Perhaps you saw the Facebook request at the top of your screen this morning asking you to help Ebola? Or maybe you read the news yesterday about Google now paying for pricey genetic testing for employees and their families who face cancer?
The fact is cash-rich companies have the power to affect real change and they are doing it increasingly in the field of medicine. Beyond tech-heavy body trackers and health oriented software programs what does this mean for healthcare?
Google To Pay for Cancer Testing
FoundationMedicine, a company that does genetic testing to pinpoint the best cancer treatment options for patients announced a partnership with Google yesterday. They will cover the cost of testing for any Google employee or family member who needs it. The two tests the company offers are $5,800 and $7,200 a piece so this isn’t a light commitment.
By mapping the genome of cancer cells, scientists can cross-check against a database of successful treatment options and give an oncologist a more accurate picture of which treatments will be effective.
Facebook Fights Ebola
Facebook currently features a prominent box in your stream asking if you’d like to help fight Ebola, with a click through button to donate immediately. Donors can choose from three charities, the International Medical Corps, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Save the Children. The plea will be shown to 1.2 Billion people in hopes a big cash influx will help curb the epidemic.
Facebook has done this before raising $486 million for disaster relief after the earthquake in Haiti and $88 million to aid victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, also said they will provide free internet access in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea to help with the relief efforts. Having reliable wifi connection will enable relief workers to coordinate better, distribute supplies, and help the sick. As the countries recover from the outbreak, it will allow a better flow of communication will have an impact on their economies and culture for decades.
Zuckerburg Personally Responds to a Troll
A few critics of Zuckerberg’s Ebola campaign have criticized him for being opportunistic and simply marketing. He responded to one troll yesterday. What do you think of his response?
We have a proposal for Mr. Zuckerberg; our patient case software allows doctors to upload patient information under HIPAA guidelines to allow physicians to collaborate on diagnoses and treatment options. We currently work with Floating Doctors in remote areas of Panama, and we’d be happy to extend our expertise to health care workers on the ground in Africa. We also have an Infectious Disease Hub, which brings together physicians to discuss Ebola and other infectious diseases. Seriously … call us.
As a physician what do you think about tech companies helping out in the medical space? Do you think their abundant resources are being put to good use? Do you think there is any marketing upside to charitable work? We will be discussing this inside Sermo if you’re an M.D. or D.O., please join us in our community.