December 08-11, 2023

MedTech Impact 2023

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

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Category: AI / Machine Learning

Medtech Insider: Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation

Medtech Insider: Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation


Google Patient Data Project Under Federal Investigation

Shortly after the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing Google’s acquirement and storage of identifiable medical data U.S. regulators announced plans to investigate the company. The initial Wall Street Journal report uncovered a partnership with the healthcare system, Ascension, that gave Google access to tens of millions of patients’ names, health histories, date of birth, lab results, diagnoses and hospitalization records without the consent of doctors or patients. Project Nightingale, as the secret transfer partnership is called, was being used to design new AI-powered software. The Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to immediately begin investigations on the violation of HIPPA law.


Machine Learning Helps Predict Risk of HF in Diabetes Patients

Research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and UT Southwestern Medical center has produced a new machine learning algorithm that predicts the risk of heart failure hospitalizations for type 2 diabetes patients. Utilizing data from nearly 9,000 patients in the ACCORD Trial, the researchers developed a model that can identify patterns within 147 different demographic, clinical, and biological predictors. In a statement, Ambarish Pandey, MD, MSCS, a preventive cardiologist at UT Southwestern and the senior author of this study shared: “This risk tool is an important step in the right direction to promote prevention of heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes. It can be readily used as part of clinical care of patients with type 2 diabetes and integrated with the electronic medical records to inform physicians about the risk of heart failure in their patients and guide use of effective preventive strategies.”


Sheba Medical Center Moves to Become First Fully VR-based Hospital

Israel-based Sheba Medical Center has announced plans to incorporate virtual reality throughout all of its hospital departments.The hospital has partnered with XRHealth technology–a technology company specializing in extended reality and therapeutic application. Eyal Zimlichman, M.D., Sheba’s chief medical and chief innovation officer explained the hospital decision in a released statement: “We’ve identified medical virtualization as one of the technologies that will transform healthcare. Within this realm, we aim to be a leader in developing new health services based on VR.” In recent years the VR healthcare industry has experienced a considerable surge, with current estimates illustrating a potential for the global VR healthcare market to reach $3.8 billion by 2020.


Study Demonstrates Value of mHealth in Medication Adherence

A new study completed by researchers from John Hopkins University School of Medicine demonstrates the capability of digital therapeutics to dramatically increase long-term medication adherence. In an analysis of 288 patients being treated at 18 clinicas within the U.S., researchers utilized a digital therapeutic program designed to help patients with Hepatitis C. The platform included an ingestible sensor and wearable patch, and showed a 99% sustained virologic response rate after 10 weeks. The overall median was 95% compared to other medication adherence programs which typically result in less than 60%. The platform monitors physiologic signs and relays information to providers. Bradley Crotty MD, MPH, an internist utilizing the platform at the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) health network and an assistant professor of Medicine at MCW shared that program allows provider to “better partner with patients by understanding how they’re doing between appointments and increasingly help personalize and optimize their regimen more quickly.”



MedTech Insider: CashMD Launches Price Transparency Platform



New Study Offers Insight on VR Pain Management Outcomes

A recently published clinical study completed at Cedars-Sinai is providing a glimpse at the real-world outcomes of inpatient VR patient management. The research demonstrates that therapeutic virtual reality may not merely be an effective approach for hospital inpatient experiencing pain, but may retain its impact when provided over multiple days under real-world circumstances. In the study’s conclusion, the researchers wrote: “We found that on-demand use of VR in a diverse group of hospitalized patients was well tolerated and resulted in statistically significant improvements in pain versus a control group exposed to an in-room ‘health and wellness’ television channel. These results build upon earlier studies and further indicate that VR is an effective adjunct therapy to complement traditional pain management protocols in hospitalized patients.” Read More

MedTech Insider: CashMD Launches Price Transparency Platform
MedTech Insider: U.K. Reroutes $300 million Towards New AI Lab

MedTech Insider: U.K. Reroutes $300 million Towards New AI Lab


U.K. Reroutes $300 million Towards New AI Lab

The United Kingdom has announced plans to invest £250M (~$300M) in public funds towards the National Health Service (NHS) to develop an artificial intelligence laboratory. The Lab will be charged with the responsibility of expanding the use of AI within the NHS as it oversees the digitization efforts of the NHSX. The Lab will serve as “an interface for academic and industry experts, including potentially startups, encouraging research and collaboration with NHS entities (and data) — to drive health-related AI innovation and the uptake of AI-driven healthcare within the NHS.” In a press release, the Department of Health and Social Care claimed that the lab will “bring together the industry’s best academics, specialists and technology companies to work on some of the biggest challenges in health and care, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalized care.”


Pillpack Faces Rising Opposition Against CVS and Walgreens

The struggle between Amazon’s Pillpack–an emerging e-prescription service– and pharmacy powerhouses CVS and Walgreen has continued to escalate. Most recently, PillPack has experienced an increasing number of denied transfer requests from the two pharmacies. While CVS and Walgreens claim that the company is not receiving proper consent from patients, PillPack argues that the pharmacies are improperly refusing to honor legitimate requests. In a statement to CNBC, PillPack spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller shared: “While incumbent pharmacies may be disappointed in the loss of business, it is unacceptable to make unsubstantiated allegations about PillPack’s practices while simultaneously creating systemic barriers that make it harder for a customer to switch pharmacies.” Walgreens, CVS, as well as the National Community Pharmacists Association (a co-owner of PillPack rival, Surescripts) have all previously voiced concerns over PillPack’s alleged practices, with a Walgreens spokesperson commenting: “We’ve communicated our concerns directly to PillPack. We respect our patients’ privacy rights, and strongly believe that patients are entitled to, and benefit from a personal and trusted relationship with their pharmacist.”


Cerner & Duke Collaborate On CVD Patient Data

Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) is partnering with health IT company, Cerner on a pilot project to analyze de-identified patient data to determine the most effective treatment options for chronic cardiovascular disease. Duke researchers will utilize Cerner technology, named the Cerner Learning Health Network, to analyze de-identified patient data from the University of Missouri Health Care and Ascension Seton in collaboration with Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. In a released statement, Ann Marie Novar, the principal investigator for the research project explained: “Current models for clinical research and registries that rely on mostly manual chart abstraction are too expensive, too slow and too small to continue. We have to figure out better ways to leverage existing electronic resources to transform how we do clinical research.” Once completed, the research will be published and sponsored by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson.


CMS Proposal May Allow Physicians More Freedom To Use Remote Patient Monitoring

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has  announced two proposed changes to the 2020 Physician Fee Schedule which may provide more room for practitioners to more easily receive reimbursement from remote patient monitoring. The proposed amendments amend CPT code 99457, which was first introduced last year in order to cover “remote physiologic monitoring treatment management services, 20 minutes or more of clinical staff/physician/other qualified healthcare professional time in a calendar month requiring interactive communication with the patient/caregiver during the month.” The new proposals would alter this code to cover additional time spent on care. In a blog, Nathaniel Lacktman, a partner in the Foley & Lardner law firm and chair of its national Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team shared: “Changing the RPM rules to expressly allow incident to billing of CPT code 99457 under general supervision greatly expands the potential operations and business models associated with RPM services, thereby allowing more patients to enjoy the quality-improving benefits of remote patient monitoring.”



MedTech Insider: FCC Votes on $100M New Funding For Telehealth


New Research Demonstrates How AI Can Improve Cost of Care Models

A recent report published by Innovacer–a health data and population health management consulting company– highlights the ways in which advanced machine learning algorithms can improve risk models to better manage and predict the cost of care. The report model analyzes data from multiple sources including claims data, electronic health records, and social determinants of health. The company’s report suggest that using advanced analytics to analyze the impact of key clinical and lifestyle metric on overall health outcomes could save time and cut costs. In a statement, former Geisinger CEO, and current vice chair of the Health Transformation Alliance, and advisor to Innovacer noted: “The transformation from volume to value requires innovative strategies for assessing risk and predicting outcomes. […] This innovation must be based on a solid data foundation and it’s encouraging to see Innovaccer’s data-driven approach being applied to an AI-based risk scoring model – something that can address one of the most pressing needs in healthcare today.”


FCC Votes on $100M New Funding For Telehealth

In mid June, FCC commisioner Brendan Carr announced that the agency would be holding a vote to advance the $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program to help expand telehealth access to low-income individuals, and veterans across the United States. The commissioners have since voted unanimously to move forward with the funding program, which would develop a three year pilot to help healthcare providers with the associated costs of broadband service. The program will cover up to 85% of particular internet connectivity costs for broadband-enabled telehealth services which connect patient to physicians. The move received wide approval and praise from several leading tech and health organizations include AT&T, Connected Health, and The App Association among others. The agency is currently seeking public input on the appropriate budget, structure, eligible participants, and duration on the pilot.


Researchers Develop Artificial Muscles Capable of Achieving Powerful Pulling Force

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to imitate the coiling and pulling function found in natural muscles to produce contracting fiber that can be used as artificial muscles for robots, prosthetic limbs, or a variety of biomedical applications. The new, light-weight fiber-based system surpasses previous approaches in response time and agility. The new fibers were developed using a fiber-drawing technique to combine two dissimilar polymers into a single strand of fiber. The fibers are capable of spanning a wide range of sizes from “a few micrometers (millionths of a meter) to a few millimeters (thousandths of a meter) in width, and can easily be manufactured in batches up to hundreds of meters long.” The researchers tests have demonstrated that a single fiber is capable of lifting loads of up to 650 times its own weight.


FTC Approves UnitedHealth Group $4.3B Acquisition of DaVita

The Federal Trade Commission has granted approval of UnitedHealth Group’s $4.3 billion acquisition of DaVita Medical Group, with conditions. In response to the FTC allegations that the deal would impair competition in healthcare markets within Clark and Nye Counties in Nevada, both companies agreed to divest DaVita Medical Group’s provider organization in the Las Vegas Area to Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, within 40 days following the acquisition. Two commissioners were prepared to challenge the acquisition court, but chose to accept the decision after the Attorney General of Colorado agreed to taken action in “an effort to address some of the harmful effects of the merger in a separate action.” In a released statement, Commissioners, Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine S. Wilson exaplained: “We do not rule out the possibility that vertical mergers can harm competition under a RRC (raising rivals’ costs) theory. But vertical mergers often generate procompetitive benefits that must also factor into the antitrust analysis. A major source of these benefits is the elimination of double-marginalization, which places downward pressure on prices in the output market.”


NHS Teams Up With Amazon To Develop Alexa-Enabled Health Information

The U.K.’s National Health Serves (NHS) is teaming up with Amazon to provide Alexa users with “reliable health information.” The agency announced that the technology would allow patients to receive “profession, NHS-verified health information in seconds” using voice-assisted technology. A developed algorithm will connect information from the NHS website to provide patients with appropriate responses to medical questions. Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care noted that the move demonstrated “a great example of how people can access reliable, world-leading NHS advice from the comfort of their home, reducing the pressure on our hardworking GPs and pharmacists.” 




MedTech Insider: FCC Votes on $100M New Funding For Telehealth