Incomprehensible Fragmentation Killed Haven

What does it mean when Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan confront a problem that’s not only too big to tackle, but it may also be too big to fully understand?

In the last 24 hours, business journalists have been having a field day reporting on the demise of Haven — the collaborative healthcare venture created by three of the nation’s biggest names in supply-chain management and finance. They’re asking why it failed and offering plausible reasons.

CNN reports the founding companies continued their own projects separately, “obviating the need for a joint venture, to begin with,” which The Wall Street Journal reports, “led to different priorities.”


2021 is the Year for Health Transformation (No, Really)

Our health system has been pushed to adopt technologies and other advancements swiftly so that we can survive — and, hopefully, it’s been a forceful shove out of complacency.

Remember the musings of 2019 industry analysts last December, pondering which digital technologies and biomedical and life science advances would make their mark in 2020? Despite all the right indicators and common sense — and even a global pandemic that no one could have predicted — too many of these cost-reducing and life-saving ideas fell victim to the unmovable health-system status quo. It was too comfortable just keeping the time-worn system in place.

In retrospect, on the eve of the new decade, we had the luxury of dipping our toes into the waters of digital and biomedical innovation and daydreaming…


Maintaining the Status Quo of Sick-Care Hits Companies Right in the Bottom Line

The average cost of insurance per employee for family coverage is approximately $20,576, with workers paying $6,013 on average toward the cost of their coverage. Is this sustainable? [istock Photo 122635457 by Aldarinho]

Have you put on your “COVID 19?” If you’re among the many millions of people trapped at home who have put on weight during the pandemic, it’s understandable. But the humorous phrase — derived from the familiar “Freshman 15” of weight gain to which first-year college students are prone — is a serious matter. Whether we add 15, 19 or 25 pounds, adding notches to belts comes with a price tag. In many cases, business owners are picking up that tab.

As economists have been pointing out for decades, this nation spends way too much on healthcare; $3.7 trillion annually…


Have a voice? Have a smartphone? That’s all that may be needed to screen vocal biomarkers, a non-invasive, democratic way to track disease symptoms

Photo Credit: RichVintage

Happy anniversary! (Not!)

As we head into the COVID-19 lockdown anniversary — a non-celebration marking one year separated from family, friends, and workplace community — one thing is clear. A full year into a pandemic that’s killed more than 500,000 Americans and put a pause on the world economy, we are still struggling with shortages of accurate, high-quality, cost-effective screen options. Yet this is perhaps the single biggest key to recovery.

Most of the easy ways we do spot testing — temperature checks or symptom questionnaires — offer a 50/50 chance of identifying someone as COVID-19 positive. Those are terrible odds. And from…


Medical Device Innovators Need Not Apply

Photo Credit: Christian Horz iStock — Getty Images

Right now, state and federal governments are throwing everything at COVID-19 with an urgency so great that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) that tear down long-standing obstacles to telehealth, digital health, diagnostics and innovative medications that may prove effective against the virus. Payers have been quick to follow, making these innovations — sometimes labeled “investigational” — available on their plans.

With the eyes of the world upon them, payers know that when beneficiaries’ health and corporate reputations are at risk, innovation is welcomed, and the “investigational” label is not a barrier to…


We Must Heal a Nation Divided — Politically and Medically

Photo credit: Diane Diederich iStock photo ID:479502104

By the time the guns fell silent on the fields of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, more than 40,000 soldiers — wearing grey and blue — lay dead, dying or wounded. Later that year, our nation’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, read words penciled on the way to the Gettysburg gravesites: the American government is “…of the people, by the people, for the people…”

Today, we imagine the graves of 400,000 Americans — identifying red and blue — who perished from COVID-19. Too many have died due to a nation divided, the absence of consistent state policies requiring mask use, or…


Let’s Pull the Plug on the Fax Machine — It’s Time We Go Digital

To incentivize overhauling our health information systems, we need to make medical information available to consumers. [iStock photo 2069667746]

We have proven that we can invent COVID-19 vaccines at warp speed. It’s a scientific achievement realized by mobilizing bench chemists, researchers, modelers, clinical trial managers, and regulators. These high-tech workers slept, ate, and toiled around the clock, working collaboratively and leveraging information and technologies to create medical miracles, squeezing years of work into just a few months.

We’ve got vaccines. Getting vaccinated is another matter.

It is amazing how one aspect of our response to COVID-19 appears fueled by light-speed technology, while another seems to be powered by a spinning hamster wheel. …


We are America the bullied. Buffeted by COVID-19, worried about the faltering economy, and anxious from unsteady leadership, Americans have another challenge going forward — their own mental health.

I read their emails. See their faces. Hear the trepidation in their voices. They’re bewildered. Beaten down. Exhausted. The events of the last several years, culminating in the disasters of 2020, have truly tested Americans. We became a nation bullied.

And it isn’t over. The pandemic is at its worst right now, putting incredible stress on America’s public health infrastructure, schools and institutions, and the people and small businesses that are the nation’s backbone. …


If you write a score of music or contribute intellectual property toward a commercial invention, you benefit from royalties. What about advocacy groups becoming the agents for patient data?

Right now, giants in analytics are transforming our data into “what to buy next” ads. As their analytic tools troll silently in the background, assessing our virtual check-out preferences, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Tik Tok, Twitter, and a host of other mega-giant social communities prove, again and again, that data is the new currency for continued economic success. The approach rests on the certainty that the technology industry’s value and clout are rooted in its monetization of consumer data.

Deploying data now seems so obvious and simple as the economic pathway for accelerating decision-making and growth. But, less obviously, data…


Just as digital health is a connector between physician and patient, media-driven conversation will be the essential catalyst for provider-systems to reassess on how they organize, resource, and integrate new ideas into their systems.

A viral force of nature is compelling the health system to reconsider how it determines patient needs and delivers care. Inequitable access to healthcare and lopsided disease and mortality burdens are playing out across our country in yet another tragic chapter of racial injustice. Health systems in all 50 states have no choice but to sail into the storm as the surge in COVID-19 cases threatens their ability to address both COVID- and non-COVID-related health needs. …

Gil Bashe

An ambassador for health communications as the essential bridge connecting healers and those seeking to be healed. Medika Life BeingWell author.

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