Happy 13th birthday to the Health Business Blog

Teen time

My main job is president of Health Business Group, a boutique healthcare strategy consulting firm I founded in 2003. As a sideline, I write the Health Business Blog, where I provide a behind the scenes look at the business of healthcare, featuring my spin on healthcare topics in the news, interviews with entrepreneurs and policy prescriptions.

The blog is turning 13 years old today! Continuing a tradition I established with birthdays onetwo,   three,  four,  fivesixseven,  eight,  nine,  ten,  eleven and twelve, I have picked out a favorite post from each month. Thanks for continuing to read the blog!

March 2017: eCOA in action. Podcast interview with iCardiac CEO, Alex Zapesochny

I spoke with iCardiac’s CEO about electronic clinical outcome assessment (eCOA) platforms that collect data from patients, clinicians and caregivers to make clinical trials more efficient and accurate.

I served on the board of iCardiac for several years. Later in 2017 I helped arrange the company’s sale to ERT.

April 2017: USPSTF adopts my reasoning on PSA screening for prostate cancer

Which way on PSA?

One of the advantages of having such an old blog is that it gives me the chance to go back to posts from years earlier when an old topic is revived. In this case, the USPSTF did what I suggested on PSA screening –of course I probably wasn’t the one who made it happen!

May 2017: Steward buys IASIS. I’m quoted in the Boston Globe

As a scrappy, lower cost –and private equity owned– community based system, Steward isn’t popular with the big, academic health systems in Massachusetts. Those systems may actually breathe a sigh of relief to see Steward turn its sights out of state.

June 2017: Could Medicaid for all be the answer?

I have been predicting for a while that if Republicans actually manage to poison Obamacare they will come to regret it, since it may hasten the rise of a single payer –truly socialist– system. It won’t happen right away but we’re moving in that direction.

July 2017: What free market healthcare really looks like

Get while the gettin’ is good!

As an economics graduate, MBA, and entrepreneur I’m a fan of the free market system. The invisible hand is a beautiful thing, and it’s certainly been good for me.  A healthcare management consultant and board member, I make my living from the business of health.

But look closely at some free-market elements of US healthcare –like the cost containment industry for out-of-network payments– and you’ll be hard pressed to defend them.

August 2017: How to cure patient cancellations. Podcast with QueueDr CEO Patrick Randolph

This company has a pretty cool way for physician offices to fill cancellations and for patients to get in to see the doctor sooner.

September 2017: Clinical registry solution market heads toward $2 billion

Q-Centrix commissioned my consulting firm, Health Business Group, to conduct a market sizing and growth study of the clinical registry market. The report is available for complimentary download.

October 2017: How formidable would Amazon be in pharmacy?


October was a bad month for me, since I got hit by a car while crossing the street as a pedestrian. I won’t call it a silver lining, but my injuries did bring me into direct contact with various elements of the healthcare system. Amazon let me down on delivery of an OTC painkiller. I wouldn’t trust them (yet) with a prescription.

November 2017: Blockchain for healthcare. Interview with Fluree co-CEO Brian Platz

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.

December 2017: CVS + Aetna. Are we sure this adds up?

CVS and Aetna. Love at second sight?

Many of the stories about CVS’s proposed acquisition of Aetna suggest that the deal is a bold move to expand CVS’s retail clinic business. This seems like silly reasoning. I explore a more plausible and cynical rationale.

January 2018: Getting a handle on health insurance data. Podcast interview with Vericred CEO Mike Levin

Vericred is a utility for the online health insurance market, supplying accurate, accessible and detailed data on health plan design, rates, provider network participation and drug formularies.

I recently joined the company’s board.

February 2018: #CareTalk – Riding Amazon’s coattails

Amazon is teaming up with JP Morgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway to create a new healthcare business to serve the companies’ employees. But all we hear about is Amazon’s role, while the other two are barely mentioned. Are they just along for the ride?

In this episode of #CareTalk, my monthly videocast with CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll, we tackle this question along with other meaty topics including big data, the CDC, Apple and Medicaid.


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

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