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

Matthew Holt’s EOY 2017 letter (charities/issues/gossip)

Right at the end of every year I write a letter summarizing my issues and charities. And as I own the joint here, I post it on THCB! Please take a look–Matthew Holt

Well 2017 has been quite a year, and last year 2016 I failed to get my end-of-year letter out at all. This I would like to think was due to extreme business but it probably came down to me being totally lazy. On the other hand like many of you I may have just been depressed about the election–2016 was summed up by our cat vomiting on our bed at 11.55 on New Years Eve.

Having said that even though most of you will never comment on this letter and I mostly write it to myself, I have had a few people ask me whether it is coming out this year–so here it goes.

2017 was a big year especially for my business Health 2.0. After 10 years my partner Indu Subaiya and I sold it to HIMSS–the biggest Health IT trade association and conference. And although I used to make fun of HIMSS for being a little bit staid and mainstream, when it came to finding the right partner to take over Health 2.0’s mantel for driving innovation in health technology, they were the ones who stepped up most seriously. From now on the Health 2.0 conferences are part of the HIMSS organization, and Indu is now an Executive Vice President at HIMSS. I’ll still be very involved as chair of the conferences and going to all of them but will (hooray!) be doing a lot less back office & operational work. (Those of you in the weeds might want to know that we are keeping the Health 2.0 Catalyst division for now at least)

That does mean that next year I will have a bit more time to do some new things. I haven’t quite figured out what they are yet but they will include a reboot of (my role at least) on The Health Care Blog and possibly finally getting that book out of the archives into print. But if you have any ideas for me (and I do mean constructive ideas, not just the usual insults!) then please get in touch. You can of course follow me on Twitter (@boltyboy) to see what I’m thinking with only modest filtering!Continue reading…

Welcome to Healthcare IT Live!

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This time the camera was turned on THCB’s Matthew Holt. Tim Cook of Healthcare IT Live! interviewed Matthew for the web show, which takes place weekly on Google+ Hangouts. Click for a list of the show’s upcoming guests.

Vegas, Baby, Vegas

It seems that I just got back from Vegas and CES although I had 3 weeks in India & Hong Kong in between. But in a few minutes I’ll be off there again as this time HIMSS brings its modest 40,000 attendees to Vegas. (When I say modest, CES had 200K!) THCB and Health 2.0 News will be there in force with me, Laura Montini & Jennifer Lee looking dangerous with our flip cams, while Health 2.0ers Marco Smit, JL Neptune & Pat Ryan will be working with AT&T, ONC, Novartis and other clients. And to those of you following on Twitter, the red satin jacket was the winner in the poll for what I’ll be wearing as fashion judge at HISTalkpalooza (and afterwards Regina Holliday will paint it!). So expect lots of video interviews on THCB and Health 2.0 News in the next days and weeks, and wish us luck as we descend into miles of walking all fueled by too much alcohol and too little sleep!

Another nail in the DM coffin?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water, the CBO is out with the bad news that in its analysis of over 30 disease management programs, and none of the independently run ones saved Medicare any money. Even the ones that succeeded, which put the medical groups at risk and generally lodged the DM nurses with them (rather than have them call in on the phone), didn’t save enough to justify the costs of the program.

Now the first group isn’t a surprise to those of us who followed the fate of Medicare Health Support. The second group includes a series of demonstrations paying physician groups to save money. They did better, but not well enough to save once the extra costs of the program are included. (Details here). We can only hope that using more lightweight technologies with better understanding of patient behavior does in fact end up saving money–as has been shown in some commercial medical home settings. But we must also be prepared to admit that we don’t yet know how to save money in the care of the chronically ill under Medicare. Which means that the only obvious way to do it is to cut payments to providers!

Progress made by ONC (Really!)

ONC Director Farzad Mostashari is out with his review of 2011 on a month by month basis. Good to see that Farzad & colleagues took December 2011 off (just kidding!). He calls it a year of “momentous” progress. I’m doubly biased because I’m a proponent of newer and better health technology for clinicians AND citizens. Also, (FD) Health 2.0 is the main subcontractor on the i2 Investing in Innovation challenges which were–as noted by Farzad–launched in June, have had several close already, and will continue to roll off the production line for another 18 months. But as a general and occasionally cynical observer I’m very impressed with what ONC has done. Continue reading…

Usual, customary and made up

It’s been a while since THCB discussed usual customary and reasonable charges, and it’s been longer since health plans did much about them–other than cover them at a low rate and let providers charge what they like. That’s mostly because Ingenix (now Optum Insight) got itself and United beaten up about the topic a while back. But I noticed today (via a company selling expensive webinars about the topic) that Aetna is starting to go after providers that are gilding the Lilly on out of network charges again. In this case a couple of surgeons who were self-referring to a surgery center they owned, not charging the patients their official share, and meanwhile somehow managed to charge nearly $100K for ear wax removal. Aetna, don’t forget, was the “nice” insurer that started the trend of settling with doctors and being nice to them over pricing back in Jack Rowe’s time as CEO. If Aetna’s now starting to get aggressive about out of network charges to its members, then perhaps we really are entering a new era of health insurer activity.

Uwe on premium support and vouchers

There’s a great post on the NY Time Economix blog from Uwe Reinhardt explaining the theoretical difference between premium support and voucher systems (and you thought they were the same thing!). Unfortunately it skirts the real problem that those of us playing along at home know too well. Either a well constructed premium support (Ryan done right), or a well constructed voucher/managed competition (Enthoven) system, a mixed public/private system (Germany, Starr, Reinhardt) or even a decent Medicare for all /Single payer system (PNHP, McCanne) needs to be designed holistically to have a chance of working–especially to ensure that all people are in plans that treat them all equally.Continue reading…

Obama-cares (if you’re under 26)

CDC data just in, reported by Jonathan Cohn at THR, suggests that the impact of allowing young people to stay on their parent’s insurance (or as Michael Cannon would say, forcing employers to cover dependents up to the age of 26) is having a big impact. Up to 2.5 million adults under the age of 26 have moved into coverage. Frankly I’m not surprised. There’s always been a huge group of uninsured young adults moving between high school and college and the workforce. And if you hadn’t noticed, there’s a recession on and good jobs with insurance are hard to find. I know at least three young adults working in the semi-contingent labor force who are on their parents’ insurance. Of course they’d better hope they don’t turn 26 before 2014. But even this little gain is something the Democrats need to punch home about the Republicans: Those bastards want to take your kid’s insurance away! And they do.