Week of May 25th, 2019
Google AI bests radiologists
A new study found that Google artificial intelligence did better than six radiologists at identifying whether certain patients had lung cancer. When examining a single scan, it diagnosed 5% more cancers and also cut the false positives by 11%. Technology like this “will improve the precision of screening tremendously,” Dr. Otis Brawley, former EVP of the American Cancer Society, told Stat News. Google says the technology is aimed at aiding—not replacing—radiologists.
A shakeup in health care prices
President Trump is expected to release an order as soon as next week to force the health care industry to disclose its prices, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous people. The order may instruct federal agencies to use their powers to mandate the disclosures. Additionally, the Journal reports that the Justice Department may be used to address local hospital and health-insurance monopolies that the administration believes are driving up costs. Industry groups are mobilizing to thwart the plans, says the report.
More than a decade ago, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that “Health is influenced by factors in five domains—genetics, social circumstances, environmental exposures, behavioral patterns and healthcare.” In the ensuing years, the adoption of technology, shift from volume- to value-based care, and rise of healthcare consumerism have begun to transform healthcare in America.
Despite the influence of electronic health records (EHRs), growing cost pressures, and consumers with more ‘skin in the game,’ improving health outcomes remains elusive. Why? Because, according to NJEM, healthcare only accounts for 10 percent of poor health outcomes, whereas patients’ behavioral patterns and social circumstances account for 55 percent.
How to Take Patient Engagement to the Next Level
Positive health outcomes demand high levels of patient engagement—and not just when patients have a problem. Disease prevention and wellness management demand engagement, too.
Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations aren’t connecting with consumers to that degree. What steps can they take, without overextending their budget?
Step 1: Focus on well-informed diagnoses.
Are more health care mergers ahead?
Health care dealmakers are optimistic that mergers and acquisitions will remain robust over the coming months. Private equity firms closed almost 50% more deals in 2018 than the previous year, Modern Healthcare reports, with consulting firm Bain & Co. predicting that 2019 will be just as busy. More than half of respondents to a poll from Merrill Corporation, which makes M&A software, also said they have a positive outlook for deals over the next year, up 12 percentage points from six months ago.
A physician assistant name change
Does the title “physician assistant” accurately describe the level of care that PAs provide? The American Academy of Physician Assistants has tapped marketing agency WPP to determine whether the profession needs a better name and shared some data at its annual meeting. While WPP found that 90% of PAs believe there is a disconnect between their title and responsibilities, a name change remains contentious. While some PAs think the term “assistant” is misleading for patients, others believe that a rebranding would confuse them even more.
WSJ: Researchers recommend that parents revisit genetic results every two years. The market for genetic testing has exploded in recent years, and there are now at least 75,000 genetic tests used by physicians.
As researchers learn more about genetic data, that can mean uncertainty for patients and their families, according to The Wall Street Journal. A recent study found that one-third of children with epilepsy had a change in their diagnosis based on new genetic data, and researchers recommend that parents revisit genetic results every two years. The market for genetic testing has exploded in recent years, and there are now at least 75,000 genetic tests used by physicians.