Stanford’s new principles on ethical use of digital health technology and CVS’ HealthHUB: Healthcare Hot Takes

Healthcare Hot Takes is Luma Health’s monthly rundown of healthcare innovations happening right now. Check out what the industry is thinking, reading, doing.  This month’s hot topics are digital health technology and the CVS’ HealthHUB.

Story #1: Stanford University is Leading the Charge on Creating Guiding Principles to Ensure the Ethical Use of Digital Health Technology

Due to an emergence of consumer health tech from companies like Apple and Fitbit as well as niche players like 23andMe there has been an increased importance placed on privacy and ethics tied to digital health technology. Stanford University, in conjunction with industry leaders, took up the challenge to create these guidelines.

At a recent seminar of digital health stakeholders and others from the healthcare industry, ten initial guiding principles were drafted around patient privacy and proper data usage. They have been listed below, but you can read more about them here. The hope is that these initial principles serve as a springboard for further discussion and conversation around ethics in digital health.

Luma’s Hot Take: As a digital health company ourselves, Luma Health is committed to these ethical guidelines and is constantly looking to improve and develop our products with the patients’ best interests and outcomes in mind.  We hope that a stronger push toward the ethical use of digital health technology will lead to smarter and more effective innovations.

Health-related Google searches nearly triple in the week before a patient goes to the emergency room. These predictions can be used to help hospitals better anticipate patient demand.

Story #2: A New Study Shows that Google Results Can Be Used to Predict When Patients are Likely to Go to the ER.

According to a recent Penn Medicine study, health-related Google searches nearly triple in the week before a patient goes to the emergency room. These early findings are paving the way for analysis of search data to predict when and which patients are more likely to get sick, thereby allowing providers and hospitals to better anticipate patient demand.

The Penn Medicine study analyzed over 100 consenting patients’ Google search histories and medical records. It is the first of its kind to link private search history data to the EHR at an individual level.  Some have raised concerns about the private nature of these search results, emphasizing that patients must truly understand what they are consenting to when participating in studies like this. It is often difficult for consumers to trust that their information (in particular, their sensitive health information nonetheless) will be secure and not made available to third parties, such as advertisers. With the right privacy and use protections in place, there is great potential for the sharing of this data to improve healthcare.

Luma’s Hot Take: Using consumer data to better predict patients’ health needs is the next frontier of healthcare . If done in a secure manner, it can have a tremendous impact on improving efficiencies and lowering costs, particularly in hospitals.

Story #3: CVS Launches Its New HealthHUB Stores, Complete with Yoga Rooms, Wellness Programs, Dietitians, and More.

As part of the company’s new look under the $70B merger with Aetna, CVS has opened three new “HealthHUB” stores in the Houston area. These health-focused concept shops are not your ordinary local CVS pharmacies. Instead, they aim to be more of a complete healthcare provider, outfitted with an expanded health clinic, a lab for testing and screening, wellness rooms for yoga and health classes, and even access to dietitians, respiratory therapists, and more.

The HealthHUBs plan to have “care concierges” to help customers navigate the new health services and also to act as a liaison between the clinic, pharmacy, and other aspects of the store. A great example of this would be a person being diagnosed as pre-diabetic in the walk-in clinic, going to pick up medication for their elevated blood sugar at the pharmacy, and then meeting with the in-house nutritionist about their diet and exercise.

The new health services at the HealthHUB will be available to all customers, but Aetna members will have the opportunity to receive a special consultation anytime they come in to pick up a prescription. Early feedback has been positive. Over 95% of people walking into the HealthHUB have wanted to start a conversation with the care concierge.

Luma’s Hot Take: At Luma Health, we’ve always talked about being a one-stop shop for all your clinic’s communication needs to your patients. CVS is hoping to accomplish this on a bigger scale by incorporating all the basic healthcare needs for a consumer in one place. Time will tell if they are able to truly transform how healthcare is delivered in this country, but one thing is for sure–they will be name to watch in the coming years.

Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about how to leverage reimbursable HIPAA-compliant virtual visits to deliver care and minimize appointment backlogs and cancellations.

Story #4: Kaiser Permanente Plans to Waive Tuition for its First Five Graduating Classes at its Newly Opened Medical School.

Five years ago, California-based Kaiser Permanente announced that it would be opening its very own medical school that would be unattached to a university. Last month, they announced that they would be waving tuition for their first five graduating classes in the hopes of pushing students towards family medicine and other lower-paying yet in-demand specialities that have become unpopular to debt-riddled medical students.

“Even middle-class families are finding medical school hard to pay for. We’re going to see how this plays out and learn from it,” said Mark Schuster, the founding dean and chief executive of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

NYU made a similar announcement last year, and has already seen a 47% increase in applications. Unlike NYU, which is raising $600 million from donors to pay for this, Kaiser plans to fund the tuition through its community benefits which nonprofits must maintain to keep their tax-exempt status. The school itself will implement an entirely new curriculum with a focus on Kaiser’s integrated model of care, and classes will be significantly smaller than normal medical school size. This model has garnered mixed reviews with some experts criticizing that students will be forced into specialties that they may not have a passion for.

Kaiser will open the school in Pasadena in 2020 and will start accepting applications for its inaugural class this June.

Luma’s Hot Take: It will be interesting to see if NYU and now Kaiser can truly incentivize and promote primary care and other specialties to prospective clinicians. Another interesting thing to monitor will be where medical school graduates are looking to work as more and more care is being pushed out of hospital settings and into nontraditional settings like CVS and Walgreens.

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