By Sy Mukherjee
April 12, 2019

Hello and happy Friday, readers.

The Theranos debacle has now inspired multiple documentaries, podcasts, books, and planned feature films. The question is: Will all this cross-media coverage instill some wisdom in the health sector?

Former Harvard Medical School dean Dr. Jeffrey Flier is certainly trying to spread some lessons. Harvard has been scrutinized by the renewed onslaught of media attention for appointing Holmes to medical school’s board of fellows (Flier was dean at the time). Holmes had hoodwinked powerful men and politicians with little knowledge of health technology—but what was Harvard’s excuse?

In a remarkably candid op-ed published in BMJ, Flier tries to explain. And his insights bring up serious questions about the role and structure of non-fiduciary boards at respected academic institutions.

Here’s the key takeaway:

So what lessons did I learn from my involvement in Theranos-gate? Greater due diligence is needed, even for non-fiduciary boards like the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. Though this was never before a problem, and in most circumstances like it would not have been—she might have become the next Steve Jobs—broader socialization of new members and greater deliberation is important, perhaps more than I had realized. On the other hand, convincing great people to join such boards is critical to the health of many not-for-profit institutions, and sometimes you must strike while the iron is hot to engage them.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee


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