After the excitement, AI is finding its place in healthcare


READY FOR ITS CLOSE UP: Artificial intelligence has long been touted as a game changer in healthcare: remember that 2012 prediction that computers will replace 80 percent of doctors?

But it was much more difficult to get a feel for the real extent of the phenomenon. Is AI an eternal technology of the future? Or is it starting to gain a foothold?

A recently published Food and Drug Administration database begins with this question. The agency combed records to find every agency-approved device using artificially intelligent technology. And it turns out that there is substance that accompanies the buzz.

AI has caught on, with 100 devices approved in the middle of the pandemic in the past year alone. But numbers don’t tell the whole story, says Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, who has studied the effects of AI in health care in depth and believes there are more meaningful metrics out there.

“It’s much more about innovation, validation and transformative impact,” he wrote to Future Pulse. “For a few of these devices there are prospective studies and publications with their data [to demonstrate their capabilities]. ”

You can cut and dice the data in other ways. Here the devices are sorted according to the medical area in which they are used:

Radiology – the analysis of images – leads the field by far, like Usain Bolt in an Olympic final. That’s no surprise, says Topol, because it’s the “sweet spot of AI”.

The numbers could also reflect why the FDA is focusing on AI in radiology, said Bradley Merrill Thompson, a digital health attorney at Epstein Becker & Green; The agency has attended several events recently to support their mindset. Recent FDA approvals include an AI-assisted prostate scan, touted for both reducing costs and increasing the accuracy and precision of MRIs to search for cancer.

But transformative healthcare outcomes may have to wait. “We are still at a very early stage,” said Topol.

Welcome back to Future Pulse, where we explore the convergence of health care and technology. Share your news and feedback: @dariustahir, @ali_lev, @abettel, @ samsabin923, @_BenLeonard_.

Daniel “Needle Phobia” Summers, MD @WFKARS Not I stay on the Zoom call after the patient has left the telemedicine appointment to play around with the ring light settings.

FAST REINFORCEMENTS: A newly authorized Covid-19 test for the home is expected to dramatically expand the availability of highly sought-after rapid tests in the United States, according to top regulators and the White House.

POLITICO’s David Lim writes that the FDA emergency approval of Flowflex is coming this week from ACON Laboratories of San Diego as a surge in new infections from the Delta variant has forced retail pharmacies to limit the number of rapid tests customers can buy .

According to the FDA, ACON is expected to produce more than 100 million of the home tests per month by the end of the year. Production capacity is expected to increase to 200 million per month by February.

Such rapid antigen tests hunt for proteins on the surface of the virus and provide results in less than 30 minutes. Laboratory tests that detect the genetic material of the virus typically have turnaround times of 48 to 72 hours.

Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, called the new approval a “really good surprise,” but said the Biden government needs to do more to educate the public about when and how home tests are done and what with the results to do.

DISCLOSURE OF RANSOMWARE PAYMENTS: Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) And Rep. Deborah Ross (DN.C.) are pushing for a new state requirement that victims of ransomware attacks disclose to the Department of Homeland Security all payments made within 48 hours , along with any known information about the entity demanding the ransom.

The two included the provision in their newly introduced Ransomware Disclosure Act, which comes in response to the growing number of cases where gangs are using malicious software to block access to computer systems. Hospitals were particularly hard hit during the pandemic, with a recent lawsuit claiming a patient died in such an incident due to inadequate care.

UNITED’s iOS 15 SHORT COMMAND: Apple’s newly released iOS15 software is becoming a tool to help travelers check their Covid vaccination status.

United Airlines integrates its app with vaccination cards and test results that customers can now upload using the software. With the app, travelers can check Covid requirements for upcoming travel destinations and have the option to upload documentation or share their SMART Health Cards. United will keep the information on its system until the trip is complete.

While no vaccination is required for domestic travel, verification is required abroad. And the deal could be a sign of bigger things. According to Lonnie Peterson, a spokeswoman for the American Immunization Registry Association, about 20 jurisdictions want to use SMART Health Cards to quickly certify that a person is virus-free when public spaces and workplaces are reopened.

Some health systems such as ChristianaCare, a Delaware not-for-profit organization, was swiftly moving to give patients access to data exchange through iOS15. Vishal Patel, a ChristinaCare family doctor, had 10 patients who started sharing vaccination and other data, including step and heart rate information, mainly for reference in conversations about fitness, sleep, and mindfulness goals. Patel says it allows for more informed discussions.

A LEG HUNT FOR MONEY: The amount of venture capital that flowed into digital health companies in the first nine months of this year far exceeded the total investment amount in 2020, according to the Rock Health seed fund.

The $ 21.3 billion increase in funding reflected a particularly strong interest in behavioral digital health, including technologies for complex diseases such as substance use disorders. Cash injections are also going into emerging areas such as women-run digital health companies and companies that are addressing equal opportunity gaps, for example by providing digital mental health services in Spanish.

According to the report, venture capital finances were $ 14.6 billion in 2020 and $ 7.9 billion in 2019.

Rock Health reported that mergers and acquisitions have become an almost daily occurrence in the industry after they were once “breaking news”. The third quarter of 2021 was the largest so far for M&A in the digital health sector with 79 deals in which a digital health company was acquired or merged.

AI AND THE HEART: Johnson & Johnson is working with heart specialist Ultromics to develop an AI tool that will examine patients for buildup of amyloid, a protein that decreases the normal function of the heart and fills with blood between beats.

J & J’s Janssen division already has treatment in place that can stop the progression of the unusual disease. The new collaboration would apply algorithms to help clinicians detect buildup earlier and improve survivability; up to 30 percent of patients with agglomeration die within a year of diagnosis.

Ultromics has an AI-powered software platform called EchoGo for analyzing ultrasound images that helps diagnose cardiovascular disease. The English company, which raised $ 33 million in venture capital funding this summer, says the J&J collaboration would help standardize care, which could benefit health care facilities with a shortage of skilled workers.

36: The percentage of all patients who used telemedicine services in the past year, according to JD Power.

775: The number of nursing homes that have not submitted all of the required Covid-19 case data for facilities to report, according to a recently released report from the Inspector General of the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

300,000: How many people detained were in solitary confinement during the pandemic, according to Solitary Watch and The Marshall Project.

10 million: The number of courses of a new Covid-19 antiviral pill that Merck is expected to produce by the end of this year.

The Wall Street Journal portrays the “sober-curious” movement that is growing in strength online.

STAT is studying how an intensive care unit at a rural hospital used telemedicine to stay afloat this summer.

Business Insider reports that Apple’s health projects are torn by internal disagreements and dysfunctional management.

And the New York Times is discussing a new “brain pacemaker” that could be an option for treating depression.

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