March 4, Kim Bellard
What do the coronavirus and Navy ships have in common? For that matter, what do our military spending and our healthcare spending have in common? More than you might think, and it boils down to this: we spend too much for too little, in large part because we tend to always be fighting the wrong wars. The real war facing us is a public health war. Whether it is this or the next pandemic, or whether it is obesity or gun violence, the biggest threats come at the public health level. If the coronavirus outbreak teaches us anything, let it be that we’d better be investing much more heavily in public health, as broadly defined as we can make it.
March 3, Andy Mychkovsky
At the end of the day, primary care still receives a pitiful amount of the total spend in healthcare. The best estimates believe only 5-7% of healthcare spending devoted to primary care. However, the power of referral, care management, and addressing the social determinants of health (e.g., housing, food, transportation, etc.) holds the promise of a better tomorrow. But in looking at the trends over the past few years, Andy is hopeful these will will continue and new startups will be developed that further innovate on the $260 billion primary care market in the U.S.
March 2, Thomas Wilson and Vince Kuraitis
A recent study in NEJM suggested that “hot spotting” (targeting interventions at healthcare superutilizers, the 5% of patients that account for 50% of annual healthcare spending) apparently did not reduce superutilizers’ readmissions. However, Thomas and Vince dive deeper and argue that much of what’s going on here can be explained by “RTM Traps,” or regression to the mean traps. What are these traps, and how can we avoid this significant issue when working with superutilizer groups of patients?