The History of American Health Insurance: A Look Back In Time To Understand How We Got To Where We Are

By Nicole Fletcher,

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In America today, there’s a drastic discrepancy between people’s perception of health insurance and its definition; and understandably so, as it has fundamentally changed since its inception just decades ago. It could be argued that many of the frustrations relating to this topic stem from a near-universal knowledge gap, specifically regarding what health insurance is - and also, what it isn’t.

By definition, health insurance is the term used to describe any insurance that provides people with protection against the costs of medical services. Albeit vague, this definition for modern day Americans tends to reflect the belief that health insurance policies should cover pretty much everything - which, in most minds, is everything outside of a copay. Think for a moment though, about car insurance. It’s illegal to drive without it, it costs all drivers a monthly fee, and people understand its in-case-of-emergency role. For instance, you expect your insurance to cover an accident - but would never expect it to cover a tire rotation. Why don’t people think of health insurance the same way?

By looking to the past, we hope to shed some light on the short and surprising history of American health insurance and how the system came to be what it is today.

While the earliest forms of health insurance came to be in 1850 and were similar to today’s workers’ comp, the first modern policies were not formed until 1930, less than 100 years ago. Before WWII, health insurance was not a fundamental right and the exchange of medical goods and services were handled much differently than they are now.

 

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Vintage illustration of the all powerful Family Doctor by Norman Rockwell from Upjohn Advertisement 1943

In the 1940s, doctors and their God-like reputations were on the rise. The popularity of alternative medicine had slowed and American doctors were wildly influential, making more than 2.5 times the salary of an average worker. Most providers conducted business in solo practices, where patients paid out of pocket for the services they received - in other words, they paid cash for their healthcare. In hospitals, a two-tiered system emerged. Wealthier patients paid for certain luxuries, like private rooms, while other ‘charity’ patients were treated in large, open spaces.

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Black and white photo of an open hospital treatment space, designed for ‘charity’ patients.

As a result of the high labor demands brought on by the war (which spanned from 1939-1945), along with the strict wage control enacted by the government, employers had to come up with other methods of compensation with which to attract workers. By this time, the War Board had declared benefits like paid time off and health insurance to be considered ‘fringe benefits.’ thereby acting as the perfect loophole to incentivize and attract talent. This marked the first time health insurance, for families and for individuals, was tied to employers. The modern definition of health insurance was born.

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President Truman proposed an optional public health insurance system in 1945.

 

In 1945, President Truman proposed an optional public health insurance system where participants would pay monthly for coverage of all time-of-need medical expenses. The government would then cover the cost of services incurred by any physician who chose to join the system. The plan would also replace member wages lost during the time of illness or injury. While the policy was popular with Americans, it was considered socialism by a number of prominent institutions, including the AMA.

Aside: The ideal of an ‘optional’ health insurance system is an interesting one and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how insurance companies work. If the government decided to make healthcare ‘optional’, only the sick would enroll and would subsequently, over-utilize. If that were to happen, premiums in the years to come would increase to compensate. Healthy people, thinking it unfair that they are paying for services they’re not using, would un-enroll, leaving an ever sicker population to over utilize even more. This is called a rate spiral. The way health insurance companies work now is purely based on averages. They bank on people consistently paying into a large pool that is not used by everyone all at once. The word ‘optional’ is one of the differences between Truman’s plan - and Obama’s.

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By 1960, health insurance enrollment had skyrocketed to more than 140 million.

By the late 1950s, labor unions were aware of the future never-ending political battle centered around healthcare and opted to pursue a less desirable but more realistic goal: employer sponsored coverage. The private sector successfully attracted the best, white-collar employees by incorporating such ‘fringe benefits,’ and the public soon followed. By 1958, the number of employees enrolled in employer-run insurance plans had skyrocketed from 20.6 million in 1940, to more than 142 million, or ~75% of American lives.

Over the next few years, issues relating to age, cost and availability of healthcare coverage surfaced. Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, thereby creating publicly run insurance for the elderly and the poor.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law in 1965.

Since 1965, there’s been a relatively large lull in healthcare historical events. Patients experienced higher costs in the ‘80s as a result of more expensive technology and the first signs of system wide cracks; which were quickly and reactively patched. Managed care plans and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) were created in direct response to the high cost of healthcare, but they only served as a temporary solution to the problem.

A universal healthcare system was proposed once again in 1993 by President Bill Clinton - but it was quickly squashed by Congress. By 2010, with the recession in full swing and the unemployment rate close to 10%, nearly 50 million Americans were uninsured for at least a portion of the year. As a result, prices continued to rise. That brings history close to the present with the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This plan was enacted to increase both the affordability and quality of health insurance, decrease the number of uninsured Americans by expanding insurance coverage, and reduce healthcare costs for people and the government.

In sum, the history of employee sponsored health insurance in America stems from a temporary solution to a war-time problem. This recruitment loophole led to generations of employer-reliant healthcare when really, direct employer involvement in employee health makes little sense. Employees shouldn’t feel shackled to jobs purely because of health insurance access, just like employers shouldn’t be completely responsible for solving employee health problems. What might happen to the structure of both business and healthcare if these two entities were separated? For now, we can only speculate but time will tell as will the future success - or failure of Obamacare.

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer, Enterprise

Digital Health Summer Summit: A PokitDok Recap

By Nicole Fletcher,

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Last week PokitDok was a proud sponsor of the Digital Health Summer Summit in San Francisco. Thursday kicked off with a tour of UCSF’s state-of-the-art medical facilities along with a networking happy hour and panel, while Friday featured top notch speakers, debates, panels and... massive pretzels. From the start, the event was a total -everyone-stayed-til-the-end - success and as such, we’re here to offer a brief summary.

Thursday evening took place at the Redwood Room of downtown SF’s Clift Hotel with a cocktail hour set against a digital health backdrop. PokitDok board member Lisa Suennen moderated the fittingly titled: A Doctor, a Patient and an Entrepreneur Walk Into a Bar, with cocktail in hand. And yes, a doctor, a patient AND an entrepreneur were indeed represented.

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Dr. Reed Tuckson started Friday morning off right with an inspiring keynote highlighting our need to understand the role of digital health in context and that big data is only valuable with appropriate analysis, strategy, and application. In other words, data for data’s sake is not inherently valuable.

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Another topic of the morning took the form of a debate entitled: What Does it Take to Avoid the Funding Valley of Death? With countless health tech incubators and seed funders, speakers noted the gap that lies between initial funding and both the subsequent backing and entrepreneurial guidance those early companies need to ‘make it’ in the valley of death. The panel, Jack Young of dRx Capital AG, Mark Schwartz of Launchpad Digital Health, Lynne Chou of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and moderator, David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD, of DNAnexus, discussed what early digital health and health-tech companies need to know to get through the chasm - and not wind up dying of thirst.

The big, bad - but ultimately good - electronic health record was another topic of discussion at #DHSummer. Speakers noted the frustrations that lie with underlying EMR technology and how its hindering infrastructure impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of this, the first generation of digital health. To learn more about how PokitDok is working to fix these issues, take a look at our cross-EMR scheduling API and our newest product that launched at the event, the PokitDok Identity Management System.

Finally, Yves Béhar, Chief Creative Officer of Jawbone, was a great surprise ending to the day. His opening statement, “Great design is not a luxury”, rang through the auditorium, enforcing the idea that the healthcare industry has a responsibility to educate, inform and make simple the complexities patients face daily in any way they can.

Oh, and we were also featured on Digital Health Summit LIVE - stay tuned for the video.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Enterprise

The Democratization of Healthcare: Defined and Demonstrated

By Nicole Fletcher,

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‘The Democratization of Healthcare’ is an emerging topic referencing the knowledge-driven power in medicine and its inevitable shift from the doctor to the patient. This fundamental transition provides the masses access to their own health information like never before and puts them more and more in the driver’s seat. This post outlines a few real-life examples that ended poorly, to say the least, as a direct result of the fragmented healthcare system, along with the future possibilities that can come with industry evolutions.

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Author and medical professional, Eric Topol speaks extensively about what this transition might mean for the future of medicine in his book, The Patient Will See You Now. He notes that MDs will no longer be considered ‘medical deities’, but rather professionals with whom patients will consult to get the proper treatment on the path of least resistance. His point is that giving patients access to their health data and the information necessary to educate themselves is key because afterall, who has a higher interest in an individual’s health, than the individual himself?

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Certainly, EHRs and the digitization of health records brought on by the Affordable Care Act help doctors know more about patients in real time, but large gaps still exist in health and insurance data connectivity. Late last year, one Wisconsin woman went into cardiac arrest and was taken to a hospital in Madison. That hospital she was brought to was out of her insurance network, while another in-network hospital was only three blocks away. Now, at the age of 30, instead of planning her wedding, this woman is frantically scouring the Internet for solutions to her $50,000+ of bankruptcy-inducing medical bills (and that’s after a near-90% reduction in fees). The most troubling part is that had she been taken to the other hospital, her out of pocket cost would have been just 3%, or about $1,500.

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Similarly, in his book, Topol mentions a recent incident with his 92-year-old mother-in-law. During a routine hospital visit, she was experiencing low, but not alarmingly low, blood pressure. Further lab results showed low, but again not scarily low, sodium levels. She was then checked into the hospital - perhaps, Topol thinks, just because she happened to be there - and prescribed a high sodium intravenous infusion. The following day - yes, they advised an overnight stay - they opted to give her a subcutaneous heparin injection because they were worried an elderly woman lying in bed might be at risk for a blood clot. It just so happened that Topol was on the phone with his wife while this conversation took place. He frantically told her to stop the injection because his mother-in-law was taking another blood thinner for stroke risk reduction for her underlying atrial fibrillation arrhythmia. The heparin injection could and likely would have killed her. The mistake was avoided - but just barely and only because of Topol’s timing, medical background and personal knowledge of the patient. To cap off the experience and price tag, the patient was then required to stay another night and because of hospital back ups, was not released until later the following afternoon.

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These are just two of countless tales featuring the disconnected systems and lack of information access in healthcare. Imagine what might have happened if there was some way for the on-scene EMTs to access the Wisconsin woman’s records and insurance information. They could and would have re-routed the three blocks to accommodate her network or better yet, the GPS would have automatically registered her information and mapped their route accordingly. She also would have avoided bankruptcy at the age of 30. Similarly, if Topol’s mother-in-law, or perhaps daughter, had access to her health records, she or her doctor would have made sure her recent prescription addition was updated in the system. Pre-heparin injection, the docs would have been notified of the lethal mix and avoided the mistake.

The technology to turn these statements into realities exists. From a drastic drop in medical error and certainly avoidable death, to a plummet in costs for both the patient and the hospital, these mistakes can and should be reduced drastically.

As mentioned above, EHRs will be considered standard protocol by the end of this year and that is a huge feat in itself; but that doesn’t mean your health records are your own or that everything from childhood immunizations to current prescriptions exist in the cloud - yet. We have a ways to go before cloud-based, real-time medical data access is the norm but digital health technology is rapidly advancing and aggressively fighting its way into new and existing systems alike to make the healthcare experience better for everyone.

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer, Dev, Enterprise, Provider

Health 2.0 - Let The Countdown Begin

By Nicole Fletcher,

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With HiMSS, the American Telemedicine Association’s Annual Meeting (ATA), and the rest of the Spring conferences under our belt, it’s time to start thinking about Health 2.0 - set to take place in the Bay Area this coming October.

We’re excited to announce that we will once again be a sponsor of the event. Details soon to come but rest assured we have a few hacks up our sleeve.

Last year, PokitDok CEO Lisa Maki spoke about a prototype project we did with Providence Health. They had challenged our team to create a working model including everything from provider search, appointment scheduling, and payments, to real-time eligibility checks and claims status, all in an easy to use interface. Well, we did and Lisa gave a demonstration of it from the Health 2.0 stage last year. Take a look.

 

We look forward to seeing you all in October at Health 2.0.

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev, Enterprise

Why Paying Cash for Healthcare Might Save You Money

By Nicole Fletcher,

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Why would someone pay cash for their healthcare needs when they already have insurance? That’s a question that’s getting asked a lot these days; and the answer is more complex than you might imagine. The most surprising reason is that, in some cases, it’s actually cheaper to pay a provider directly than to pay a portion of the insurance rate. While insurance carriers negotiate discounted fees, these can be vastly higher than rates offered to those who pay directly for some or all of their healthcare costs. Hospital markups, which are unsettlingly inconsistent dramatically affect procedure pricing, according to a recent study. In this post we’ll explore a few plausible reasons as to why this might be, when it makes sense to pay cash for health services, and what patients should be aware of in order to make that decision.

It may seem strange that insurance company pricing would differ from cash prices at all. But indeed, they can be drastically different. One possible explanation has to do with upfront payment, or a doctor receiving payment before providing a service. If doctors go the normal route, i.e. submitting a claim through a patient’s insurance company, they must endure the arduous billing process complete with payment delays, disputes and associated overhead costs. This may result in waiting as long as A YEAR before getting paid or - not getting paid at all. Another explanation for high insurance price tags is that some doctors negotiate the highest possible payment rate for any given service. Through recent decades, doctors have grown accustomed to insurance delays, which can affect business operations, and perhaps surprisingly, results in patients not paying their bills. Some, have accordingly been trained to estimate the expected percentage of insurance coverage, weigh the likelihood of the patient paying and then, bill the full cost back to the insurance company, hoping to get as much of the total as they can. Although inefficient and arguably dishonest, the fractures in the system have left people with no choice but to make the system function not as best it can - but in any way it can.

There is a growing number of high deductible health plan laden patients (15% more each year since 2011) who are quickly realizing that they are responsible for paying for pretty much everything (except for the most basic preventative care) until they meet their ‘high’ deductible - which can be upwards of $13,000 for a family plan. Until then, insurance either doesn’t kick in or doesn’t pick up certain costs patients might otherwise expect them to.

The realization of these deductibles is causing consumers to look more carefully at the prices incurred from testing, doctor visits and procedures - and with good reason. An LA Times story shared reasons why consumers are smart to do this. In their research, they found that one medical center charges $4,423 for an abdominal CT. The insurance negotiated rate was $2,400, while a self-pay patient would only pay $250, almost 90% less than the already discounted rate. Yet if that patient gave the clinic their insurance card up front and hadn’t yet satisfied the deductible, they could end up paying as much as the full $2,400. As a self-pay patient, they’d save more than $2,150 for the same exact service at the same exact location, from the same exact medical professionals.

The self-pay route does, of course, come with its costs. First of all, you’re paying out of pocket - up front - which tends to resist the anti-commerce healthcare model to which we’ve grown accustomed. Also, by bypassing the insurance company, the amount paid will not count against the insurance deductible until it has been submitted directly to the insurance company, by the patient. So, later in the year, if a patient faced more expensive medical care that would benefit from insurance coverage, he or she would need to submit the previous bill in order to have it counted toward his or her deductible. Another option might be to use funds from a Health Savings Account, if that option is available. Using this tax-free fund means a patient could save close to 25%, since the money is automatically deducted from one’s salary without Uncle Sam taxing it first.

It’s important for patients to know a few things before they initiate these payment related conversations. First of all, while some medical professionals are thrilled to avoid insurance involvement, some providers may not offer the discounted cash rate if they know a patient is insured. Doctors and health systems who are contracted with insurance companies are often required to charge their negotiated rate - even for those who want to pay cash. Patients should also be familiar with the manual claims submission process if they want to apply any bill against their deductible. Finally, it’s important to be hyper aware of markups and price transparency. According to a study done by Ge Bai of Washington and Lee University and Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, all U.S. hospitals charged patients (or their insurers) 3.4 times what the government believes these services cost. “In other words, when the hospital incurs $100 of Medicare-allowable costs, the hospital charges $340.” The study notes that the ratio of hospital charges to costs has increased from 1.35 in the mid 1980s to 3.3 in 2011. In sum, it’s wildly important, now more than ever, to be not only an informed patient, but also an aware consumer.

Price transparency and patient education are hot topics in healthcare today. While the digital health space is certainly working toward improving the experience, there’s still a long way to go for patients to be able to make savvy decisions. Our marketplace along with other up-front payment services, specifically in the telehealth space, are great steps in the right direction. The future of medicine calls for a time where, like in the vast majority of other industries, payment expectations are set prior to checkout; and now, for perhaps the first time, that reality is on the horizon.

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer, Enterprise, Provider

Mashable Features Early PokitDok Angel Investor

By Nicole Fletcher,

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Early PokitDok investor Jonathan Sposato announced at the Seattle Angel Conference that he only funds companies with one or more female founders - and CEO Lisa Maki is proud to be one of them.

According to CrunchBase, the percentage of startups with one or more female founders has close to doubled from 9.5% in 2009, to 18% last year. Sposato is a strong advocate of female entrepreneurship and stated in a recent Mashable article: "We need to pivot our brains to think differently about how we define what gets to a successful outcome."

Sposato's early investment in Lisa Maki and PokitDok were featured in the article:

"...one woman [Sposato] has supported from the get-go is Lisa Maki, the CEO and co-founder of PokitDok.... Sposato said that Maki came to him worried about getting her startup off the ground because she didn’t fit the mold of the typical Silicon Valley archetype—she wasn’t in her 20s, and she wasn’t a man.

'She... tried to raise money in various investor pockets and wasn’t getting much traction,' Sposato said, adding that he then committed to be her lead investor. 'PokitDok is doing incredibly well...'

“She’s an example of where you persevere and you’re realistic about the challenges women face today and you’re hopeful, you can get there,” he said.

Maki applauded Sposato’s commitment to raising up women in the startup industry.

'Given his outstanding track record, he recognizes diversity in entrepreneurship is a good thing, not only because its the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do as the returns show,' Maki said in a statement. 'Jonathan gets that women can bring inherent advantages - from thinking through an issue differently to recruiting top female talent.'"

Read the full article on Mashable.

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev, Enterprise

The Future of Healthcare - The API Model

By Nicole Fletcher,

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America spends more on healthcare than any other nation in the world. Numerically, that amounts to nearly $3.8 trillion - or close to 20% of the United States’ GDP (Gross Domestic Product). That number breaks down to more than $10k per person on average - per year - for every single person in the country.

The Harvard Consulting Group recently completed a study where their goal was to quantify and identify the abundant financial waste that exists in American healthcare today; and show the cost impact of an alternative, technological model - a model that could revolutionize healthcare spending as we know it.

Their research produced a whitepaper, which begins with a high-level glance at the existing healthcare landscape and moves from there, to an overview of the proposed solution: the API model. The paper then dives into a market analysis of the former versus the proposed, complete with tangible numericals demonstrating opportunities for cost savings.

Through this research, they discovered:

  • Technology is 89% less expensive than the antiquated process that is usually highly dependent on phone calls, paperwork and manual intervention.
  • By implementing an API model, the healthcare system has the potential to save more than $300 billion with respect to eligibility, referrals, claims and scheduling.
  • Close to $400 billion is spent on administrative services along with services deemed later to be ‘unnecessary’.

For more information and to download the complete whitepaper, click HERE.

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev, Enterprise, Provider

5 Telehealth StartUps You Should Know About

By Nicole Fletcher,

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In our last Telehealth Series (Part 1 & Part 2), we talked about the future of telemedicine and how, in the aforementioned future, we may drop the ‘tele’ entirely, thereby alluding that this now #trending technology will soon be an integral part of American healthcare. Exciting stuff, right? In the spirit of excitement we thought we’d take a minute to highlight what a few telemed startups are doing to embrace this technology and do some tele-good for those you might expect...and those you might not.

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Pacify: As most parents would attest, there are few things worse than a sick baby - in the middle of the night - during the dead of winter - with 3 other children under the age of 10 sleeping - or <insert personal life details here>. The point is, that problem has now taken a step toward resolution. Enter Pacify, a telehealth application with nurses, lactation consultants and dietitians on call 24/7. In the past, parents may have - even in a situation that is probably not an emergency - woken up the family, bundled them up, headed to the ER, waited for a few hours among a cesspool of other under-the-weather people, consulted with a doctor, and then headed home. Now, with the Pacify interface, you can connect directly with a specialist who can advise you of the right next step - and save you a middle of the night haul to the ER, a bunch of time, and your sanity.

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iCPooch: Telehealth is not just for humans anymore. This, ‘Internet Pet Treat Dispenser’, is a brand new way to monitor pets while owners are away. Complete with an internal computer and display screen, iCPooch connects to WiFi and allows you to remotely monitor and dispense treats to your pet. Whether you’re at work, a deployed member of the military, a college student, or just a busy pet owner, iCPooch has harnessed the power of telemedicine to enable a connection never before known to pet owners. If that weren’t enough, their founder had the idea for this product at the age of 12! Founder Brooke Martin’s golden retriever Kayla suffered from separation anxiety from early pup-hood. She “saw this as a fantastic opportunity to combine [her] passion for entrepreneurship with [her] love of dogs to help make the world a better place – one canine-loving family at a time.”

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Maven: At different stages of life, women need support from various doctors and healthcare professionals. Navigating the system can be confusing, time consuming and expensive. As a telemed app, Maven eliminates the time intensive process of booking, scheduling, and getting to appointments. You can book based on your needs. Maven believes in patient- centric care, allowing you to easily access your records, and booking a repeat provider if you wish. Founder Katherine Ryder and her team created the type of healthcare they wish existed - and it seems to be a pretty killer example of the power of telemedicine.

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iCLovedOnes: If you liked the above (iCPooch), you’ll very much appreciate the ingenious telemedicine application. The same company has found an efficient and effective way to apply their technology to solve another problem: remote elderly care. Patients who live at home alone, especially ones who suffer from early stages of diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia, may have a hard time remembering to take or forgetting they already did take their medication. iCLoved ones solves this problem by allowing friends, family and doctors to check in remotely throughout the day. Also, with the dispensing functionality, whomever is in charge can ensure the elderly person always takes the correct dosage of their meds.

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Doxy.me: While this solution is of a different breed than the aforementioned patient facing platforms, Doxy.me is worth including. A free, secure, and HIPAA compliant telehealth product, Doxy.me offers the security required of a telemedicine solution without the cost and installation that comes with big name brands. In a matter of minutes, a practice can easily and quickly get up and running with its own tele-solution. With a white label licensing option for larger institutions (that allows for visual and brand customization) and a free product for clinicians, this telehealth solution allows patients and docs to meet conveniently, inexpensively and efficiently. Take a look at their video and here’s to telehealth being, as their motto says, simple, free and secure.

From more established telehealth solutions like Doctor on Demand and secure video API solutions like ReelDx, to any of the targeted tele-applications above, we are so glad to be among such innovative company, improving the telehealth field, for the tele-good of everyone, one API call at a time.

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer, Dev, Enterprise

"Finding PokitDok Helped Me Find Myself"

By Natalie Cann,

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As you may have heard, Lisa Maki was inspired to found PokitDok after spending a frustrating six months navigating the road to treatment for a karate-related spinal injury. Her patient experience was met with poor communication and a very inefficient process and she knew there had to be a better way. Four years later, the result is PokitDok’s breakthrough API platform, which improves efficiency and connections across healthcare's fragmented data silos, streamlining the complex business of health and ultimately, bringing a better, more interconnected experience to patients.

Recently, one such patient, Robin, an office manager for a industrial materials distributor in the San Francisco Bay Area, shared a very personal story with us in which we were proud to play a helpful part. Robin’s husband was tragically paralyzed after falling from a second-story burning window while working as a San Francisco firefighter three years ago, and then passed away last year as a result of that injury. Robin shared her emotional story with our customer success team, and relayed how PokitDok helped her find the support she needed to move forward through her loss.

Robin’s Story:

"...It has been very difficult to cope. My husband and I never had children, losing him was losing everything.

I fell into a deep depression and I needed help. I searched for Psychologists and Family Therapists in the Bay Area for months, then I found a PokitDok url for *Dr. Samson. He is located a few miles from my office and his hourly rate was within my budget- I saved over $50 per session.

Finding PokitDok helped me find myself.

The PokitDok staff was amazing and is a valuable resource for patients like myself. Nichole, the Provider Account Manager at PokitDok took care of my request within minutes. She was very personable and made me feel comfortable, I highly recommend PokitDok, it is an incredible company with a loving and very talented staff - I have researched many providers and companies, I found the best of both."

At PokitDok, our ultimate goal is to make the healthcare experience better for everyone, through our platform and relationships with healthcare businesses such as Doctor On Demand and Evidation Health. Our breakthrough technology connects the fragmented data and systems in health - allowing data to flow and unlock cost savings.  That data has the power to prevent accidents and even save lives, by providing interconnectivity and interoperability.

It is customers like Robin that push us to work harder and innovate every day, and we thank her for sharing her story and appreciate the ability to impact and change people’s lives, one customer at a time.

Read more about Robin's cost saving experience on Main Street.

*name has been changed for privacy

 

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Consumer, Enterprise

Event Recap: Dig South, ATA, and Collision Conference

By John Riney,

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Finally got a bit of time to catch my breath and recap the last couple events. PokitDok's spring conference season has been a bit of a killer.

First off was Dig South 2015 right here in Charleston, SC. I'm an engineer and a life-long Charlestonian, so any effort to elevate the tech scene here in the Holy City is good news to me. Now, admittedly, Dig South isn't mainly tech focused - my take was that it was very heavily focused on marketing, design, and startup funding, but I think it's a good idea to make an appearance at the major events in town.

PD Data Scientist Dr. Denise Gosnell participated in a panel entitled "Healthy Choices: New Options in Consumer-Centric Healthcare Platforms and Apps". She described her vision for the future of digital healthcare, as well as ways that data science techniques will lead to new insights and user experiences.

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Then it was off to Los Angeles for the American Telemedicine Association's 2015 conference. At first glance, we seemed to be an odd fit, among the booths selling video carts, diagnostic equipment, and various telemed apps. We actually make a lot of sense in telemedicine, though - from doing eligibility checks to filing claims at the end of the visit (in the increasing number of states that offer reimbursement for telemedicine visits), companies like Doctor On Demand and HealthiestYou demonstrate that we have a lot to offer in the telemed space. Not to mention, we have a very cool booth:

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Note for future conferences: if you get the cheaper lead tracking device (basically a scanner for noting who stops by your booth by scanning their badge), what you get is a rather silly looking device, tethered to five feet of curly cable, that emits a long scroll on thermal receipt paper. At least our booth was popular!

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While we were hard at work in the City of Angels, the rest of the team was peddling all things PokitDok in the City of Sin. Adam Grant, our SVP of Customer Success and Natalie Cann, our VP of Marketing, made a splash with investors and prospects in the START section of the Collision Conference in Las Vegas. Eight thousand entrepreneurs, tech luminaries and investors convened for what was pegged as "A Grand Conclave of Tech's High Priests" by the New York times. Our fearless leader and CEO, Lisa Maki and SVP of Business Development, David George stood by for important meetings and 'collisions' with the A crowd.

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All told, it was a pretty exhausting few weeks for the team, but well worth it!

The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.
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  Tags: Dev, Enterprise, Provider