Health care must-reads: Innovation, consolidation … and more innovation

The past week’s news was all about disruption -- the businesses that are bringing it and how traditional players are grappling with it. Digital disrupter Amazon has been on health care radars for some time, and its acquisition of PillPack last year gave it a stronger foothold in the space. Meanwhile, Walgreens is seeking its own brand of tech disruption in a partnership with Microsoft.

On the hospital side, leaders are managing change in the health care industry through consolidation and pursuit of innovative new streams of revenue. But at least one industry expert warns health systems against focusing too heavily on innovation when they could instead be learning from what their peers do best.

 

Amazon expected to enter online pharmacy business

Amazon's purchase of the online pharmacy PillPack suggests the company is preparing to enter the multibillion dollar pharmacy sector, experts said. Courage Health CEO Stephen Buck said it would not be difficult for Amazon to expand PillPack to a broader audience, while others noted the sector is heavily regulated and competitive.

Full Story: CNBC

Hospitals say new revenue streams are urgent priority

In a survey of hospital and health system executives, 90% said adding new revenue streams is an urgent priority with results expected within three years, according to a report from Partners HealthCare and Fitzroy Health. The report outlined three areas of value creation, including bringing innovations in care to market, changing cost centers into profit centers and increasing royalties from drugs, devices and diagnostics.

Full Story: Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model)

Wake Forest, Atrium Health in merger talks

Discussions are underway among Atrium Health, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Wake Forest University to create a new academic health system, including a medical school, in Charlotte, N.C., with a larger research and innovation core in Winston-Salem. Atrium has some 14 million patient interactions annually, while Wake Forest Baptist has 2.2 million.

Full Story: FierceHealthcare

Why health care may need less innovation and more imitation

The health care sector is focused on innovation, but many problems can be solved by adopting recognized best practices and making a commitment to common clinical practices, writes Dr. Dhruv Khullar of the Physicians Foundation Center for the Study of Physician Practice and Leadership. Khullar suggests health care needs more imitation and less innovation and points out that many successful companies aren't the originators of their best-selling products.

Full Story: STAT (tiered subscription model)

Walgreens plans $300M investment in digital health

Walgreens announced it will invest $300 million in digital health after a dip in earnings during its fiscal second quarter. The retailer is already partnering with Microsoft to establish "digital health corners" in its drugstores, and it plans to invest $1 billion in all in the next few years to expand digital health-related offerings.

Full Story: Internet Health Management (free registration)

Melissa Turner is director of health care and life sciences content at SmartBrief. She edits science, medical and health care delivery newsletters and oversees development of content marketing pieces for SmartBrief’s health care clients.

____________________________________

This "most read" feature reflects the most read items in SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders from the previous week. Sign up for SmartBrief for Health Care Leaders to get news like this in your inbox, or check out all of SmartBrief’s health care newsletters, covering health IT, news for insurers, news for providers and more.