Secrets behind Comcast’s surprising healthcare success.

When Dr. Gawande was named CEO of the new joint health venture from Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway, it was big news. At the time we said that, while Dr. Gawande was a solid choice, much would depend on who he picked for COO.

Now that decision has been made. Dr. Gawande selected Jack Stoddard, former director of digital health at Comcast, for the #2 position.

Those who don’t know about the cable giant’s reputation might be thinking — “Comcast? Interesting.”

But as the New York Times recently covered, Comcast has been a dogged crusader for better healthcare for its employees. As Brian Marcotte, chief executive of the National Business Group on Health put it, Comcast “is the tip of the spear” for health innovation.

What makes Comcast so good at employee healthcare? And how might Comcast’s current strategies foreshadow Stoddard’s work at ABC? Read more »

Colonoscopies are more dangerous than we thought. What can we learn from this?

No one in their right mind looks forward to a colonoscopy. But a recent study might make you hesitate even more before getting one. It found that colonoscopies are far riskier than anyone thought.

To make this disheartening discovery, Susan Hutfless and her team at Johns Hopkins University pored through medical data from 2014. They tracked how many patients went to the emergency room for an infection within seven days after a colonoscopy.

The results stunned them. Previous studies found the risk of a colonoscopy-induced infection to be about one in a million. Huftless and her team’s findings at outpatient specialty centers: it’s more like one in a 1,000.

Most of these infections are fairly minor. In rare cases, however, they can lead to extremely dangerous complications, like sepsis. Read more »

Here’s what we like about Dr. Atul Gawande, the CEO chosen by Bezos, Buffet, and Dimon.

The joint healthcare venture from Amazon, Berkshire-Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase (sometimes called “ABC”) has a grand vision for healthcare. But until now, nobody’s been quite sure what it is. While still a bit ambiguous, the new company’s ambitions are beginning to take shape.

That’s because Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon announced that Dr. Atul Gawande would be ABC’s leader.

Journalists have wasted no time weighing in on Dr. Gawande’s merits. Verdicts range from raving applause to cool skepticism.

Our position? That it might be too early to judge. But we are certainly rooting for him, and we see the potential for a transformative change in the industry. Read more »

Eradicating the Tapeworm: the new mission of Amazon/JP Morgan/Berkshire

Just like that, the healthcare industry is poised to change forever.

Three of the most eminent figureheads in American business — Jamie Dimon, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — have announced their intention to form a healthcare company. Whatever this new firm looks like, its impact is all but guaranteed to be massive.

In his statement about the new venture, Buffett had some choice words for the industry as a whole. “The ballooning costs of healthcare,” he said, “act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” Read more »

Fox’s “The Resident” has ludicrous story lines, but poor performing surgeons are real

This week, The Resident premiered on FOX.  If you missed it, you should find a way to stream it.

It’s not just trashy, fun TV (although it definitely is that). The show also manages to skewer one of our pet peeve figures in healthcare — the overhyped surgeon.

Introducing: McDreamy

The Resident wastes no time in introducing us to its major villain, Dr. Randolph Bell. Read more »

Five Ways The Healthcare Industry Will (and Won’t) Change in 2018

In 2017, the healthcare industry in America held its breath, and braced for change.

Politically, it was the most bitterly contentious, suspenseful, erratic year for healthcare since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. Businesses across every sector felt the shocks. But for all the debate — policy stayed more or less the same.

That’s not to say, however, that change isn’t coming. Whether reacting to word from Washington, or innovating on their own terms, healthcare businesses are trying to anticipate what could happen next year. Read more »

Secrets of a Top-Performer — Dr. Michael Haglund, Neurosurgeon

Dr. Michael Haglund, of Duke Health in North Carolina, recently appeared in The Raleigh News and Observer. The Observer story showed that Dr. Haglund earned an MPIRICA Quality Score of 720, for three spinal fusion procedures. This makes him the single-highest scoring provider of these procedures in the country.

This is an extraordinary achievement. We caught up with Dr. Haglund to see what insight he might have to offer. He shared what, in his view, contributes to his success. Read more »

Four Lessons for Healthcare Leaders… from Fantasy Football

Please note: this post was inspired by a version that originally appeared at the blog of Axene Health Partners. The article here was written with their permission. A big thanks to Josh Axene for the fantastic post!

fantasy-footballFantasy football might seem a strange place to look for insight into the healthcare industry.

But look past the athletes on the gridiron, and you start to understand — this game is absolutely steeped in statistics. And fantasy ‘owners’ are absolutely fanatical about analyzing them. Read more »

NY Times: “Go To The Wrong Hospital And You’re 3 Times More Likely To Die”

Go to the wrong hospital and you're 3 times more likely to die

The startling headline about hospital outcomes tells it like it is.

This week, Reed Ableson of the New York Times reported on the results of a study from the academic journal PLOS One, which revealed something that may not surprise you if you have been following MPIRICA for any amount of time.

In the article, the study was described as showing that “there is considerable variation in outcomes that really matter to patients, from hospital to hospital, as well as region to region.”
Read more »

An Open Letter to Andy Slavitt, CMS Acting Administrator

Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt:

At MPIRICA, our goal is to promote the ability for patients to make informed decisions based on doctor and hospital quality, and we have been pushing the industry as a whole to empower consumers with unambiguous quality measures based on clinical outcomes.

We saw the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) plan to consolidate 60+ disparate quality metrics, into a single 5 star ratings system on the Hospital Compare website as a generally positive step for patients and the industry as a whole. So when CMS announced in late April that they will delay the release of the updated star ratings, in response to letters from 60 senators (April 11) and 225 congressional leaders (April 18th), we were disappointed. The lawmakers offered no recommendations for CMS to achieve its laudable goal of a greatly simplified medical quality measure. Read more »

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