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HIMSS 2019: A Call For Champions Of Health To Unite

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

HIMSS‘ (Health Information Management Systems Society) the undeniably trophy event for the health information technology sector ranging from disruptive digital health startups to enterprise wide solutions providers (both legacy and cloud based) for health systems, health plans, IDNs, ACOs, patient centered medical homes and more is again convening in Orlando from February 11th – 15th, 2019 at the Orange County Convention Center.

This year Health Innovation Media the leader in former C-suite hands on operators with domain specific subject matter expertise in engaging thought leaders, entrepreneurs and health policy wonks in their craft is for the fourth year in a row co-locating it’s signature ‘pinksocks pop-up studio‘ on site with Nuance, Inc., including Nuance Health.

Our ‘LIVE From HIMSS 2019‘ broadcast with co-hosts Nick Van Terheyden, MD and Fred Goldstein, MS, schedule including guests will be published shortly. Meanwhile, enjoy this look back and preview of HIMSS 2019:

What I Didn’t See at @JPMorgan Healthcare Conference #JPM19

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

For many reasons the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference seems to serve as the launching pad for what will trend for the balance of the year 2019. From pharma, to biotech, health system, integrated delivery networks, personalized or precision medicine or medical device innovation the potpourri and range of presenting companies provide definite insights beyond the hedged ‘forward looking statements’ reporting in advance of annual or quarterly SEC filings.

Often buried in formal mostly arcane disclosure statements are ‘strategic kernels‘ of what to expect in management’s discussion or operating results including material competitive concerns, any known or expected enabling ‘IP’ or other secret sauce tailwinds or conversely oppositional headwinds of whatever form.

As opined often and elsewhere in years past, see: ‘If Its January, It’s JP Morgan Healthcare Conference‘, a rich stream of those insights could be sourced from the ‘non-proft track‘ where major health systems – arguably the ‘innovation uptake gatekeepers’ – discuss their strategies including the range of joint venture or affiliate companies to work around their typical tax exempt or non-profit status.

Unfortunately, JP Morgan has chosen NOT to stream these vital sessions.

The other ‘conspicuous absence‘ with the exception of GW Pharmaceuticals was the emerging cannabis sector given its growing body of evidence as a viable therapeutic alternative to many current approved medicines, from pain management to the treatment of epilepsy. Cannabis was legalized ‘recreationally‘ at the federal level in Canada in October of this year, joining Uruguay.

In the United States the repeal of the federal prohibition is inevitable in the opinion of this author. For context see: All the places in the world you can (legally) get high on 4/20. The national ‘heat map’ below provides the ‘recreational’ vs. ‘medical‘ marijuana picture by state which continues to build out often in some surprising places. It’s not if, but when.

Make no mistake, medical is the foot in the door that states will not be able to resist given the allure of potential tax receipts in state treasuries or the growing body of evidence of its medical upside.

The one cannabis company I found on the agenda of reporting companies at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference was GW Pharmaceuticals, PLC:

the global leader in developing cannabinoid-based medicines

courtesy of Justin Gover its Chief Executive Officer. The link to the session is here, these are time limited streams as JP Morgan pulls the plug on the content some 60-90 days out. Be sure and listen Glover’s pitch and follow along via the deck supplied.

NOTE: While access is free via JP Morgan Healthcare Conference portal, registration is required for the links supplied in this post. You can register here.

There is so much more to come from the cannabis sector as both consumer product companies (see What Constellation Brands’ Massive Investment In Canopy Growth Corp. Means For Both Companies) and pharma giants scour the landscape to find suitable entry points (both acquisitions and mergers) to participate in the inevitable rise of the cannabis sector – both ‘high margin‘ medical and the massive upside of infusion products from beverages to lotions to you fill in the blank.

If your interest is piqued at all here, one source of tracking the public cannabis sector is via New Cannabis Ventures published by Houston based Alan Brochstein, CFA.

As always, I invite your comments including alternative points of view.


#JPM19 Best Bets

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

Two bellwether companies reported on their operating results including industry headwinds and tailwinds given the instability of macro industry pivots from a ‘do more to earn more‘ (fee-for-services) production mindset to ‘loose‘ (where any ‘ Rorschach‘ projection will do) notions of what a ‘value based‘ healthcare, tech or systemic approach looks, feels and walks like.

In other words, in this admittedly murky transformational environment, the challenge of positioning a viable consolidated enterprise (for the CVS Health & Aetna combination as well as others pondering the implications of the volume to value journey) the seminal question remains: is the strategy pivot about grafting innovation (via acquisition or internal re-positioning) on top of an otherwise legacy driven culture and operational chassis, or is it a complete re-tooling of the enterprise?

Might focused tweaks work, or is a fundamental re-structuring of the business model and operating footprint the strategic imperative? And if the latter, what does that look like and is there a national replicable footprint?

I found the presentation by Larry Merlo, President & CEO, CVS Health aka the ‘tail that wagged the dog‘ at legacy health insurer Aetna (though Mark Bertolini would no doubt beg to differ with my legacy label – think 90’s U.S. Healthcare debacle and subsequent entry and exits from ambitions efforts at new business development at Healthagen) to be sensible and promising. As a strategist at many misfires (and some managed care successes) at major for-profit, tax exempt, academic and regional referral center hospital or health system pivots I was skeptical that this modestly ‘atypical player‘ marriage made sense and could be pulled off in a sustainable way.

See what you think… reading the tea leaves from diversified (via acquisition or internal baking) and often potentially conflicted ‘legacy‘ vs. ‘new market‘ opportunity plays can be a challenging set of incentives to navigate, manage and scale in a healthcare economy pivoting from volume-to-value.

You can access both via the JP Morgan webcast portal for a limited time here. This is a free service but does require your registration. Search the ‘sessions’ tab for the respective webcast. Some of the reporting companies’ supply their decks for reference as well.

The other report I found of strategic value from a trophy name plate operator in the midst of it’s own pivot, in the lab space was provided via industry leader and consolidator LabCorp courtesy of David King its Chairman & CEO.

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Day One #JPM19

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

The must be a part of healthcare investor gathering launches today in San Francisco – perhaps for the last time.

Fortunately, JP Morgan continues its tradition of inviting access and engagement in the content streamed by participating companies. In order to access the program agenda, list of participating companies, profiles, supporting decks and scheduled webcasts you need to register and agree to the terms of service stipulated by the underwriting host and principals from JP Morgan.

The portal for registration is accessible here.

The Monday morning line-up kicks off with many bellwether pharma and biotech performers including Celgene’s  pending acquisition by Bristol Meyers Squibb in the convergent pharma, life sciences and biotech sectors, as well the year end results from Medicaid managed care market leader Centene (including the combined operating performance of California innovator in the HMO space, HealthNet).

There is so much to follow to gain insights on the performance of operators in the payor, provider and supplier, including medical device sectors.

Do not miss this time limited availability of material insights into the complex ecosystem of the U.S. healthcare economy.

37th JP Morgan Healthcare Investor Conference

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

When William Hambrecht and George Quist founded Hambrecht & Quist (H&Q) in 1968, the ’boutique’ firm launched as an investment bank based in San Francisco, California notably focusing on the then emerging yet rather nascent technology and Internet sectors.

Clearly, Bill and George were a prescient duo as H&Q was:

“an early player in the technology sector, underwriting initial public offerings (IPOs) for Apple Computer, Genentech, and Adobe Systems in the 1980s. In the 1990s, H&Q also backed the IPOs of Netscape,, and”

Some 36 annual conferences later, and now squarely in the hands of perhaps the prototypical trophy U.S. investment bank, JP Morgan, H&Q’s legacy ‘healthcare investor‘ commitment has morphed into a life sciences, biotech, pharma and healthcare innovation ‘mega‘ event that is both going strong and has seeded several derivative strains of related gatherings from the DOCSF to the StartUp Health Festival, the BioTech Showcase and many other ecosystem stakeholders footprints including broker, management consulting, accounting and law firm sponsored events, i.e., the combined Deloitte, E & Y & McDermott Law gathering.

You can access both via the JP Morgan webcast portal for a limited time here. This is a free service but does require your registration. Search the ‘sessions’ tab for the respective webcast. Some of the reporting companies’ supply their decks for reference as well.

According to JP Morgan Healthcare website, and implied below via ‘while it is still at the Westin‘ – this is the last year San Francisco will host this must attend event – the firm scales the gathering as follows:

“Today, while it is still at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference brings thousands of investors from around the world together. The hundreds of companies presenting run the gamut, from start-ups to those with more than $300 billion in market cap, and encompass the entire global healthcare landscape, including pharmaceutical firms, healthcare service providers, profit and not-for-profits, and medical device companies.”

JP Morgan Guides

This week of somewhat ‘frenetic‘ activity can be tough to schedule and navigate. Some of the best guides we’ve found are provided by BIO via their ‘One-on-One Partnering™ @ JPM, Rock Health, Big3BioSF, and relative ‘newcomer‘ and registrar

For the ultimate private event, reception and party calendar, c/o BIO and MacDougall Biomedical Communications see: ‘Private Events around the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.’

Tracking the conversation

For the 5th out of the last 6 years, Health Innovation Media has registered the #JPM19 ‘un-official’ hashtag courtesy of the ‘go-to‘ health hashtags project sponsored by Symplur. The digital dashboard is accessible here.

You can also pull time limited transcripts of tweets and select analytics demonstrating the reach, engagement and ‘social capital‘ of participants in the conversational stream.

Follow tweets via #JPM19 and consider following me via @2healthguru.

WISH 2018 The World Innovation Summit for Health

by Gregg A.  Masters, MPH

It’s just 15 hours +/- 25 minutes or so by direct flight (I flew on Qatar Airways – amazing food and exceptional service especially when compared to U.S. domestic carriers) from Los Angeles International Airport to Doha, Qatar (pronounced kah-tar).

Once the internal bio-clock adjusts to an initial dis-orientation (a flip) of a + 11 hour time zone shift, one is welcomed to Doha by a culture steeped in a tradition of courtesy and service, amidst a towering series of skyscrapers clustered in Doha City.

My time in Doha was by invitation to attend and report on certain events planned at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) Summit running Tuesday and Wednesday, November 13th and 14th, 2018.

Live Stream

There will be a live stream. WISH intends to stream select content below:

Follow tweets via #WISH2018 or #WISHQatar2018. The former digital dashboard is here.

Details on WISH note:

Around 2000 healthcare experts, innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and ministers from over 100 countries will gather in Doha, Qatar, on November 13-14 as ONE community to collaboratively work to achieve ONE goal: a healthier world. 

WISH 2018 reflects the vision of the World Innovation Summit for Health, which is to build a healthier world through global collaboration. At WISH 2018 delegates will have the opportunity to openly share, collaborate and innovate in order to advance innovation in healthcare. 

Join us on November 13-14 to explore some of the world’s most exciting innovations, to delve into new evidence-based ideas and practices, to forge new connections and to contribute to the development of fresh insights that will help shape health policy around the world for years to come. 

This year’s program includes panel discussions on a wide range of topics pertaining to some of the world’s most pressing healthcare issues, such as eye health, precision medicine and anti-microbial resistance. You will also have an opportunity to explore the WISH Innovation Hub and meet with global health experts and innovators. To check out this year’s program, click here.

Access all information including past WISH sessions, here.

The WISH agenda is organized into the 9 themes below:

WISH is featuring a series of start-up companies via their showcase, including:

  • WATIF Health Portal: a chronic disease decision management portal.
  • The VeinTrain Vein Flatpack Training System: a ‘flat-pack’ tool that enables practical simulation core training.
  • TrustCircle: addresses one of the greatest healthcare challenges our society faces today – the decline in emotional well-being.
  • Tilapia skin burn bandage: a frugal and effective option to treat patients with second- and third-degree burns.
  • Aravind Eye Care System: providing eye care to remotely-based populations via telemedicine-enabled Vision Centers to better meet health needs of remote populations.
  • TechTeb: an Uber-like mobile app for booking healthcare in-house visits according to geographical location.
  • SyntheSci: provides instant data location and intelligent integration of scientific research findings. It finds evidence-informed answers at the click of a mouse.
  • SubQ Assist: a task-shifting medical device that simplifies the administration of long-acting contraceptive implants.
  • the first company to turn the smartphone camera into a regulatory approved clinical device.
  • SeeDo: technology offers an early intervention for deaf children from 1-7 years of age that brings about remarkable change in their lives.
  • Proximie: an innovative reality platform allowing doctors to virtually transport themselves into any clinical setting to collaborate, train, teach and support other surgeons and medical experts.
  • Pristina Dueta™: the first wireless remote-control device that allows patients to control their own breast compression during a mammogram with the guidance of a technician.
  • One Three Biotech: an artificial intelligence-driven platform that combines over 25 different types of biological, chemical and clinical data to quickly and accurately identify new potential drugs and predict their mechanisms.
  • On call: antibiotics (OcA): the first electronic health game for computer and mobile devices dedicated to improving antimicrobial prescribing behaviors in hospital prescribers.
  • One Medical: a tech-enabled primary care delivery system with over 70 offices across 8 markets in the United States.
  • HydrUStent: a biodegradable, antibacterial and tailor-made stent with patent protection. HydrUStent reduces the risk of bacterial infection, while also decreasing the number of surgical procedures by half and cutting treatment cost by 60%.
  • Himachal Tele Emergency Project: In partnership with the local Department of Health and Family Welfare, Apollo Hospital’s Himachal Tele-Emergency Project provides affordable, quality urgent care services to communities in isolated regions of hostile climate.
  • Electronic-Urban Primary Health Centers (eUPHC): provides comprehensive healthcare and a spectrum of specialist services, such as cardiology, orthopedics, endocrinology and medicine through telemedicine systems in India.
  • Crispvision eye test kits: affordable and accessible sight-saving kits used to detect eye defects, correct farsightedness, and monitor debilitating eye diseases, such as cataract, onchocerciasis and trachoma.
  • Coordinate My Care (CMC): a clinical service underpinned by a digital solution. It provides an advance care planning process that empowers clinicians to create quality urgent care plans, transforming care for all vulnerable patients, and delivering improved quality at a reduced cost.


Do follow companies’ participating in the WISH Showcase via twitter handles: @watifhealth @AravindEye @techteb #SubQAssist @_UMGHDI @Healthyio1 @SeeDorobot @ProximieAR @GEHealthcare @OneThreeBiotech #Oncallantibiotics @imperialcollege @onemedical #HydrUstent @Abarros27 @ApolloTeleMed @eunaudoha @trustcircle  

More information on WISH can be found in an impressive forum faculty and chair line-up and the program schedule.



Exponential Medicine 2018

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

The ‘burning man’ equivalent of the future of medicine is in town at the usual Hotel Del Coronado location.

The good news is you can follow the action via livestream! Tag tweets #xMed or follow on twitter for a rich feed of innovation from precision medicine to AI.

More Information:
Exponential Medicine is a unique and intensive four-day experience that gathers world-class faculty, innovators and organizations from across the biomedical and technology spectrum to explore and leverage the convergence of fast moving technologies in the reinvention of health and medicine.


Connect with Singularity University:

About Singularity University:
Singularity University is a benefit corporation headquartered at NASA’s research campus in Silicon Valley. We provide educational programs, innovative partnerships and a startup accelerator to help individuals, businesses, institutions, investors, NGOs and governments understand cutting-edge technologies, and how to utilize these technologies to positively impact billions of people.


by Gregg A. Masters, MPH

When Health Innovation Media first launched in 2013 at HiMSS in New Orleans we fielded an independent media footprint that managed to generate over 320k minutes of viewership, with an average retention of 17 minutes per interview of our live streamed interviews including a ‘Health 2.0 Hour‘ with Matthew Holt wandering through the exhibition hall.

We were then the Health Innovation Broadcast Consortium (aka @HIBCtv), an association of independent new media journalists, social media ‘personalities’ and digital content producers. For the seminal blog post announcing the effort, see: 5 Days in March: A Tale of Independent Media Passion, Determination and Agility.  

In subsequent years, specifically HiMSS 2016 and 2017 we co-located with digital health start-up Conversa Health and live streamed our series ‘LIVE From HiMSS‘ interviewing top talent in the health innovation and healthcare transformation space from Andy Slavitt to Patrick Soon-Siong, MD.

For a complete list of interviews, see 2016 videos here, and 2017 audio streams here

For HiMSS 2018, we’re delighted to co-locate with Qlik Healthcare to live stream our audio interviews on Tuesday from 3-5PM Pacific and Wednesday 11AM-1PM Pacific. 

For the program line-up of guests see: FINAL HIMSS Qlik Broadast Schedule and LineUp.


Humana Bold Goal: A Bold Commitment to Population Health

by Gregg A. Masters, MPH and Fred Goldstein, MS

Humana’s known mostly for its commitment to and innovation leadership in Medicare Advantage programs. Perhaps as a result of their hospital system DNA before committing to the health plan space Humana has led innovation on several fronts including the proactive outreach via nurse case manager engagement with member healthcare needs often bordering on both advocacy and delivery system navigation including counseling particularly for ‘at risk‘ member’s with chronic care needs.

Recently, Humana has stepped up in a big way and crafted a program designed to impact the health of their members at the community (population) level. The effort is in part fueled by the growing awareness that clinical intervention only goes so far and that often ‘swimming upstream‘ to the social determinants of health can yield a significant return on the company’s assets and goodwill. Perhaps tied if not inspired at some level by Healthy People 2020 goals and even the private efforts courtesy of Esther Dyson et al at The Way to Wellville Bold Goal is a material commitment to improving the health and communities in which Humana operates.

On PopHealth Week, my colleague Fred Goldstein recently engaged Tray Cockerell, MA, SPHR, Leader of Humana’s Bold Goal Operations.


Background on this effort notes:

There is a growing interest in programs targeting entire communities around the country. Humana, the national health insurer has launched several these initiatives. Humana’s simple but lofty goal is to raise the Health of the communities they serve by 20% by 2020. Fred has been involved with the Bold Goal launch in Jacksonville, FL which began last fall and can comment as an outsider.

Tray joined Humana in 2001 in its Human Resource function leading Employee Relations, expanding his accountability in 2002 to include being HR Business Leader for all corporate functions, including the Offices of the CEO and Chairman of the Board. Tray transitioned into a new role leading internal communications for the organization and partnering to design new benefit strategies and communications for Humana’s associate population. Subsequently, Tray was asked to join Humana’s Consumer Innovation and Marketing Office as its Chief of Staff, where he played a strategic and integrative leadership role, led a Business Optimization team, and played an instrumental role in the front-end of innovation, working with start-ups, health accelerators, and other potential innovation partners.

He is a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. He was captain of the varsity golf team, Academic All-American, and President of his fraternity. Mr. Cockerell also received a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Kansas, where he taught English for two years.

For more information on the Bold Goal Initiative see: Bold Goal 2016 Progress Report.


Population Health and those ‘White Waters’ of Health Reform

By Fred Goldstein, MS and Gregg A. Masters, MPH

President Trump recently conceded the ‘repeal and replace‘ agenda of the Republican Party to reverse the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is:

Unbelievably Complex…’

Some may argue that those who are awakening to this perhaps unique ‘complexity’ is the POTUS himself and a majority of his anti-Obamacare Republican colleagues. For example, in August of 2009 Gregg Masters penned the following post in the run up to the ACA’s eventual passage: Health Reform 101 – ‘None of the Ransomed Knew How Deep Were the Waters Crossed!’ wherein he opined on its historically change resistant complexity given the intersection of opposing health policy ideologies:

‘The [health reform] oxygen (or change imperative ‘momo’) is gone, and the business owner of the reform narrative is desperately flailing for air. What was once seemingly brilliant political positioning, i.e., ‘you (the Congress) give me something I can sign into law’, now appears to have degraded into a desperate ‘chicken dance’ in search of a tangible face saving political accommodation.’

While others may suggest we haven’t come very far and that we’re still searching for the elusive ‘political accommodation‘ see: ‘House Republicans release long-awaited plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Amidst these shifting sands of health reform uncertainty, one of the ‘go-to’ conferences of the year to make sense of the likely vector of U.S. Health Policy is the Population Health Colloquium.

The Colloquium runs from March 27th – 29th in the ‘City of Brotherly Love‘ Philadelphia.  In its 17th year and masterfully curated and moderated by David Nash, MD, MBA the founding and current Dean of the College of Population Health at Jefferson University, the program brings together thought leaders, academics, practitioners and ‘best in class‘ operators in the population health industry. Covering the diverse population health ecosystem, the Colloquium will appeal to health system leadership, the payer community, clinicians, academics and both supplier and vendor stakeholder interests supporting the technology and infrastructure needs of an evolving industry and the networking opportunities may be unparalleled.

The Colloquium hashtag is #pophealth17, and digital dashboard, here – where you can pull both transcripts and analytics (after free registration).

This year’s event features keynotes ranging from the Future of Managed Care to Good Health is Good Business: The Results of an Innovative Alignment with Physicians and Communities.

Here are just a few of the many thought leaders and innovators providing keynotes this year include:

  • Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, Philadelphia, PA
  • Marilyn Tavenner
    Chief Executive Officer, America’s Health Insurance Plans, Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Washington, DC
  • Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP
    President and Chief Executive Officer, AcademyHealth, Deputy Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Washington, DC
  • Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD
    Founder and Director, MIT AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
  • Allison Brennan, MPP
    Vice President of Policy, National Association of ACOs, Washington, DC

The balance of keynotes can be found on the program Agenda. The range and the diversity of topics covered is impressive. For a representative sampling of interviews conducted at last year’s Colloquium, see: PHC 2016.

For an overview and update on the state of Population Health including an introduction and preview of the Population Health Colloquium 2017, we recently chatted with Dr. Nash:

Digging deeper into the Colloquium’s agenda we find ‘mini-summits‘ and ‘concurrent sessions’ on day two covering the following topics:

And concurrent sessions:

The most difficult part of this conference is deciding which sessions to attend. The complete agenda is available here, and a direct registration link for full details, here.

Also on Day two will be the awarding of the Hearst Health Prize For Excellence in Population Health now in its second year, this $100,000 prize goes to……..? Check out last year’s debrief of the winner ‘Community Care of North Carolina‘.

Tuesday evening closes with an optional dinner session, but one definitely worth attending to hear from Michael Dowling and Dr. Stephen Klasko on a panel moderated by David Nash MD, MBA.  This interesting and informative panel will discuss THE FUTURE OF CLINICALLY INTEGRATED NETWORKS a critically important component of creating a better health system and integrating population health.

So why come to the Colloquium? Hear and learn from true leaders, share your ideas and network. We can think of no better place to be March 27- 29 than Philadelphia…