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Blog   |   10.7.15

In Case You Missed It: 5 Essential Healthcare Tweets from Last Week

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Did you get busy with work and forget to scan your healthcare Twitter last week? Well, the cheat sheet below should have you covered. Read on to discover what policy experts, writers, and venture capitalists were talking about on the interwebs.

Dan Diamond and Bob Kocher disagree over the implication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ healthcare employment numbers.

Diamond, executive editor at The Advisory Board, posted a chart indicating that the healthcare sector generated far more new jobs in 2014 than the retail, construction, or manufacturing sectors. He called healthcare, “an enormous engine of the economy.” Kocher, a venture capitalist at Venrock, disagreed that higher employment numbers were universally good news, saying that they could indicate “negative productivity,” and that bending the cost curve in health care entails improving outcomes and reducing the number of full-time employees.

DJ Patil’s makes a strong statement about the potential of data science in healthcare.

At last week’s Consumer Health IT Summit, White House Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil told physicians not to fear for their jobs, but also pumped the potential scope of healthcare data science products: “Ever lose your phone? What’s that feeling like?” Patil asked. “That feeling is what happens to a super hero when they lose their super power. That’s what happens. It’s Kryptonite. All [healthcare] data products, you must feel crippled [without them] if you have built the product the right way,” he reportedly said.

Chamath Palihapitiya expresses frustration with venture capital’s priorities and Better’s demise.

Palo Alto-based health startup Better announced that it was folding last week. The company provided access to “healthcare personal assistants” who would help coordinate health care and resolve insurance bills. One of Better’s investors, Social + Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya, spoke at the Rock Health Summit about the closing, and noted that it was very difficult to raise money for the business. He asked, “why is delivering brownies at 11 p.m. getting funding but healthcare isn’t?”

Ashish Jha is fired up about ICD-10.

The Harvard professor and clinician was asked by Politico how he felt about the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and he said that richer codes, “will allow us to do risk-adjustment better—and that’s a big win for quality and cost of care. You can’t do a good job on cost without getting quality right. You can’t do quality without getting risk-adjustment right. So—probably the most exciting impact on healthcare costs in years.”

Larry Levitt and Sarah Kliff bring up thoughtful critiques of the “Cadillac Tax.”

Vox writer Sarah Kliff and the Kaiser Foundation’s Larry Levitt responded to Ashish Jha who asked whether there were good critiques of the “Cadillac Tax,” which affects high-cost, employer-sponsored plans in 2018. The tax has gotten increased attention in recent weeks, as presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have vowed to repeal it. As The Upshot noted, most economists support the tax, as it incents employers to offer their employees more cash instead of generous health plans. This incents more conscientious spending by patients and puts price pressure on physicians and hospitals. However, the paper Kliff cited noted, “the Cadillac tax can be viewed as a regressive policy, in that it results in a larger decrease in the net tax benefit for low-income workers than for high-income workers and a larger increase in net cost for low-income workers than for high-income workers.”

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