Incomprehensible Fragmentation Killed Haven

Image for post
Image for post
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)

Image for post
Image for post
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…


Medical Device Innovators Need Not Apply

Image for post
Image for post
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

Image for post
Image for post
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

Image for post
Image for post
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. …


Image for post
Image for post
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. …


Image for post
Image for post
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…


Image for post
Image for post
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. …


We can overcome our differences to act for the common good.

Image for post
Image for post
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. The bill-signing ceremony took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri. Former President Harry Truman, a proponent of greater access to health benefits 10 years earlier, was enrolled as the first Medicare first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card.

Medicare is an American success story. Today, nearly all US seniors have access to health care through Medicare, one of the great Federal benefit programs guarded by political leaders from both sides of the aisle. Since its inception in 1965, there have been subtle to dramatic improvements championed by Democrats and Republicans alike. These range from the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act Part D Drug Plan to the Medicare Advantage options. Like Social Security, Medicare survives owing to citizens’ demand that lawmakers guard what they view as an essential benefit.

In 1965, it was very different. Almost 25…


Time to Use Your Head? Think Again.

Image for post
Image for post
Dr. Tony Fauci holds our attention. His plain-spoken approach to communicating issues and his personal appeal grabs people’s attention.

Here in the US, we’re losing the fight against coronavirus. That’s a strange turn of events, especially since slowing its spread can be accomplished with simple, low-tech approaches such as physical distancing, hand washing, and masks. And yet, as infection rates mount and statistics of tragic losses stare us in the face every day, the virus continues to upend economic stability, cause social isolation and diminish our health. Private and public health communicators must take notice.

Why are we doing so badly? First and foremost, we’re terrible at conveying what needs to be done in simple, straightforward terms that resonate…

Gil Bashe

An ambassador for health communications as the essential bridge connecting healers and those seeking to be healed. MM&M Top 50 Health Influencer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store