MedTech Insider: UK Announces New Funding Mandate for Health Tech

MedTech Insider: UK Announces New Funding Mandate for Health Tech

- July 5, 2019

White House Release Updates to AI Transparency

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy has released an update to its National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan with a new set of objectives for federal AI research. The updated plan highlights explicit strategies for the development of safe and effective AI and machine learning technologies for healthcare and additional industries. The report emphasized the importance of transparency of AI developments within healthcare especially, explaining: “Many algorithms, including those based on deep learning, are opaque to users, with few existing mechanisms for explaining their results. This is especially problematic for domains such as healthcare, where doctors need explanations to justify a particular diagnosis or a course of treatment. […] Researchers must develop systems that are transparent, and intrinsically capable of explaining the reasons for their results to users.”

UK Announces New Funding Mandate for Health Tech

UK Health Minister Nicola Blackwood has announced a new funding mandate for health technology to be introduced in 2020. Speaking at the Association of British HealthTech Industries, Blackwood explained that the U.K. government has plans to build  “a finance innovation ecosystem which promotes collaboration between the NHS and industry, to ensure new technologies meet NHS priorities and therefore have a ready-made market within the UK”. The funding mandate will function as a part of the Accelerated Access Collaborative–a UK organization which serves the NHS and industry partners. The AAC will develop a process which works to identify valuable new innovations which match the needs of patients and clinicians. Minister Blackwood noted: “The combination of a health tech funding mandate and a globally leading testing infrastructure will ensure the best new innovations get into the NHS, and to patients, faster.”

United Health Group Acquires Patients Like Me

After losing it’s majority stakeholder in April under direct pressure from U.S. regulators, health tech company, Patients Like Me, has been recently purchased by United Health Group. In an announcement, the company explained that in following with the acquisition, Patients Like Me will now join as a part of United’s research arm centered upon healthcare innovation. In a message to members, CEO Jamie Heywood shared: “We’ve chosen to join with UnitedHealth Group Research & Development because they share that same drive to improve health at the individual level and to ensure that healthcare outcomes across the board are more effective.”

Premier & UPMC Partner on New Pharma Supply AI Technology

Health improvement company Premier has partnered with UPMC owned cognitive supply chain company Pensiamo to launch a new pharmaceutical supply chain. The technology tool, CongnitiveRx, monitors market demand and utilizes machine learning to help maintain inventory levels during pharmaceutical shortages. The technology predicts and manages challenges related to drug shortages including inflation, declining reimbursement, and other significant supply chain factors. In a released statement, Pensiamo CEO Jim Szilagy shared: “CognitiveRx provides access to market exclusive recommendations that predict drug supply disruption risk, and support the rapid identification of clinical, purchasing and inventory solutions.”

University of Chicago Faces Lawsuit Over Patient Data Sharing With Google

The University of Chicago has been accused of sharing identifiable patient data in a recent potential class action lawsuit. Filed on behalf of a former University of Chicago Medical Center patient (with the goal of expanding to a class action lawsuit if additional patients come forward) the lawsuit claims that University disclosed confidential medical information to Google. Two years ago, the University of Chicago announced a plan to partner with Google to study ways which electronic medical records can make discoveries to improve healthcare standards. Both organizations have stated that the collaboration only included de-identified patient data. The lawsuit claims: “Publicly, Google and the University touted the security measures used to transfer and store these records, along with the fact that they had been ‘de-identified.’ In reality, these records were not sufficiently anonymized and put the patients’ privacy at grave risk.”  In a statement to Fierce Healthcare, Matthew Fisher, a partner with Boston-based law firm Mirick O’Connell explained: “An implied question seems to be whether data can truly be de-identified at this point in time, especially when provided to a big tech company like Google.”

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