Week in Review: May 24

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.


Industry News

Blue Cross joins the doctors practice party

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em: It's a mantra health insurance giants like UnitedHealth Group and Humana have embraced for years as they've snapped up doctors practices to curb the cost of medical care. Now the parent of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois is getting into the game. Health Care Service Corp., which owns Blue Cross plans in five states, is following its rivals' lead, opening 10 primary care clinics in Texas next year and, in Pullman, launching a neighborhood center that offers everything from workshops on managing heart disease to yoga and meditation classes. As with its rivals' earlier forays into physician practice acquisition, HCSC's latest moves are made with several goals in mind, some that immediately redound to the bottom line—more tightly controlling where members seek care, for one—and others, like addressing social conditions from housing to food insecurity, that may improve results over the long haul. Via Modern Healthcare.

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The man who is ageing too fast

Nobuaki Nagashima was in his mid-20s when he began to feel like his body was breaking down. He was based in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture of Japan, where for 12 years he had been a member of the military, vigorously practising training drills out in the snow. It happened bit by bit – cataracts at the age of 25, pains in his hips at 28, skin problems on his leg at 30. At 33, he was diagnosed with Werner syndrome, a disease that causes the body to age too fast. Among other things, it shows as wrinkles, weight loss, greying hair and balding. It’s also known to cause hardening of the arteries, heart failure, diabetes and cancer. Via Mosaic Science.

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What we know about the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan joint venture so far

The announcement last January that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase were combining forces to improve health care for their employees sent shock waves through the health care markets. That day, shares of CVS dropped 4.1%, Walgreens by 5.2%, and Express Scripts by 3.2%, and a flurry of health care experts quickly proclaimed either complete skepticism or enthusiasm about he joint venture's prospects. Now, just over a year later, we know the venture's name—Haven—and leader—well-known surgeon and thought leader Atul Gawande, but little else. And time appears to have diminished the industry's excitement; Venrock's 2019 survey of over 250 industry stakeholders found that only 9% of respondents were confident in the venture's success, down from 27% in 2018. Via Advisory Board.

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Mayo Clinic News

Disruptive IBM tech now matching cancer patients to clinical trials

Can artificial intelligence save lives? IBM’s award-winning AI platform Watson is being called a game-changer for its potential impact on every industry—and on the health care sector in particular. John Kelly, who leads IBM Research, says Watson has doubled the number of women getting into cancer clinical trials at the Mayo Clinic by matching their medical history and diagnosis, something he says humans simply could not achieve. Via CNN Money.

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Suzanne R. Ferguson

Suzanne Ferguson is a Marketing Channel Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories and has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2014. Outside of work, Suzanne can be found traveling, reading and spending time with her family.

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