Saturday, November 29, 2008


Believe it or not, it's been 24 years since the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (GDAHC) released its "DESIRED CHARACTERISTICS OF A SYSTEM OF SERVICES FOR OLDER ADULTS." GDAHC is a major coalition of consumers, purchasers, insurers, providers, and other stakeholders concerned with health care quality and cost.

24 years and the content is still relevant—in fact, with our ever increasing numbers of older adults, it may be even more relevant today than it was then. One wonders whether in the intervening years any community has actually succeeded (or has even tried) to put together a comprehensive palette of services such as were advocated in July, 1984. If you know of one, please let me know.

What are these services, you ask? I'll tell you in my next series of posts. Perhaps this can lead to a serious discussion of the content of this important (but neglected) position paper—and maybe even to some belated action by key decision makers. Stay tuned.

Bob Tell
Author, "Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal"

Monday, November 24, 2008

What is a Health Maven?

To the right of this post you will see my Health Maven badge. Perhaps you are wondering what this means.

In these difficult economic times, it’s comforting to know there are medical and patient experts out there who care enough to answer health questions online for free. Dr. Geoff Rutledge, MD PhD, Wellsphere’s Chief Medical Information Officer, told reporters today about the new Health Maven Program, which connects volunteer doctors, psychologists, nurses, personal trainers, expert-patients and other experts with health seekers who are looking for answers. I am proud to be included in this special group. Anyone with access to the Internet can get their health questions and concerns answered quickly and at no cost at

Health mavens are carefully selected, knowledgeable, health experts who are committed to helping others live healthier, happier lives. Hundreds of Health Mavens have volunteered to join the program and answer questions, with new Mavens signing up every day. “We’re witnessing an incredible growth in the number of people using the Internet to find health information” said Wellsphere’s CEO Ron Gutman. According to an iCrossing research repot, for the first time in history people with health questions are more likely to turn to the Web for answers than to their doctor. “Recognizing this trend among our users, we assembled the world’s leading network of over 1,800 medical and patient experts to share their experiences and expertise with’s almost 3 million monthly visitors. We are humbled by the experience, expertise and genuine care these wonderful individuals share every day with people who come to Wellsphere looking for answers” said Gutman.

In addition to providing a wonderful service to people seeking answers to their health questions, the Health Maven program allows participating medical professionals and patient experts to broaden their impact by sharing their experiences and expertise with a much wider audience, and to get the recognition they deserve.

Bob Tell
Author, "Dementia-Diary, A Caregiver's Journal"