Big Data in Healthcare: Easier Said Than Done?

In 2011, IDC predicted the that size of data or the “digital universe” would increase by 48% in 2012, accelerating the innovation of in-memory databases and analytic functionality.  Since then, everyone’s been talkin’ about big data:  what it means and how it will shape US industries like healthcare.

“Healthcare organizations around the world are challenged by pressures to reduce costs, improve coordination and outcomes, provide more with less and be more patient centric,” explains a recent report by IBM.

The solution? Building analytics competency which would allow these organizations to use “big data” to set goals and produce better outcomes more quickly.

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Cake Health iPhone App On Hiatus

As of March 12th, the Cake Health iPhone app will be on hiatus while we work out a few kinks.  Our apologies for any inconvenience that this may have caused!  If you have any questions during this time, feel free to shoot us a note.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

How To Navigate Your Drug Formulary

The drug formulary provided by your healthcare provider is not a quick read, but way easier than that bedside copy of “War and Peace.”

However, you won’t have to go too deep in the weeds before you see the co-pay levels for your drug – and maybe discover an acceptable alternative that will lower that medical bill.

Generally, you can search your formulary in two ways:

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Retiring Soon? Don’t Forget About This Cost

Planning for your retirement is all about being financially secure. However, some factors such as the cost of healthcare are often overlooked or underestimated when it comes to retirement planning.

You’re probably thinking that you have nothing to worry about because Medicare will cover all your healthcare costs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Medicare only pays for very specific healthcare services. That leaves many expenses – hearing aids, glasses, dental work – as uninsured medical expenses.

So what should you do?

First, determine how much money you will need when you retire to cover you medical costs. Naturally, it will depend on when you retire, how long you live, your health status and the cost of medical care in your area.

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Best Free iPhone Apps for Diabetics

If you or a family member live with Type 1 or 2 diabetes, you know the tole it takes on one’s daily life.  From an abundance of medical bills to uncomfortable symptoms, managing the chronic illness is no walk in the park.  The good news is, every day a new solution is created to help make such illnesses easier to handle.  We’ll be discussing many of these resources in the future, but for now we’d like to offer you a few free iphone apps to help you lead a happy and healthy lifestyle:

1. Diabetes Log

If you’re a diabetic looking for a simple way to track your glucose readings, food intake, and medicine records – then this is the app for you.  Since the app is an early release, you can download it for free at the iTunes store.  Diabetes Log developer Chris Ross promises new features in the future, including exporting records via email and editing medication types.

Download Now! 

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5 Frequently Asked Questions About Health Reform

A while back we shared a cool video from the Kaiser Family Foundation that cleared up a lot of the confusion around health reform.  Now we’d like to share a few of the most frequently asked questions about the new legislation and how it will effect people like us in the upcoming years.

1. When will the health reform law take effect?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was created with a five year timeline.  Some provisions have already been implemented – preventative care is fully covered by insurance plans, those with preexisting conditions have access to coverage and retirees are getting relief with their Medicare drug coverage – but the majority of new protections will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014.  Check out’s complete timeline for more information.

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Cake Saves (You) Major Cash!

More often than not when we talk to our users about how they’ve been using Cake Health, we find that our service has helped them stay on top of their medical bills and better understand their health insurance – but recently it’s been all about the dough!  After using Cake Health for a couple of months, our users are catching medical over-billing and saving tons of cash.

But don’t let me tell you…

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Why Your Stitches Cost $1,500 [Infographic]

You keep hearing about rising health costs in America, but are other nations receiving the same bad news?  Check out this informative infographic from Medical Billing and Coding to learn how our healthcare costs compare to other wealthy nations:

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Can Twitter Predict Future Healthcare Needs?

There is no doubt that the new information age has touched many areas of our lives; from staying connected to far away family and friends to “Googling” how-tos, symptoms of our back aches… etc.

These days, many people consult Google for healthcare advice before they contact their doctor. This trend has even extended to new social media sites, such as Facebook & Twitter, where symptoms and remedies are being shared by Friends and Tweeps around the world.

Recently, two researchers at John Hopkins University data mined 2 billion tweets and discovered an abundance of real-time medical information that could have far reaching effects on public health on a wide range of ailments. Mark Dredze, a researcher with the university’s Human Language Technology Center, and Michael J. Pau, a doctoral student, created an algorithm to filter out approximately 1.5 million tweets that related to health issues. No personal data was retained by the study, but they were able to record most of the tweet’s geographic locations; allowing them to map medical trends.

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How To Find A Good Pediatrician

When it comes to choosing a pediatrician for your child, quality is key.  This will be the caretaker of your son or daughter until high school graduation, so it’s important that you pick a doctor that you trust and respect.  It is also key that you choose a pediatrician who’s views are aligned with yours, as they will often offer parenting advice when appropriate.  Take the following steps to ensure a good fit:

Start your search early

There’s no reason to waste time searching for doctor “right” – start when you’re still pregnant!  Get recommendations from friends and research on your own. Take personalities into account; a pediatrician that’s great for Jane because she likes doctors who give it to her straight may not be great for you, who needs someone with a bit more sensitivity.

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5 Awesome Ways To Use Cake Health [Video]

So you signed up for a Cake Health account to help manage your medical bills… now what?  To answer this question, we created a two minute demo video highlighting the 5 most awesome things you can do with your new account.  We hope you enjoy!

Are you using Cake Health in an awesome way that we missed?  Tell us below!

Shocking Science Around The Placebo Effect

According to new research, the placebo effect is about more than just sugar pills. In fact, recent studies suggest that placebos may be effective in treating a number of medical conditions. Several recent studies have found that a patient’s mind-set or belief may lead to improvements in disease symptoms as well as changes in appetite or brain chemicals.

We found an intriguing story from the Wall Street Journal with some examples supporting this strong mind-body connection. What’s surprising is, it doesn’t seem to matter whether people know they are getting a placebo instead of a “real” treatment. One study demonstrated a strong placebo effect in subjects who were told they were getting a sugar pill with no active ingredient.

Some examples:

  • Hotel-room attendants who were told they were getting a good workout at their jobs showed a significant decrease in weight, blood pressure and body fat after four weeks. Employees who did the same work but weren’t told about exercise showed no change in weight. Neither group reported changes in physical activity or diet. Continue reading

The Debate Over Universal Patient Identifiers

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal presented a two-sided argument around the implementation of UPIs (universal patient identifiers) in healthcare.  For those unfamiliar with the topic, if UPIs were put in place, first and last names, social security numbers, and other personal information would no longer be needed to pull a patient’s medical records.

The question posed by the WSJ was if every patient should have a unique ID number for all medical records, and the answer came down to a matter of opinion.  Those in favor of UPIs believe it will make health systems more efficient, while those opposed raise privacy concerns.  More differences in opinion on the topic are outlined below:

  • Efficient way to connect patients to their medical data
  • Facilitates information sharing
  • Gaurds against needless medical errors
  • Improves the quality of health care and lowers costs
  • Privacy issues
  • Patients could lose trust in the system
  • Makes it easier for companies to use data

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Confused About Health Reform? [Video]

Just like managing your health insurance, following the debate over health reform can be a daunting task.  Not many of us have the time to read 955 pages of legislation, so for those of you looking for a clear and concise explanation as to how the new law will affect you and your family, check out this awesome video from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

If you have an opinion on health reform or would like to see more videos breaking down confusing concepts around health care, leave us a comment below!

Cake Health Helps Mother of Six Manage Healthcare Expenses

The other week, we asked our biggest fans to tell us how they’ve been using Cake Health, and what it’s helped them achieve.  While we can’t say whether they responded for the free t-shirt or as a simple act of kindness, we can say that we got more Cake Health love than we ever imagined!

Within a week and a half we had received close to 200 responses from men and women around the nation, thanking Cake Health for making their lives a little bit easier… and now it’s our turn to thank YOU!

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