Drugs | Medication

US Healthcare Spending to hit $3.8 Trillion in 2014

Dan Munro wrote that annual U.S. healthcare spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year (~21% of GDP). There’s good info in his Forbes article and the referenced Deloitte report, but it should not be taken politically one way or another. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows a slow bending of the cost curve, where the increases in health care expenditures are slowing slightly, the increase is slower than the economy, and it’s slightly slower than in previous years. Still, many of us hope to see costs decline outright, and by a lot.

Total Health Care Expenditures Grew 19% from 2006 to 2010.

The past four years have seen a gradual slowing in health care expenditure annual growth rate. The percentage change from the previous year slowed between 2007 and 2010: 5.9 percent in 2007, 4.7 percent in 2008, and 3.7 percent in 2009 and 2010.

To me, the real value is recognizing that there are hidden costs not captured in the official 2012 estimate of $2.8 trillion/year. Read the rest of this entry »

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

Which FutureBy Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read the rest of this entry »

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals

Drug MoneyGuest article by Ray Collins

The FDA has tolerated, regulated, and now seems to favor direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies, apparently as part the the judicial and regulatory trends toward corporate free speech. Susan Schwartz McDonald posts at National Analysts about her company’s view

The very fact that this particular [FDA] survey [of health care professionals] is on the docket speaks volumes about what many FDA-watchers have already concluded: that the agency has morphed from wary and grudging to comfortable and upbeat about the benefit of allowing pharma to converse with patients. After several decades of experience, the FDA seems ready to conclude that direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) can do more than bring relevant therapies to broader awareness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Printing Your Own Medicine… and Organs

Chemist Lee Cronin is working on a 3-D printer that, instead of objects, is able to print molecules. It has exciting long-term potential: printing your own personalized medicine using chemical inks. The 3-minute TED talk below paints a fascinating view of the , but a great many issues remain. Following the video are two related TED talks with more near-term impact.

My reaction

I was amused at the comments on TED.com and had to add my own…

So will the use of illegal narcotics and abuse of prescription drugs explode? Where will we buy the “ink,” and can it be ordered online? Will the cartridges be refillable? Will we need a new constitutional amendment to ensure “the right to bear printers” or the “right to buy ink?” Who will profit from this new industry and lobby for the new laws and regulatory oversight (or lack of it)? As with any disruptive technology, there are many new questions, and there will be many incumbents fighting to preserve the status quo. Read the rest of this entry »

Blood Glucose Meters: Monitoring Diabetes on Your Phone

iBGStar Glucose MeterLiving with Diabetes requires frequent monitoring of blood glucose (blood sugar), an essential measure of your health. The American Diabetes Association can help you better understand Diabetes, select from the latest tools, learn how to manage your blood glucose levels, and prevent serious complications. We provide a guide to help you select a blood glucose meter, many of which are available at local drug stores, but today’s article is inspired by one that’s not listed and you may not have seen yet.

iBGStar blood glucose monitor

Read the rest of this entry »

A Disease-Creation Economy

Money, Politics and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy

By Mark Hyman, MD, practicing physician (original on Huffington Post)

“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.” –Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses

Medical Economics - follow the MoneyMoney in politics is making our nation sicker, threatening our national security, and ultimately destroying the very economic prosperity the “money in politics” seeks to achieve. It is undermining our capacity to care for our citizens and threatening our global economic competitiveness in invisible, insidious ways. The links, connections and patterns that promote obesity and chronic disease are clear, though. The economic and social impacts are evident. As health care consumes an increasingly large percentage of our federal budget, the negative impacts of money in politics have become too alarming too ignore, and never more obvious than in this election cycle of 2012.

Read the rest of this entry »

The End of Illness

The End of Illness - image from Amazon.comToday’s article is adapted from The End of Illness by Dr. David B. Agus and an ABC News story about his book. (video below)

“The end of illness is closer than you might think,” says Agus, a professor of medicine at USC. But to achieve that, people must look at their bodies in a whole new way. He and many others like him are challenging long-held beliefs about what “health” means and are promoting health & wellness as ways to extend life, improve vitality, and lower the cost of medical care.

As a cancer doctor and researcher on the front lines, Dr. Agus became infuriated by the statistics and lack of progress within the medical profession, and that got him thinking about alternative approaches. He likens it to “having to go to war to understand peace,” since the goal should be to avoid war in the first place. And shouldn’t the same apply to health – striving for ways to eliminate illness rather than just treat its symptoms? Read the rest of this entry »

Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms?

robot medic

Image credit: Shutterstock/koya979

By Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures
(original on TechCrunch.com)

I was asked about a year ago at a talk about energy what I was doing about the other large social problems, namely health care and education. Surprised, I flippantly responded that the best solution was to get rid of doctors and teachers and let your computers do the work, 24/7 and with consistent quality.

Later, I got to cogitating about what I had said and why, and how embarrassingly wrong that might be. But the more I think about it the more I feel my gut reaction was probably right. The beginnings of “Doctor Algorithm” or Dr. A for short, most likely (and that does not mean “certainly” or “maybe”) will be much criticized. We’ll see all sorts of press wisdom decrying “they don’t work” or “look at all the silly things they come up with.” But Dr A. will get better and better and will go from providing “bionic assistance” to second opinions to assisting doctors to providing first opinions and as referral computers (with complete and accurate synopses and all possible hypotheses of the hardest cases) to the best 20% of the human breed doctors. And who knows what will happen beyond that?

Read the rest of this entry »

Innovator’s Prescription: Disruptive Healthcare Solution

book cover of The Innovator's PrescriptionHarvard Business School’s Clayton M. Christensen — whose bestselling book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, revolutionized the business world — now presents The Innovator’s Prescription, a comprehensive analysis of the strategies that will improve health care and make it affordable.

In this meaty 87-min lecture at MIT, Professor Christensen explains how you can’t believe everything you learn in business school and reveals insights into such socially significant and complex industries as health care. “It’s the principles of good management that can cause successful companies to fail,” he says.

The lecture introduced concepts from his latest book, where Christensen applies his principles of disruptive innovation to the broken health care system. With collaboration from two pioneers in the field — Dr. Jerome Grossman and Dr. Jason Hwang — he examines a range of symptoms and offers proven solutions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Mossberg blasts medical consumer products

In his TEDMED 2010 talk, Walt Mossberg, Technology Journalist for the Wall Street Journal, shares his thoughts about medical consumer products. He’s clearly a fan of Apple’s iPad and iPhone but laments the lack of really useful consumer medical products like good blood glucose monitors. Thankfully, we’ve seen lots of innovation in 2011, but I wonder if it’s enough to change Walt’s mind. Watch the video and let us know what YOU think with a Reply below.

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