Diabetes Innovation: The Secret Sauce

BEOften, when we think about innovation, we immediately think of hi-tech devices, software or platforms.

In the midst of this year’s Diabetes Innovation conference, and even acknowledging that many people with diabetes are joined at the hip (literally) to some pretty hi-tech tools, it is worth slowing down for a moment to consider the value and efficacy of decidedly low-tech solutions.

Earlier this year, Susannah Fox (a speaker at this year’s conference) coauthored a report published by the Pew Research Center entitled Tracking for Health. This report collects survey data showing that while 60% of U.S adults track diet or exercise, and 33% track their own health — 49% track only in their heads, 34% use paper and only 21% use technology (web, app, device) for personal tracking.

People with diabetes are certainly well-represented among the 33% of the population who are self-identified health care self-trackers — but remember, most self-trackers are decidedly low-tech. [Read more…]

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Dexter Shurney MD promotes a 360-degree approach to lifestyle change to manage chronic disease

Dexter ShurneyWorksite clinics providing intensive lifestyle interventions are good business for some forward-thinking employers. They lead to measurable improvement in the health status of employees with chronic conditions, and — in the case of Cummins, Inc., according to CMO for Global Health & Wellness, Dr. Dexter Shurney — some of the key interventions tend to pay for themselves within six months.

The health status improvement also tends to not be limited to the chronic disease that is the subject of the intervention. Diabetes interventions lead to improvements in diabetes (some people with diabetes going off insulin entirely), but also to improvements in controlling hypertension, cholesterol and other conditions.

Come hear Dr. Shurney discuss his experiences in implementing these interventions at Diabetes Innovation 2013.

Dr. Shurney used the metaphor of a vegetable garden in our conversation: If you have a healthy plant, it’s because: “The roots are healthy. The stem is healthy. The leaves are healthy and it bears good fruit.” Changing the overall environment, through the heavy lifting done in the primary care medical homes at the Cummins worksite clinics, yields improvement across multiple conditions.

(Listen to our conversation, and read a transcript, after the jump.) [Read more…]

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DI speaks with Rushika Fernandopulle, CEO of Iora Health: Managing chronic disease with primary care on steroids

Rushika F I recently spoke with Rushika Fernandopulle, co-founder and CEO of Iora Health, a company based in Cambridge, MA which is building “an entirely new model of primary care.” He will be a panelist at Diabetes Innovation 2013.

In order to improve the health care system, Rushika says we can’t fiddle around the edges. Instead we must take bold steps and start from scratch, beginning with three key elements: (1) Payment redesign, (2) Delivery system redesign, and (3) Health IT systems redesign.

Iora Health has started from scratch and has reinvented primary care for the populations it manages on behalf of large self-insured employers. Rushika acknowledges that he can’t do it alone (even though his company got a nice infusion of capital earlier this year), and wants Iora Health’s model to be emulated by others even as the company expands its reach within its existing geographic markets. The secret sauce is an intensive primary care service staffed with health coaches in addition to the usual suspects. The primary care service costs participating employers about twice as much as typical primary care services, but the results are anything but typical. In fact, they result in a net health care cost savings in the 15% range.

(Listen to our conversation, and read a transcript, after the jump.) [Read more…]

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