The Takeaways: Week 40 of 2021

A periodic review of articles, newsletters, and podcasts that I found interesting, inspiring, or otherwise worth remembering.


Nils Davis, host. The Secrets of Product Management Podcast (Episode 94: Product Management Rules of Thumb for Decision Making and Persuasion) (September 22, 2021)

Melissa Perri, host. Product Talk. Episode 33: Dear Melissa - Answering Questions About IT Department Transformation (September 15, 2021)


Olivia Webb, Acute Condition. The failure of Walmart Health (October 7, 2021)

That said, there’s no doubt that access to healthy food—especially for patients with conditions that are directly tied to diet, like hypertension, diabetes, or gout—could impact patients’ quality of life as well as, potentially, the total cost of lifetime care. (It’s also noteworthy that the patients in the Camden Coalition study were at the extreme margins and that the study was short; structural changes take time.)

In short, while a food pharmacy might not solve all of the conditions related to the Standard American Diet, it at least has all the makings of an interesting pilot, especially for the largest food retailer in the U.S., which also happens to be interested in healthcare.

A few years ago, I totally believed big tech and retail companies could take over healthcare. Now I more or less expect them to underwhelm. I wish one of them would try something new. And for Walmart, the “something new” seems obvious.


Brendan Borrell, The Atlantic. Did Pfizer Peak Too Soon? (October 1, 2021)

Dosing was a particularly fraught issue, and the prospects for producing a successful mRNA drug or vaccine hinged on getting it right. A smaller dose would be easier to manufacture and less likely to produce side effects. At the same time, previous experimental mRNA vaccines had not been shown to induce the kind of long-lasting cellular immunity one could get from, say, an adenovirus vector vaccine...

Shelby Livingston, Business Insider.Walmart's health clinics are struggling with basic functions like billing, imperiling the company's push to upend care (September 29, 2021)

But the retail giant is still struggling to master basic healthcare operations. Prices aren't as low or clear-cut as they appear, thanks in part to hidden fees, and problems with billing patients and insurers have gotten in the way of Walmart Health's ability to improve healthcare for patients...

Katie Palmer, STAT. (October 5, 2021)

Every ICU patient that Whitfield could care for was one less patient on UAB’s waiting list. And UAB, while it couldn’t spare beds, could share its expertise. From an operations center in Birmingham, UAB’s critical care pulmonologists videoed into rooms in Demopolis, conducting remote exams of patients on ventilators in coordination with the hospitalists at the bedside. On four large monitors, they’d watch the video feed while scanning vital signs, patient records, and alert systems on their other screens.