Internal Memo: Amazon Care to shut down, ‘not a complete enough offering’ for corporate customers

Excerpt – Amazon will stop offering its Amazon Care primary health-care services at the end of this year, according to an internal memo, after determining that it wasn’t “the right long-term solution for our enterprise customers.” The surprise move Wednesday is a major course correction in Amazon’s broader foray into healthcare. Amazon says the decision impacts only Amazon Care, and not its other health-care initiatives. “This decision wasn’t made lightly and only became clear after many months of careful consideration,” said Neil Lindsay, Amazon Health Services senior vice president, in the email to Amazon Health Services employees. “Although our enrolled … Read More

Small Solutions for Primary Care Are Part of a Larger Problem

“At a time when patients require whole-person care to improve their overall health and well-being, efforts to improve the quality of narrow processes in the primary care setting may instead lead to fragmentation of care and clinician burnout. We believe that truly patient-centered, integrated, whole-person care in the primary care setting would comprehensively address patient concerns during any given office visit, whether those concerns include chronic disease management, acute issues, or preventive health care. [..] The annual wellness visit exemplifies a piecemeal initiative focused on specific components of care that fails to meet patient expectations of comprehensive care. [..] Widely … Read More

The Telehealth Era is Just Beginning

“Having analyzed health outcomes data from the independent National Committee for Quality Assurance, health plan member satisfaction surveys from J.D. Power, and internal data from our own organizations, we are confident that full implementation of five opportunities would improve clinical quality nationwide by 20%, increase access to care by 20%, and reduce health care spending by 15% to 20%. Reduce expensive and unnecessary trips to the ER – [..] Kaiser Permanente members in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC [..] can access a 24/7 video health center that connects them with a doctor who can quickly assess the problem and offer … Read More

Aldosterone, a hormone that prevents dehydration, is linked to worsening kidney disease, study suggests

“In the observational study [published in the European Heart Journal on 2022.8.7], researchers analyzed health data from 3,680 people with chronic kidney disease for nearly 10 years. Those with elevated levels of aldosterone, a crucial, salt-conserving hormone made by the adrenal glands, which sit atop the kidneys, had a higher risk of serious kidney disease progression during the study period: they are more likely to lose half their kidney function, start dialysis, or develop end-stage kidney disease. [Excerpts of an interview with Ashish Verma, kidney specialist and assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine:] [Verma:] We found … Read More

As billionaires race to fund anti-aging projects, a much-discussed trial goes overlooked

“[Nir] Barzilai, the head of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and scientific director for AFAR — the American Federation for Aging Research — has for more than a decade been leading the charge to test the idea of using drugs to extend human healthspan. In 2013, he and two other researchers got a grant from the National Institutes of Aging to develop a roadmap to conduct, for the first time in history, a clinical trial that targets aging. They planned to test metformin, a drug that had been approved in the ’90s for … Read More

Healthcare Workforce Shortages cannot be Resolved unless Self-Care is Taken Seriously

“Other industries, like travel, banking, entertainment, publishing, retail et al have built successful business models on the premise that their consumers—armed with needed information—engage directly in decisions and actions consonant with their self-interests. In so doing, fewer workers are required, replaced by technologies and online tools that are customized to their individual needs and preferences. In healthcare delivery circles, self-care is dismissed because diseases and treatments are deemed too complicated thus “consult your doctor” or “visit the ED” are the default. That’s the problem: the health system is staffed to the presumption that most consumers are incapable of acting rationally … Read More

Value-based payment has produced little value. It needs a time-out

“The concept of value-based payment became widespread among U.S. health policymakers and analysts during the 2000s. It collectively refers to interventions that offer doctors and hospitals financial incentives that, in theory, induce them to improve both components of health-care value — cost and quality — without generating the hostility provoked by managed care insurance companies during the HMO [health maintenance organization] backlash of the late 1990s. [The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation reviewed 54 models of value-based payment. Only four were certified to be expanded:] The Home Health Value-based Purchasing Model demonstration cut Medicare spending by 1% with mixed … Read More

Public Reported Health Outcomes: A National Initiative to Improve Care

“recent research demonstrates that hospital mortality rates can vary by a factor of 3 to 1 and health plans by 4 to 1, and publicly available quality ratings of health care plans and services do not correlate well with outcomes. What is more, lack of transparency among health plans and provider organizations prevents purchasers from making informed choices based on relative quality of provider organizations and health plan networks. Currently available outcomes data are limited to Medicare fee-for-service. [..] For at least five decades, the public health care conversation has focused primarily on rising costs, while the US has lagged … Read More

Anthony Fauci wants to put Covid’s politicization behind him

“After more than five decades of federal service under seven presidents, Anthony Fauci says he’s leaving by the end of President Joe Biden’s term. [..] his assessment, that we’ll live with Covid-19 for many years to come, is a startling admission from the longtime infectious disease expert who said the country could flatten the curve and achieve herd immunity, first through social distancing and then vaccination. [..] If called to testify [to Congress], Fauci will stress the importance of vaccines and boosters, but acknowledge there may never be a definitive moment when the country can claim victory over an evolving … Read More

How to preserve secrets in a quantum age

“The existing encryption standards that underpin just about every online exchange of information are a bit of gnarly mathematics designed to be well-nigh impossible for today’s computers to crack without just the right arithmetical key. But NIST’s scientists have not been pondering today’s machines. They worry about a coming era of quantum computers. These exploit the weirdness of the quantum world to perform calculations in fundamentally different ways from those used by conventional computers. This confers an enormous theoretical advantage in a small number of problem types—including identifying a large number’s prime factors (numbers, divisible only by themselves and one, … Read More