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.”