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Patient Journey or Customer Journey? How Salesforce’s CRM Aims to Reposition the EHR

BY JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

While at Dreamforce 2022, one of most thought-provoking things I heard was that, in order to really meet the needs of the healthcare consumer, we in healthcare need to once-and-for-all let go of the idea that there will be “one tech system to rule them all” and adopt an “and both” approach that integrates both the EHR and a CRM. The EHR is how we’ll “know the patient” and the CRM is how we’ll “know the customer.”

Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Salesforce’s SVP & Chief Medical Officer and Amit Khanna, SVP & GM of Salesforce’s Health & Life Sciences business join me to unpack this “and both” approach to infrastructure technology and talk all-things healthcare consumer. The paradigm shift that comes with this duality – we are at times “patients”, we are at times “customers” – is a big one. Especially in healthcare.

Dr. G speaks to the strategy that Salesforce is operating under to take its tech further into the healthcare and life sciences space, while Amit introduces us to some of the new Healthcare 360 product features launched at Dreamforce that fully show-off Salesforce’s expertise at integrating different technology solutions (Slack, MuleSoft, telehealth) and making perfect sense of massive amounts of real-time data (longitudinal record, health scoring).

As Salesforce advances further into the health market with more care-forward features in its CRM and a strategic focus on healthcare-important issues like improving equity and access to care, will our traditional view of the importance of the EHR change? What if the replacement tech comes with ‘self-service at-scale’ and more ‘seamless experiences?’ Could we head away from “and both” and choose CRM “instead of?” Tune in – the EHR IT infrastructure may have finally met its match!

Promises Made – Promises Kept:  President Biden’s Support for “Obamacare.”

BY MIKE MAGEE

As the saying goes, “History repeats!” This is especially true where politics are involved. 

Consider for example the past three decades in health care. It is striking how many of the players in our nation’s health policy drama remain front and center. And that includes President Biden who recently commented on the 12th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): 

“The ACA delivered quality, affordable health coverage to more than 30 million Americans — giving families the freedom and confidence to pursue their dreams without the fear that one accident or illness would bankrupt them. This law is the reason we have protections for pre-existing conditions in America. It is why women can no longer be charged more simply because they are women. It reduced prescription drug costs for nearly 12 million seniors. It allows millions of Americans to get free preventive screenings, so they can catch cancer or heart disease early — saving countless lives. And it is the reason why parents can keep children on their insurance plans until they turn 26.”

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Rethinking Newer Events

BY KIM BELLARD

It’s a lot more fun to write about exciting new technologies, or companies in other industries that healthcare could learn from, than to pick on healthcare for its many, well-known shortcomings, but there was an article in JAMA Forum last week that I had to note and perhaps expand on: A New Category of “Never Events” – Ending Harmful Hospital Policies, by  Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc and Adam L. Beckman, BS (he is also an MD/MBA student).  

The concept of a “Never Event” is well known by this point.  Coined some twenty years ago by Ken Kizer, MD of the National Quality Form (NQF) and soon widely adopted and expanded, it recognizes that healthcare sometimes has egregious errors that shouldn’t happen:  the wrong foot is amputated, the wrong drug/dosage is given, surgical instruments are left inside a patient, and so on.  Organizations like The Leapfrog Group exist largely to try to measure and compare hospitals on such patient safety issues.

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Interview: Sarah MacDonald, Author, The Cancer Channel

by MATTHEW HOLT

I met Sarah MacDonald in the early 2000s. She is the ultimate extrovert who sings, cooks, maintains a huge circle of friends, and lives life to the fullest–all at a pace & level most of us can’t imagine. In the early 2010s Sarah was flying high. Newly married, trying to get pregnant, all while being a Silicon valley business exec who had increasingly senior roles at eBay. Then in 2012 she was diagnosed with two completely separate types of cancer. And in her head “The Cancer Channel” started playing nonstop.

That became the title of her book. I just read it and I literally couldn’t stop. It’s practical, it’s heart-wrenching, it’s warm, it’s funny (yes, funny!). And it’s an amazing look at the exact experience of someone going through cancer. Or in this case cancer x 2. I was lucky enough to interview Sarah (so there is a very happy ending). So please watch this and buy & read the book

The Secret Surveillance Capitalism That Suffuses Medicare

By MICHAEL MILLENSON

Imagine a government program where private contractors boost their bottom line by secretly mining participants’ personal information, such as credit reports, shopping habits and even website logins.

It’s called Medicare.

This is open enrollment season, when 64 million elderly and disabled Americans choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans. MA membership is soaring; within a few years it’s expected to encompass the majority of beneficiaries. That popularity is due in no small part to the extra benefits plans can provide to promote good health, ranging from gym membership and eyeglasses to meal delivery and transportation assistance.

There is, however, an unspoken price for these enhancements that’s being paid not in dollars but in privacy. To better target outreach, some plans are routinely accessing sophisticated analytics that draw upon what’s euphemistically labeled “consumer data.” One vendor boasts of having up to 5,000 “certified variables for every adult in America,” including “clinical, social, economic, behavioral and environmental data.” 

Yet while companies like Facebook and Google have faced intense scrutiny, health care firms have remained largely under the radar. The ethical issue is obvious. Since none of this sensitive personal information is covered by the privacy and disclosure rules protecting actual medical data, it is being deliberately used without disclosure to, or explicit consent by, consumers. That’s simply wrong.

But a more fundamental concern involves the analyses themselves.

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Sylvana Sinha, CEO, Praava Health

Sylvana Sinha is CEO of Praava Health, a primary & specialty care network based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. While the average American may only think about Bangladesh when there’s some disaster on the news it’s a country of 165m+ people with a GDP per capita exceeding India’s. It lacks excellent health services for its growing middle class, and that’s the gap Praava Health is filling. I learned a lot about Sylvana, Bangladesh, and Praava in this quick interview —Matthew Holt

Pfizer’s Biotech Strategy: When a “Market Force” Partners with a “Market Mover”

by JESSICA DAMASSA, WTF HEALTH

The synergistic relationship between biotech’s and biopharma’s can dramatically change the way new drugs and vaccines are bought to market – helping advance innovation on BOTH sides in a very mutually beneficial way. I’ve got an inside look at how Pfizer is working with emerging biotech start-ups, thanks to this in-depth chat with Pfizer’s Senior Vice President of Business Innovation, Kathy Fernando.

Kathy is not only responsible for developing relationships with biotech’s on behalf of Pfizer, BUT during the pandemic she led Pfizer’s mRNA scientific strategy, which was integral to its ability to rapidly develop the Covid-19 vaccine. We geek out on the “cool science” that mRNA is – AND the new platforms that biotech’s are bringing to the table – and talk about the impact both are making on the business of Big Pharma, the hot biotech investment space, and, most importantly, patients.

We also get into a bigger conversation about innovation in the Life Sciences industry – with great insights that can be extended to the rest of healthcare quite easily. I ask point blank: Pfizer is a gigantic, global biopharma company…Why wouldn’t it do these types of innovations internally, in-house themselves? Why partner outside?

Kathy explains the magic that is unlocked when a “market force” partners with a “market mover” for the sake of innovation, and the lessons learned are far reaching and applicable no matter where you are in health innovation.

How is Pfizer looking at new models for collaborating with biotech companies? What are the key characteristics of Pfizer’s culture of innovation that have newly emerged or deepened as a result of their work on the Covid vaccine during the pandemic? We dive deep into the biopharma-biotech model and all it brings in terms of new science, breakthrough therapies, and brand-new business opportunities. Watch now!

Does Surviving The Plague Mean You Will Eventually Contract An Autoimmune Disease?

BY MIKE MAGEE

This Fall, I am teaching a 4-week course on “How Epidemics Have Shaped Our World” at the President’s College at the University of Hartford. It is, of course a timely topic, but also personally unnerving as we complete a third year under the shadow of Covid-19.

Where does one begin on a topic such as this? Yale historian, Frank M. Snowden, in his book “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present”, made his intentions obvious. He would begin with the plaque. Why? His answer, “The word ‘plague’ will always be synonymous with ‘terror’”, and especially references:

Virulence: “It strikes rapidly, causing excruciating and degrading symptoms, and, if untreated, achieves a high case fatality rate (CFR)…of at least 50%.”

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Future of Big Data in Health? LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Says Next-Gen Tokenization & Health Equity

BY JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH

Data-juggernaut LexisNexis® Risk Solutions is making a big data play in healthcare, launching a new capability that allows for unprecedented accuracy in the kind of de-identified data that payers, providers, and pharma are clamoring to use for everything from cutting admin expenses to improving patient outcomes and health equity.

Jeff Diamond, President & General Manager of The Health Care Business of LexisNexis® Risk Solutions and Andrea Green, Director of Healthcare Strategy, SDoH, drop in for a chat about all things VERY big data, including this concept of “next-gen tokenization” which leverages LexisNexis’s massive amount of consumer data as a way to connect data “personas” to create a much more accurate, actionable, and longitudinal view of a patient.

The thing to understand is just how much health data LexisNexis® Risk Solutions is working with and who they are working with it for: 90% of commercial payers in the US; 8 of the Top 10 pharma manufacturers; 10 of the Top 10 retail pharmacies; and hundreds of hospital systems.

So, how is this data “turned” into insightful and actionable information that appeals to this top-tier clientele? Jeff and Andrea walk through use case after use case that demonstrate the ‘business of healthcare’ applications of the LexisNexis data processing platform (think patient safety, risk stratification, claims analytics, provider directory, etc.) with special emphasis on how their new analytics suite, focused on Social Determinants of Health data, is helping with such clinical initiatives as improving diversity in clinical trials and providing predictive insights about patients who might need mental healthcare support. The data comes to life in this one. Watch now!

Art Is in the Eye of the Computer

BY KIM BELLARD

It turns out that I’ve been writing about Generative AI without even realizing there was something called Generative AI, such as articles about the robot artist Ai-Da, the AI image creator DALL-E, or patent protection for AI inventors.  Generative AI refers to AI that strives not just to process and synthesize data but to actually be creative.  It’s starting to both become more widespread and to attract serious attention from investors.  

James Currier of investment firm NFX sees “Generative Tech” as the next big thing: “If crypto hadn’t happened, we’d probably be calling THIS Web3.”  He distinguishes Generative AI from Generative Tech as: 

Some have called it “Generative AI,” but AI is only half of the equation. AI models are the enabling base layers of the stack. The top layers will be thousands of applications. Generative Tech is about what will actually touch us – what you can do with AI as a partner.

He predicts Generative Tech will generate “trillions of dollars of value.”  I’m hoping that healthcare is paying attention.

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