Weekly News Recap

  • Livongo’s planned Q3 IPO could bring in $1 billion
  • Carestream Health sells its health IT business to Philips
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital fires dozens of employees for looking at the EHR records of actor Jussie Smollett
  • Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase name their healthcare venture Haven
  • FDA Commissioner and digital health advocate Scott Gottlieb, MD resigns
  • Newly formed Beth Israel Lahey Health says it will eventually consolidate its multiple EHRs into a single product

Best Reader Comments

There is no long road to interoperability. There are data solutions right now that can curate and harmonize all the data that’s out there. FHIR is not going to be a magic bullet either. Healthcare organizations have to stop waiting for Judy to figure it out and invest in an enterprise data strategy and platform. (BK)

A single-payer system that rams real metrics down our throats will engage value-based care as a viable alternative. The original Obamacare bill had a subscription-based expansion of Medicare, i.e. a 25-year-old could pay premiums directly to Medicare for enrollment. Medicare would effectively be setting the floor for premium costs, and commercials would have to come down and offer better services to compete. This absolutely is the way we are trending and will happen at some point. The question is when, and will the healthcare systems/HIT be ready to change to really win the business of patients with VBC. (SinglePayor)

I shouldn’t be, but I am surprised how often I see vendors and providers hyping up value-based care. Upside only arrangements don’t count. Payments based on weak quality metrics aren’t important to consumers. Prices aren’t available to consumers. Where is the value? Most hospitals and health systems have about 5 percent of payments tied to VBC. My opinion is that the only providers who can claim VBC: true IDNs and those that offer a significant number of bundles (Geisinger’s proven care model). If you talk to hospital CEOs and CFOs, it’s very rare to find VBC in their top 10 priorities. My sense is that vendors are driving the hype. (Desperado)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

SNAGHTML21dd45ec image

Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. D in Massachusetts, who asked for classroom speakers for her elementary school class. She reports, “These speakers have been a lifesaver for my classroom. I use them for all my lessons and for brain breaks for my Littles. For math warm-ups, we often watch videos that help my students learn to count to 100 by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. In reading, I was able to find audio and videos on books that we are reading in the classroom. During indoor recess, I often put on videos of different habitats and they love to just sit on the carpet, listen, and see different worlds. The girls love the speakers on Just Dance Friday, where if the class has earned enough reward points, we turn the classroom into a dance floor. Thank you for the donation to my classroom.”

Median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco has risen nine percent in the past year to $3,690. That’s before the upcoming flood of tech IPOs creates thousands of new company millionaires who are anxious to kick off their conspicuous consumption by buying houses, throwing lavish parties, and buying boats even as financial planners warn them that their counterparts at Groupon and Snap did the same until their shares went down in flames. A real estate analytics expert predicts that one-bedroom condos will be worth at least $1 million in five years and single-family homes will average $5 million.


Company swag at Livongo’s first user group meeting included a day’s use of partner company’s continuous glucose monitor patch, reminding everyone about just how big a business diabetes (or the threat of it) is in the US as Livongo barrels toward its $1 billion IPO.

The mainstream press notices that the proposed HHS interoperability rule would also require hospitals to publish the actual prices they have negotiated with insurers. You needn’t wonder where the AHA stands on this issue.


The hospital gown that Kurt Cobain wore in Nirvana’s headlining set in Reading Festival 1992 has been put up for auction by a fan who says Courtney Love gave it to him during a vigil after Cobain’s suicide in 1994. Cobain was pushed onto the stage in a wheelchair while wearing the gown, sang a few lyrics from Bette Midler’s “The Rose,” and then pretended to collapse before springing up to rip through a 25-song set whose bootleg is prized by collectors as one of the band’s best, all to dispel rumors that he wouldn’t make the show because of his drug addiction.

A six-year-old boy whose parents refused to have him vaccinated becomes Oregon’s first pediatric tetanus case in 30 years, with his family refusing to continue the vaccine series that was started during his 57-day hospital stay that cost $800,000.

The parents of a 21-year-old who died in a skiing accident hire a lawyer to force Westchester Medical Center (NY) to save a sample of his sperm with the hope of “preserving some piece of our child that might live on,” but the court will have to decide what happens to the sample since the son didn’t give his permission. He was the only child of the couple, who is from China, and that country’s previous one-child policy has resulted in his having no male cousins to carry on the family lineage. Ethicists say that policies and laws aren’t consistent and there’s the question of who would choose the egg donor and raise the child.


Pop-up, spa-like stores are offering to freeze the eggs of women who worry about the ticking of their biological clocks, hosting champagne parties to convince prospects to pay $5,000 for the procedure and the first year of freezer time. One chain features Dr. Oz on its board, reassuring patients that their medical care will be overseen by someone who has won seven Daytime Emmy Awards.

In Case You Missed It

Get Involved