Healthcare

A Health Insurance Company That Looks Like a Tech Startup

Imagine a future in which people are as loyal to the brand that provides their health insurance as they are to the one that makes their favorite tech gadget, search engine, or social media platform. If $30 million from Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and a team of ex-Facebook, Google, Spotify, and Tumblr engineers succeed, the old guard of health insurance companies will have to step up the innovation and tech quotient to compete. New York Magazine this week describes Oscar, the year-old Soho-based "tech-driven” health insurance company founded by three Harvard Business School buddies, as a serious threat to the status quo, with a "faster and more efficient infrastructure" than any of the big insurers offer.   More

Healthcare

Wisconsin Software Company Wants to Revolutionize Healthcare Payments

Aver Informatics has raised $6.5 million from venture capital firms Drive Capital and GE Ventures to put an end to confusing healthcare payments, which for many patients deliver a dose of sticker shock in the form of a bewildering bundle of bills. As reported by TechCrunch, these billing procedures are even confusing to providers, and exacerbate the waste and inefficiency of the healthcare sector. Healthcare spending in the U.S. is expected to make up an astounding 25 percent of the economy by 2022.   More

Analytics & Data Healthcare

Self-Tracked Consumers Can Steer Health Decisions with Data

Most people want to control certain kinds of data. Consider banking information: you may share account access with a spouse, but beyond that, you won’t hand those reins to anybody. It’s not just high-security data, either. Who doesn’t know married couples who insist on separate Netflix accounts, so one person’s movie choices don’t mess up the other’s queue? But when it comes to our health information, it’s a different story. Why is it that with this data—the closest we are likely to come to having life-or-death information—we throw our hands in the air and hope medical professionals make the right choices?   More

Government Healthcare

How Technology Can Transform Our Healthcare Labyrinth

Why has our rat-maze approach to coordinating care continued largely unchanged for more than 60 years? For all but the simplest of healthcare needs, we all find ourselves at some point trying to navigate a maze of health care facilities, doctors, pharmacies, insurance companies, and government programs, with all the associated conversations, paperwork, forms, bills, and files they all require. According to the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. healthcare system wastes more than $765 billion each year—about 30 percent of our healthcare spending. If we eliminated this waste, over 10 years we could reduce nearly 50 percent of our national debt.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

63 Companies Bent on Transforming Healthcare

When serial entrepreneurs Unity Stoakes and Steven Krein set out to build a digital health company, they quickly discovered that entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector face a unique set of challenges: daunting regulations, privacy issues, long sales cycles, and industry-wide resistance to change. So they shifted their attention to creating a platform that lets healthcare entrepreneurs innovate more easily. With support from former Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin and other high-powered investors including Esther Dyson and Mark Cuban, in partnership with Steve Case’s Startup America, and with applause from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Stoakes and Krein established StartUp Health in 2011. Stoakes describes the company as part community, part knowledge base, and part academy offering a structured curriculum to help CEOs and founders, calling his audience “Healthcare Transformers.”   More

Healthcare Mobile

Can Mobile Apps Heal American Healthcare?

What do smartphones have to do with medical care? Ask any doctor who has called in pharmacy prescriptions from a golf course, reviewed brain-imaging results in a taxi, or video-chatted with emergency room physicians in another city. Or ask PointClear Solutions, an Atlanta-headquartered custom healthcare software development company that recently acquired NYC-based app developer, Worry Free Labs (profiled here last summer). We did, when we spoke with PointClear CEO David Karabinos about the acquisition and the future of mobile apps for patient care.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

FDA Approves Medical Device for Reversing Opioid Overdose

When mobster wife Mrs. Mia Wallace overdoses on heroin, hit man Vincent Vega brings her screaming out of a comatose state by jabbing an adrenaline-filled syringe into her heart. Had the talking medical device that the FDA gave fast-track approval to last week existed 20 years ago, that Pulp Fiction scene between Uma Thurman and John Travolta might not have been so dramatic. The new pocket-sized naloxone hydrochloride auto-injector, called Evzio, coaches a user through the procedure of administering the opioid-O.D.-reversing drug into a victim's muscle.   More

Healthcare Internet of Things

Quantifying Yourself? Your Doctor May Finally Notice

Now that so many of us wear Fitbits, Nike Fuelbands, Jawbone Ups, and other devices that track our steps, sleep, calories, and more stuff every day, it's about time that we did more with the information than just compete with each other. Wired explains that Practice Fusion, a major electronic medical records company, is partnering with companies that make heart-rate and diabetes monitors so doctors can start getting data from our devices methodically. It's a baby step but an important one. Practice Fusion expects to include other devices as well.   More

Government Healthcare Techonomy Events

A Health Insurance CEO Who’s Bringing Apps to Affordable Care

If you’ve lost faith in the government’s effort, Aetna’s Mark Bertolini could be the guy who gives you hope that the health insurance industry will indeed improve. A top exec with the healthcare giant since 2003, and at the helm since 2010, Bertolini exemplifies this week’s Tucson Techonomy conference theme: “Leaders must think more like technologists.”   More

Government Healthcare

A Healthcare Death Spiral Caused by Bad Website Design?

Media coverage of the HealthCare.gov debacle is plentiful, but two of the more poignant pieces to describe the cause and possible aftermath of the failed website rollout appeared in the New York Times in the past four days. Last Thursday, Clay Johnson, lead programmer for Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, and Harper Reed, the former chief technology officer of Obama for America, gave an insiders' perspective on why only a small fraction of the 20 million Americans who have logged onto Healthcare.gov have succeeded so far in obtaining insurance. Johnson and Reed blame "the way the government buys things."   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Hope Seen in Chromosome Therapy for Down Syndrome

There have been any number of approaches to managing Down syndrome or reducing its symptoms. But developmental biologist Jeanne Lawrence and her team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have taken a different tack, borrowing a biological mechanism honed by thousands of years of evolution and creatively applying it to try to nip Down syndrome in the bud.   More