Video Bytes

The Clinical Divide E01: Civica Rx, 23andMe and a New Heart Failure Study

Kevin Campbell, MD
SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
Hi folks. Welcome to the first episode of the Clinical Divide, a brand new Healthcare Analytics News™ video series. I’m your host, Dr. Kevin Campbell. I’m a Duke-trained cardiologist and the CEO of the health-tech startup PaceMate. These roles put me in a unique position: I understand the perspective of healthcare decision makers and clinicians. When these groups of very smart people don’t see eye to eye, problems arise. This Clinical Divide can hurt morale, costs and most importantly, outcomes. And that’s especially true as healthcare undergoes its digital transformation.

So, every week on the Clinical Divide, I’ll go over hot stories from the world of health tech. I’ll give you the news and then the insights that healthcare leaders and clinicians can both use to work and grow together. It’s all about bridging the Clinical Divide.

CIVICA RX

For our first story, let’s look at company called Civica Rx. This is a brand-new generic drug company that hopes to battle drug shortages and high prices. And here’s what’s really interesting: Mayo Clinic, Intermountain Healthcare and five other health systems actually formed Civica Rx. No doubt, that’s an intriguing and potentially disruptive arrangement.

But it could also become a source of tension. First off, yes, there are drug shortages, and that’s largely because of limited generic competition. But should hospitals get paid twice? Once for providing care and again for selling themselves drugs? And do we want a health system where physician, pharma and maybe even payer are all the same? Here’s why physicians like me hear this story and raise our eyebrows: Civica Rx goes a step too far in blending revenue generation and the provision of care. Sure, the intentions are good, but who knows how it might affect clinical practice? Health systems with a hand in a generic drug company need to consider this perspective and be sure to set up strong ethical safeguards — and then let their physicians know that quality care is always top priority.

23ANDME

Let’s shift to the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe. This week, it’s closing its API to most software developers. What does that mean? It means that developers won’t have direct access to customers’ raw data anymore. Instead, the tech companies will get broader reports, and researchers and 23andMe investor GlaxoSmithKline will get the richer data sets.

No matter what you think of that decision, the lack of consumer outcry here offers a lesson for healthcare executives and physicians: Too many consumers either don’t understand or don’t care about the privacy of their genetic data. Well, newsflash! That’s the most sensitive information there is. Healthcare leaders didn’t really ask for these kinds of direct-to-consumer tests, but the fact is, they exist, and they’re hugely popular. Now, healthcare organizations and clinicians have the opportunity to work together to build educational initiatives to help patients understand the privacy risks and rewards of companies like 23andMe. Who better than us to get the job done together?

HEART FAILURE STUDY

Finally, researchers from the University at Buffalo in New York find that the more women walk, the less likely they are to die of heart failure. This comes from a study that started in the early ‘90s and tracked more than 137,000 women.

Consider this: Heart failure is one of the top culprits driving senior citizens into hospital emergency departments. It’s a huge financial burden on the healthcare system, and treatments can also be super complex. Heart transplantation, anyone?

But this study shows, yet again, that a little prevention can pack a big punch. As a physician, this hits me hard. We clinicians need to spend more time teaching patients how to live healthy lives, but to do this, we need support from healthcare institutions. Physicians should be rewarded for keeping patients well, and patients must begin to understand the importance of prevention. And we all need to invest more money and faith in tech: apps to encourage exercise, diet trackers and even mobile sensors that provide insights and, ultimately, behavior change.

That’s it for the first episode of the Clinical Divide. Please join me again next week as we continue to work together to bridge the divide between healthcare providers and administrators. For Healthcare Analytics News™, I’m your host, Kevin Campbell. Thanks for watching.  

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