Discrimination

Hospitals Are Using Confidential Medical Records To Target High-Paying Patients

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/hospitals-are-using-confidential-medical-records-to-target-high-paying-patients-2012-2


skin-cancer-screening

Hospitals are increasingly milling their patients’ confidential medical records to target their promotional mailings for services, reported Phil Galewitz of USA Today.

It’s not illegal, but the practice doesn’t sit well with consumer advocacy groups who point out that many health care providers are choosing to ping patients with better insurance coverage.

That creates a sort of indirect discrimination, as hospitals make it harder for consumers with less insurance to learn about services they may very well need.

To target the ads, hospitals determine the likelihood that patients would need certain services based on age, income and insurance status. Hospitals have said they target patients with private insurance because the companies tend to pay higher rates than government-backed plans like Medicare and Medicaid.

The mailings also advertise a variety of tests, such as screenings for cancers and cholesterol, which are generally more expensive.

As record numbers of Americans go without health insurance, hospitals targeting consumers who are more capable of shelling out money for services has been an inevitable outcome, along with soaring health insurance premiums (Read why the rich are building their own hospitals.)

To make matters worse, employers are also reducing health insurance benefits in the workplace.

As we recently reported, one in five Americans are experiencing difficulty paying off their medical debt, while 25 percent have considered filing for bankruptcy because of rising medical bills. 

Though targeted mailings might place others without insurance at a disadvantage, hospital officials insist they target patients who pay more to make enough profit to serve everyone.

Now learn 6 ways to arm yourself against rising health insurance costs >

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 news No Comments

Entrepreneurs Can See The Future, And Here’s What The Future Looks Like

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/ron-conway-startups-trends-future-2012-1


Ron Conway

SV Angel’s Ron Conway has been an investor since 1994.  In this month’s issue of The Economist, Conway writes his 2012 startup predictions.

First he says the social web has hardly reached maturity. We’ve only seen the beginning of what’s possible via Facebook. “Some 90% of the world’s data have been generated in the past two years,” he writes.

Conway thinks social interactions will be at the heart of most new products moving forward. They’ll influence everything from search results to how mom and pop shops conduct their businesses.

Conway also notes how quickly startups are seeing success at the local level. Groupon built a multi-billion-dollar business in three years. Conway wonders if we’ll see a startup become a true $1 billion business in 12 months in 2012.

The biggest trend Conway sees is something he calls “collaborative  consumption.”  By that he means people area willing to share or rent things instead of buy them. Airbnb and ZipCar are good examples of this.

Conway concludes by saying why he loves startups. “The answer is quite simple: these entrepreneurs share their vision of the future with me. And every so often, their vision becomes the future. What could be more interesting than that?”

To read the full article, head over to The Economist >>

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

OpenSky Hits 1 Million Users And More Than $1.5 Million In Monthly Sales

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/opensky-1-million-users-2012-1


John Caplan OpenSky

Fab and Turntable weren’t the only pivot success stories of 2011. Another e-commerce site, OpenSky, went from struggling to successful in about nine months.

OpenSky was founded in 2009 by John Caplan as an e-commerce arm for bloggers. Influential writers could create storefronts alongside their content, but it wasn’t a fruitful business model for OpenSky.

“Last year we were dead in the water,” says Caplan. “We weren’t selling very much. When people are reading they aren’t buying things; they don’t have their credit cards in hand.”

Caplan decided to pivot his startup. OpenSky relaunched in April as a personalized shopping site.  Now e-commerce isn’t secondary to content on OpenSky; it’s king.

The new OpenSky operates like Twitter. It works with 80 industry influencers and celebrities, like Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Alicia Silverstone, to create lists of their favorite items.  Users can follow the influencers and buy the endorsed products.  OpenSky holds all the inventory, ships items to users, and splits the profit 50/50 with influencers. Caplan says none of OpenSky’s influencers are investors. They just really like the product.

“It’s like Twitter but our merchandisers [the celebrities who pick the items OpenSky sells] are making tens of thousands of dollars every month from their followers,” says Caplan. Martha Stewart, for example, has 83,549 followers on OpenSky just waiting to buy a recommended rolling pin or mixing bowl.

So far, OpenSky’s pivot has worked wonders. In April, its first relaunch month, OpenSky generated about $66,000 in sales. Last month it generated well over $1.5 million. “Revenue has been increasing 50% month over month,” says Caplan.

In October the 87-person startup raised $30 million. Today, Caplan told us OpenSky crossed the 1 million user mark. About 68% of users are repeat buyers, purchasing new OpenSky items within eight weeks.

We asked Caplan what his margins are like. Despite the 50/50 split, he says they’re pretty good.

“Brands are excited about OpenSky because they want to be endorsed by celebrities,” says Caplan. While brands can’t pay for distribution on OpenSky, they generate a lot of sales when celebrities decide to post their items. Caplan likens OpenSky to Pinterest.  The brands’ excitement makes it easy for OpenSky to purchase, store and sell celebrity-endorsed items at reasonable prices and margins.

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Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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