By Sy Mukherjee
March 22, 2018

Good afternoon, readers! This is Sy.

As Cliff mentioned yesterday, our 3rd annual Fortune Brainstorm Health conference came to a close Tuesday with a fascinating discussion between Arianna Huffington, NBA superstar Kevin Durant, and Rich Kleiman. The previous evening, Dr. David Agus interviewed self-help guru Tony Robbins during a dynamic and wide-ranging session.

The entirety of the conference was filled with thought provoking debates and conversations about issues across the health care spectrum, from mental health to gun violence to big data to the reshaping of the American medical enterprise. We’ll have more on all of this in the coming days. In the meantime, here are just a few of the highlights:

  • A big way to control health care costs? Listen to patients. “Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the former president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, talked about how the hospital engaged both its doctors and patients to cut costs across the medical system. Doctors were educated on the costs of the therapies they prescribe and instruments they use in order to help them make financially prudent decisions, and the patient community was asked to share any cost-cutting suggestions they had,” writes TIME‘s Alexandra Sifferlin.
  • The most innovative ways to use health data. Martine Rothblatt, founder and chairwoman of United Therapeutics, and Fitbit CEO James Park—two health care industry outsiders—sat down to chat about how data is changing medicine (a major and recurring topic at this year’s conference). Park explained that making money off of selling the swaths of data collected through trackers isn’t actually in the company’s interest; rather, “managing data flows between entities or by gleaning insights from the data which it can sell in the form of algorithms, to say, help diagnose sleep apnea or other conditions” is a smarter, more lucrative long-term avenue, writes my colleague Erika Fry (who is also my partner-in-crime on our big Fortune feature on big data and health care).
  • The desperate need for a universal flu vaccine. Fortune‘s Andrew Nusca reports on Sabin Vaccine Institute’s Bruce Gellin’s talk on the need for more effective vaccines, including for influenza in light of the severe recent flu season. “Seventy years from now, we better be doing something differently,” said Gellin, noting that one evolving strain in China may have a 40% fatality rate—and that the process of identifying emerging flu strains and creating vaccines to tackle them hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past 100 years.

Mosey on over to more of our conference coverage here. And read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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