Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) are all the rage, we see it discussed by hospitals, physicians, IT companies, health plans, academia, community non-profits, government, and the list goes on and on. It’s amazing how rapidly addressing SDoH has sprung up as “the solution”, and it may in fact be. But before we get too excited we need to consider that approaches to solve SDoH need to be operationalized and who does what, how the approaches are overseen, and accountability will make or break the outcomes.
The current behavior of the majority of sectors reminds me of a kid’s soccer game. If you’ve ever watched one you’ve no doubt seen a mass of children tightly arranged around the ball, each one trying to kick it, while 98% of the field is wide open.
Effective teams spread out, each one playing their role, in their assigned space while being held accountable.
At the recent HiMSS 2016 conference in Las Vegas I had the pleasure of interviewing Brenda Schmidt of Solera Health, an Integrated Health Network. Solera connects a nationwide network of community organizations and digital solutions for chronic disease prevention programs (including the CDC National Diabetes Prevention Program) with technology that manages service referrals, reimbursement and payment, aggregates data and reporting simplifying enrollment and supporting increased consumer engagement and choice.
For the past few months, I’ve wanted to get back into shape and lose some weight; concurrently I’ve also been interested in playing with some of the newer biometric devices. Having previous experience with an early FitBit device and a number of health and exercise tracking apps like mapmyrun and Noom; I decided to start this adventure by purchasing a FitBit Flex as the first one to test and see what impact it would have on me.
The Fitbit Flex was easy to set up, track on the website and set up on the iPhone. As a competitive person, I instantly decided that I had to beat whatever I had done the day before and as is sometimes the case when one gets older; during the second week, got a bit of pain in my hip and hamstring from over-exercise. At that point I also read an article discussing exercise at various ages and decided to save my joints for playing soccer and moved off the treadmill and onto the elliptical. This appeared to help.
Its pretty clear that a 10,000 step daily goal is fairly achievable but Continue reading →
Well the slogan “Cheat Death” developed by the marketing firm Immortology for the CaroMont Health/Gastonia health-care system hospital that I commented on this past weekend didn’t last long, just shy of one week. The community and media had a quite a lot to say about it, resulting in the hospital announcing they were pulling the tagline and that “Immortology will work with CaroMont to choose another tag line that is clear, motivational and works for the community. No timetable has been set for that to happen.”
And there is apparently more to this story. Turns out the firm Immortology was co-founded by the son of one of the members of the CaroMont Health Board of Trustees and the daughter of the Board Chairman began working at Immortology this past week.
CaroMont spokeswoman Dallas Paddon stated:
“… our professional relationship with Immortology posed no conflict of interest,” she said in an email. “They and other firms were interviewed prior to making a hiring decision. We chose to work with this company based solely on their proven track record in successfully transforming and reviving companies’ brands.”
While it is only the appearance of a potential conflict, I think executives at the hospital might have had a little voice in the back of their heads telling them that this might look good to their overseers.
First let me apologize for the error in the blog post I wrote below as pointed out by an individual, CaroMont is not owned by Carolinas Healthcare System and so I have revised the blog. I apology again for the error.
I couldn’t help but comment on this news story from the Shelby Star in Cleveland County, North Carolina. The hospital announced a new name and slogan for one of their hospitals. The name, CaroMont Regional Medical Center, not bad, although the community is slightly upset, but the slogan “Cheat Death”???
Why you might ask? Well the slogan change was for the right reason; the hospital wants to improve the health of the region, which is very poor; but give me a break, “Cheat Death” as your slogan! Lets discuss a few reasons why this is a just an unbelievably poor choice of a name for a good idea.
First of all its a just a bummer, using the word “death”, while powerful is a negative word. It also has not been shown to be a motivator in adherence studies of people who know if they don’t take their medications they are going to die. They don’t follow through just like the rest of us. But more importantly “Cheat”? Yes people cheat on tests, cheat on their taxes, cheat at cards, and on and on; but cheating means you are doing something wrong, you’re taking shortcuts!
According to the article, CEO Randall Kelley in response to some concern over the name said “people can realize that the tagline represents exactly what patients want doctors to help them do – live longer”
Creating a healthier community, improving ones behaviors and thereby delaying death is not cheating! It’s doing the right thing, it’s not a shortcut to get around doing the right thing, it is in fact putting in the time to exercise, to study more so you understand your health condition, to take your meds on time and fill prescriptions; to visit your doctor when needed; it’s the exact opposite of cheating. There are no shortcuts to a longer healthier life and you sure can’t “cheat” your way to it, nor do you cheat it, for in the end, death is an absolute, it’s still there.
I know the hospital is placing a major emphasis on healthier communities and employer wellness which is a great concept for a hospital system, but in the area of behavior change, population health management and wellness, there is more learning to do, which may come with a few hard knocks as I don’t think they’ll be able to cheat their way to it.