Dispensed: The state of the consumer genetics market, a thorny issue facing Medicare for All, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Hello,

Welcome to a very special mid-week edition of Dispensed, in which the smell of pies baking is already starting to fill the air and we’re looking forward to a long weekend filled with Thanksgiving treats.

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Allow us to fuel some conversations for your weekends with family and friends.

At HLTH, I spoke with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and Ancestry CEO Margo Georgiadis, and one of the big questions I had was about the “softness” hitting the direct-to-consumer genetics market.

The market for consumer genetics – while making its way into pop culture, thanks, Lizzo – hasn’t grown at the clip companies expected it to.

Here’s a look at their respective strategies – as well as a check-in with what’s going on at Helix, which initially set out to be the “app store” of genetics for consumers.

DNA Testing 23andMeHollis Johnson/Business Insider


The DNA-testing ‘fad’ is ending. We spoke to the CEOs of Ancestry and 23andMe about how they’re fighting back.

  • Consumers aren’t flocking to send their spit into genetic testing companies in as high a numbers as the industry expected.
  • “The market’s been down and we don’t see that coming back next year,” Vijay Kumar, an analyst at Evercore ISI said.
  • In its wake, consumer genetics companies are starting to get creative to handle the lull.

I’ve also personally shipped my spit off to a number of these players. In time for the inevitable holiday rush, here’s my most recent thoughts about what you should keep in mind when sending in a spit sample(beyond, of course, the privacy considerations).

You can find more detailed reviews of what I learned from 23andMe and Ancestry here.

It’s Clarrie Feinstein‘s final day with us as her fellowship wraps up! We’re going to miss having her in the office.

For her final post, she profiled a company looking to change the way radiologists practice.

A self-driving car pioneer teamed up with a doctor to create a healthcare AI startup that just raised $US16.5 million to upend radiology

  • Nines Radiology is focused on using technology, including artificial intelligence, to help radiologists.
  • Nines was cofounded by David Stavens, a self-driving car pioneer and Dr. Alexander Kagen, a New York City radiologist.
  • The company has created a product that is supposed to help radiologists prioritise their time for patients most in need of treatment and diagnose them faster. The product, called the Emergent Neuro Suite, is now under FDA review.

Elsewhere, Joseph Zeballos-Roig took a look at an important element of the Medicare for All debate: how much doctors and hospitals will get paid. He spoke to folks who ran through the caveats that will need to be kept in mind during what would likely be a bumpy transition.

Medicare for All’s thorniest issue is how much to pay doctors and hospitals. Any new system could become a convoluted mess if it goes wrong.

Allana Akhtar, Business Insider’s jobs reporter, spoke with nurses who told her which questions patients shouldn’t hesitate to ask their doctors.

Nurses reveal the 7 questions you should never be afraid to ask your doctor

  • Nurses revealed seven questions to always ask your doctor during a visit.
  • They suggest patients advocate for themselves, as diagnostic errors (or mistakes doctors can make with treatment plans) affect 1 in 20 adults each year.
  • Nurses also say if they suggest getting a second opinion, it can sometimes mean they personally don’t trust the doctor and would encourage you get more information.

Zach Tracer and I will be at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York next Thursday. Be sure to say hi if you see us milling about! As always, you can reach me at [email protected] and the entire healthcare team at [email protected]

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving. This year, I’m grateful for you, dear readers. See you in December!

– Lydia

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