Health Business Blog

Health care business consultant and policy expert David E. Williams share his views

Social network for cancer patients: Interview with Belong’s CTO Irad Deutsch

Irad Deutsch
Irad Deutsch

Belong.life bills itself as the largest social network for cancer patients and caregivers. With over 100,000 participants, Belong is approaching the scale at which it can generate meaningful insights, and leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a “hyper-personalized” experience.

I spoke recently with Irad Deutsch, Chief Technology Officer. He described how his personal experience as a caregiver led him to co-found the company, and talked about what makes Belong valuable and differentiated.

Overview:

  • (0:12) What are some of the main unmet needs for cancer patients and caregivers? Why was there a need for Belong in the first place?
  • (2:15) What, specifically does Belong do for patients that they can’t get elsewhere?
  • (4:23) How are providers and payers involved with Belong? Is this mainly a branding and cost-saving tool for them?
  • (7:03) What about pharmaceutical companies?
  • (8:00) You recently released a cancer fatigue survey. Why did you conduct that and what did it show? Any real surprises?
  • (10:08) You talk a lot about big data and machine learning but it’s not readily evident how those play in to Belong. Can you explain?
  • (12:50 What is the company’s business model?

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

Health Wonk Review is up at Xpostfactoid

Xpostfactoid hosts the Map of Malfunction issue of the Health Wonk Review. He describes it –accurately– as “a smorgasbord of smart takes on the morphing ACA marketplace; various dysfunctions (and one or two functions) of U.S. health care; and political wars over Medicare and the ACA.”

You may be glued to your seat today for the Kavanaugh hearing, but you can read the Review when you take a break.

John McCain: A Healthcare Legacy

We don’t normally think of Senator John McCain as a healthcare leader, and yet he played a significant role over the years in various policy matters. CareCentrix CEO, John Driscoll and I pay tribute in a short edition of #CareTalk.

Reference based pricing for pharmaceuticals. Podcast with ActiveRADAR CEO David Henka

David Henka, President & CEO of ActiveRADAR

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) claim to keep drug costs under control, but their convoluted business models and tactics don’t always result in the best deal for employers. Reference based drug pricing is an interesting alternative approach. It’s used for drug cost control in other parts of the world and within the US for things like elective surgery.

“Rebates are like crack cocaine…”

In this podcast interview, drug pricing expert David Henka sheds light on the drug pricing world and describes the reference based approach employed by ActiveRADAR, where he is CEO.

Here’s what we discussed:

  • (0:17) How can we understand the recent dust-up between President Trump and Pfizer’s CEO? What provoked it?
  • (1:00) Why does Pfizer want to see the “blueprint” unveiled —isn’t that supposed to squeeze the drug companies?
  • (2:47) Say more about your “balanced billing” analogy.
  • (4:21) So is Europe like Medicaid, developing countries the uninsured, and the US a commercial payer?
  • (4:59) Isn’t freeloading just good negotiating?
  • (7:23) What about someone like Martin Skrelli, who said just push prices to their logical conclusion: instead of 10% why not 100 or 1000%?
  • (8:52) You mentioned the typical consumer is fairly protected due to fixed deductibles or co-pays. What is the role of PBMs in drug pricing?
  • (11:07)  Would eliminating rebates really drive down costs?
  • (13:37) What other techniques are PBMs using?
  • (15:45) ActiveRADAR is involved in reference pricing. What is it? What implications does it have for PBMs? Are their days numbered?
  • (21:54) Historically generics have helped keep prices under control. How is that working out now? How should we think about “generics” or “similars” for biotech products?

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

#CareTalk August 2018: What does Google see in Oscar?

In the latest edition of #CareTalk, CareCentrix CEO John Driscoll and I banter about several trending healthcare stories: Google’s investment in Oscar Health, younger physicians’ embrace of single payer, drug pricing, and new approaches to opioids.

Don’t miss the lightning round, where we tackle some Congressional corruption, IBM Watson, home health aides and our summer movie picks.

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