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Scanadu CEO gets provocative: 5 must-read stories from MedCity News this week

A look back at the week that was in the business of healthcare: The CEO of Scanadu prognosticates on the future of medicine, J&J gets innovative.


It’s healthcare conference season – so we spent this week’s MedHeads chatting about the forthcoming College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) meeting in Orlando. We likened ICD10 coding to the Y2K hype, as well as interoperability as it’s being executed by the government and private sector.

That said, here’s a rundown of the week’s five most compelling stories:

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1. Scanadu CEO: Algorithms will replace doctors to prescribe meds

The main reason consumers need doctors? Prescriptions, De Brouwer said.

But if doctors simply delegate prescription information to the advanced algorithms that are currently being developed, that’ll cut down on patient face time with rote appointments, he said.

De Brouwer brought up the example of telemedicine – and said that many customers would choose to pay for doctors’ services in the parking lot of a Walgreens. Just so they can get the prescription, head into the drugstore, and pay $40 for this month’s meds.

“It’s time that algorithms take over that situation,” De Brouwer said.

2. AARP is doing a deep dive of caregiver tech needs

A few years ago, the AARP Thought Leadership group identified nine areas where it saw opportunities for technology to help address the needs of seniors 50 years and older in the report Health Innovation Frontiers. In a follow-up, AARP is working on a study focused squarely on the needs of informal family caregivers who may be Millennials, members of Generation X or older called Care Innovations Frontiers. AARP Director Jeffrey Makowka talked about the report and a caregiver survey it is compiling with HITLab as part of itsProject Catalyst program at Health 2.0.


3. Why medtech must go digital: ‘You can’t bring a knife to a gunfight’

The medical device industry must quickly adapt to the new digital paradigm, or some of its biggest players like General Electric and Medtronic could get squashed by the likes of IBM, Apple and Samsung – or so said a panel of venture capitalists at this week’sAdvamed 2015 conference in San Diego.

“This is not your father’s healthcare company competition,” said Leslie Bottorff, managing director of the healthcare arm of GE Ventures. “The barbarians are at the gates. You don’t want to show up with a knife to a gun fight. The big companies and the small companies need to say, ‘What do we have to do to compete with these guys?’”

4. HHS dials back reporting in Meaningful Use Stage 3

Responding to waves of public backlash, the Department of Health and Human Services is easing compliance and reporting requirements in Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use incentive program for electronic health records. HHS officials late Tuesday released the long-awaited Stage 3 rules, as well as modifications to the current Stage 2.

HHS also is pushing back the start of Stage 3 yet another year, to Jan. 1, 2018. All providers will follow the calendar year; hospitals had been reporting based on the federal fiscal year, which starts three months earlier. The program will be optional for 2017, and anyone choosing to begin then will only need to attest to meeting the standards for 90 consecutive days rather than the full year.

5. J&J’s medtech arm partnering out, pushing innovation agenda

“We have the humility to understand that we don’t own all the information or knowledge on medical technology,” Martin Fitchet, global head of R&D for J&J Medical Devices, said in an interview at this week’s AdvaMed 2015 conference in San Diego. “There’s a big world out there. Academia. Startups. Other companies. Government. All working on technologies that we’d love to partner with, and add our expertise.”