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Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Master's in Health Policy and Law? UCSF/Hastings

So, we're down here in the Verizon 1-Bar 'Bama Boonies for a family wedding this weekend (I'm hotspotting at the moment), after attending our grandson's college graduation at St. Olaf in Minnesota last weekend.

This UCSF/Hastings "Masters of Science in Health Policy and Law" thing arrived in my inbox this morning via my daily Healthcare Dive feed.
Whether you are a legal practitioner or a health professional, with the UCSF and UC Hastings College of Law Masters of Science in Health Policy and Law, you earn a respected degree to affect positive change in the health care field.

Designed for working professionals with either part-time or full-time options, the trans-disciplinary program features expert faculty who develop your understanding of the core areas, including policy-making, legal research and writing, health economics, program evaluations and more. This education prepares you to join the national movement in creating a culture of health, bridging the complexities of the legal system with the intricacies of health care.

The online format allows you to continue working while you progress through the curriculum, providing a unique opportunity to employ lessons learned in class to your profession in real time.
I suffer from a bit of reflexive dubiety with respect to these metatastically proliferating high-dollar Masters programs in the health care space. I get pitched all the time.

This one looks interesting, however. UCSF and Hastings both have default street cred with me. The faculty looks at first blush to have major chops. No Trump University here, LOL.

The MSHPL curriculum (core and electives):
HPL Seminar (6 units)
Health Policy (3 units)
How to Evaluate Policy-Relevant Research (3 units)
Organization and Finance (3 units)
Health Economics (3 units)
U.S. Health Care System and the Law (6 units)
Cost Analysis and Value-Based Care (3 units)
Program Evaluation (3 units)
Organization and System Change (3 units)
Advanced Policy Analysis (3 units)

Yeah. Goes to the myriad topics of interest to me on this blog.

I just know someone's gonna fuss at me for not including "patient experience/POV" in that. Can you say "centrally implicit"?

Again, we can have the snazziest Health IT that designers and coders can produce, but if the numerous other contending factors in health care function at significant and persistent cross-purposes, progress will be chronically hampered. The "Free Beer Tomorrow" thing will persist to disconcerting degrees. As I observed in 2009:
I will by no means be the first to note that our medical industry is not really a "system," nor is it predominantly about "health care." It is more aptly described as a patchwork post hoc disease and injury management and remediation enterprise, one that is more or less "systematic" in any true sense only at the clinical level. Beyond that it comprises a confounding perplex of endlessly contending for-profit and not-for-profit entities acting far too often at ruinously expensive cross-purposes...
See also my blog rants elsewhere going back years:
And my 1994 analytical grad school argument analysis of the JAMA Single Payer Proposal (pdf).

I'll have to drill down deeper into this MSHPL offering once I return home. Were I not too old (70) and too still-ailing post-tx (though I am back in the gym now lifting weights and again pursuing my hoops delusion), this looks like something I might do (there's never a shortage of things to learn). Though, among my reservations is the whole Online Learning thing. My old-coot chalk talk bias, I guess.


Theranos Exposed

...The claimed breakthrough of Theranos was a streamlined process for laboratory blood analysis that promised to perform 30 tests on a single drop of blood with same-day results. This would eliminate the need for drawing vials of blood and replace that with a simple finger prick.

For any scientist there are immediate red flags. Each blood test, in a way, is its own technology. You don’t measure sodium in the blood the same way you measure glucose, or test for the presence of antibodies to a virus. Yet Theranos claimed to have revolutionized dozens of standard laboratory tests. This would require a massive amount of research and development, or the introduction of an entirely new technology.

Such technology does not come out of nowhere. Research builds upon other research and then is translated into practical applications. The myth of the lone researcher making breakthroughs in their garage is largely just that, a myth. But that image clings tightly to the public consciousness. This makes it easier to sell the narrative of the lone genius making breakthrough technology.

Perhaps the tech industry is especially susceptible to this narrative. A team of coders with a great idea can create a disruptive app that will change the game. Investors are looking for disruptive startups, nerds with a great idea and the next billion dollar company. Medical technology is different, however. There needs to be a paper trail, years of research leading up to the application.

Now that the true story of Theranos is coming out, it seems obvious in retrospect that the whole thing was a scam...
My prior Theranos posts here. Forbes just downgraded Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes' estimated net worth from $4.5 billion to zero.

Ouch, indeed.

More to come...

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