Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’



Single Cell Biology: A Step Toward Precision Diagnostics

January 21st, 2016
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The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in the ability to isolate and characterize single cells – leading to advances in diagnostics, drug discovery, stem cell biology, cancer, and many other areas of biomedical research.

These advances have arisen thanks to growing capabilities in various single cell “omics” technologies – which have enabled RNA and DNA sequencing on a genome-wide scale (the interrogation of proteins, metabolites, and many other types of molecules that provide information about cellular growth, differentiation, and the underlying molecular basis of disease).

And why has single cell technology become so attractive within the biomedical research community? Because most studies are currently hampered by sample heterogeneity.

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What Can Healthcare Learn From Project Management?

February 26th, 2014
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David Scher’s post was originally published on The Digital Health Corner.

 

Traditionally, manufacturers have adopted project management more than physicians and other healthcare providers have. But health technology expert and physician David Scher identifies several ways in which project management can help providers and hospitals develop a more focused approach to improving patient outcomes. Collaborative outlooks and teams; a designated project manager overseeing planning, management and execution of patient care; a shared vision among all participants; use of technology as a tool (as opposed to a standalone solution); and controlling costs all are familiar topics to project managers. Scher believes these concepts should become familiar to healthcare managers, as well.

 

At Popper and Company, we believe in helping facilitate the convergence of healthcare with technology and other industries. Thus, we hope you will read David’s full post on The Digital Health Corner to learn more about his ideas.

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A Meeting of Minds on the Value of Healthcare IT

February 19th, 2014
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As healthcare providers face challenges from empowered patients, the increasing impact of the internet and mobile technology on patient care, and more outcomes-focused regulatory requirements, the role of information technology in healthcare has never been more important. To both gain more perspective and to help align Popper and Company’s strategies with the latest advances and issues, I will be attending the annual HIMSS14 (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference in Orlando starting next week.
 
At Popper and Company, we’ve helped guide our clients around a wide range of healthcare IT issues, ranging from mobile health, to patient engagement, to establishing the value of healthcare IT—all “hot topics” at this year’s HIMSS meeting. I expect that some of the issues we’ve discussed in the past will be part of this year’s conference, namely:
 
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Technology versus the Elephants in the Medical Examination Room

February 13th, 2014
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David Scher’s post was originally published on The Digital Health Corner.
 
While technology is lauded for improving communication in many areas, including healthcare, there are still at least five issues that patients and even doctors find themselves uncomfortable discussing face to face. In his post “Five Elephants in the Exam Room: Can Technology Help?,” David Scher points out how new apps, Internet innovations and other electronic advances can help patients and doctors talk about issues like sexual function, alternative treatments, and advanced directives for end of life care. Digital tools may even help doctors become more accepting of the online world.
 
At Popper and Company, we believe in helping facilitate the convergence of healthcare with technology and other industries. We hope you will read David’s full post on The Digital Health Corner to gain another perspective on this convergence.

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Two Disparate Meetings – #CES2014 and #JPM2014: Each Addressing Healthcare’s Future

January 29th, 2014
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The 32nd annual JP Morgan Healthcare conference, held in San Francisco’s Westin St. Francis Hotel from January 13-16, was a posh affair by industry standards, with only select companies having been asked to present, investors as the key target audience, and a fertile ground for deal-making touted as the primary offering. An event characterized by (mostly) men in conservative suits, the 7,000+ attendees were jammed into the Westin’s narrow halls struggling to get a seat to hear the latest news from pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device manufacturers. Meanwhile, deal-making discussions, media interviews and satellite “meet-ups” occurred in the nooks and crannies of just about every hotel in a 5-block radius from the Westin.
 
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Is Digital Health the Key to Bringing Control to Drug Costs?

October 1st, 2013
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A recent article in Forbes by Matthew Herper points to one of the most significant opportunities for innovation in medicine – drug development costs. Herper estimated that a single drug can cost $5 billion to discover and develop – five times the conventional wisdom, which has long settled on $1 billion as the average cost to create a new drug.
 
The fact that drug development is expensive is, of course, well known, and is why there is no easy solution to the problem of high – sometimes astronomical – prescription drug prices. When looking at total healthcare costs, it is worth noting that there are many drivers in addition to drug costs. Vlogger John Green, in a widely circulated video last week, argues that every input in healthcare is too expensive. And, according to Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of UCSF, these cost increases are “not sustainable.” But certainly, prescription drug costs are a significant part of the problem. Separate from these arguments, pharmaceutical companies are often criticized for new treatments that are extraordinarily expensive (the CF drug Kalydeco at a cost of $294,000 per year is a recent example) and for the fact that many charge higher prices in the U.S. than they do in other countries.
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Cigna’s Decision on Genetic Testing Exposes Educational Gaps in Today’s Healthcare

August 20th, 2013
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“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Confucius’ ancient saying underscores a current issue in healthcare; how well do the major players in healthcare—patients, providers and payors—really understand the latest advances in genetics and disease? A recent Bloomberg News article about Cigna’s decision to require genetic counseling before approving a breast cancer genetic test has exposed this educational gap. In this post, we consider the implications of this decision.
 
Cigna’s requirement for patient counseling in advance of a specific genetic test being covered demonstrates that the balance of power in the healthcare trilogy is by no means set. While in this case, the payor has directed what it considers to be the appropriate use of genetic testing, Cigna’s action raises these important questions:
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Heading to Belgium to Save More Than a Few (Healthcare) Bucks

August 6th, 2013
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What does that tell us about consumerism in healthcare?
Reading Sunday’s New York Times article, “For Medical Tourists, A Simple Math,” I was struck both by the reporting of drastic price differences between surgical procedures here and in Europe (Belgium, in this case) and the subsequent interest the article generated. Upon reviewing comments from readers, I noticed that most indicated that they were more than willing to travel overseas to find high quality – but cheaper – health services. And, in general, there was much broader interest in health service costs than in the past. I got the distinct impression that customers are “tuned in.”
 
We’ve discussed the evolving role of patients as consumers, and clearly prices may start to become transparent (or at least comparable) enough for true consumer market power to chip away at healthcare costs. The article profiles an American who compared hip replacement surgery options in Belgium and the United States: Belgium won the contest with a cost of $13,660, versus $78,000 on this side of the Atlantic. At that differential, and with rising co-pays and self-insurance, many among us would be willing to catch a flight across the ocean. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can Digital Health Technology Be Part of the Secret to a Long and Healthy Life?

July 12th, 2013
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A comprehensive study of American lifespans and health published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association, which has received much media coverage, shows that while Americans are living longer, those extra years are less healthy when compared to older people in other industrialized countries.
 
While the report notes that certain diseases, like strokes, colon and breast cancer, and AIDS, have seen decreases in incidence, most of the conditions leading to increased cost of healthcare (namely, obesity and its associated co-morbidities cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and asthma) are increasing, and can be prevented with behavior and lifestyle changes, earlier intervention and better management. But clearly, that prevention isn’t happening.
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In Healthcare, Reframing Ideas Can Yield Innovation

May 13th, 2013
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While the word “revolution” is used often during a period of rapid, intense innovation such as the one we are currently experiencing in healthcare, it can be helpful to step back to see what’s sparking the revolution. The answer may lie in the word, “frame.”
 
From a medical or scientific student’s traditional lessons in genetics (specifically, frame shift mutations), to changes in our perspective on a problem, frames make very significant impacts. Defined as a conceptual structure used in thinking, a frame helps us give an issue or problem borders, shape and structure.
 
This cognitive tool, while useful for our brains, also creates limitations. The linguist George Lakoff points out that every word in our language evokes a certain frame. And once evoked, other words reinforce that frame in our minds, until the image or concept is so strong that we can’t see through or around it.
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