The man who traded freedom for healthcare

If you haven’t heard yet, a North Carolina man–recently unemployed and uninsured–robbed a bank of one dollar and then patiently waited for law enforcement to arrive. He figured it was the most logical attempt to receive needed healthcare treatment:

I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic, what I came up with. If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care, then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care.

The situation reminded me of the Heinz principle. Straight from Wikipedia (by way of Lawrence Kohlberg):

A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $1,000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said: “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.

Should Heinz have broken into the store to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?

Interesting parallels, right? Ask yourself this, if you were in the bank robber’s (or Heinz’s) situation, what would you do?

On Google Health…

I’m baffled that Google is pulling the plug on its Health product. Baffled.

It obviously was not successful. The reasons for that could be many (little interaction, bad partnerships, little consumer interest, etc.), but the biggest failing I believe was this: Google ignored their health product. Basic consumer access to healthcare data was not enough to create an engagement factor worthy of a Google product. I’m not smart enough to be at the Googleplex but given the engineering talent at the G, I could have pulled a team together to come up with a dozen ideas to have made the platform better (it would have taken five minutes, ten tops). Think about what the smart healthcare folks could have done.

I still have faith that personal health records are the solution to the health information exchange problem the industry has. If Google didn’t want to be in that business, that’s fine–it doesn’t seem like anyone else wants to be either. But what Google Health did offer the company was access to personalized healthcare data. The Google value add, in general, is to provide tools that allow you to do something with the data. Google Health didn’t let you do anything with the data.

Three things: Google is about to pull a Michael Jordan here–retire, then come back and win three more rings. There is no way a company that large and influential with a mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” can ignore an industry so desperately in need of a company to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Second, it’s Friday, Friday…healthcare start-ups everywhere are celebrating with a beer or two this evening.

Third, when will facebook join the healthcare party? Now seems like an opportunistic moment.

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This is the kind of stuff that makes me all kinds of happy. Imagine if every car on the road is a node sending out status “tweets” 10 times a second to all cars in the vicinity allowing all cars to be aware of each other. These are the kinds of things that will save nearly 40,000 lives a year. This is health.

Ford, today, showed off a new set of technologies that will enable cars to talk to each other, helping to reduce crashes and maybe help with other things, like help with fuel economy. Here Michael Shulman, technical leader in Ford’s Active Safety Research and Innovation gives us a demo of the tech.

 (by Scobleizer)