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Point-of-care health media and information firms form industry association

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Seven leading point-of-care health media and information firms on Tuesday formed a new industry association called the Point-of-Care Communication Council, or PoC3. PoC3 will be the definitive driver for patient and physician/healthcare provider engagement with an overall mission to positively contribute to patient health and healthcare outcomes through point-of-care communications in doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals.

The new association is slated to meet June 12 here to discuss a number of initiatives, including the formation of the following committees: membership/outreach, regulatory/public policy, measurement/Impact and industry guidelines/ethical business conduct. 

“Critical health decisions are made at the point-of-care,” stated Tom McGuinness, CEO of PatientPoint and co-chair of the PoC3 organizing committee. “As a result, effectively providing information to an engaged consumer will help promote favorable health outcomes and drive healthcare efficiencies. Point-of-care communication will become increasingly important as millions of new patients enter the health system under the Affordable Care Act, coupled with the fact that people are living much longer today.” 

Dan Stone, CEO of AccentHealth and co-chair of the PoC3 organizing committee added, “Point-of-care communications and the companies that provide these services have been around for a long time, however, point-of-care channels are underutilized and their unique effectiveness is not always understood. The industry will benefit greatly from a common platform to promote the benefits of point-of-care communication and help facilitate measurement standards.”

PoC3 was formed to:

  • Help manufacturers, healthcare providers and healthcare systems reach patients at the point-of-care to drive patient engagement;
  • Partner with manufacturers to help educate regulatory agencies as to the importance of appropriate point-of-care medical marketing/communication;
  • Articulate and promote how point-of-care investments positively contribute to patient health outcomes and overall healthcare system efficiencies;
  • Help manufacturers appropriately drive superior brand performance at the point-of-care;
  • Enhance and set standards for industry measurement to facilitate efficient and expanded use of the point-of-care channel; and
  • Set guidelines for appropriate and ethical business conduct to support fair competition and overall industry growth.

The founding members of PoC3 are comprised of senior executives from AccentHealth (Dan Stone, CEO), Catalina Health (Renee Selman, president), HealthBridge (Clay Romweber, president), Health Media Network (Chris Culver, CEO), Health Monitor Network (Eric Jensen, CEO), PatientPoint (Tom McGuinness, CEO) and Time Inc.’s Targeted Media Health (John Kenyon, VP and managing director).  

Similar to other industry associations, PoC3 will have three membership tiers. General members are firms who provide health education, medical marketing and programs in doctor’s offices, pharmacies and hospitals. Associate members consist of like firms under a certain revenue threshold, while affiliate members are companies that provide services to the general and associate members, including research organizations and advertising agencies.

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Pharmacy and the health cost crisis

BY Jim Frederick

Have a colonoscopy performed in some parts of the United States, and it’ll cost you and your health plan as much as $9,000 or more, versus a few hundred dollars in most of the rest of the developed world — even with countries whose healthcare systems are on par with ours in terms of quality rankings and outcomes. The average hip replacement costs $40,364 here, compared with $7,731 in Spain. An MRI scan in the United States runs $1,121, vs. $319 in the Netherlands. And a hospital stay will cost “about triple those in other developed countries, even though they last no longer.”

Those are some of the eye-opening facts cited by reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal in a well-researched story appearing in the New York Times June 1. Under the headline, “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill,” Rosenthal paints a grim picture of the way U.S. health costs have ballooned through a combination of factors unique to the United States that have evolved over many decades.

“The United States is far and away the world leader in medical spending, even though numerous studies have concluded that Americans do not get better care,” Rosenthal wrote. For instance, she added, “The high price paid for colonoscopies mostly results not from top-notch patient care, according to interviews with healthcare experts and economists, but from business plans seeking to maximize revenue; haggling between hospitals and insurers that have no relation to the actual costs of performing the procedure; and lobbying, marketing and turf battles among specialists that increase patient fees.”

Rosenthal notes that a lot of attention is paid to the role that expensive tests and “heroic care at the end of life” play in the nation’s high health bills. However, she notes, “a more significant factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual healthcare bill may not be the use of extraordinary services, but the high price tag of ordinary ones.”

That price tag is helping to drive the increasingly desperate search by public and private health plans, employer groups, insurers and patient advocates for cost-saving solutions to the nation’s dangerously out-of-control health cost spiral.

And that search dovetails neatly with the pharmacy profession’s rapid evolution beyond pill dispensing as pharmacists, and the chain and independent pharmacies they work for, present themselves as front-line community health providers and engaged patient-care professionals. It’s about practicing “at the top of your license,” to quote any number of engaged pharmacy leaders, and moving firmly into the realm of clinical care and collaborative health networks. And it’s happening in the midst of a real crisis in U.S. health care, as the nation grapples with an unsustainable but seemingly unstoppable rise in health costs.

It’s a perfect storm. What will it take to turn the nation’s health delivery network into a sustainable model with a more transparent cost structure and a more realistic, outcomes-based reimbursement system? And what role can pharmacy play in that transformation?

As always, your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

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Rolling Strong to bring truckers the latest in health, wellness via new online shop

BY Antoinette Alexander

LAS VEGAS — Rolling Strong, a provider of driver wellness programs for the trucking industry, has developed a new stop for professional drivers with its new online store.

“The products in our store are carefully designed and selected with the professional driver in mind,” stated Bob Perry, founder of Rolling Strong. “Our goal is to bring drivers the latest in health, wellness and nutritional tools available to support their personal health on the road and at home. We understand there are many challenges professional drivers face to maintain good health and fitness practices while working on the road.”

The new online store, located at shop.rollingstrong.com, features Rolling Strong’s latest products, such as the Freightliner In-Cab Trainer/ FIT System for the professional driver. It is the first exercise-and-flexibility system designed to allow the user to do an upper body, lower body and cardiovascular workout in the comfort and safety in the cab of their truck. The system also is specifically designed to stretch and strengthen the rotator cuff of the shoulder and lower back.

Other products available in the online store include the Rolling Strong trucker’s health book and Natural Chocolate Almond and Vanilla Protein Supplement.

Rolling Strong is on a mission to educate drivers and share life-changing products and services to help them while on the road. By providing transportation companies and their drivers, as well as owner operators, with in-terminal and on-the-road wellness programs, drivers can access a wellness program that makes sense for them, the company stated. Personalized wellness programs include Rolling Strong driver health and wellness checks at client terminals, access to a national network of retail clinics for bio screening and discounted acute care, DOT compliance, driver fitness programs, wellness kits and telephonic health coaching.

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