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Brainstorm Health Daily: May 2, 2017

Good morning, Daily readers. There are 168 hours in a week. Let’s figure that we spend 56 of those hours (eight hours a night) sleeping—I’m being generous here. That leaves us with 112 hours a week, in theory, when we’re awake.

Now subtract from that 4.3 hours a week of commuting time—think of those hours as zombie time—and another 2.5 hours a week or so of getting ready for work each morning. And we’re left with a bit over 105 hours of non-commuting, non-teeth-brushing/showering/primping hours of awake-time each week.

We spend about a third of that time working. (So far in 2017, the average U.S. worker in private employment has spent just over 34 hours a week on the job, not including overtime, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) And I’m just spitballing here—but I’m guessing that the subset of Americans who are faithful Brainstorm Health Daily readers devote a much larger share of their lives to working than that. I’ll even wager that a fair number of you would own up to being workaholics.

While that might seem good for the national productivity stats, there’s a problem: We spend a good deal of that work time hunched over computer screens, or on our feet doing repetitive chores, or on the road, maybe. We snack on junk food, eat at our desks, race through cafeteria meals, hook ourselves up to coffee or soda IVs. Too often, we’re tired, distracted, riding on fumes. That’s not good for productivity. And no, it’s not good for our health either.

So what to do about it? Is there any way to transform American workplaces so that they promote and support wellness rather than drain it? That, my friends, is one of the key topics we’ll discuss today on our opening day of Fortune Brainstorm Health in San Diego. (Please follow along with the conversation here—through our live-stream and extensive follow-up coverage.)

In truth, companies already spend a boatload (as much as $8 billion a year, by one estimate) on in-house wellness programs, offering everything from subsidized gym memberships to nutritional counseling. But as Fortune’s Erika Fry reported in March, there’s some doubt as to how effective many of those programs actually are. The undead workforce of America is still undead, it seems; health bills are still rising; and when many workers do join corporate wellness programs, that engagement often doesn’t last long.

This morning, we’ll tackle that issue head on—in what I’m expecting will be a fun, raucous conversation with the always-engaged Chip Bergh, the charismatic CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.; Dr. Nicholas Gettas, chief medical officer of Cigna—who has some very cool and thought-provoking ideas on this subject; Amy McDonough, VP and General Manager of Fitbit Group Health and Rick Valencia, president of Qualcomm Life—both of whom have great insights into the technologies that may shift the wellness paradigm; and a full roster of Brainstorm Health delegates to join the discussion.

Soon after that, in a session called “Moving Fast Amid The Flux,” we’ll explore how healthcare leaders and entrepreneurs can push forward with their investments and ambitious plans while Congress continues with its starts, stops, and feints on ACA-amending legislation. It’s a conversation that couldn’t be more timely.

I can’t go into all of the day’s sessions here—please do check out our agenda online. But it only gets more fun and wild as the day goes on—culminating with a rare, in-depth, sit-down interview with the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden. Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited for that.

Tune in on and be a part of this extraordinary gathering. Happy Birthday, Lee!

Some more news below.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE


A neuroscientist dishes on our new science fiction reality. So-called “neurogeek” Olivier Oullier says the digital health future is already here in a commentary piece for Fortune. And one of the main reasons behind its arrival is its mainstream penetration into the business world. “For devices alone, Neurotech Report projected a $7.6 billion market in 2016 that could reach $12 billion by 2020. And today’s hardware market is just the tip of the iceberg, as illustrated by an analysis of more than 10,000 IP filings worldwide by market research firm SharpBrains, in a report to which I contributed,” he writes. “The overall financial impact of such neurotechnologies is tremendous. Overall, if you include the medical uses of neurotech, other devices, and all the businesses that can benefit from brain-related technologies, this is a field that’s generating well over $150 billion in revenues annually.” (Fortune)

What your future doctor visits could look like. Neurologist Ray Dorsey and cardiologist/researcher/author Eric Topol paint a fascinating picture of what the doctor visit of the future will look like. The clear trend? Virtual over physical. And while that may be a boon to patients, it also means that an industry that’s not exactly quick to embrace change needs to catch up. “For medical centers, the physical and labor needs will change as demand for clinic space, waiting rooms, and parking lots will eventually decrease. For clinicians, providing care in the home will require more training to move out of hospitals,” the write. “The patient-physician relationship will also change. Patients will have access to and utilize more clinicians, including experts whose geographical reach will expand. Visits may be more frequent, shorter, and remote. Local physicians will foster longitudinal relationships, ensure care is coordinated, and deliver services (e.g., procedures) that cannot be done in the home or remotely. Finally, patients will exert more control over their care and shape the future through their advocacy to receive care (largely funded by their labor and tax dollars) on their terms.” (Fortune)


AstraZeneca joins the checkpoint inhibitor cancer drug club. A next-generation cancer treatment from pharma giant AstraZeneca (branded Imfinzi) has won FDA approval to treat bladder cancer, making the company the fifth to market in the red-hot “checkpoint inhibitor” cancer immunotherapy field. Rivals Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, and Pfizer have their own types of these treatments approved for a variety of cancers. But AstraZeneca is touting its FDA green light as the company attempts to reverse a slump. “This first approval for Imfinzi is an important milestone in our return to growth,” said AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot in a statement.


The Obamacare repeal effort is still a political soap opera. The Trump administration and allied Congressional Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act have been on such a roller coaster that it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what’s happening (even for those of us who literally do this all day). But it appears that the White House’s early proclamations over the weekend that the newest form of the American Health Care Act will receive a vote and pass the House this week may have been premature as a collection of moderates and conservatives alike have been balking at provisions they feel may weaken the law’s protections for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. For one example of why that’s such a difficult issue to grapple with politically, check out late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s heart-wrenching monologue from last night. (Politico)


Slime-Making Ingredient Prompts Concerns After Reports of Burnsby Mahita Gajanan 

This App Is Helping Businesses Get Creative With Mental Health Careby Stephanie Castillo

What Google’s Newest Venture Says About the Future of TV Adsby Bill Wise

Girls Who Code Just Struck Its First-Ever Private Equity Partnershipby Madeline Farber

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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