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Brainstorm Health: J&J Auris Acquisition, Traditional Health Care, Medicare Buy In

Hello, readers.

Millennials, and their even scarier, younger counterparts, Generation Z, have continued their killing streak. The victim, this time, is primary care and perhaps the entirety of the traditional health care system itself, according to a new Accenture digital health consumer survey.

(I would just like to go on the record and confess that I am, myself, a millennial. Please don’t judge me.)

Accenture’s survey finds that younger generations have little interest in the health care status quo and are entirely open to different forms of medical care delivery. For instance, millennials and Gen Z are by far the least likely to have a primary care physician, once a foundational pillar of the health system. Just 67% of millennials have a primary care doctor; the number falls to 55% for Gen Z.

These trends will have major repercussions for health care. Millennials and Gen Z make up the largest generations, and their preferences will ultimately dictate the contours of how care is delivered.

So just how might that look?

“When thinking about non-traditional healthcare services (emerging types of service delivery—i.e., walk-in or retail clinics, outpatient surgery hospitals, virtual health, on-demand services or digital therapeutics), many patients are “very satisfied” and “extremely satisfied” with the level of transparency, convenience, effectiveness, efficiency and cost of those services. More than half of patients surveyed expect digital capabilities—and these expectations increasingly influence who patients choose in a provider.”

It appears that our medical future may wind up being decidedly digital.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


J&J ups its robot game. Johnson & Johnson has been ambling to take on giants such as Intuitive Surgical in the robot surgery business for a while now. The company just took one of its boldest steps yet toward that aim, snatching up robotics firm Auris Health for $3.4 billion in cash. “In this new era of health care, we’re aiming to simplify surgery, drive efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients, ultimately making surgery safer,” said Ashley McEvoy, J&J’s chair of consumer medical devices, in a statement. “Collectively, these technologies, together with our market-leading medical implants and solutions, create the foundation of a comprehensive digital ecosystem to help support the surgeon and patient before, during and after surgery.” J&J is going head to head with the big dogs in the industry, including Intuitive and Medtronic.


From the department of deeply unfortunate videos. Here’s something you probably don’t want displayed in federal court when you’re being accused of perpetuating a devastating public health crisis: A video of your company’s employees dancing to a repurposed rap song around a former sales executive dressed up as a bottle of fentanyl. This was a piece of evidence shown in Boston federal court during the ongoing case against Insys Therapeutics, whose founder has been accused of violating conspiracy, fraud, and anti-kickback laws in order to boost sales of the powerful opioid painkiller.


Democrats propose bill to let 50 year olds buy into Medicare. It’s not exactly Medicare for All—but House and Senate Democrats are forging ahead with proposed legislation that would allow people aged 50 and older to buy in to Medicare (the current cutoff is 65). Hospitals, perhaps unsurprisingly, are strongly against the proposal, as they claim that they need the higher reimbursement rates provided by private insurance plans. (Politico)


The Federal Budget Deficit Is Up Nearly 42%by Renae Reints

Record Earnings, Good Economy—So Why Are the Big Banks Cutting Back? by Rey Mashayekhi

Why We Can’t Have Nice Trainsby Robert Hackett

Levi’s to Return to Stock Exchange After Strong Comebackby Phil Wahba

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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