KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

New Digital Ventures Let Consumers Comparison Shop To Find Lowest Drug Prices

GoodRx and Blink Health want to utilize technology to let patients find the cheapest generic options available. In other health IT news, The Washington Post examines how the problems at Zenefits reflect the larger disconnect when Silicon Valley startups try to revolutionize the health care industry, and a former Google executive is tapped to lead a cancer diagnostics firm.

The New York Times: Taming Drug Prices By Pulling Back The Curtain Online
Americans have come to rely on their smartphones to help them do seemingly everything, like hailing a taxi and comparing prices of dog food. But when it comes to buying prescription drugs, consumers still find the process maddeningly antiquated. Now, a few entrepreneurs say they are aiming to fundamentally change the way people buy drugs, bringing the industry into the digital age by disclosing the lowest prices for generic prescriptions to allow comparison-shopping. (Thomas, 2/9)

The Washington Post's Wonkblog: What The Turmoil At Zenefits Reveals About Silicon Valley’s Big Problem With Health Care
Zenefits was reportedly one of the fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley, a region famous for giving birth to companies that undergo tremendous growth spurts. The startup, which distributes free administrative software to businesses and works as a health insurance broker, was dealt a serious blow last fall when a BuzzFeed News investigation revealed that the company had not been obtaining licenses necessary to sell insurance in individual states. ... Zenefits is just the latest example of a high-flying startup trying to revolutionize the health-care space, only to discover along the way that Silicon Valley's philosophy of disruptive innovation can be more difficult to apply to health care than in the digital world. (Johnson, 2/9)

Reuters: Former Google Executive To Lead Cancer Diagnostics Firm
Grail, a healthcare firm developing a blood test for early cancer detection, named former Google X Senior Vice President Jeff Huber as its CEO Wednesday. Huber said he wants to apply his experience building large-scale data systems to improve the gene sequencing technology used by Grail to detect cancerous material in patients who show no symptoms of the disease. (Todd, 2/10)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.