24 December 2022 |

Healthcare’s Naughty and Nice List

By workweek

The Santa of healthcare revealed his final naughty and nice list for healthcare. I won’t reveal who the Santa of healthcare really is, but let’s just say he created this holiday list based on all the Healthcare Huddle content in 2022.

Naughty List

  • Digital mental health pill mills: Startups like Cerebral and Done abused pandemic-related flexibilities to rashly diagnose consumers with ADHD and dish out controlled substances like Adderall as if they were candy. Where’s the trust?! I wrote about Cerebral’s rise and fall here. Blake recently covered this messy situation here.
  • Anti-abortion Laws: Abortion is healthcare. To restrict access to abortion is to restrict access to healthcare. That’s not even naughty—it’s evil.
  • Biogen: CMS increased Medicare Part B premiums by 15% in 2022 to set aside money for Biogen’s Alzheimer drug Aduhelm. This drug, however, showed poor efficacy in clinical trials and is one of the most controversial drugs to hit the market. The FDA approved the drug in 2021 despite an expert panel recommendation not to approve it. I summarized the drama here.
  • Digital health funding: Digital health funding came to a relative halt compared to 2021’s record-breaking funding year. Companies were essentially overvalued in 2021. Given this year’s poor economic climate, 2022 became the year of correction as startups laid off large chunks of their workforce. Read about it here.
  • Burnout: This will always make the naughty list for as long as it remains a critical problem in healthcare. Healthcare providers are leaving the industry at alarming rates. I covered burnout for nurses here.

Nice List

  • Cost Plus Drugs Company: We said, “drug prices are so unaffordable people are rationing their life-saving medications.” Mark Cuban said, “hold my phone,” and launched a cost-plus drug company. I covered the company’s launch here, and Blake wrote a beautiful thread on the company here. I also wrote an op-ed for MedPage Today, recapping what the company has accomplished over the year—to be published on Thursday, 12/29!
  • ChatGPT: While far from being a commonplace tool in healthcare, ChatGPT has immense potential to improve the efficiency of healthcare. I covered it here.
  • Travel nursing agencies: The real winners of 2022 were travel nursing agencies, which provided nurses with 2-4x the salary compared to nurses employed by hospitals. I covered travel nursing at the beginning of the year here. Blake covered the end of the travel nursing saga here. You can also argue that travel nursing agencies are naughty…
  • California: Cali plans to manufacture its own insulin, making the med more affordable for Californians. Again… why wait for the federal government to do something when you can just do it yourself?
  • Caraway: Health care in college sucks, especially for women. Caraway launched over the summer to leverage technology and make all-encompassing health care accessible for women+ college students.
  • Guaranteed Health: The hospice industry is a mess, filled with misaligned incentives to provide high-quality end-of-life care. Guaranteed recently launched to transform the hospice space with tech-enabled services.
  • Novel Anti-Obesity Meds: Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, and Amgen revealed promising clinical trial results of their novel anti-obesity medications this year. These drugs will change the landscape of obesity as we know it. I recapped it all here.

I write healthcare deep dives from the provider and business perspectives. Sign up for the Healthcare Huddle newsletter here.