MedCity, in southeast London, is a collaboration between the mayor and the capital’s three academic health science centers – Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners, and UCL Partners – and it just might be the future of healthcare. Significant changes to an industry typically come from the outside. The Dollar Shave Club was not started by Gillette, Uber was not a spin-off from a taxi company, and Kim Kardashian was…you get the point. MedCity is a collaboration, not a disruption. It is meeting in the middle and tackling clinical trial recruitment, bench research, market access, workspace/equipment, and fundraising/investment opportunities. The three most important words in healthcare might be: location, location, location.
Providing notice of drug price increases sounds reasonable, right? “Not so simple,” say opponents of proposed California drug pricing legislation that calls for a 60-day notice of price increases. Opponents of the bill contend this could hang small pharmacies out to dry as larger pharmacies might be motivated to hoard drugs to avoid the higher prices to come. This could leave areas with fewer hospitals and pharmacies in danger of not being able to obtain drugs for patients with chronic illnesses. The bill could set a precedent in a movement to open up transparency across the health care system. But it could also lead to some nasty unintended consequences. Ugh. Healthcare is hard.
The Justice Department announced Wednesday that about 300 people have been charged with $900 million in false billing — a new record for the Medicare Fraud Strike Force. The arrested include 60 licensed medical professionals, including approximately 30 doctors. In one case, five people were arrested in Brooklyn for running an $86 million scam, in which they paid patients to receive unnecessary physical and occupational therapy, then billed Medicare and Medicaid for the treatment. We wish someone would pay us to go to the doctor.
A new report claims that Verily Life Sciences, the Google spinoff company responsible for things like glucose-monitoring contact lenses and a wristwatch-style cancer screener, may be more hype than reality. Stat, a healthcare news website owned by Boston Globe Media, published an investigative series reporting that three of Verily’s key projects are floundering. One former employee called the contact lenses “slideware,” a Silicon Valley term for something that doesn’t exist outside of a PowerPoint presentation. Verily defended its research, arguing that these projects take time because they’re “inherently difficult” and would like to remind everyone of another “slideware” project now called a self-driving car. “Science is easy,” said nobody, ever.
You probably know cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death, but a risk you may not be familiar with is going to the hospital. A new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed Medicare data and statistics from 13 hospitals to gain insight into the frequency at which medical errors contribute to death. In the study, the authors focused on preventable lethal events and their findings may give you a heart attack—medical error is the 3rd most common cause of death in the United States. The goals of the study are to increase funding for research into patient safety and to draw attention to the need for system improvements, not to scare the living daylights out of you. Too late.