Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Google Meets New Yorker: Both Argue for Innovation in Primary Care

In the press this week, Silicon Valley alumni of Google and Uber have claimed to create a new-generation doctor's office that will have a transformative effect on office visits.   The service is premiering under the brand, "Forward."

See coverage at Business Insider, here. and at DiveHealthcare, here.  At TechCrunch, here.  (A critical article about Forward appeared at MedCityNews, here.)

More after the break.

The attention to primary care - not just the fast-lane buzz of telemedicine- is rising.   For six examples:
  1. In the January 23, 2017 New Yorker, Atul Gawande praises the high value of steady, incremental, patient-focused primary care visits and contrasts their impact with his work as a surgeon.  Here.
    1. While the same week, New York Times runs an article on the importance of longer conversations between patients and physicians.  Here.
  2. Forbes health policy blogger Carolyn McClanahan featured better and universal primary care as a good pillar to build any Republican health reform around.  Here.
    1. Health Affairs ran an interesting blog on the need to cross-train between primary care and primary dentistry, envisioning a new world where dentists might give immunizations and primary care clinics might do flouride treatment.  Here.
  3. In New York, the innovative health plan Oscar has opened new primary care clinics for its members.  Here.
  4. For several years, there have been efforts to build out primary care clinics in locations like CVS and Walgreens.    
  5. CMS has attempted to reboot primary care incentives through CMMI programs like  Primary Care Plus, "a national advanced primary care home model" (or NAPCHM, in acronym-speak.) 
    1. CMS has also asserted that "care in the home" visits may save money, though incrementally (5-10%), not in huge swaths.  Here and here.  
  6. Molina Health Plans, a large provider of managed Medicaid and other dollar-wise plans, is building out more of its own primary care clinics as well.  
  7. Healthcare Dive focuses on the uneasy competitive relationship between next-generation primary care and hospitals, here

In the TechCrunch article, it sounds like one emphasis will be speed - point of care and point of action.   Founder Adrian Aoun remarks:
  • “Imagine you’re an engineer on my team and I said ‘go write some code’ but when you hit compile you actually have to go wait a week, you’re going to fax your code off and the test results will come back a week later and then you get to know the results.” 
Also according to TechCrunch, investors include Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, John Doerr, and angels included Eric Schmidt and Marc Benioff.

A comparison was made to One Medical, a multi-city branding and appointment entity for primary care (here).  One Medical states: "Our healthcare providers are rated in the top 10% on Yelp, see 35% fewer patients than typical providers, and 95% of our appointments start on time."


For the publicly-streamed Molina presentation at JP Morgan, January 2017, here.