These health tech buzzwords are out; cost control is in, so say investors

Rebecca Vesely

About Rebecca Vesely

Rebecca Vesely is AHCJ's topic leader on health information technology and a freelance writer. She has written about health IT since the late 1990s for a variety of publications.

fitness-trackerWellness apps. Wearables. Middleware. Big data.

These buzzwords circulating around the health tech world are out, so declared a panel of health investors last week.

Products that reduce costs and/or improve efficiencies are in, they said.

The shift was striking after years of direct-to-consumer and wellness applications taking center stage at tech confabs and in the media.

Health reporters get pitches on digital health products all the time. Keeping up with what investors are looking for in new products and technologies can help us gauge the value of the pitch. Continue reading

What to know about Tom Price before his HHS confirmation hearings

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Tom Price

Tom Price

Expect tough questioning from Senate Democrats when Congressman Tom Price appears before two of their committees in his bid to become the next secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

His confirmation journey continues Jan. 18 with a hearing before the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee. Then it’s on to the Senate Finance Committee (no date set as of this writing, but it’s expected to come after Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration). Continue reading

Geriatric workforce training supports rural elderly

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic.com, New America Media, AARP.com and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College in New York City, and co-produces HealthStyles for WBAI-FM/Pacifica Radio.

Photo: Otto Phokus via Flickr

Photo: Otto Phokus via Flickr

A shortage of qualified geriatric health providers to address the often complex health needs of rural seniors around the United States requires some innovative approaches. One effort is the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), which helps train and support primary care practices in rural areas to offer better care management.

GWEP is funded through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). It concentrates on improving services such as the Medicare annual wellness visit, chronic care management, advance care planning and dementia care. Continue reading

BBC piece on vitamin research a great example of engaging explanatory journalism

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: Dean Shareski via Flickr

Photo: Dean Shareski via Flickr

Anyone who has covered medical research for a while knows how fraught it can be to report on vitamin supplements and “wonder” foods with antioxidants and other substances aside from FDA-regulated drugs.

Since the FDA does not regulate these products with the same guidelines and stringency as it does pharmaceuticals and medical devices, it can be harder to find solid data about them. Further, studies on them are frequently funded by supplement companies or food organizations with a vested interest in their effectiveness or benefits. In an additional complication, there’s a mythology surrounding vitamins that promotes two main ideas: the supplements almost always are beneficial, and even if they aren’t, can’t hurt anyway. Continue reading

Calls growing to add dental benefit to Medicare Part B

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health, curating related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on oral health resources at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Moodboard via Flickr

Photo: Moodboard via Flickr

A quarter of a million Americans are retiring each month. Many are surprised to learn that Medicare does not include coverage for routine dental care. But could the nation’s health insurance program offer dental benefits? Should it?

There are important reasons to consider the idea, says Beth Truett, president and CEO of the nonprofit Oral Health America.

“More people are living longer. More people are keeping their teeth,” said Truett, who was featured in a recent AHCJ webcast. “Oral health is part of overall health.” Continue reading