It’s not about what blockchain can do in healthcare, but what it’s already doing

It’s not about what blockchain can do in healthcare, but what it’s already doing

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A panel discussion at the upcoming MedCity INVEST meeting in Chicago will look at real-world applications of blockchain technology in healthcare and biopharma.

Much of the focus on blockchain in healthcare and biopharma has been on the theoretical – what the technology could potentially do and where it could potentially be applied. But increasingly, that focus is shifting from potential to reality.

Real-world applications of blockchain in healthcare – not just what it can do, but what it is doing – will be the topic of a panel discussion at the upcoming MedCity INVEST conference, taking place April 23 in Chicago, with KKH Advisors CEO Kimberly Ha as moderator. The panel will bring together Health2047 Managing Director Charles Aunger, vice president for medical and regulatory affairs at drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim’s Canadian division Uli Broedl, Embleema head of blockchain consortium Alexis Normand and Medable vice president for life sciences Tyler Pugsley.

A timely example of blockchain’s implementation came last week when Embleema, based in New York, announced it would work with the government of Armenia for an effort to use blockchain to modernize digital healthcare in the country. The aim is to offer physicians there better access to health data while connecting Armenia to international research, particularly in areas like oncology, immunotherapy and molecular medicine.

“I think it’s the first proof-of-concept of using blockchain at the national level,” Ha said in a phone interview.

But numerous efforts have taken place in the private sector as well. At the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in February, Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM announced a partnership that they said would mark blockchain’s first use in clinical trials in Canada. In particular, the US technology giant and German drugmaker said they would test whether blockchain can provide a decentralized framework to enable data integrity, provenance, transparency and patient empowerment, along with automation of processes for clinical trials. The partnership’s aim is to improve trial quality and patient safety, given that current processes are often seen as inadequate, leading to erroneous trial records that threaten safety and interpretability.

Realistically, for now blockchain’s application in clinical trials will likely be in postmarketing Phase IV studies, as opposed to earlier trials used for proof-of-concept or regulatory approval, Ha added.

For the time being, a number of questions remain that Ha and Aunger said they would like to see brought up in the panel. One, Aunger said, is what are the benefits people are seeing from using blockchain. “Everybody asks that question all the time – nobody gives a really good answer,” he said in a phone interview. Additional questions include whether the blockchain platform is being built for the betterment of the patient or organization; whether it truly has privacy; and how to get past the marketing hype, he said. “The other question is who regulates it – should it be government, or should it be someone else,” he said.

Ha said she would like to talk about incentivizing in terms of how blockchain facilitates the creation of a marketplace type of platform enabling patients to provide data and control what is done with it. “After I join a clinical trial, I don’t know where my data is being sold,” she said. “Lack of security around patient data is a massive vulnerability.”

 

 

 

Do Ethics Really Make You a Better Leader in Business?

http://www.leadershipdigital.com/edition/daily-leadership-innovation-2019-03-29?open-article-id=10125816&article-title=do-ethics-really-make-you-a-better-leader-in-business-&blog-domain=leadershipnow.com&blog-title=leading-blog

Do Ethics Really Make You a Better Leader

ETHICS IS NOT a word used very often behind the walls of companies and organizations. Many companies have a set of values and company policies. However, very few companies educate leaders about ethics and encourage leaders to discuss ethics with their teams. 

Ethics are usually an afterthought, taken seriously only after an event that causes a business or team to fall apart. If understood and put into practice by a dedicated leader, ethics have the potential to turn stagnant, declining teams into productive and engaged ones. Ethics enable new teams to continue to grow, sustain, and thrive as the individuals and the business evolve.

Ethics are the foundation for peace and progress. Don’t we all crave both peace and progress at work? Ethics are timeless principles for behavior toward ourselves and others that translate to specific actions.

Ethics are what fuel personal growth and make large-scale collaborative efforts work. The lack of clarity about what ethics are and what ethics really involve in action is the primary barrier for many leaders in practicing ethics at work. Here is how an understanding and intentional practice of ethics at work make leaders, and therefore businesses, stronger and more successful.

Truthfulness over time opens and repairs communication lines.

Ethics prize the principle of truthfulness. Though it seems straightforward, it often takes courage to truly be truthful with team members and peers. Leaders that practice truthfulness with team members build genuine trust over time. Leaders that practice truthful, transparent communication build a team culture of interpersonal respect and alignment.

A practice for cultivating trust is to have regular one-on-one meetings with team members. In your one-on-one meetings, leave technology and distractions behind. Give your team members dedicated focus, ask if they have questions, and give them positive and constructive feedback. Leaders develop trust through transparent and genuine communication. Teams united in honesty and truthful communications move forward as a cohesive unit. 

Opportunities for individual development fuel collective progress.

Leaders that understand and practice ethics at work are also better at motivating and empowering individuals in order to fuel collective progress. Another foundational ethical principle is the concept of non-stealing. In workplaces, non-stealing goes far beyond just stealing of physical possessions. Non-stealing in leadership involves not stealing (but instead giving) opportunities, knowledge, and acknowledgment to team members.

Leaders can practice the ethical practice of non-stealing by giving knowledge, skills, and opportunities to team members enable progress. In one-on-one meetings, share your skills and knowledge with team members. Mentor them as they work through a special project or assignment on their own. When individuals are given opportunities to grow individually, they are more dedicated and skilled contributors. Leaders that practice non-stealing understand that individual peace and progress must happen for each team member in order for the whole to move forward.

Non-attachment enables creative problem solving and the generation of new ideas.

Leaders often find themselves stuck, leading a stagnant team because they are attached to their ways or outdated beliefs. Beliefs about what is right or beliefs about people’s limitations often hold back the team from progressing. Leaders who are not open to new ideas and feedback compromise the collective progress of the team.

Non-attachment is practiced by letting go of your outdated beliefs about people, ways, results, or status. New ideas and suggestions that team members bring to the table are often the answers to proactively solving or avoiding problems. Don’t hold firm beliefs about the way things should be, how far someone should progress, or the exact way results should turn out. Allow space for limitless possibility and evolution to happen. Invite and evaluate new ideas and suggestions with an open mind. This practice enables collective progress. 

Positive communication and mindfulness foster focus and protect valuable energy.

Finally, ethical leaders are masters of cultivating the conditions for collaboration. In dynamic, fast-paced business environments, leaders and teams often find themselves rushing and producing work full of errors. People burn out quickly after long days of exhausting meetings. Small disagreements or misalignments turn into political issues. Arguments deter focus and negatively impact productivity and engagement. Ethical leaders know how to practice control of energy in order to cultivate focus and ease for their team. 

Control of energy involves communicating with a positive tone. Even when giving constructive feedback, ethical leaders start with a positive affirmation and use a tone of equanimity throughout the conversation. This is a sustainable rather than a short-sighted approach. This control of energy helps to cultivate calm and protect the energy of the team and themselves. Control of energy also involves taking constructive rest breaks often to restore and rejuvenate. A walk outside, away from the screen and often chaotic work environment can do wonders to reset your mind and body. Lead by example and encourage your team members to do the same. 

Ethics are the foundation for strong leadership and collaboration.

When understood and put into practice at work, ethics have the potential to fuel productivity and motivation. Ethical leaders cultivate focus, trust, and connection, which are key ingredients for successful leadership. Leaders that practice ethics in action find that the principles reach far beyond company walls and add value to their lives outside of work as well. Ethics are universal and add value to our work and life.

How can you put ethics into practice to strengthen your leadership? Many leaders don’t realize that diverse teams often have very different individual perceptions of what ethics look like in practice. Teams need to learn a collective language for ethics in order for ethics to be accessible instead of vague. Leaders can lead by example by putting ethics into.

 

 

 

 

Jerks need not apply: 7 ways to a skirt a toxic work environment

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/jerks-need-not-apply-7-ways-to-a-skirt-a-toxic-work-environment.html

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We live in a time when acrimony and resentment seem to be at an all-time high. These days, individuals feel comfortable hiding behind screens to voice their opinions without giving much thought to the repercussions or the feelings of others.

I freely acknowledge that there have always been mean-spirited people in our lives, workplaces, schools and communities. However lately, it seems as if there is carte blanche to act like a jerk. Maybe this is why kindness seems a bit harder to come by, and why I find myself mentoring young people on how to deal with difficult colleagues more than usual.

I am certainly not immune to jerks. We’ve all dealt with them — the mean-spirited colleague who thought they knew everything. The person who did not like to share their toys in the proverbial sandbox. The team member who jumped at every opportunity to claim credit for success, plow over others or immediately blame others for failure. Simply put, we’ve all worked with jerks.

While jerks can be highly effective at delivering results, don’t confuse value with productivity. By this, I mean that the toxicity jerks infuse into a team and their work environment can significantly outweigh their contributions. These folks tend to be mean-spirited, manipulative, and can often undermine both the organization’s work and their colleagues’ productivity. They cause strife and, in some cases, drive excellent colleagues away from an organization. At the end of the day, they do far more harm than good, and they make the work environment an unpleasant place to spend the day.

Throughout my career, I have managed a few so-called jerks. While it has not always been easy, and I have certainly made my share of mistakes, I’ve learned to effectively deal with these personalities along the way. Beyond that, I’ve developed some management techniques for how to handle them.

As far as I’m concerned, jerks need not apply to positions within my organization. I have adopted a strict “jerk-free” policy for every organization I lead. From the moment I walk in the door on the first day, I articulate that jerks are not welcome. Personally, I would much rather work with a less experienced person who is kind-hearted and receptive to training than an arrogant jerk, any day of the week.

So, how do you move from simply putting up a “jerks aren’t welcome sign” to creating a jerk-free culture? How can you cultivate anti-jerk behavior across your team and coach others to do the same?

1. Communicate. Talk it out from the outset. You need to communicate, communicate and communicate again. Let your teammates and colleagues know what you need and what you expect. You want to set expectations from the outset, so everyone is on the same page, and there is no room for confusion or deniability. You should also be open, transparent and honest. While there are times it is not the easiest thing to do, the payoff is huge and will keep things running smoothly.

2. Lead by example. Jerks gravitate to jerks. Do your best to be kind, helpful, open and honest. It will do more to inspire others and generate positivity than anything else.

3. Build trust. You build trust and inspire loyalty when you foster an environment where differences of opinion are welcomed and encouraged. Where there is trust and good feeling, it makes it harder for jerks to thrive.

4. Let them know. If someone is a jerk and you feel uncomfortable, let them know. Don’t let behavior that bothers you fester. You want to nip it in the bud. In a positive non-judgmental language explain to them how their behavior is not working for you and reflect on how things can change. I always say the first approach to any situation should be: acknowledge, reflect, move forward.

5. Value differences. It’s important to celebrate differences and the wide variety of skills team members bring to the table. If folks feel they have a unique niche to fill and special skills to contribute, they are less likely to be passive aggressive and will feel confident in their contributions.

6. Celebrate. Having a good time is essential. Work is hard, and it’s important to let off a little steam sometimes. I can’t encourage enough the opportunity to have fun and facilitate opportunities where colleagues can get together outside of the office.

7. Coach it out. I have found that all is not lost when it comes to jerks. There is hope. Some jerks can be rehabilitated. They just need effective coaching to turn their attitude around. Of course, there are rare cases when a jerk is, and always will be, a jerk. Unfortunately, there are times when you will have to make the tough call and leave them behind.

A jerk-free workplace certainly has numerous benefits. Not only is your space more enjoyable and pleasant, but a no-jerk policy also attracts and contributes to retaining the best possible team members — those who are incredibly productive, highly effective and extremely positive.

What team member wants to sign up to work with jerks? A positive environment drives productivity as time is not wasted battling destructive behavior or playing pointless games. It also enhances quality and helps delivers excellent customer service, because team members are happy in their work. The ripple effect of that is that they pass it along to anyone with whom they interact.

Think about it: Your team is like a family, and frankly, we often spend more time with them than anyone else in our lives. While we all enjoy a wacky cousin or a wisecracking uncle, no one likes to engage with the family member who is always complaining or rude to others. So, do you and your fellow team members a favor and say goodbye to the jerks. Make more room at the table for positive and enjoyable folks. Everyone will be glad that you did.

 

 

 

HOW EMPLOYERS ARE FIXING HEALTHCARE

https://hbr.org/cover-story/2019/03/how-employers-are-fixing-health-care

https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/strategy/how-employers-are-fixing-healthcare?utm_source=silverpop&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ENL_190314_LDR_FIN_resend%20(1)&spMailingID=15292235&spUserID=MTY3ODg4NTg1MzQ4S0&spJobID=1601132792&spReportId=MTYwMTEzMjc5MgS2

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A 56-year-old man who works at Walmart — we’ll call him Bill — had been suffering from mild neck pain for years. Recently the pain had worsened, and his wife noticed a subtle tremor in his hands. An MRI showed some narrowing of the spinal column along with disc degeneration. A local surgeon explained that Bill’s best option was spine surgery.

 

Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM announce blockchain network

https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/aetna-anthem-health-care-service-corporation-pnc-bank-and-ibm-announce-blockchain-network?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT0RJNU16UTNOakl4WlRFNCIsInQiOiJ1WHRTRHREbE5rM1hkZmc1QnRcL3JCSjdxMWdtXC9weGE1OE4yT0tMZ2d0eGVCYnlXbkVDSmVtU09UTzZDaUVSTmE2aVRpT1YzSklCVmVsZ3VaMWVyMDlNa1Z2b25DbXZ2QnpxSUpySWluXC8zSDRoTmkya2JCMU53b1h5YkRQUDlNcyJ9

Network will eventually be open to new members for secure digital sharing of healthcare information.

Aetna, Anthem, IBM, Health Care Service Corporation and PNC Bank have partnered to create a blockchain technology network aimed at improving transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry. 

The groups intend to use blockchain for more efficient claims and payment processing. Blockchain enables the secure exchange of information. It will also benefit more accurate provider directories.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Collaboration is key in the industry as a more cost-effective alternative to merging to create more competitive and efficient systems.

The current network is expected to add additional health organizations in the coming months, including providers, startups, and technology companies.

Initial members include three of the nation’s largest insurers, Anthem; HCSC,a customer-owned health insurer that includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans; Aetna, which is now part of the CVS Health business; IBM, which is a leading blockchain provider; and PNC Bank, which is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group.

Blockchain technology gives health systems an edge because it ideally creates faster, more efficient and secure claims and payment processing.

Insurers are mandated to maintain accurate provider directories, a time consuming and often manual practice involving numerous emails, phone calls and even fax exchanges.

For providers, a new technology that can actually reduce time spent in administrative clicks on a computer is a boon.

THE TREND

Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, improvements in transparency and interoperability are still needed for that data to be shared.

Blockchain is designed to fill that role, reducing administrative errors and costs and ultimately enhancing patient care. The network also enables the companies to build and deploy new solutions.

Walmart last year filed a patent to use blockchain for medical records. A pharmaceutical industry consortium called the MediLedger Project, launched in 2017, is using blockchain to track pills across the supply chain, according to Fortune.

ON THE RECORD

“Through the application of blockchain technology, we’ll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data,” said Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna

Rajeev Ronanki, Anthem chief digital officer Rajeev Ronanki: “Timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block for creating a seamless consumer experience. With a trusted foundation based on transparency and cryptography, we will provide a faster, safer and more secure way to exchange medical information to transform the  consumer healthcare experience.”

What’s more, blockchain will enable large networks to exchange health data in a transparent and controlled way, according to Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM.

“Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry,” added Chris Ward, head of product, PNC Treasury Management.

 

Questioning the ethics of pursuing “grateful patients”

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Questioning the ethics of pursuing “grateful patients”

Naming a wing, unit or hospital building after a wealthy donor is nothing new, and hospital executives have long had programs to build relationships with “grateful patients” who wish to make a contribution.

piece this week in the New York Times challenges this practice, and in particular, the ethics of analyzing patient financial data and public records to identify likely donors.

A 2013 change to privacy laws made it easier for hospitals to share information with fundraisers. Now many hospitals have built automated systems to perform “wealth screenings”, combining patient medical records, financial information and publicly-available information such as property records, and political and charitable contributions to identify patients with the means and likelihood of making a large donation. Target patients may receive nicer amenities or a visit from a hospital executive, and follow-up from the hospital’s development staff.

Medical ethicists are split on the practice, with one calling it “unseemly but not illegal or unethical”, but another saying that the practice, and particularly getting physicians involved in the process, is “fraught with danger”.

Previous research has shown that half of oncologists reported being trained to identify potential donors, and a third had been directly asked to solicit donations from patients. The reactions of physicians and patients profiled are mixed. Many doctors feel uncomfortable about the practice but recognize the importance of philanthropy.

Some patients want to express their gratitude through donation—but others expressed concerns about misleading connections between their doctors’ needs and where their donations would be spent.

They also questioned whether large health systems with billions in revenue and millions in profits should be routinely pursuing large donors. Rising public scrutiny around billing practices also highlights the dissonance between asking for philanthropic donations while at the same time aggressively pursuing a schoolteacher or bus driver for thousands of dollars in out-of-network claims.

We’d expect these tensions to continue to grow, as rising margin pressures make philanthropic income even more critical for hospitals—but transparency and a growing healthcare consumer marketplace raise questions of how much of a nonprofit health system’s work truly is “charitable”.