A look at the underbelly of Theranos, plus 5 must-read stories from MedCity News this week

A look back at the week that was in the business of healthcare: Theranos’ reputation post-Wall Street Journal exposé, and the ROIs of genetic testing.

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This week on MedHeads, we talked Theranos – specifically, the fallout from the damning Wall Street Journal exposé that questioned the diagnostic company’s scientific underpinnings.

It’s unique for a diagnostics company to have enjoyed so much undiluted hype – but with Theranos valued at $9 billion, such a probe is only to be expected. But did Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos appropriately deflect the WSJ’s criticisms? Probably not, we say.

Here are five other stories from this week that are worth a read:

1. Genetic testing turns quick ROI in Aetna wellness program

Aetna is crediting genetic testing of employees for risk of metabolic syndrome for producing a quick return on investment in an employee wellness program.

The health insurer saved more than $650,000 in the first year by individualizing interventions for 445 employees at high risk of developing metabolic syndrome, according to an article published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Aetna called this the first study demonstrating that an employee wellness program can show ROI within a year.

2. Rock Health: What are consumer attitudes to digital health? 

When most people think of digital health this it is Googling things like conditions and symptoms (81 percent) and looking up physician ratings (50 percent). Although tracking different aspects of health through apps is used by a significant number of respondents (17 percent), genetic services and telemedicine are only used by 7 percent of respondents. 32 percent said they had adopted two of these digital health tools.

3. What out, Theranos? Edico Genome CEO backing stealth one-drop-of-blood startup

Looks like a new single-drop-of-blood startup is is in the diagnostics arena: SalveoDx, a San Diego-based spinout of Domain Associates, just raised $2 million in equity.

Pieter van Rooyen, a director at SalveoDx and CEO of San Diego-based Edico Genome, said in an email that the company’s deep in stealth mode and is keeping quiet on what it’s doing.

Emblazoned on SalveoDx’s rudimentary site, however, are phrases like “your life in a drop of blood,” “information is power,” and “changing life and labs forever” – as well as colorful stock images of chemicals.

4. athenahealth, ZDoggD fight bad EHR design

Two of health IT’s most outspoken figures, athenahealthCEO Jonathan Bush and Turntable Health CEO Dr. Zubin Damania, are trying to spark a physician revolt against bad EHR design.

Monday, health IT vendor athenahealth, with the help of Damania’s rapping alter-ego, ZDoggMD, launched “Let Doctors Be Doctors,” which is part platform for doctors to demand better electronic health records and, let’s face it, part athenahealth marketing campaign.

5. Cedars-Sinai and Techstars are hunting for startups for health tech accelerator

Health tech accelerators may be evolving, maturing and shutting down but they continue to open, nonetheless. Doing one with a hospital instead of just being one of a handful of partners, is not something one frequently sees. About one year after Intermountain Health System and Healthbox increased their collaboration through a fund to support medical device startups and an internal commercialization program at Intermountain, Cedars-Sinai has embarked on one with Techstars.

 

 

 

 

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