Oh, hey. Good to see you. These are our new digs, whadya think? If we’re being honest, it’s a lot nicer working in here instead of dealing with all the formatting and extraneous stuff in our email system. This is…more efficient, let’s call it.

Anyway, nothing else has changed, you still get several topics in health and healthcare to close out your week. As always, let us know if you have suggestions.

Wearable Health Tech

  • We’re starting here because this is the article that made us decide to include this topic this week. Look, folks, we all know that the lines between consumer technology, fashion, and healthcare are blurring. But socks!? Really? Actually yeah, this is cool. Siren raises $3.4 million for smart socks that track diabetic health (TechCrunch)



  • And hey, if we’re looking at diabetes literally from the bottom up, we might as well start at the top, right? Like, what we put into our bodies directly affects things like diabetes. There’s a team of bioengineers with an idea to…help? This isn’t wearable so much as embeddable. Chris Dancy, get excited. A ‘Chipped’ Tooth Reveals What You Eat and Drink (HealthDay) (And since we don’t have access to this technology, we’ll go ahead and tell you that we’re currently drinking a splash of Cleveland Underground.)






The Pharmaceutical Industry


  • While the Arnolds are going the philanthropic route to drop costs, there’s talk that Amazon could also take a bite out of drug prices. In this case, it’s by bypassing pharmacy benefit manager (PBMs), which account for as much as 20% of drug-related spending each year. Pharma Middlemen Have Targets On Their Backs (Forbes)


  • In the meantime, the pharmaceutical industry – particularly the part of it that makes biologics – has been pushing for rules that would keep their profits intact. And, for good or ill, the current administration has obliged. Trump Policy Change Is a Win for Drugmakers (WSJ subscription required)


  • The insurance industry isn’t exempt from the discussion, either. The pharmaceutical industry has questioned whether insurance and PBMs use rebates appropriately, to which the latter says something like, “of course we do.” Still, there’s room for improvement and insurers are headed that way – giving rebates straight to consumers. Aetna to offer point of sale pharmacy rebates to 3M customers (Healthcare Dive)
  • We want to be careful not to focus too much on the negative, or at least controversial. For all the debate and frustration around what our medications (and, let’s be honest, other healthcare services) cost – and who’s paying for it – pharma is still doing amazing things by finding new ways to improve our lives and cure disease. Are they perfect? No. Is there a lot of innovation coming out of drug companies? Absolutely. According to one set of metrics, the most innovative drug company is also one of the largest. This Company Beat the Odds to Become One of the World’s Most ‘Innovative’ Drug Giants (Fortune)
  • And plenty of other companies are trying to do the same – do more, faster, better. Some are turning to startups to get there. Big Pharma’s billion-dollar scramble to invest in start-ups to fuel innovation (CNBC)


  • This section was prompted by the news that Oscar Health just raised another $165 million and is valued at over $3 billion. On top of that, Oscar – arguably the most high-profile company that’s trying to change the way we do health insurance – is projecting that profits will start to roll in soon after years of losing money. Oscar Health raises $165M from investors (Healthcare Dive)





  • Now that we’ve all had time to digest the initial announcement we’re also starting to see more analysis of what the Amazon/JP Morgan/Berkshire Hathaway push into healthcare could actually mean. Lots of opinions, here’s one from the (conservative) think tank American Enterprise Institute: Can Amazon save the US health care industry? A long-read Q&A with Ben Ippolito (AEI blog & podcast)


Personal Health Information

  • We’ve been spending a lot of time on EHRs lately. This is related, though not exclusive to actual EHR systems.


  • We all want patients – us – to have control over our own data, right? The government does, too. Part of the motivation is, well, giving it back to patients. The other part, though, is giving it back to patients in the hopes that they will then allow medical companies (med device, pharma, health tech, etc) to access it and use it for innovation. The government wants to free your health data. Will that unleash innovation? (STAT News)




  • As always – and we’ve discussed this here before – the push towards better, more accessible personal health information is a good thing. But with that comes risk. Security of medical records continues to be a big concern for the healthcare industry, highlighted by recent mistakes and breeches. And healthcare insiders are worried about the security of their information. Like, really worried. Survey: 79 Percent of Healthcare Pros Concerned About Cybersecurity of Personal Data (Healthcare Informatics)



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