News You Can Use – Pandemics, Risk and Tech Retail Giants in Healthcare
By Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick
Host of Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist – #TheIncrementalist
This months episode of “News you can Use” in the traditions of “Ask Me Anything” on HealthcareNOWRadio features news from the month of October.
You can read more about the series here and the concept of keeping up with innovating in healthcare. Please send me your suggestions on topics you’d like to see covered. You can reach out direct via the contact form on my website, send me a message on LinkedIn or on my Facebook page (DrNickvT), or on Twitter tagging me (@DrNic1) and #TheIncrementalist or you can click this link to generate a ready-made tweet to fill in.
Episode NOW on Demand
As I did last month I am talking to Craig Joseph, MD (@CraigJoseph) Chief Medical Officer at Nordic Consulting Partners. The topic of COVID19 remains top of mind and we review the latest guidance on the new safety data available for vaccination younger children. The data so far, from Pfizer has shown no serious side effects but the efficacy remains uncertain because there are not enough cases of the disease occurring in the control arm. This is not peer reviewed data and is still to be analyzed and reviewed by experts but there will be a lot of parents ready to breathe a sigh of relief knowing their children can join them in being protected.
We discuss the risk/reward balancing act that everyone has to apply, not just to vaccines but to life in general and something we (that’s us humans) are bad at assessing long term risk. We tend to be quite good at assessing short term risk – is that bear going to eat me for example, but when it comes to long term implications and calculation not so much. This creates plenty of opportunities for conspiracy theories as defined in this post by George Takei.
Unfortunately this content abounds online and is amplified by the speed of (social)media and the filters are missing. Risk and emotion are oftentimes intertwined and the brain makes a fast assessment of the odds, but when the amygdala (part of the brain that involved in emotions, emotional behavior and motivation) gets swamped it clouds our ability to rationally assess probability. That worked with Bears and Sabre tooth tigers but not so much in today’s world.
We tend to overestimate the odds of unlikely or rare events, while simultaneously underestimating how dangerous or risky commonplace events are – think air travel and cars. People are frightened of flying (aviophobia) but happy to step into a car after the flight and don’t feel at risk there
- Risk of dying in a car Crash about 1 in 84 (lifetime)
- Risk of dying in a Plan Crash about 1 in 11,000,000
Boosters or Another Dose?
We cover the terminology in use for another dose of the COVID19 dose and Craig makes an important point about Boosters vs a third dose. He also references this article Preventing a Pandemic’s Toll—We’ve Been Here Before that highlights the similarities between resistance to HIV treatments with drugs in the early days of newly discovered therapies for that disease (one we still don’t have a vaccine for) and the current slew of anti vaccine positions. We saw the same with seat belt mandates.
Listen in to hear our discussion on the entry of Big technology and retail into the healthcare sector. In my commentary some time back I said
Round 1 was a knockout
Now Round 2 sadly has gone the same way for Google
Healthcare is hard, very hard – even with great people finding an effective path is challenging
➡️Google Dismantling Health Division
Aaron Martin had a more nuanced interpretation – what is interesting is that CVS and Walgreens have gone from being a pharmaceutical pick up point to a nexus of healthcare delivery. Dollar general has stormed into the space hiring a Chief Medical Officer. It has significant reach in rural areas which suffer from “Pharmacy Deserts” and may give them the edge. In fact the combination of these local facilities and the likes of Andrew Suggs (Medicine Back to the Barber Shop) make for a powerful solution to delivering rural care. Expect more from the likes of Google, and Amazon too.
About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.
This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.