Some worthy weekend reading:

  • Merck's innovation division has been quietly lining up partnerships with hospitals, EHR vendors, patient communities and tech startups, connecting the dots for a future Big Data feedback loop.
  • The White House is weighing FDA regulation of EHRs and PHRs, and those industries are gearing up for a lobbying battle royale.
  • FDA is hiring a social media mining company to track buzz around Rx drugs, with an eye towards how agency decisions on specific drugs impact online chatter about them.
  • Pharma industry spending on speaker fees plummeted in 2012, in large part because companies were sweating the imminent implementation of the Sunshine Act, which will make those transactions public (but also because many of them didn't have many new products to promote). Standing question: How will the Sunshine Act affect physician attitudes toward pharma engagement in other areas.
  • The always-smart David Shaywitz says that in spite of the odd-couple mismatch between pharma and tech cultures, the technologies of digital health are going to become increasingly important to pharmas, especially as there's increased emphasis on value, and as the need to deliver solutions rather than pills becomes essential, table stakes, an integral part of the way products are evaluated and used.
  • Interesting piece in The Times on the post-ACA pressures driving Kentucky doctors out of small private practices and into ACOs, hospitals and large group practices. The high cost of implementing and training into a full-service EHR is cited as a motivator.
  • The war of the fitness trackers rolls on as Intel, looking to keep up with the wearables Joneses, buys smartwatch developer Basic for $100m+.
  • Florence Nightingale: mother of Big Data for health

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