Tuesday, February 2, 2016

10 Behaviors of an Engaged Healthcare Consumer


In the health and wellness arena, everyone talks about engaging consumers, but are we clear about what we're asking people to do? As far as I am aware, no one had defined the specific behaviors an engaged healthcare consumer demonstrates, so I crowd sourced a definition. This has been months in the making. Many thanks to everyone who contributed. Now, drum roll please... 


10 Behaviors of an Engaged Healthcare Consumer

An engaged healthcare consumer...

  1. Has a primary care physician who is a partner in managing his or her health—with scheduled visits as recommended, whether for regular follow-ups for existing conditions or according to the age-related recommendations for prevention by sources such as NIH
  2. Asks the 5 questions recommended in the Choosing Wisely campaign before getting any test, treatment, or procedure and carefully considers all options before deciding among them:
    ► Do I really need this test or procedure?
    ► What are the risks?
    ► Are there simpler, safer options? 
    ► What happens if I don't do anything? 
    ► How much does it cost?
  1. Reviews hospital safety data—from sources such as Hospital Compare - Leapfrog, Hospital Quality Ratings - CareChex, and Surgeon Scorecard—before deciding where to seek care.
  2. Actively monitors and tracks personal health indicators like weight, as well as any indicators related to existing conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  3. Maintains a list of medications taken and shows it to medical providers when seeking care, and keeps the list up to date in electronic medical records. 
  4. Makes day-to-day decisions that support good health and takes any medications as prescribed and instructed.
  5. Develops a personal/family budget to manage healthcare expenses.
  6. Uses available tools to make cost-conscious decisions.
  7. Has an income-protection plan (e.g., short-term and long-term disability coverage) to rely on in case of an injury or illness that makes working impossible or limited. 
  8. Has an advanced healthcare directive that has been discussed with family members.

Monday, January 25, 2016

How to Clean Your Dryer Vent

Snowzilla 2016
Snowed in? Use the time at home to clean your dryer vent. When we got a new washer and dryer, I was shocked at how much lint was in the vent tubing. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 15,000 fires are sparked every year by clothes dryers. 

First, make sure your vent to the outside is clear and not blocked by snow. Then, follow this step-by-step guide for cleaning out your dryer vent.

And, just in case, don't forget to clear the snow from around the fire hydrant in your neighborhood. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Tax Favored Status of Employee Benefits (Enjoy it while you can.)

Image from cagle.com
The real impact of the Cadillac Tax is that it begins to chip away at the tax favored status of employee benefits Most of the news coverage I've read seems to have missed this point; and I'm a bit bewildered that this isn't the focus. I know it's been delayed until 2020, but it's still worth pausing now to consider the impact. First, a bit of background...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

ASHA Staff Meet Best-Selling Author John Elder Robison

Photograph compliments of Ben Sledge.
ASHA's diversity team planned a wonderful opportunity for ASHA staff today. They arranged for John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye, Be Different and Raising Cubby, to come in and talk with us about his experience growing up with an autism spectrum disorder. 

Mr. Robison stressed the importance of identifying children on the autism spectrum early and getting them services -- services that are most often provided by speech-language pathologists. He's a wonderful story teller and the time flew by as he talked while a slide show of his photographs played in the background.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Seeking Recognition as a Great Place to Work

Arlene Pietranton, Lisa Cole and I with Ron Friedman
at Washingtonian's Great Place to Work Event 10/22/15
Building your brand as an employer of choice goes a long way toward attracting talent. Seeking external recognition through an award program is an effective strategy for building your brand. Awards serve as external validation to potential candidates and some come with loads of free publicity. We don't count the resumes we receive, but companies that do report a 30% spike in the number of applicants they receive after being named to one of Fortune Magazine's lists. 

Once we attract these talented individuals, they stay. Our average tenure is 9.3 years at ASHA and our turnover runs half of the average in the DC metro area. Being deemed a great place to work enhances the pride we all feel in working at ASHA and that carries over to some degree to how our members feel about their professional organization. It enhances our sense of community.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Specialty Drug Management

Last week, I attended an excellent MidAtlantic Business Group on Health Meeting on Specialty Drugs. I suspect most benefit plan managers have been really paying attention to drug costs since the release of the new Hepatitis C medication that cost $84,000 per treatment. That led to fretting over the cost of the new PCSK9 treatment for high cholesterol -- $14,000 a year (compared to $600 for generic statins.) Then, we hear about a former hedge fund manager with more brains than ethics who bought up rights to an old drug and raised the price from $13.50 a tablet to $750 a tablet overnight. (If you missed that story, see the links below.) No surprise, that this was the best attended MidAtlantic Business Group on Health meeting I've seen.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sitting Won't Get the Better of Us! -- Standing Desk Update

Our colleagues, Mike Schmidt and Kevin Brooks are busy installing our new standing desks. We purchased the Ergotron standing desk. (We got better pricing purchasing in bulk.) The Ergotron works well with our current furniture and it's easy to raise and lower. The feedback from staff members that have been set up so far is very positive. 


Once the installation is complete, we'll have Zack, our ergonomics expert, come in and help people make adjustments. We've created a waiting list for people that want one now that they've seen them. We eventually hope to accommodate everyone that wants a standing desk. I know can't wait to get mine. 

Do you want to make the case for standing desks in your workplace? If so, check out the collection of articles we've put together. We used many of them when we pitched the idea here.