Fitbit in February 2019 launched a new fitness tracker, the Inspire, which is available through health and wellness providers only. From a consumer perspective, the Inspire is a fully subsidized (i.e. free) product intended to be distributed in mass quantities and is promoted “as a way to encourage the well-being of health care recipients”. The tracker monitor activity and sleep, calories burned, and prompts wearers with reminders to get
InsurTech Oscar Health in February 2019 named Sid Sankaran CFO, reporting to CEO Mario Schlosser. He succeeds Brian West. Sankaran joins from American International Group (AIG) where he was CFO and earlier, chief risk officer. Prior to AIG, he worked for consulting firm Oliver Wyman as a partner in the Finance and Risk practice in Toronto, Canada; and Mercer Risk, Finance & Insurance Consulting and MMC Enterprise Risk. He
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in November 2018 released the 2018 edition of Health at a Glance: Europe. This report is led by the European Commission and designed to assist member states in improving the health of their citizens and the performance of their health systems. The report cites “two overarching trends [that] warrant special mention”: [T]he steady increase in life expectancy has slowed considerably in
Cigna in September 2018 announced the launch of Cigna Ventures, a corporate venture fund focused on transformative and innovative healthcare companies. Cigna has committed $250 million of capital to help it find, assess and sponsor early-stage innovation ideas that call for deeper exploration through pilots and test-and-learn activities. The $250 million will be used to invest in startups and growth-stage companies across three strategic areas: insights and analytics; digital
The fledgling Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase health care company for employees in September 2018 appointed Jack Stoddard as chief operating officer. Stoddard joins the company from media firm Comcast, where he was General Manager of the Digital Health division; and previously, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of Comcast Ventures’ investee Accolade, a health technology and services company providing health navigation and care coordination to consumers.
The new health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced June 20 that Harvard professor and well-known author Atul Gawande would be the company’s CEO. The idea for the new company is to innovate by cutting costs from the health care system, starting with the more than 1 million employees of the three companies behind the venture.
Poor quality health services are holding back progress on improving health in countries at all income levels, according to Delivering Quality Health Services – a Global Imperative for Universal Health Coverage, a joint report published in July 2018 by the OECD, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. Factors that hinder progress include inaccurate diagnoses, medication errors, inappropriate or unnecessary treatments, inadequate or unsafe clinical facilities or practices,
A new OECD Health Statistics 2018 report, released in June 2018, shows that health spending in 2016 grew by its fastest rate in seven years, with further growth expected in 2017. OECD countries spending on health care increased by 3.4% on average in 2016, its highest rate since 2009. That percentage is still below pre-global financial crisis levels, when average health expenditures rose by around 4-6% per year (in
AIA Singapore and Medix in May 2018 announced an exclusive partnership to offer Personal Medical Case Management Services (PMCM) to AIA customers. The service is said to be the first of its kind in Singapore and will help customers facing serious medical conditions by making sure they get the right diagnosis as fast as possible, have access to optimal treatment, and are supported through their treatment journey until recovery.
U.S. surgeon general Jerome Adams in April 2018 urged employers to help in fighting the opioid epidemic. He was speaking at a conference sponsored by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), an association of large employers. Adams estimates that 2.1 million people in the U.S. are struggling with an opioid-use condition. While these drugs can be helpful for a short time, they pose serious addiction risks. Common opioids include
Efforts to increase workforce productivity have focused on upgraded technology, process improvement and better governance. A white paper released in March 2018 by Morneau Shepell suggests that it is now time to tackle the most complex element of improving workforce productivity: ensuring commitments to total health from employers and employees. Total Health: the last piece of the workforce productivity puzzle, by Dr. Bill Howatt, explains that workforce productivity, or
Three months after the December 2017 announcement that CVS Health had purchased Aetna, their respective shareholders on March 13, 2018 voted to approve the proposed $69 billion merger of the companies at special meetings. As discussed in an earlier post, the acquisition sets the stage for a new type of company that will include a health insurer, a retail pharmacy, and a pharmacy benefits manager that negotiates prescription drug
Men and women of all age groups have been visiting YouCanPlanForThis.org, a free website launched in September 2017 by independent nonprofit FAIR Health that enables New York State residents to plan their healthcare costs. The site offers cost lookup tools, powered by FAIR Health’s billions of private healthcare claims records, that allow consumers to estimate in-network and out of-network costs for thousands of medical procedures in their geographic areas,
75 percent of U.S. employees believe their health plan has never alerted them to a health risk, according to the HealthMine 2018 Rising Risk Survey that underscores the challenges health care plans face when educating members about potential health risks and when motivating them to take action to prevent becoming ill. Bryce Williams, President and CEO of HealthMine, pointed out that 86 percent of the US$2.7 trillion annual health
U.S. gross domestic product is at an all-time high. U.S. life expectancy is not. Life expectancy has fallen for the second time in two years – from a high of 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 years in 2016. It fell for men and women, whites, blacks and Hispanics. Statistics show that thousands were preventable, premature deaths.
Engineers at Cornell University have developed a simple method for gathering a patient’s vital signs using radio waves. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags use low-power radio frequencies and are similar to the anti-theft tags we find in department stores. These ‘passive’ RFID tags require no batteries, and can transmit information such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rates from multiple patients simultaneously. By measuring internal body motion, such
Sleep technology firm Shleep in December 2017 announced plans to showcase its neuroscience-driven sleep application at CES 2018. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices, Shleep is a fun, easy to use, science-based sleep coaching app that helps people change their behavior to improve sleep. Poor sleep has many negative effects More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis and, as
The announcement that CVS plans to acquire Aetna for US$69 billion raises hope and concerns. The transaction would create a new health care giant. Aetna is the third-largest health insurer in the United States, insuring about 46.7 million people.
Dariush Mozaffarian The national debate on health care is moving into a new, hopefully bipartisan phase. The fundamental underlying challenge is cost – the massive and ever-rising price of care which drives nearly all disputes, from access to benefit levels to Medicaid expansion. So far, policymakers have tried to reduce costs by tinkering with how care is delivered. But focusing on care delivery to save money is like trying
DaVita Medical Group, a U.S. independent medical group and a subsidiary of DaVita, and Optum, a health services company that is part of UnitedHealth Group, have agreed to merge as of 5 December 2017 for approximately $4.9 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close in 2018 and is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. DaVita, a Fortune 500 company, is the parent company of
The announcement that CVS Health has purchased Aetna, referred to in our earlier news item, was made on Sunday, 4 December 2017, laying to rest months of rumor and speculation. The acquisition sets the stage for a new type of company that will include a health insurer, a retail pharmacy, and a pharmacy benefits manager that negotiates prescription drug prices with drug-makers. The announcement comes at a time when
CVS Health, an American drug store chain that also operates walk-in health clinics and a pharmacy benefit business, in October 2017 was reported to be in talks to purchase Aetna Insurance in a deal that could be worth more than $60 billion based on Aetna’s current market value. This would make the purchase one of the largest in the history of the health industry. CVS, with the addition of
Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in August 2017 published an article, “A 360-degree approach to patient adherence” that discusses how an insight-driven approach can help when patients drive up healthcare costs by neglecting their treatment regimens. The article points out that 50 to 60 percent of patients are likely to skip medications, follow-up appointments and other treatment protocols, which places them at risk for complications and overall worsening
U.S. healthcare organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to transition from fee-for-service to fee-for-value care because of competing priorities and uncertainty over regulations according to a report released in July 2017 by Ernst & Young’s Health Advisory Services. The survey queried 700 U.S. healthcare professionals. Among the findings are four key factors that challenge the shift to value-driven care: System inefficiencies that escalate the cost of care delivery Clinical
Managing regulatory and compliance risk in the face of constantly evolving rules and guidelines is a significant challenge for both the payers and the providers who make up the United States’ healthcare industry, creating a market need for systems that can consistently support regulatory, reimbursement and compliance professionals. A June 2017 white paper from management consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, The Increasing Challenge of Managing Regulatory and Compliance Risk,
U.S. health insurance comparison platform HealthCare.com in June 2017 announced the launch of The CheckUp, a new online blog meant to equip Americans with the knowledge and insight to make better-informed decisions about their healthcare. More than one-third of Americans are unaware that “Obamacare” is another name for the Affordable Care Act, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult earlier this year. Led by Ronald Barba, a veteran
Private insurance claim lines with opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses were found in every age group from 13-18 years to over 80 years, and in urban areas, in every age group from 13-18 years to 71-80 years. Further, claim lines with opioid abuse and dependence diagnoses were more concentrated among middle-aged people in rural settings, and young and middle-aged people in urban settings. These findings are based on a