23 July 2022 |

Outside the Huddle #136

By workweek

1) Premium Hikes in 2023

Insurers on the ACA Marketplace are prepping to increase premiums on average 10% next year. Inflation and impending policy changes influence such premium hikes.

2) Buy vs. Build in Healthcare

Rik Renard dives into the thought processes around building a feature or outsourcing it. He touches on the Steve Jobs mindset, where you choose one thing and focus solely on that one thing—everything else is a distraction. In Rik’s words:

Focus only on the attributes of your product that your customers are going to care about. Everything else (e.g infrastructure) you should outsource. The second point here is that being a utility company is an exceedingly great business (but that’s food for another blog).

3) Talk the Talk vs Walk the Walk

Researchers at Rock Health analyzed the clinical robustness and public claims made by digital health companies. Often, digital health companies make claims on their website such as “reduces no shows by 50%!” How true are such claims? Well, they may be true but the evidence to show that is lacking. The researchers found that many digital health companies don’t perform clinical validation efforts to support their claims.

4) Apple Health Pats Itself on Back

Apple shared a new report a new report showing how the company’s products are taking patient-centered care to the next level. It’s a thorough report, detailing all the good they’re doing for healthcare. I won’t deny it, they continue to launch amazing features to better health.

5) Climate Tech and Western Europe’s Heat Wave

Nick Van Osdol covered the heat wave that hit Western Europe. He discusses how climate tech can help society adapt to extreme weather events while we work to reduce greenhouse emissions. This tech includes window-mounted heat pumps, recycling water and genetically engineering crops to be resistant to high temperatures.

6) The Price You Pay

A new JAMA article finds substantial variation in payer-negotiated prices for common cardiovascular procedures between renowned U.S. hospitals. Surprised? I’m not. I recently covered unwarranted clinical variation, explaining how the same type of patient with the same type of complaint may receive completely different care depending on where they go in the U.S.

7) Epstein-Barr virus infection: the leading cause of multiple sclerosis

Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking findings of the year: the Epstein-Barr virus is necessary to cause multiple sclerosis, although not sufficient. With a key ingredient of MS now identified, scientists can design a vaccine to target antigens on EBV, thereby preventing, or eliminating, the disease. Check out this review article highlighting the key findings of the research.

8) Sickle Cell Disease: A Review

A review on Sickle Cell Disease published in JAMA highlights important disease pathophysiology and management. One aspect the authors touched upon was the inequities around SCD funding. For example, cystic fibrosis gets 10x more funding than SCD, even though CF has a lower prevalence than SCD in the U.S. (30,000 vs. 100,000). Unsurprisingly, most of those with CF are white while those with SCD are Black.