By Gregg A. Masters, MPH
Last week witnessed a rather spirited discussion stimulated by a series of tweets from Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks (and anointed judge of entrepreneurial insight on CNBC’s ‘Shark Tank‘) Mark Cuban.
What’s perhaps most poignant in this energetic public exchange is it comes at a time when ‘health’, ‘healthcare’ [and the emerging promise of ‘precision medicine’] including it’s increasing share of GDP (albeit at a decelerating rate of increase) are top of mind for many.
Considering the long, labored and ‘the jury is still out’ nature of whether the Affordable Care Act is necessary and sufficient to cure the ills of volume incentivized but silo-ed U.S. healthcare Mark Cuban aka @mcuban tweeted:
‘If you can afford to have your blood tested for everything available, do it quarterly so you have a baseline of your own personal health’
‘create your own personal health profile and history. It will help you and create a base of knowledge for your children,their children, etc.’
‘A big failing of medicine = we wait till we are sick to have our blood tested and compare the results to “comparable demographics”..’
To wit the veteran and respected investigative healthcare journalist and @ProPubica reporter Charles Ornstein aka @charlesornstein replied:
Please don’t listen to @mcuban for medical advice. Paging all doctors. https://t.co/gxV1UMMxUU
If you’re tempted to listen to @mcuban, read/listen to this: Is Preventive Medicine Actually Overtreatment? http://t.co/6H0HSFh5dr
Then many health-wonks, clinicians, patient advocates and those aligned with responsible healthcare social media stewardship chimed in with their ‘take’ on this exchange including yours truly:
Gregg Masters @2healthguru Timely and good read! via @ddiamond @mcuban Doesn’t Understand Health Care’ onforb.es/1yGBrY3 c @charlesornstein http://t.co/cIjQ1DqCKe
Dr. Florence Comite @ComiteMD @mcuban Comparing results to so-called normal range is not ideal. Preferable to use own data. @JCVenter @2healthguru #PrecisionMedicine
Ryan Lucas @dz45tr I’d just assumed he had invested in @theranos. lol. @2healthguru @ddiamond @mcuban @charlesornstein
Michael Tomasson @MTomasson @fqure @2healthguru @mcuban @ethanjweiss @johnpharmd My take: https://michaeltomasson.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/mark-cuban-understands-the-future-of-health-care/
Gary Wolf @agaricus @2healthguru @lsmarr @mcuban @charlesornstein Don’t think of these tests as entries in a lookup table, but as a basis for learning.
Perhaps the tweet that best framed and unfortunately may prevail in the ‘take-away’ narrative associated with Mark Cuban’s foray into health, healthcare and unwittingly so health-economics was posted by patient advocate and e-health expert Sherry Reynolds aka @cascadia:
Disconnect in medical testing thread @charlesornstein + et al are giving facts @mcuban is building a brand – guess who will win?
While I completely disagree with Mark Cuban and attribute his presumptive perhaps ‘intuitive ‘insights’ to the privileged perch he occupies (I doubt he concerns himself with the cost, systemic impact or health consequences of his recommendations, let alone co-payments, deductibles or co-insurance of his health plan), his argument may align with the broader movement into ‘digital health’ and patient empowerment as most recently expressed by Eric Topol, MD‘s new book ‘The Patient Will See You Now’ which aligns with the likely future of medicine or ‘Medicine 2.0’ – if you will. In this vision clinical medicine is ‘informed by’ genomics and manifests the promise of ‘precision medicine’ to better understand and thus target the fundamental mechanisms of underlying disease pathology and thus prevention.
My net take away from this exchange is reflected below:
Gregg Masters @2healthguru Well if nothing else @mcuban has sure stimulated debate on the value prop of ‘medicine 2.0’. This one via @RogueRad http://bit.ly/1GafTL8
Meanwhile at The Healthcare Blog Radiologist Saurabh Jha MD further opines in ‘Radiologists vs. Mark Cuban on Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell’ an itemized series of responses to additional queries posed by Mark Cuban.
So back to the ‘bold vision’ or BIG ego’ question: some of this ‘brashness’ may be attributed to what I’ll call the ‘Dallas Effect’ where everything is BIG especially mega-churches, football stadiums, ‘non-profit hospital systems’ and heck even the egos’ of their principal cheerleaders?
Only time will tell who’s on the right side of this narrative. Meanwhile, Mark thank you for your willingness to engage in an important conversation via this democratized medium known as twitter!