Morning Read: Interactive chart reveals picture of most expensive patients

American Medical News has a fascinating look at the demographics of who spends the most end of life, healthcare dollars.

When you think of the 1% of patients who consume one-fifth of all health care spending, what image comes to mind? According to new data from AHRQ, this person is a white woman with private insurance and higher than average income. American Medical News used data from an Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to create a very cool, interactive chart that sorts health care expenses by age, income, race/ethnicity, insurance status, health status and gender. If you click only one link today, it should be this one.

The American Medical Association is protesting a new policy from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services designed to reduce prescription drug abuse. Instead of denying coverage if there is a question of misuse of medications, the physician group thinks the CMS should support state programs that monitor prescriptions to detect problems.

Precision Health is hoping its less-creepy-yet-still-contextual ad serving strategy will help pharma companies find customers in narrowly focused health conditions. The company announced last week that it closed $1 million in a Series B funding. The firm’s technology analyzes the text of a web page to match the content with an ad about a related condition, such as diabetes, depression, and allergies.


More college students are starting companies than ever before, according to data from, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and the Kauffman Foundation.
Low startup costs, fewer jobs in corporate America, and a desire to be in charge are all behind this increase in young people leading new companies.

If you are feeling nostalgic for the good old days of drug development, stop. John LaMattina, former president of Pfizer R&D/senior partner at PureTech Ventures, says that it has never been easy to discover effective drugs and that “low hanging fruit” is a myth.
Nostalgia may be somewhat more justified for doctors who have slowly become businesspeople instead of “professionals.” Dr. Hector C. Ramos marks the start of the change as 1972 when the Federal Trade Commission said doctors, lawyers, professors, and the clergy no longer held special status, but were just like any other vocation. He fears that this trend will lead physicians to become disinterested providers with many responsibilities but no authority.

Veronica Combs

I was the editor in chief at I started writing and editing in the print world and joined a dotcom right before the 2000 crash. I was at TechRepublic/CNET/BNET for 7 years. Health was more interesting to me than the latest version of Windows, so I left for a startup tracking prescription drug news. A year later, MedTrackAlert was acquired by HealthCentral, so I shifted to audience research. The fun of daily news and interviewing smart people brought me to MedCity News in February 2012. More posts by Author