With the Midwest relying increasingly on foreign-born healthcare professionals to fill critical labor gaps, a new study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds that urgent immigration reforms are needed to ensure the future vitality of the healthcare sector. Updating visa allocations for foreign-born graduates from US medical schools, removing H-1B visa quotas and caps for healthcare professionals, and streamlining credentialing processes for foreign-born professionals would help the United States, and the Midwest in particular, mitigate acute shortages of healthcare workers just as the aging baby boomer population is expected to demand increasing resources.
The healthcare sector, which is fundamental to the U.S. economy and livability, is under strain:
A continued political stalemate on immigration reform means these issues will only grow in urgency. The report argues that Congress should work urgently with the next Administration to update policies to:
As gamification and game mechanics gain popularity in the healthcare space, so too does the need to understand primary motivational factors that influence human behavior. Gamification itself uses game elements and digital game design to address common business dilemmas and drive social change, and has been very popular with the military, airlines industry and even higher education institutions. However, the ability to influence action with gamification is only now gaining traction in the health industry.
Although gamification is here to stay due to factors that include vast U.S. utilization of smart phones, a tech savvy 18-34 population (38% of the uninsured) and advancements in the field such as augmented reality, the underlying motivators to change human behavior are not new.
Behavioral economics differs from traditional forms of economic study – which generally assumes unbounded rationality, unbounded willpower and unbounded selfishness – because it recognizes that individuals are bound by many factors that inhibit decision-making. We see this daily through activities such as smoking and drunk driving. Further, in the healthcare and health insurance sectors, neither patients nor providers know the true costs of care.
Without knowing actual costs of care and fully understanding the various options available, especially in moments of panic, rational decision-making is near impossible. Therefore, departures from rationality materialize in people’s beliefs and in their choices.
With a youthful population in the US that lives a significant portion of their lives online, and are accepting of new technologies in the health space in exchange for ease, the growth of applications and services that target health behaviors is developing at lightening speed. Further, these applications give rewards that motivate change. Most gamification methods in health and wellness are presently built around the notion of positive reinforcement. This is true both in engaging and monitoring patients and engaging and motivating providers. The same principals that incentivize humans to be active in their own health incentivize practitioners to provide better care, leading to better outcomes for patients, and therefore a hospitals bottom line.
As the new landscape of healthcare in the United States takes root, gamification technologies and advances will play an integral role in transforming health and care. Using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices game mechanics will become more prevalent in almost all parts of the health ecosystem, from education to accountability and monitoring.
Gamification Elements of Vital Importance in Health Technology:
Using long-held behavioral and economic understanding, the ability to improve health outcomes through engagement and interaction has never been greater. Gamification has been a driving force in many sectors of business and social interaction, with healthcare prime for this kind of change. Pathfinder is optimistic that gamification and digital game design techniques, patient-centered care will see great growth.
Send along your stories on behavioral economic, incentive and gaming tactics. Pathfinder would love to learn more about what your company is doing and help connect with others in the space.
When confronted with a health system that is expansive beyond comprehension, very complex and severely flawed it is no wonder patients are often passive observers. Providers and administrators often do not know how to navigate the environment themselves, let alone a patient who infrequently touches the system.
This is further complicated by the ever-changing world of health care practices. While adoption rates are often very slow in the clinical setting – taking on average 17 years between research findings and clinical adoption – the transition for consumers is never-ending, often leaving those administering care and those needing care on very different paths.
Despite this, we know that when a patient is involved in their own health, better outcomes are experienced. Provided with the right tools, we know that many patients will use those tools to their advantage. We also know that new Affordable Care Act and Meaningful Use policies target the creation of better engagement and satisfaction methods and metrics for patients.
With that model in mind, how does a provider get a patient to be “engaged” in their own care and stay on course with their prescribed care, all while being compliant in a new world of health reform and get reimbursed? Perhaps it is getting a patient to exercise regularly, take medications properly, or something interactive and different. While no one answer exists, there are steps that can be taken to improve engagement that lead to patients feeling informed enough to take positive action in their own care. Further, with a growing body of literature and new policies, reimbursements and standardization are beginning to coordinate.
When only 10% of consumers are estimated to be “very confident” in their own abilities to find high-quality care and 6% to “affect the cost of care,” it speaks volume about the distance US-based systems need to go to empower those we care for.
Outcomes are a reflection of the pathway that the patient takes, and it is necessary to understand that each person has a different level of understanding, set of resources and faith in their own knowledge. However, patients want to be involved; they want to help.
Providing basic information and ways to seek and find the answers patients need is paramount Virtual coaching, online nursing and secure plan management are also increasingly more important tools that can be employed immediately WITH patients.
Whether it is drug adherence, follow-up rehabilitation or making initial care decisions, improving individual perceptions, understanding and abilities is a key component of improving outcomes and creating a strong foundation of patient engagement.
The United Nations designated March 22 World Water Day in 1993, following the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. Since that time, the annual event grows awareness, education and coordination on water and sanitization efforts around the world. Yet, 2016 saw a push towards personal accountability and job creation that has many private and public sector organizations more excited than usual. Not only can clean water improve health, but it can also create revenue for those who maintain well sites.
Therefore, the theme of 2016 (Better Water, Better Jobs) focused on job creation and community development through establishing a clean water supply and sustainable well facilities – giving homage to the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When everyone is in desperate need of a job, some successful organizations are looking to share their lessons learned.
Sub-Saharan Africa Is A Well Graveyard
The Rural Water Supply Network estimates that between 30-40% of all wells in sub-Saharan Africa are broken – costing money and lives. Once broken, the World Bank contends more than $1.2 billion has been wasted on non-working wells over the last 20 years. This disuse is primarily due to poor construction, a lack of tools and spare parts, as well as a lack of people who have skills to fix the broken wells. And this is exactly why former water consultant to UNICEF’s Division of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Becky Straw runs The Adventure Project - a nonprofit helping to make districts in India and Africa self-sustaining by teaching people in districts in India and Africa how to repair and maintain their wells.
But what is most important, is that it creates jobs and an opportunity for economic growth, which is key to getting individuals, families and communities out of poverty. It further shifts water assistance from traditional humanitarian relief to job training. However, it is important to note the emergence of nonprofits such as The Adventure Project, WaterAid and Charity: Water in past years, as the UN has been greatly criticized for wasting money on job training programs that have not worked – most often in our most vulnerable countries and villages.
Therefore, nonprofits are stepping in to bridge the gap between government and the private sector (which normally maintain working well sites), with the goal of providing the most skills training to the most people. Yet, to help communities help themselves, long-term proficiencies and education take time - and resources – including teaching “mechanics” how to build parts.
Pay It Forward
The Adventure Project claims its Well Mechanic training model has already led to the creation of 862 jobs. The organization also has a strong record of success on the well front, having fixed more than 65 wells to date, serving approximately over 1 million people. Further, by requiring that women pay four cents per jerry can, the mechanics earn a living while being accountable to each and every member of the community.
As of two years ago, this process led to one district in India actually becoming self-sustaining. Efforts in Uganda are trending in the same direction, where two years ago only 37% of The Adventure Project’s home district had clean water, and now they are climbing close to 100%.
One creative way that the team is standing out from the other nonprofits though, is the desire and ability to install water meters on each well. This enables women to know that they are getting the amount of water that they pay for and additionally allows tracking of the well functionality. The group has even gone so far as to open source an Android App to collect data on the water being used, the wells themselves and the number of people suing them. The hope is that the hearts and minds of foreigners who want to make a difference no longer cringe at supporting humanitarian aid, but instead donate in ways that create international job development and support personal accountability.
Global Health. Human Rights. Big Ideas. Strategic Vision.