This Week in MedTech

This Week in MedTech

- January 11, 2019

January 7-11, 2019

FDA Commissioner announces a new Digital Health Innovation Action Plan
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD released a public statement Monday morning announcing a new action plan focused on regulating and advancing digital health.

The commissioner noted the progress of the FDA’s ongoing Digital Health Software Precertification (Pre-Cert) Program, stating: ” Since [the pilot] announcement, we’ve been advancing policies that reimagine our oversight of digital health tools to be more efficient and promote patient safety throughout the product lifecycle.” The program allows companies deemed responsible by the FDA to receive pre-check approval for new devices: thereby streamlining the FDA approval process. The announcement outlined the next phase of the pilot program: the De Novo pathway.


The U.K. Unveils 10-Year Plan to Digitally Enable Health Care
The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) released a 10-year plan outlining the department’s leading priorities; the document additionally mapped out actionable processes to achieve them. Among other goals, the plan noted that the department would work to create “widespread” access to digital health technologies and services. The plan listed 5 potential outcomes for digital health adoption: empowered patients, increased support of health care professionals, increased support of clinical care facilities, the improvement of population health, and the improvement of clinical efficiency and safety.


UChicago Medicine Implements Digitized Rounding Tool
After transitioning to the fully digitized patient experience and feedback program Vocera, UChicago Medicine experienced a 30 point increase in HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores. The medical center’s Chief Experience Officer, Sue Murphy, RN explained that utilizing the digital rounding tool enables nurses to create “conversations [with patients] regarding positive hospital experiences and what they’d like to see improved,” and streamlines the documentation of each patient’s plan of care.


VRHealth and AARP launch VR Program for Remote Patient Care
AARP has partnered with telehealth company VRHealth to design and launch a VR program focused on remote monitoring and care-giving. The app-based platform contains a wide range of capabilities including cognitive function & pain management therapies. Alongside numerous treatment options, the program enables patients to share collected data with healthcare providers. In a public statement, VRHealth CEO Eran Orr noted: “Our telehealth platform is a crucial step in the healthcare process because it enables patients to engage in a healthcare routine in the comfort of their own home while providing access to their data directly to their doctors.”


National Cancer Institute Develop AI Capable of Detecting Precancerous Cervix Changes
In a report published on Thursday, researchers from the National Cancer Institute announced findings from a recently developed machine learning program. The institute partnered with venture capital company Global Good to build a program capable of analyzing complex medical images. In a released statement, the report’s senior author Mark Schiffman, MD, noted: “Our findings show that a deep learning algorithm can use images collected during routine cervical cancer screening to identify precancerous changes that, if left untreated, may develop into cancer. In fact, the computer analysis of the images was better at identifying precancer than a human expert reviewer of Pap tests under the microscope (cytology).”



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