Health Care Providers Can Use Design Thinking to Improve Patient Experiences

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A hospital administrator recently talked to us about an issue that is all too common for patients: missed medical appointments. The story was about a woman named Mary (a pseudonym), a patient with a painful chronic condition who continually failed to keep her regular appointments. In an effort to better understand the problem at hand, the administrator tried to put herself in Mary’s shoes, and asked about her experience: Was there an issue with transportation? Did she need other appointment reminders aside from the paper letter mailed to her home and the standard phone call?

Slowly, Mary began to reveal the reasons why she never made it to her appointments. Her journey to the hospital was quite daunting. For starters, her painful physical condition required her to arrange door-to-door assistance and special transportation. Everyone involved had to be on the same page for her to make it to her appointment on

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Fixing the Recruiting and Retention Problems in Britain’s NHS

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Although Britain’s National Health System (NHS) has provided effective universal coverage for almost 70 years, it is facing a major health workforce crisis that jeopardizes its future. The NHS currently offers healthcare that is free at point of delivery to UK and European Union (EU) citizens, but proof of citizenship is often not even required. Funded largely with revenue from general taxation and National Insurance contributions, only 1.2% of NHS revenue comes from direct patient charges.

Despite its success as the world’s first single-payer health system, the NHS today is struggling. (Hereafter, when we use the term “NHS,” we refer to NHS England, specifically – not the health systems in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.) The wait times for NHS procedures are at an all-time high. Patients are now expected to wait 18 weeks just for a specialist referral, regularly wait up to 15 months for a

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4 policy changes Heartland entrepreneurs really want


It feels as though 2017 is likely to go down in history as the year that lasted about a decade in our collective minds. With a new presidential administration, there’s been a groundswell of interest and engagement around policies that impact the country, and more directly, the entrepreneurs looking to build businesses within it.

But even with engagement at an all-time high, headlines are seemingly focused on just a few areas:

  • We’ve seen heavy-handed immigration policies struck down in court, twice.
  • We’ve seen the last of a healthcare debate that raged through two houses of Congress, went through half a dozen Congressional Budget Office scores and a multitude of variations, only to get knocked down in the dead of night.
  • We’ve heard a lot about trade, and by extension bringing back jobs like manufacturing and coal mining.
  • We’ve heard even more about building walls.

There have been good fights Continue reading "4 policy changes Heartland entrepreneurs really want"

a16z Video: When Machine Learning Becomes AI

watch time: 4 minutes Even among experts, the terms “machine learning” and “AI” can mean very different things. But what is machine learning, really? And when does machine learning truly become artificial intelligence? a16z General Partner Vijay Pande breaks it …

Putting People First on Healthcare

There is lots wrong with the healthcare and health insurance system in the US. One can also have a rational debate of the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act and how we might proceed from here. What should not happen, however, is pushing through poorly thought through measures just for the sake of making a change. Even more so, when there has been ample of time to come up with a something well designed. So I was glad to see that three GOP senators voted against the latest half baked attempt at undoing the ACA. Particularly commendable was the opposition by Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins who bore the brunt of the pressure from their party and from the President. John McCain also finally found the courage to cast a “No” vote. It will be interesting to see what happens next. It would be great if the Continue reading "Putting People First on Healthcare"

Is the U.S. Ready for a Single-Payer Health Care System?

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Ironically, as congressional Republicans have been trying to replace the Affordable Care Act, the ACA’s popularity is at an all-time high, and the majority of Americans now believe that it is the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care for all Americans. This shift in sentiment suggests that a single-payer system — a “Medicare for all” — may soon be a politically viable solution to America’s health care woes. This system has long been an aspiration of the far left, yet even the right now seems to acknowledge its growing likelihood. Following his decision not to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate Republican leadership’s latest attempt to replace the ACA, Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, warned in a statement: “[I]f we leave the federal government in control of everyday health care decisions, it is more likely that our health care system will devolve into a single-payer system, which
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How NASA Uses Telemedicine to Care for Astronauts in Space

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Since the Expedition One launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001 — the first long-duration stay on the orbital construction site — NASA’s Human Health and Performance team has been developing expertise in the planning and provision of medical support to crews staying in our world’s most remote environment. Four times each year, we launch a new team of astronauts and cosmonauts to the ISS, where they will stay for six months to one year, performing engineering tasks, research, maintenance, and upgrades to prepare for future commercial vehicles. During this amount of time, access to medical care is crucial, as altered routines and microgravity have deconditioning effects on crew members’ bone and muscle, fluid distribution, and immune function. Telemedicine is a key component of medical care on ISS. While doctors have always communicated with the crews of short missions, largely to guide them through acute spaceflight-specific health issues,
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