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Brainstorm Health: New Genentech CEO, IBM Blockchain Initiative, Profiting Off Climate Change,

Good afternoon, readers.

Blockchain, that digital ledger technology that we all kind-of understand (I kid—all you need to understand it is to follow my colleagues at Fortune‘s fin tech publication The Ledger), could theoretically hold a lot of promise in the medical space. U.S. health care is so staggeringly disparate and disconnected that such a decentralized record-keeping tool makes intuitive sense.

Of course, as with most things in health care, that’s easier said than done. (Heck, even technologies like electronic health records, seemingly no-brainers, haven’t had the smoothest transition into the American medical space.) But multiple big name companies are trying nonetheless—including a new consortium of firms led by IBM, Aetna, and Anthem, my colleague Jeff Roberts reports.

The consortium “includes PNC Bank and Health Care Service Corporation, and will experiment with a version of blockchain known as Hyperledger Fabric in a bid to reduce administrative errors and streamline record keeping,” he writes.

The idea behind this particular initiative is fairly technical; it would center on revenue cycle management and a better way of managing bundled payments (though, at this point, the details are a bit sparse on exactly what that process would look like). But those are critical issue for insurers and hospitals.

For instance, bundled payments reflect a shift in overall health business strategy from one focused on billing for each individual test and procedure to one that scoops up all elements of care for a certain condition into a single “bundled payment.” That’s a big change in the status quo—and one that technology could play a major role in facilitating if done right.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


Lyft: 29% of riders use our app to access health care services. Lyft has a few fascinating tidbits in its latest economic impact report—especially when it comes to health care: 1) 29%of Lyft riders have reportedly used it to access health care services; 2) 28%of the riders who say they used Lyft for health care-related rides said they wouldn’t be able to access their appointments regularly, according to Lyft’s survey. Both Lyft and Uber have partnered with a number of insurance companies and hospitals to provide non-emergency medical transportation to customers, particularly in low-income and isolated regions. (Lyft)


Genentech gets a new, if familiar, CEO. Roche’s superstar Genentech unit is getting a new CEO: Alex Hardy, Roche’s current head of global product strategy. The move means that Hardy will be shifting from his Switzerland-based Roche role back to the trenches of San Francisco-based Genentech. It’s the latest in a series of orchestrated executive shuffles after former Roche Pharmaceuticals CEO Daniel O’Day took over the top perch at biotech giant Gilead.


Pharma companies’ plan to profit off climate change. Axios, Bloomberg, and others report that major companies, particularly in the pharmaceutical space, are beginning to consider the upside of climate change for their businesses (others are, understandably, extremely concerned). Firms including AbbVie, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer have explicitly noted that the effects of climate change (including the increase of infectious diseases and waterborne illnesses) could boost product demand and their bottom lines. Some might say that’s simply prudent and realistic business planning in the face of a global threat; others may have, well, a different reaction. (Axios)


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Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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