Category: Matthew Holt

Matthew Holt is the founder and publisher of The Health Care Blog and still writes regularly for the site and hosts the #THCBGang and #HealthInTwoPoint00 video shows/podcasts. He was co-founder of the Health 2.0 Conference and now also does advisory work mostly for health tech startups at his consulting firm

Why England is out of the World Cup

Matthew holt

I don’t often write about Footy any more on THCB, but England is out of the World Cup today, stuffed 4–1 by Germany. So I thought I’d give my opinion, and for the moment I’m dropping my dual nationality and writing as an Englishman!

Why did we lose? Realistically England doesn’t have enough good players because England’s population is too small (50m vs 80m Germans) and—as pointed out in Soccernomics—the working class ethos against middle & upper class kids limits our potential pool of players even more—as England’s working class population is falling relatively as more kids go to college. In general England could improve our football team by changing its economy to match the slums of Argentina’s or Brazil’s but I wouldn’t take that as a fair trade. After all, the US dominates international sport (except its fifth most important sport soccer) because it has a huge urban underclass with a great feeder system (that’s colleges!) to getting them into basketball/American Football/Track etc. And it may well be that with more and more kids from the big urban centers getting into soccer, America can only improve. It’s a decent prediction that the US will win the World Cup in the next 50 years or so. Unlikely that England ever will again.

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Radio Stardom and the World Cup

I (and a few THCB friends like Brian Klepper, Maggie Mahar, Michael Millenson & Barbara Ficarra) have been doing quick spots on KOMO a talk radio station in Seattle. We’re on every Tuesday & Friday at about 10.25 EST. Usually I forget to record it but today I captured my 60 seconds of joc(k)ular wisdom on the topic of whether late goals in the World Cup are bad for your health?

Here’s the interview…(only 90 seconds!)

Soccer bad for your health?

A NY Times guest (inadvertently) spanks its professionals

A couple of weeks back two New York Times reporters (Abelson & Harris) decided to take on the orthodoxy of the Dartmouth school. Frankly their efforts reminded me of England’s performance in the world cup so far—abject and inept and leaving the fans hoping for much better. Within a few hours the mainstays of Dartmouth (Fisher & Skinner) responded correctly accusing Gardiner and Harris of shaky reporting. Although that original article was particularly muddled, there are indeed legitimate questions about some of the Dartmouth research, raised by serious academics (including on the august pages of THCB), but few of those made their way into the hodgepodge that was that original article. And now in their response to the response, Abelson & Harris have descended further into the mire.

The new argument is basically this. Yes, the Dartmouth academics have done all the corrections to regional data that the NYTimes duo accuse them of not having done. But they’re not available on the website within a click, not always portrayed in the maps in the Atlas, and (horror of horrors) you’d have to read Health Affairs to find out what they’d done. And that some of the academics who read Health Affairs hadn’t carefully looked at the maps which showed unadjusted data.

So now it’s not an academic issue or a misstatement. It’s an issue of poor user interface design! Well I guess we’re used to that in health care!

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Alere interviewed at AHIP

At the AHIP conference in Vegas earlier this month I sat down with the CEO of Alere, Tom Underwood, and long-time friend of The Health Care Blog, Gordon Norman (Alere’s SVP of Innovation). I asked Tom about the services they provide within personal health support and their recent acquisition of RMD Networks. 

Gordon got the big question: does disease management program really work? Tom got the easy questions about the future of the business.

What exactly is Healthymagination?

About a year ago GE started a campaign called Healthymagination. In the health care technology business GE had long been known for market leadership in big iron imaging like MRIs and CTs, as well as some diagnostics, and for a less prominent position in the growing market for health IT for doctors and hospitals (via some acquisitions, notably of IDX).

So then our TVs became flooded with adverts telling us this new buzzword. Some cynics scoffed, pointing out that GE’s advertising during the Olympics on NBC (its own property) was covering up for the global advertising shortfall. But Mike Barber the GE Vice President in charge of Healthymagination begs to differ!

He explained to me what Healthymagination is about and how it’s part of a real sea change in the health and health care strategy of one of the world’s biggest companies

Interview with Mike Barber, GE Healthymagination

Allscripts buys Eclipsys: Does it make sense?

Queen of shoes Inga at HISTalk got ahead of the news (she tweeted about 2 hours before the announcement—not sure if that led to the news being moved up—but the Eclipsys stock showed no sign of word getting out in advance and the website they’ve put up looks very thrown together!).  Inga also has the best summary.

The deal is that Allscripts is going to buy out Misys (which owned a majority stake following Allscripts buying the former Medic practice management system but was always trying to get out of the US HIT business) at about it’s rough current market price, and pay it a spiff on top of over $117m. I’m up with insomnia, so the US market isn’t open and we can’t know how it’ll like it. But the UK is open and Misys is trading 20% higher. So my guess is that Allscripts will take a hit for that. Meanwhile it’s paying about a 20% premium for Eclipsys. In the end Eclipsys shareholders will have 37% of the combined entity, Misys will keep a chunk of about 10% that Allscripts can buy out post closing. Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman will stay CEO, and Eclipsys’ CEO Phil Pead will be Chairman with a list of tasks that suggests that he’ll have more time on the golf course than Glen.

Does it make sense? Other than the financial deal, this is a moderate size bet from Allscripts, which is about double the market cap of Eclipsys. The bet is that there are enough hospitals who (like it’s star client North Shore-Long Island Jewish) will buy both an inpatient system and an integrated outpatient system for their affiliated physicians. They claim that it’s about 35% of the market.

But that remains to be seen. Most of the hospitals who are big enough to be “hubs” have already made a bet on an inpatient vendor, and in general that hasn’t been Eclipsys. (Calling them a “leader” in hospital IT is somewhat redefining the term) Whether enough of them are reconsidering their whole approach I doubt. But on the other hand Allscripts has shown that it can integrate diverse product lines with several of its acquisitions and make good business decisions about it (although not always thrilling customers who thought they were buying an ongoing product). And Eclipsys is profitable, so the downside risk doesn’t seem too high.

I guess the only real question is raised in a separate NY Times article yesterday which suggested that meaningful use criteria were so impossible that no one could possibly get the government’s money. Of course the expectation that EMR use will dramatically grow is the main justification behind Allscripts’ merger driven growth the last few years.

BTW checkout slide 21 on the slide deck of the announcement. Glen still can’t resist taking a crack at a certain CEO in Madison, Wisconsin.

Alexandra Drane, fabulous, poacher, with PODCAST

One of my favorite people has the (first of) her (several) 15 minutes of fame in the NY Times today. Alex Drane tells all about growing a small business into a pretty big one (although it’s in the NY Times art of running a small business section as I guess Eliza isn’t General Motors). Most interesting thing they print is that she recruited her team by stealing them from her competitors. Her technique was to call them up and ask the person they wanted if anyone they knew needed a new job! And apparently she wants all her employees to leave and run their company (or maybe she was misquoted!)

But don’t forget that besides her day job Alex is the force behind Engage with Grace which she’s taking to TedMed this Fall (yes we know the TedMedsters are two years behind Health 2.0, but we’ll forgive them in this case).

But most importantly, look at that smile….


And you’ll see Alex at Health 2.0 Goes to Washington if we can just wrestle her to get her demo in order later this week!

CODA–And as an added bonus I got to record a podcast with Alex this very afternoon! (Click on the dark bar below and it turns into a player)

Alex Drane interview

DrChrono shows their iPad chops

The guys from DrChrono have come a long way since we saw them first just last summer. They have a SaaS based practice management system, but at Health 2.0 at the Doctor’s Office they introduced an iPad-based tool for physicians. Here’s a quick video I took of them last month, with a live fake demo of what it might look like in a real encounter between a real doctor, and a fake patient.

Nancy Turett on Health Engagement

One of the more interesting surveys about health care in recent years has been the Edelman Health Engagement Barometer (HEB) first done in 2008 when I was tangentially involved—I wasn’t involved this year). Recently Edelman the global communications giant has redone the survey and it really pushed the boat out this year—doing the survey in 11 countries with a big oversample in the US.

A week or so ago I grabbed a few minutes with Nancy Turett who runs Edelman’s global health practice to get the overview of the new Health Engagement Barometer.

You can also hear more about all of this on Tuesday May 25 at 11 am EST when Nancy and a gang including the ever wonderful Jane Sarasohn-Kahn will be talking more about the HEB. You can get an invite to that by emailing

Are older patients ready for the personal healthcare revolution?

Our friend Michael Yuan at Ringful is working with some students in the business honors program at the University of Texas at Austin. They write:

As part of our class project, we are conducting a survey to understand how individuals and corporations are adopting new personal healthcare technologies. We need your help!

If you are managing a wellness or disease management program for an employer or insurer or hospital, we’d love to hear from you. Our goal is to survey members in your wellness / health plan on their perceptions of those potentially disruptive healthcare technologies. After the survey, we will share with you the aggregated results from your own employee/member population.

If you are able to help, please take 5 minutes to fill out a questionnaire. At the end of the questionnaire, we will ask for your email address. We will then get in touch via email and send you the link for your employees/members to fill out the consumer survey. Thank you so much!



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