Blockchain for healthcare: Interview with Fluree co-CEO Brian Platz

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Brian Platz, co-CEO of Fluree

SilkRoad Technology co-founder Brian Platz has turned his attention to blockchain, with Fluree, a new Public Benefit Corporation that has introduced a scalable blockchain database for decentralized applications. Fluree is not healthcare specific, but there is a lot of potential for blockchain.

In this podcast interview we covered the following:

  • (0:10) What is a scalable blockchain database and why is it important?
  • (1:58) What are some of the most pressing database needs in healthcare? How different are they from the issues faced by other industries?
  • (3:07) What are some of the healthcare use cases for Fluree?
  • (5:15) You mention transparency and consensus as key attributes of block chain. Does that contradict healthcare’s needs for privacy and security?
  • (6:35) Who will leverage the technology in healthcare? Who is likely to be left behind?
  • (7:46) What impact, if any, will healthcare consumers and patients see as a result of Fluree?
  • (8:51) Why is Fluree organized as a Public Benefit Corporation?

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

How formidable would Amazon be in pharmacy?

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Oops

I’m a big fan and customer of Amazon, having placed thousands of orders since 1998. I understand why retailers (and other businesses) quake in their boots at the thought of Amazon disrupting them. As a healthcare insider, I also understand why healthcare companies are especially nervous. Deep down, we understand that US healthcare is tremendously wasteful and inefficient and that Amazon could make the industry look bad and eat its lunch.

Still, I’m not convinced that Amazon is going to take over the pharmacy business, the latest topic of discussion. The Wall Street Journal (Amazon’s push into pharmacy is full of promise and pitfalls) has a piece and we’re also told that CVS’s play for Aetna is a direct result of the Amazon threat.

My own recent experience with Amazon left a bitter taste in my mouth and provided a glimpse of just how hard pharmacy could be. I don’t usually take painkillers, but the past three weeks have been an exception. Since getting hit by a car while crossing the street, I have been a pretty good customer for OTC pain meds. On a recent Sunday I noticed I was running out of ibuprofen, and rather than asking family members to do one more errand, I used Amazon to place a same-day order.

I pressed the button around 9 am, and was promised that my order would be at my doorstep by 9 pm. By around noon the item was “out for delivery” but it hadn’t arrived by 8:30 pm and I was starting to get a little worried. Nine o’clock came and went, and Amazon switched my status to “delayed.” Finally I had to ask my wife to go out to the pharmacy, which luckily for us is close by and open late. I would have had a difficult night without my refill.

Eventually Amazon canceled the order and said my address was undeliverable –a weird claim for a home that receives Amazon shipments nearly every day.

Most of the skepticism about Amazon’s entry into pharmacy focuses on new complexities like third-party payment, which are admittedly pretty serious. But my own experience shows that Amazon’s current infrastructure isn’t robust enough for the basics, so I definitely won’t be among the first to sign up for AmazonRx.

Of course Amazon isn’t the only one with shipment woes, and this experience was an exception to my usual good ones. Still, it gives me pause.


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

Health Wonk Review: Disaster edition

Welcome to the disaster edition of the Health Wonk Review!

Fire, fire everywhere

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At Workers’ Comp Insider, Julie Ferguson focuses on response and recovery in the California fires. The cleanup of the toxic devastation poses enormous environmental health risks to fire fighters and residents alike.  She also offers a tribute to the workers who battled the fires, including a little-recognized segment –prisoners who volunteer for fire fighting duty.

Can it get any worse?

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Roy Poses at Health Care Renewal shares the Worst Revolving Door Health Care Case So Far.

After having followed and documented many instance of conflicts of interest and outright corruption affecting health care over the last 13 plus years, I am close to dumbfounded in response to the casualness that control of health policy and regulation is being handed over to top players in corporate health care who are most subject to these policies and regulation. 

Sabotage or bailout?

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Leave it to InsureBlog to plumb the mysteries of the Trump Administration’s targeting of the cost sharing reduction component of the Affordable Care Act. It’s neither sabotage nor bailout we are told. It’s a clear look at the issues involved, but I do find Part 1 (why CSR is not a bailout) more compelling than Part 2 (why it’s not sabotage). Part 2 leaves out how the uncertainty created by Trump undermines the plans and asserts as a fact that the boost in premiums is comparable to what was happening on the exchanges anyway. It leaves out the broader context and other examples of sabotage.

#CareTalk – protecting the vulnerable

In this month’s episode of #CareTalk, CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll and your host, David Williams from Health Business Group chat about the recent hurricanes that have impacted the US and what can be done to protect vulnerable populations.

That’s it folks! A light edition but I’ll take quality over quantity.

#CareTalk: Is bigger better in healthcare?

In this month’s #CareTalk videocast, CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll and I square off on the theme of bigness in healthcare.

 

Here’s what you’ll see:

(0:26) Is bigger better in healthcare?

(1:49) What can smaller companies do to succeed in healthcare?

(3:24) How can healthcare companies find a balance between scale and intimacy?

(7:05) Will Amazon do something different in healthcare, as opposed to what Google and Apple have done?

(8:04) Will the Trump administration kill value-based care?

(9:15) Which is more overhyped: wearables or personalized medicine/genomics?


By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.