Archive for: April 2013

When Doctors Compete, Everyone Wins

Apr 30, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Touré McCluskey

Touré McCluskey is the founder of OkCopay, a search engine for medical procedures whose mission is to provide consumers with objective information so they can make better choices about their health care. He is also a PopTech Social Innovation Fellow, a program that Pioneer co-sponsored. Touré’s opinions are not necessarily those of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

When you want to buy something at the store, you check the price tag. Why can’t it be this easy to figure out the cost of medical care?

It should be.

Consider, for a moment, the story of Tracy, an uninsured waitress trying to find out how much a dental procedure would cost before making an appointment. Calling providers didn’t help her, because they themselves didn’t know the prices; dealing with multiple insurance companies often makes it difficult for providers to know how much a procedure will actually cost a patient. As a result, Tracy was left with a surprisingly high bill she did not expect—and could not afford.

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Health Foo 2013: Best Canceled Event, Ever

Apr 24, 2013, 11:52 AM, Posted by Ted Eytan

Regina Holliday's painting from Health Foo 2013 "The Open Door," a painting by Regina Holliday inspired by Health Foo 2013

A version of this post originally appeared on Ted’s personal blog.

At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, I received word that Health Foo, an annual unconference about health set in Cambridge, MA, was canceled because Boston and its surrounding areas were on lockdown as the search for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects continued. Like me, many other attendees were already en route, and we quickly decided that we’d find a way to make Health Foo happen for anyone who was in town and was interested.

There was no mistaking the gravity of the situation on Friday. The decision to cancel was a good one. What happened next, though, was pretty amazing.

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TEDMED 2013 Moments

Apr 23, 2013, 4:37 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team


"TEDMED is the Burning Man for health aficionados," said Robin Hogen, RWJF's vice president for communications, one of several RWJF team members who attended the event in Washington, D.C., last week. The event brings together "public health advocates, clinicians, biomedical researchers, break-the-mold thinkers, prodigies, grateful patients and artists," Hogen said. TEDMED offers a unique opportunity to interact with a brilliant array of people who have one thing in common: finding new approaches to improving health and health care -- an objective that's near and dear to Pioneer's mission. It's not surprising, then, that a number of Pioneer grantees spoke at this year's event.

Here are a few moments from TEDMED 2013 that stood out for RWJF staff:

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Need Innovative Health Solutions? Ask a Kid

Apr 22, 2013, 8:30 AM, Posted by Steve Downs

Stephen J. Downs

Sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected sources – beyond technology, beyond research, beyond clinical trials. Sometimes, the future of health and health care lies somewhere else: in the people who will bring it about.

And sometimes, those people are children.

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Introducing a New Way to Measure Health Care Quality

Apr 18, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

A Pioneering Way to Measure Health Care Quality

In this video, Helen Darling of The National Business Group on Health explains how employers will benefit from the Global Cardiovascular Risk (GCVR) score, a new quality improvement tool aimed at reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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