The Peculiarity of Ebola Policy

The impulse to implement a travel ban to African countries is understandable. Essentially, it is taking the concept of quarantine to what seems like to be its logical conclusion.

In 2003, the SARS outbreak provided a deadly precedent to the Ebola threat that we now face, and the handling of the SARS outbreak provides an excellent example of how to combat a deadly and more contagious disease than Ebola.
Read more

Visualizing the Cost of Health Care

We’ve written a lot about health care spending in the US, and about the ways we could lower costs and improve outcomes.

This nicely-designed widget from the Institute of Medicine creates  visualizations that further clarify the exorbitant costs of healthcare in the US, and also provides information on lowering costs and improving outcomes. Take a look:
Read more

Panicked About Ebola? It's Lonely Being One in 500,000

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about Americans  panicking over Ebola concerns. Ebola is highly infectious, and the outbreak in Africa has been met with sensational media reports about both the African outbreak and the (unlikely) possibility of a similar outbreak in North America. Following news of the confirmed case of the affected man in Houston, you might have expected emergency departments to be overwhelmed with hypochondriacs obsessed with the disease.
Read more

Enter the Enterovirus

The recent outbreak of human enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) poses several challenges to syndromic surveillance. Its presentation can resemble any number of other upper respiratory infections of varying severity. The timing coincided with the end of school summer vacation, a time of year when respiratory illnesses are always spread. Differentiation based on key symptoms is theoretically possible, but also highlights where the assumptions of surveillance on chief complaints can break down. And while the outbreak received national media coverage, the lack of a memorable consensus on what to call the pathogen may have limited patients’ and registrars’ ability to ask for it by name.
Read more

Demonstrating Success: How to Improve Care and Pay Physicians More While Reducing Costs

The cost of healthcare in the United States is staggering. This is well-documented but bears repetition. In 2012, healthcare in the United State cost $2.8 trillion. Of this, 75% was related to chronic conditions.

That 75% amounts to $2.1 trillion spent annually on treating chronic conditions.
Read more

Could Data Help Us Save One Million Hearts?

Around 600,000 people die of heart disease in the US annually. Another way of putting it: One in every four American deaths is caused by heart disease. And according to the CDC, about half of all Americans (49%) have at least one of the key factors of heart disease. In addition to endangering lives, heart disease also puts a strain on the economy. The total cost of health care services, medication and lost productivity related to coronary heart disease is estimated at $108.9 billion each year.
Read more

How Do Doctors Treat Patients When Only 6% of Them Like Their Jobs?

Last week when we wrote about the US’s exorbitant healthcare expenditures we mentioned that spending on physicians constitutes only about 10% of the nation’s healthcare spending. We also noted that the U.S. has only 2.4 practicing physicians per 1,000 population—putting us significantly below the OECD average of 3.1.
Read more

Population Health: Can We Improve Care, Pay Physicians More, and Reduce Costs?

Skyrocketing healthcare costs have been making headlines for the last three decades. Repeated policy solutions focused on financial and administrative remedies have been attempted–healthcare policy reform was a key domestic policy initiative under both Presidents Bush and Obama. President Bush initiated Medicare Part D, the largest overhaul of Medicare in the program’s history. President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has popularly become known as Obamacare.
Read more

Coming Soon: New EpiCenter Enhancements

Health Monitoring System’s EpiCenter system has long been an industry leader in syndromic surveillance. This summer, our developers have been hard at work on some exciting future EpiCenter enhancements. Here is a preview of what’s in store in the coming months for EpiCenter.
Read more

Heat-Related Illness, Animal-Related Injuries, and Toxic Algae Blooms: It Must Be Summer

Summer brings with it the many joys of enjoying the great outdoors, from picnicking and swimming to sporting events and outdoor performances and entertainment events. It also brings to the spotlight a familiar set of public health concerns. Thankfully, EpiCenter comes with tools designed to help monitor and analyze some of the common ones, in addition to unforeseen issues like Ohio’s recent run-in with water toxicity.  Here’s how:
Read more