DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Amazon's secret lab works on cancer research - Apple unveils API for Parkinson's research - FCC appeals to expand rural telehealth budget
AMAZON'S SECRET LAB IS TACKLING CANCER TREATMENT AND MISDIAGNOSIS: Amazon's secretive Grand Challenge team - also known internally as 1492 or Amazon X- is working on cancer treatment and improved diagnostic accuracy, according to CNBC.
- Grand Challenge is partnering with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle to explore how machine learning can help prevent and cure cancer. Amazon's likely looking at how it can help healthcare organizations address cancer-related healthcare costs, which are projected to reach over $170 billion by 2020, according to the National Cancer Institute.
- A second internal project, dubbed "Hera," is aimed at developing technology that can aid in the misdiagnosis of patients. Grand Challenge is leaning on the e-commerce giant's cloud business, Amazon Web Services (AWS), to develop technology that processes patient electronic health records (EHRs) to identify errors, which could help clamp down on healthcare costs associated with the 12 million Americans that are misdiagnosed each year, according to estimates.
Amazon's Grand Challenge team is poised to bring new health solutions to market. The company's already pitched Hera to commercial insurers, suggesting it's not far from bringing a product to market. Hera could address an important pain point for healthcare organizations - health systems and insurers suffer when errors in patient records go undetected. Misdiagnoses can expose health systems to costly malpractice suits, while payers may have to issue reimbursements for longer hospital stays and additional tests. Hera can also help insurers reduce inaccuracies in assessing a population's risk, which will help to better inform the calculations used to create members' premiums. The Grand Challenge initiatives build on a wave of recent healthcare efforts from Amazon, as it tests the waters for disruption in medical supply delivery and builds out Alexa as a healthcare tool.NEW APPLE WATCH API TO OFFER PROVIDERS ROBUST PARKINSON'S DATA: Apple on Wednesday unveiled a new API during WWDC that enables the Apple Watch to continuously collect data on Parkinson's disease symptoms, according to 9to5Mac. The "Movement Disorder API" will integrate with Apple's ResearchKit framework - which provides researchers with the basis to develop and maintain apps that track health data - to offer apps the ability to track patient tremors and "dyskinesia," or swaying behavior. This new functionality could give physicians and researchers new insights into Parkinson's disease. The Watch's broad user base and ability to collect activity data outside of the clinical setting could give researchers access to volumes of data valuable for disease treatment efforts. New apps could collect comprehensive patient data on diet, fitness, and Parkinson's symptoms, creating a more robust picture of a patient's environment and potentially allowing physicians and researchers to isolate adverse health events. It could also give patients tailored health recommendations and make the management of Parkinson's disease more convenient by reducing the regularity of in-hospital diagnostic tests. This isn't the first time Apple's ResearchKit has played a role in Parkinson's research - iOS app mPower has an ongoing study tracking the symptoms of more than 10,000 participants.
FCC CALLS FOR BUDGET BOOST TO SMOOTH RURAL TELEMEDICINE UNCERTAINTY: US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai sent a memo lobbying for a budget increase to the annual funding of the Rural Health Care program from $400 million to $571 million, according to Healthcare IT News. The program - which hasn't had a funding increase since 1997 - provides support for healthcare telecommunications services, such as telemedicine, in rural areas. Pai contends that demand for these services, like broadband, has outpaced the program's funding, which is creating uncertainty about prices and infrastructure in the underserved areas. Rural areas tend to lean on telemedicine - hospitals are often scarce, and specialists gravitate toward metropolitan areas that offer the largest patient pool, better research opportunities, and larger health systems, reports mHealthIntelligence. The FCC's funding decision will impact the growth and adoption of telemedicine services, as providers weigh the cost-effectiveness of offering their services in rural areas.
ASCENSION CAMPAIGNS FOR ONLINE SCHEDULING IN LATEST NOD TO VIRTUAL HEALTH: US health system Ascension launched a nationwide patient outreach and advertising campaign to drive users to its online appointment scheduling platform, according to Digital Commerce 360. Ascension's efforts to promote its scheduling platform are a part of its broader emphasis on virtualizing healthcare - the company announced plans to sell one of its Connecticut locations in favor of a greater focus on telemedicine in April 2018. Ascension likely hopes that a pivot toward supporting more virtual health solutions will help to streamline its operations and expand the number of access points it has for its customers. Online scheduling could help to improve the customer experience by emphasizing convenience, while also helping to make Ascenenion's patient flow more efficient. Poorly managed patient flow is one of the most critical factors in preventing overcrowding, delays in care delivery, and maintaining efficiency in hospital settings, particularly in emergency departments, according to Everseat. Moreover, by promoting its online scheduling platform, Ascension might be able to tap into the more than two-thirds of consumers who choose one provider over another based on their online presence, according to a study by Doctor.com. Ascension's promotion of its self-scheduling platform is part of a growing trend among US health systems - 66% of US health systems will offer digital self-scheduling by 2019, according to Accenture.EMERGENCY RESPONSE WEARABLE STARTUP LANDS INSURER PARTNERSHIPS: San Francisco-based iBeat, a health tech startup, announced partnerships with two major US life insurers. Transamerica Ventures and SCOR Life & Health Ventures will cumulatively invest more than $1 million in iBeat and will market iBeat's "Heart Watch" to their members. The Heart Watch is a personal emergency response system (PERS) wearable geared at seniors that monitors vitals and enables users to alert emergency care services when irregularities occur. Set to ship next month, the Heart Watch could reduce the time it takes patients to access emergency services after an adverse health event, improving outcomes and increasing the lifetime value of payers' customers.IN OTHER NEWS:
- Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan, and Amazon have chosen a CEO to lead their new healthcare venture, according to CNBC. The partners will unveil the name within two weeks.
- US electronic health records (EHR) vendor Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush has stepped down, according to Reuters. The moves comes as Athenahealth weighs a $6.9 billion acquisition offer from US hedge fund Elliot Management.
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is offering up to $1 million in prize money for new sharable clinical decision support (CDS) tools, according to Health Data Management. Encouraging the development of sharable, interoperable CDS tools can reduce the cost of developing new solutions from scratch.
- Databricks, a cloud-based big data analytics startup, launched a new platform to help healthcare organizations process genomics data. Databricks' AI-enabled platform will help researchers better process genetics data to develop personalized treatments.
Get the latest JPM stock price here.
- PL 2021: Here’s a look at how Punjab Kings vs CSK play against each other
- Goa and Gurugram recorded highest single day of covid 19 cases today
- Wipro fears it may lose its employees to competitors as there is an explosion of IT jobs
- Citibank to exit consumer banking business in India
- Checkout what is allowed and what is not in the new guidelines issued by the Delhi government