Interesting reads in health tech: 7/24

Made it off the Appalachian Trail alive despite days of 95 degree heat and pouring rain! Here’s a few things I found interesting from the shortened week:

News:

  • Amazon has a group called 1472 focused on healthcare and just hired an exec from Box who led their healthcare team. Not really sure what to think of this… I suppose it’s exciting since they seem to disrupt everything and it means more shots on goal trying to solve a really complex problem. Here’s hoping they can help make healthcare better. Link.
  • Bind raised $2.5 million for ‘on-demand’ health insurance from Lemhi Ventures. Interested to hear more about how exactly they’re going to try to provide on-demand insurance — I guess they’ll cherry pick healthy members and people with known upcoming medical issues for specific insurance options with limited benefits that are linked to those known issues. Seems like it relies on a big assumption that people are rational buyers of insurance and will understand the differences between these plans. Link.

Opinions:

  • I like the idea of hospitalizations at home. Not for all hospitalizations, obviously, but for the subset of conditions that could be easily treated in a home setting… makes sense that outcomes would be better (and at lower costs!). The anecdotes in this NYT article on Mount Sinai’s experience implementing such a program are helpful nuggets. The operational issues don’t seem like they should stop models like this from developing, particularly in the climate we’re in today. Link.
  • A good article about the complexities of navigating healthcare costs and pricing by a doctor trying to figure out the cost of a CAT scan. It is crazy to me how challenging this is. Link.
  • Ohio is trying to enact a price transparency law to help patients understand the costs of a procedure. But… hospitals / providers are trying to prevent this due to the administrative burden. We tried numerous times at Harken to implement price transparency initiatives with our care teams in our health centers, but were always stopped by our legal team at the threat of pissing off health systems who don’t want their rates shared. Link.
  • Again on the cost of care front… a company called EmCare staffs emergency rooms for hospitals and bills way more for doing so because they’re out of network with insurers. The data regarding billing practices before a hospital begins using EmCare and after is pretty startling to look at. Link.

Data:

  • No healthcare data this week, so instead an Appalachian Trail fun fact… the Appalachian Trail is ~2,200 miles long. Did my first section of it last week, totaling ~75 miles and now debating whether to attempt section hiking it in life.