Archive for: May 2013

Listen Up: Why Innovators Need to Listen to Consumers

May 23, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner Beth Toner, communications officer

I recently spent the day at the MIT AgeLab, and it was an important reminder of why successful innovators in any field need to listen to the consumer.

I was there to participate in a roundtable discussion on engaging the “older” consumer online (much to my chagrin, I realized that I am in fact part of this demographic). Folks from a variety of for-profit organizations were at the table, along with MIT AgeLab staff conducting and supporting research in this area. I was the only person there from a philanthropic organization.

The presenter line-up was eclectic. To my delight, Sally Okun from Pioneer grantee PatientsLikeMe was there to share her perspective on how PatientsLikeMe helps patients make complex decisions about their health. Courtney Ratkowiak from Proctor & Gamble highlighted that company’s innovative efforts to reach women ages 55 and older who buy beauty products. (I was surprised to learn that most women 55+ don’t own a smart phone.) Mark Duffey, CEO of Everest Funeral Planning, showed how his company makes difficult decision-making easier by going out of his way to make prices clear. (Apparently, the three things women dread purchasing the most are financial services, cars and health care.)

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Influencing Cultural Norms Through Social Networks Could Improve Mental Health

May 21, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Lori Melichar

A program focused on changing the opinions of popular students could change the way others think about “norms” around bullying—which, in turn, could potentially lead to a change in students’ behavior.

Princeton professor Betsy Paluck provided this example during a recent presentation about her pioneering work using social network insights to affect culture and norms. Ever since, the concepts she explored have been influencing my thoughts about how to solve perplexing health and health care problems.

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Bringing OpenNotes to Geisinger

May 20, 2013, 12:59 PM, Posted by Steve Downs

Doctor listening to man's breathing

In a post this week on the Kevin MD blog, Jon Darer, chief innovation officer for the Division of Clinical Innovation at Geisinger Health System, discussed Geisinger's decision to roll out OpenNotes to most of its physicians and patients.

Geisinger's approach highlights the choices that will be facing many health systems: The results of the OpenNotes study, published last fall, provide compelling evidence to go forward in general, but there is a need to be careful and thoughtful about how to do so. Different specialties and different patient populations have special circumstances that need careful consideration. And each institution has its own culture to be navigated. As more early adopters like Geisinger move forward, we'll learn more about how best to implement this practice and through that learning, make it more widely available. — Steve Downs

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When Moneyball Meets Medicaid

May 16, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Steve Downs

Nirav Shah Dr. Nirav Shah, New York Commissioner of Health

New York State Commissioner of Health Nirav Shah is the Billy Beane of health care.

Let me explain. 

Billy Beane—the general manager and minority owner of the Oakland Athletics—and made famous in the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, was made even more famous when Brad Pitt portrayed him in the movie adaptation. (Generally speaking, having Brad Pitt portray you is a good way to get famous.)

For those who aren’t familiar, Moneyball is about how, under Beane’s unconventional leadership, “the Oakland Athletics achieved an amazing winning streak while having the smallest player payroll in Major League Baseball. (Short answer: creative use of data.)” (Thank you, New York Times.)

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Introducing What’s Next Health: Conversations with Pioneers

May 15, 2013, 2:15 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

One of the best things about our jobs at Pioneer is that we get to have conversations with interesting people doing interesting things. As we network with these visionary thinkers, we want to share some of the great stuff we’re learning and hearing with you—to bring value to the work you’re doing. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce What's Next Health: Conversations with Pioneers, a new series here at RWJF that explores the future of health and health care, asks the big questions, and looks to the cutting-edge for solutions.

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