The Business of Health Care

Unicornius Gorus – Theranos and Zenefits

The Lab test reinvented – Theranos

So I have to ask Theranos; which lab test have you reinvented?  Is it the one where you do a full blood draw and send it off to UCSF to pay way more than the amount you charged the patient?  Is there something in that business model I am not getting?  Or did you reach back to the old “I’ll make it up in volume” approach.

The Nation’s First Modern Benefits Broker – Zenefits

And you Zenefits, if your idea of “Modern Benefits Broker” is that they are not licensed to sell insurance, I think I’ll go for the pre-modern broker.Yes I know, I’ve heard it soooooo many times, all it takes is a bit of silicon valley whiz bang and the whole world will be better, take that unique bravado and creativity and apply it to healthcare, change the world.

Only one small problem; as Esther Dyson said at Health 2.0 many years ago and I’m paraphrasing from memory:

I’ll come back in two years and most of you won’t be here, why because you don’t understand healthcare.  You can build all the great systems you want, but if they don’t work in healthcare, because you don’t understand it, you’re done.

Yes it’s true that most of these hyped Silicon Valley products won’t work in healthcare and certainly  won’t change the world; but now we find out that some companies may have openly ignored or flouted basic healthcare blocking and tackling, things like product filings, operational process and reporting, licensure and compliance with regulations.

So these two companies and 23andMe before them have demonstrated exceptionally well that you can get to Unicorn valuation’s, by flat out ignoring or possibly working around the laws set up to protect the consumers and ensure that the products and services delivered meet standards.

I say to Silicon Valley – Bring me your innovation, your brains, your code, your new tech, but get some healthcare expertise before you decide to unleash your product on the world. We have enough problems in healthcare with unethical behavior, we don’t need some whiz bang silicon valley upstarts adding to it.

And while I’m at it since I have identified this unique new breed of Unicorn, I shall give it a proper name  Unicornius Gorus. The Self Goring Unicorn.


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