Here at Look Listen, we understand your to-do list is a mile long, your inbox is bursting at the seams and the news comes at you faster than Marvel puts out movies. But you need to stay informed, right?
That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to scour the web for interesting and timely healthcare information and provide it to you in easily digestible tidbits. We hope you find this useful — if nothing else, you’ve got some solid gold dinner party conversation starters here. But first, comedy.
“Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do practice?” — George Carlin
Show me the money
The healthcare industry had already taken in over $23 billion in VC funding in October 2018, setting a record for investing in the industry. A recent analysis puts the January 2019 number of VC investment dollars at$2.61 billion for the sector, which is wild considering that’s up 37% from the $1.9 billion raised during the same month in record-setting 2018. The enthusiasm is likely driven by a biotech boom on Wall Street, providing ample opportunity for venture capitalists to cash in on big IPOs, while opening the door for innovative (if unproven) health technologies.
Speaking of unproven health technologies…
Budding sci-fi writers, dust off your keyboards because here comes gene editing! As John Oliver noted in a recent exploration of the topic, “It seems gene editing is either going to cure all disease or kill every last one of us.” It’s looking like the former though. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco recently devised a method for efficiently removing white blood cells from immune system genes and replacing them with more power to fight specific diseases, namely cancer. Of course, we’ve also already seen a mad scientist go rogue with this technology, editing the genes of a set of Chinese twins before birth and causing an international uproar, among other things.
Alexa, does this look infected?
We’re not quite there yet, but science is increasingly relying on artificial intelligence in the form of algorithms and machine learning to aid in clinical care. While the breakthroughs are promising — Chinese researchers have developed an AI system able to identify and classify prostate cancer from human tissue samples — they’re concerning as well. A March 2018 op-ed in the New England Journal of Medicine by a group of Stanford physicians expressed unease with the rapid deployment of AI, especially as it concerns the possibility for bias in algorithms.
Don’t throw the robot baby out with the bathwater
Although there’s work to be done regarding AI in a clinical setting, the technology is becoming a welcome cost-saving tool for operations teams at health systems across the U.S. Digital tools like self-service scheduling, registration kiosks, and even voice recognition for notes and reporting can significantly cut down labor costs, which account for approximately 60% of hospital’s (non-capital) spending.
The United States of Amazon
In its continued quest to make our lives more convenient while simultaneously putting every brick and mortar shop out of business, Amazon recently announced the acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack. While there’s been lots discussion around the acquisition and its implications for big players like Walgreens and CVS, some are left to wonder what Amazon will do with all that health data…
Random side note: hip hop mogul and noted tax evader, Nas, was an early investor in PillPack, through his VC fund, QueensBridge Venture Partners. He’s got Ja Rule beat in the rap *and* the start-up game.
I’ll drink to that
A decade-long study has shown people who drink coffee (even decaf, but why though), have a 12% lower risk of death than those who abstain. The specific reason for this is still up for debate — correlation vs. causation and all that — but who cares? Drink coffee = live forever!
Thought this was interesting, or want to share some hot healthcare takes of your own? Drop us a line!