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Morning Read: In peer-reviewed comparison, Theranos falls short of rivals

Also, study recommends that hospitals screen patients for dementia to reduce falls and medical device price comparisons.

holmes_theranosing1TOP STORIES

So Theranos got some more bad news this week in the form of a peer-reviewed comparison of its blood test for cholesterol levels. The study by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai showed that the results of the Theranos total cholesterol tests were an average of 9.3 percent lower than results from rivals Lab Corp. and Quest Diagnostics. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Monday. The concern is that these results could steer physicians in the wrong direction in determining whether patients should be prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs. It’s a blow to the company’s efforts to build confidence in its tests.  — The Wall Street Journal

  • Daniel Young, the head of Theranos’ Arizona laboratory, lists reasons why the Mt. Sinai study’s tests results may have been different, such as collection methods. — Forbes
  • You can check out the study here. — Journal of Clinical Investigation
  • Considering this milestone, it’s worth having another look at our Theranos timeline.
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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

LIFE SCIENCES

A Journal of American Medical Association study suggests we could use more “research parasites.” It found that for three online portals that allow scientists to request the data behind thousands of trials from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, only 15.5 percent of those trials had ever been requested. and the need for more. — The Washington Post

It seems like drug prices have snagged a lot of the headlines but not to worry, medical device manufacturers are beginning to come under the microscope, too. Exhibit A: Epinephrine auto injectors. — Modern Healthcare

ECRI Institute is working with the London School of Economics on a study to do price comparisons of medical devices in the U.S. and Europe and look at the factors that determine medical device price. — Mass Device

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority compiled a report that found more than 3,700 errors in a nine-year stretch to 2014 linked to dementia. Three out of four errors involved falls or bed sores. Recommendations for improvement include assessing patients over a certain age for signs of dementia and consulting with family members. — Fierce Healthcare

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital is one of four institutions taking part in a clinical trial to evaluate a medical device to treat leaky heart valves with a minimally invasive procedure. — Marketwired

TECHNOLOGY

Interesting timing for Dell. The day it announces it’s selling its consulting business, including health IT consulting, comes news that it’s inked $100 million deals with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Dubai Health Authority. For the Rhode Island payer, the deal is intended to improve operations and implement new technologies to boost customer growth.  — Healthcare IT News

Healthcare security startup/University of Michigan spin-out
Virta Laboratories got a $750,000 small business innovation research grant to advance its commercialization. — Xconomy Health IT

Shedding light on Google’s logo mystery, it looks like it’s all about Google’s acquisition of Deep Mind Health and its app, Stream. — MobiHealthNews

HealthTap marked a milestone this week: 100,000 licensed doctors in its network. — BusinessWire

POLITICS

The Obama administration is expected to announce a plan to increase medication-related treatment for opioid addicts. It is part of a wider push to address opioid addiction, and a push to increase awareness of the problem by educating medical students. — Modern Healthcare

Is Missouri legislation that calls for setting up a commission to regulate health information exchanges a way to stimulate interoperability and mandate good behavior or government overreach? — Politico

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA

The New York Yankees’ A Rod and 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki are apparently an item. — Sporting News

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