New thinking on health care and costs: 3 must-read pieces

Image courtesy Einar Fredrikson: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wild_speedy/

Thinking About Wal-Mart and the First World: “For its more than 8,000 stores in 15 countries around the world, Walmart (WMTquote) is increasing its offerings in the health care sector with more vaccination shots. (Pictured: A giant underground Walmart in Guiyang, China, accessed via glass pyramids. These are starting with stores in the United States, where Walmart already offers some vaccines. The plans are to increase the number of vaccines now available at Walmart stores in the United States to ten.” Walmart will be a major emerging market health care provider, Jonathan Yates, Emerging Money.

Thinking About Research: “I’ve recently learned of some well-intentioned medical research that disturbs me so deeply that I think it’s time to get formal about teaching e-patients and their partners how to detect research that misses its target, even if it’s well intentioned. Doing this responsibly requires a deep understanding of the purpose of research and its methods. So this is the start of a series in which I’ll lay out what I’ve learned so far, describe the problems and challenges and opportunities that I see, and invite dialog on where I’m wrong and your own experiences as patient or clinician or researcher. If this succeeds we’ll have a new basis for considering questions of what to do and how to prioritize it, in this era of change in medicine – not just in research but in all of medicine, as we work on reducing our spend.” New Series: Understanding and Guiding Medical Research, Epatient Dave DeBronkart, epatientdave.com.

Thinking About Direct Primary Care: “The real problem is failure of imagination and being stuck in old ways. I’m working on a paper on Direct Primary Care (DPC) or what I have called “concierge medicine for the masses” (NYT has adopted that phraseology). The WSJ writer underestimates the marketplace and creativity of entrepreneurs as well as established national players (stay tuned for some major announcements regarding a national carrier supporting this model). I’ve pasted the portion of the paper that addresses the #1 objection people raise about DPC — exacerbating the shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs). I’ve solicited input from all the leading DPC practitioners.” WSJ Underestimates the Power of the Market and HealthCare Entrepreneurs, Dave Chase, Forbes.com.