Health With a Capital H

High Five for Health: April 2012

April 26, 2012

By Matt Grzeskiewicz, Interactive Communications Associate I

High Five for Health: April 2012

April is a month of new beginnings. This month, we’re starting a monthly column that features “must-read” developments at the intersection of public health and innovation.

As is often said, “April showers bring May flowers.” Well bad weather aside, this April brought a storm of new developments for us to ponder at the water cooler and beyond. For your reading pleasure, we selected five of these to highlight…

In This Month’s Mix-up

We highlight the global health community’s success in India, a doctor on a mission to save health care in L.A., and how social media continues to shake up the health care market.

  1. India’s Massive Public Health Achievement
    In 1988, polio was paralyzing 1,000 children around the world every day, with half of these cases in India. Earlier this year, the global health community overcame this massive public health challenge as India recorded its first full year without a new case of polio being reported. How did they reach this achievement? By engaging influencers, segmenting and targeting the audience, and monitoring and tracking data. Using this model, India hopes to be deemed polio free once it reaches 3 full years without a new case of the disease. 
    >>> Read on: What can we learn from this success?
  2. How One Doctor Supports 2 Million Patients 
    Los Angeles is the Nation’s second largest city and has some 2 million uninsured residents within its jurisdiction. Enter Mitch Katz, the director of health services of Los Angeles County. Dr. Katz is changing the face of care offered to the low-income and uninsured residents of his county by offering two oft-forgotten parts of health care: planning and caring. 
    >>> Read on: How can Dr. Katz's innovations help? Report on Health Care Challenges for Racial and Ethnic Minorities from AHRQ
  3. The ROI of Prevention Prevails 
    In a recent “Report Card” released by the Colorado Health Foundation gauging the state’s progress in health, the “Centennial State” received startling grades. These include increases in obesity rates and decreases in the quality of dental and prenatal care.  Although this troubles many Coloradans, public health minds in the state are bringing to light the “Power of Prevention." In Colorado, it is estimated that an annual investment of $10 per Coloradan in community-based prevention initiatives could save more than $232 million annually in health care costs after 5 years—a $5.05 return on the dollar invested—showing prevention is more than a talking point. 
    >>> Read on: Colorado is just a small piece of the puzzle. How the Nation looks to harness the power of prevention: The National Prevention Strategy [PDF]
  4. “That Costs Whatttt?!” 
    Does that medical procedure cost the same as a household appliance—or the same as a house? In alarming findings from research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, hospital charges for a routine appendectomy in California were found to have ranged from $1,500 to $182,955. Even more disturbing, it isn’t unique to just appendectomies. 
    >>> Read on: “Does price transparency legislation allow the uninsured to shop for care?”—a study from University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine
  5. Report: One in Two U.S. Adults Now Use Social Media in Health 
    In February, a Pew Research Center project found that 80 percent of Internet users searched for health information online. In that same vein, several studies were released this month showing the link between health information and social media. One such survey found that almost one-third of Americans use social media to find health information. Another study found even higher numbers, claiming that 45 percent of health consumers in the United States use social media, among other eye-opening statistics. 
    >>> Read on: Do you know how your customers look for health information online?  Health information reports from Pew Research Center

Can we tell you how hard it was to only spotlight these five items? Share what came across your radar this month, and we’ll share a virtual high five!