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

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

- July 12, 2019


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.” 




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