants to be a major player in that space so they know which ones are worth integrating into their cell phones down the road. With that in mind, $50 million seems like a small investment for them to make in the space.

I personally see this $50 million fund as a small down payment by Samsung on what will likely become a much larger investment for them in healthcare.

May 29, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Google Watch (Officially Android Wear) Announced

The big news in the wearable world this week was the announcement of the Google Watch that’s being called Android Wear. There are a lot of nuances to their product like any announcement. For example, Google is doing like Android and working with a lot of other hardware manufacturers. Like most smart watches, the connection to your cell phone is key. Check out this video to see a preview of Android Wear:

One of the key differentiators I’ve seen between this and other smart watches is the integration with Google Now. If you have an Android phone, you’re likely familiar with Google Now. It provides a smart set of notifications that only Android can provide since it knows a lot about you through all the various Google Apps like Google Calendar.

The announcement offers one healthcare angle:

The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk.

You’ll see that they don’t mention any built in fitness options. Instead, they’re just tapping into your existing wearables. We’ll see if that’s a smart strategy or not.

What do you think of the Android Wear?

March 19, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Racy Video Promotes New Smartphone Pulse Oximeter

Next week I’ll be enjoying a wave of smartphone medical devices at the International CES conference in Las Vegas. I can already tell from the press releases that a number of companies have made big progress in making these devices great for the consumer.

I did recently get a pitch from a company called Safe Heart USA which is marketing the iOximeter, a smartphone pulse oximeter. I guess in order to stand out (which is necessary at a show like CES) they created this somewhat racy and humorous video called “Fifty Shades of Blue. You can see the video below:

What do you think? Did they go too far or do we need to lighten up and just enjoy a humorous approach to marketing a product as exciting as this?

I have to admit. If I see them at the show, I’ll probably stop by and see the people behind a video like this. Considering the volume of pitches I’ve gotten, it was an interesting way to get my attention.

January 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.