Archive for July, 2012



What is a Healthcare Innovation Really Worth?

July 31st, 2012
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Healthcare, even for the insured, can wreak extremely high financial costs for patients, e.g., with hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer treatments and new drugs that can run up to $10,000 a dose. While it’s morally impossible to determine the exact value of a human life, a group at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is starting to ask a related question—how cost-effective are cancer treatments?
 
A recent article in Xconomy by Luke Timmerman that highlighted the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center study also pointed out that inefficiencies arise because many patients who could benefit from treatment never receive the drug. That puts the ultimate value of a drug that may cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop at zero. In addition, many people who have insurance can’t get reimbursed for certain treatments, and therefore still face financial hardships:
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Consumers to Battle the Healthcare Gods

July 25th, 2012
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There’s a joke that’s often shared by medical students: “What’s the difference between God and a doctor? God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.” Regardless of your spiritual orientation, the line illustrates the lofty perch (and decision-making power) occupied by physicians in today’s healthcare settings. But, as we at Popper and Co. have discussed, a new wave of consumer power may eventually topple this perch.
 
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal by author Doc Searls, “The Customer as a God,” focused on the growing power of customers using electronic devices for daily communication, shopping and other activities. Most current product development, the article points out, focuses on improving the supply of products to the customer, not involving the customer in making those products. This however, is changing. The story projected a future in which people use their devices to pick out clothes, replace parts for appliances, and shop for products—all unencumbered by invasive marketing tracking methods, corporate service plans, and other systems that, as Searls says, “tend to herd customers as if they were cattle.”
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Passage to China: My View of an Evolving Healthcare System

July 24th, 2012
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After attending the 2012 AusMedTech (Australia Medical Technology) national conference in Sydney, I decided to visit China to observe for myself how healthcare is practiced—and changing—in that country.
 
At first glance, Shanghai looks much like a bustling, Westernized city. As the world’s largest metropolis, it is more than twice the size of London or New York—and is a hugely crowded urban area where 18 million people live vertically in forests of high-rise residences. And these tight living quarters helped provide a glimpse of how China’s residents are managing their healthcare, with a mix of traditional and “Western” medical methods.
 
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POLL RESULTS: What is the single greatest health benefit afforded by Digital Health solutions?

July 18th, 2012
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I’ve previously discussed the health revolution that’s been initiated by the super-convergence of several key macro digital technologies and technology-based trends with healthcare and consumers. But many in the life sciences and healthcare industries have asked: “What are the ultimate health benefits?” It’s a great question since, beyond the hype and flurry of investments (tripling this year vs. the same period in 2011), we are still waiting to see large scale measurable health-related outcomes that are attributable wholly or in part to the combined application of digital health solutions.
 
In order to gauge the sentiment of professionals working at the forefront of digital health innovation I polled the members of my Digital Health group on LinkedIn: “What is the biggest human health benefit from using digital health?”

     

  • Disease management – 50%
  • Disease prevention – 30%
  • Disease diagnosis – 11%
  • Disease prediction (especially genomics) – 7%
  • Reduced radiation exposure (imaging) – 3%

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The Walgreens’ Way to Mobile Healthcare

July 10th, 2012
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At Popper and Company, we’ve watched and commented upon how the Walgreens drugstore chain has developed unique strategies, from prescription price negotiations to bringing pharmacists and customers closer together. Now, the chain is exploring ways its stores can better distribute and educate their customers on medical devices and the emerging world of mobile healthcare. In this post, I share highlights from my interview with Dr. Jay Rosan, VP of Health Innovation at Walgreens.
 
Is Walgreen’s moving into mobile health?

Most people view Walgreens as the community pharmacy—we have nearly 8,000 such stores. About two-thirds of Americans live within three miles of a Walgreens. We also have more than 350 retail clinics. We are one of the top specialty pharma retailers in the country, and the largest provider of workplace health and wellness centers in the U.S., with about 360 locations including many Fortune 500 companies. We are the closest place to home (for many Americans) so we have a lot of­­­ opportunities to facilitate personal health.
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