My Conversation With A Healthcare Economist

(Cartoon via Chattanooga Times Press via Bennett)

This week I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a leading Global Healthcare Economist.

I shared with the economist that I was working to model the healthcare market in Chicago by disease type. I segmented the market into oncology, cardiology, chronic disease, and radiology.

I also wanted to calculate a “$ value” per patient for the city of Chicago to project the needs of the city and opportunities to impact patients at the N of 1.

I asked for their feedback on my methodology.

In order to “right size” the healthcare market in Chicago I did the following:

  • Total population
  • Population growth annually
  • Incidence by population
  • Cancer diagnosis by disease type (breast, prostate, colorectal, etc)
  • CPT and associated CMS reimbursement (ave)
  • CMS procedure data

I made some assumptions in order to be consistent in the methodology across all types of disease types.

The interesting aspect to me what the output.

I found that the Chicago market would have been greater than 20% of the total $3T healthcare spend in the US.

As I shared this with the economist, they began to chuckle.

The economist said that my methodology and assumptions made sense, but the problem is that the publicly available data is not “clear or complete” to make an accurate calculation.

I pushed a bit and asked why can’t we do this?

The economist responded, “Google it.”

I replied, “What?”

The economist said, “If you can’t Google it and find the result, it cannot be done.”

I was astounded by the economist’s response.

My takeaway: Even our most knowledgeable healthcare experts “Google it.”

Healthcare happens at the N of 1.

As always you can feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter @cancergeek



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s