The Takeaways: Week 7 of 2022

Trade association moves, product in regulated industries, health and healthtech, plus opinions on Markdown.

Closed Tab of the Week

The App Association

The App Association represents more than 5,000 app makers and connected device companies in the mobile economy, a $1.7 trillion ecosystem. Organization members leverage the connectivity of smart devices to create innovative solutions that make our lives better. The App Association is the leading industry resource on market strategy, regulated industries, privacy, and security.

App Association members are located around the world, in all 27 member countries of the European Union and in all 435 congressional districts of the United States, showing that with coding skills and an internet connection, an app maker can succeed from anywhere. Because of low barriers to entry, the app marketplace has seen high growth in areas which have not been traditional tech hubs. For example, more than 83 percent of app companies exist outside these traditional tech hubs.


Brett Berson (host), In Depth from First Round Review. Episode 2: Product lessons from Cash App & Carbon Health - Ayo Omojola on going "unreasonably deep" (November 12, 2020)

Berson: [w]hat lessons did you take from working on different parts of cash app that you think applied to either what you're currently working on?

Omojola: Not being afraid to engage with the regs [regulations] is a big one. Matters more in regulatory industries than not. It's a useful way to learn what you don't know. And it's a useful way to get an understanding of -- if you think about like how sort of the law plays out, typically what happens is there are some event and laws change. Then over a period of time, the agency's chartered with enforcing those legal changes, generate regulatory guidance...

I think it's just important to not be afraid to go to whatever depth necessary to get an answer that you really understand. So that's one. I think it's also incredibly tedious. So a lot of people for whom it's boring, they don't spend time doing it... for everyone, it is just easier to take the thing that you are told. And in a lot of cases, the thing that you were told is correct, but there are enough cases where the thing that you were told is just a series of interpretations. The person telling you just got it from the person who told them. And it's been like a long time since anyone's gone close to the metal.

So that's why just not being afraid to engage with like the core subject matter is really important.


Olivia Webb, Acute Condition. Improving medication adherence (February 18, 2002)

The reasons people have for not taking their medication are manifold. The medication might be too expensive, the pharmacy too far away, the side effects too onerous, the label too blurry (or the patient’s eyesight too poor), the person’s living situation might not be conducive to adherence, and so on.

A doctor once told me about a patient they had who was experiencing medication side effects. “Walk me through how you take your medication,” the doctor said, only to watch, shocked, as the patient took 11 pills instead of the prescribed 1 per day. “Well, it says ‘once per day,’” the Spanish-speaking patient said.


Jacob Kaplan-Moss. That Wild Ask a Manager Story (February 14, 2022)

Designing human systems is different. Computers don’t have emotions; I don’t need to worry insulting the vast majority of S3 objects when I defensively check integrity every time. But humans are different; when we design a human system around uncommon cases, we do need to consider the ramifications on the majority. There are times – and this is one of them – where addressing outlandish behavior requires steps that are just unacceptable.

Noam N. Levy. KHN. This Doctor Thought She Could Navigate US Health Care. Then Her Autistic Son Needed Help. (February 15, 2022)

Nationally, parents of children with autism are 10 times as likely to say they’re “usually or always” frustrated in their efforts to get services.

Primary care physicians — a convenient option for many families — could fill some of those gaps if the doctors had better training, said Dr. Kristin Sohl, a pediatrician who teaches these skills at the University of Missouri. “We’ve got to make this accessible so that people can have access to what they need when and where they need it,” Sohl said.

But many physicians feel ill equipped to provide this care.

In one survey, just 40% said they were very confident that their care for patients with disabilities was as good as for other patients. Only about half strongly agreed that they welcome patients with a disability.

Knut Melvær, Smashing Magazine. Thoughts on Markdown (February 18, 2022)

Markdown in all its flavors, interpretations, and forks won’t go away. I suspect that plain text files will always have a place in developers’ note apps, blogs, docs, and digital gardens. As a writer who has used markdown for almost two decades, I’ve become accustomed to “markdown shortcuts” that are available in many rich text editors and am frequently stumped from Google Docs’ lack of markdownisms. But I’m not sure if the next generation of content creators and even developers will be as bought in on markdown, and nor should they have to be.

I also think that markdown captured a culture of savvy tinkerers who love text, markup, and automation. I’d love to see that creative energy expand and move into collectively figuring out how we can make better and more accessible block content editors, and building out an ecosystem around specifications that can express block content that’s agnostic to HTML. Structured data formats for block content might not have the same plain text ergonomics, but they are highly “tinkerable” and open for a lot of creativity of expression and authoring.

Rachana Pradhan, KHN. Why Millions on Medicaid Are at Risk of Losing Coverage in the Months Ahead (February 14, 2022)

When the public health emergency ends, state Medicaid officials face a huge job of reevaluating each person’s eligibility and connecting with people whose jobs, income, and housing might have been upended in the pandemic. People could lose their coverage if they earn too much or don’t provide the information their state needs to verify their income or residency.

The Biden administration is giving states a year to go through the process, but officials say financial pressures will push them to go faster. Congress gave states billions of dollars to support the coverage requirement. But the money will dry up soon after the end of the public emergency — and much faster than officials can review the eligibility of millions of people, state Medicaid officials say.

Mohana Ravindranath, STAT. As data sharing ramps up, health insurers wade into patient privacy debate (February 10, 2022)

AHIP [America’s Health Insurance Plans, a lobbying group that represents U.S. health insurance companies] told STAT it’s entering the discussion now partly because of recent federal data sharing rules requiring payers in federal programs like Medicare Advantage to make patients’ data easily sharable, including with third-party apps. HIPAA generally only covers health care providers, insurers, and their business partners. That has created a gray area of governance for consumer app developers, which are generally free to use and share customers’ sensitive health data as long as they aren’t deceptive about it. App developers are largely governed by the Federal Trade Commission, which can act under the Health Breach Notification Rule, which was adopted in 2009 to hold companies not bound by HIPAA accountable for breaching sensitive medical data.

But the agency has never enforced the rule. And AHIP argues that now, with health apps proliferating and new data sharing requirements in place, insurers are left with little choice if customers using a health app log into their insurance account and choose to share their claims.

Ted Widmer, The Washington Post. A rare painting of Lincoln restores the emancipator to his full height (February 18, 2022)

The immense painting, 9 feet tall, towers over any visitor; it overwhelmed me during that first visit. To encounter this huge Lincoln reaffirms his physical and moral presence at a time when nearly every aspect of our history feels up for grabs. To an extent, he is a guardian of tradition, touching a copy of the Constitution, while George Washington appears over his left shoulder in a framed picture and bust. But the portrait also reasserts a claim that was obvious to the Americans of Lincoln’s time: that he was the driving force behind emancipation. It portrays a president with a conscience, determined to end slavery. Next to the Constitution, the 13th Amendment is pictured on a table near a statue of a liberated African American. Behind him, a globe is turned so that the viewer can see Haiti, the country Lincoln officially recognized for the first time in 1862.

This lively portrait of our 16th president, recently restored, has resurfaced after decades of near-oblivion, hiding in plain sight where it was seen by very few Americans outside the townspeople who filed past it on their way to pay parking tickets and water bills.