Health Tech News This Week – September 2, 2023

What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.

Image Credit:

In global first, Shaare Zedek spine surgeon combines augmented reality with robotics

Renee Ghert-Zand from The Times of Israel kicks off the coverage this week. A world-first surgery took place earlier this month at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem involving the use of augmented reality (AR) robotic technology in a minimally invasive procedure to repair a complex spine fracture. AR had been used in minimally invasive spine surgery before, but according to Medtronic, the company that makes the AR technology, this had never before been combined with robotic technology. The surgery to stabilize the fracture took a few hours, and by the next day, the patient was on his feet, walking independently and making coffee on his own

Why it’s important – The robotic arm achieves a three-dimensional recognition of the patient based on previously done scans. According to Mizrahi, the robot achieves “perfect registration,” which gives the surgeon the ideal trajectory for their instruments. The AR technology further minimizes the risks of placing a screw on the spinal cord or nerve roots by allowing the surgeon to see the navigation system within the robot. It is as though they are inside the robot and view what it is seeing. In addition, the AR headset worn on the surgeon’s head allows them to see all scans and pre-surgery planning uploaded before the surgery.

Infographic of the week – From Dr. Tazeen Rizvi

Digitizing healthcare workflows requires a comprehensive approach, as #healthsystems have multiple moving parts and interdependencies. It is important to find the right strategy and roadmap; we must first understand the nuanced interplay between the business objectives of # digitization, technological constraints, user’s needs, dynamics of key stakeholders, and an in-depth understanding of the users in terms of their #digitalcompetencies and skills. Some key focus areas of implementation should include:

▶️ Conduct a comprehensive needs assessment of the clinical setting to identify areas where #digitalsystems can enhance efficiency, improve patient care, and address specific challenges.
▶️ Research and evaluate various #digitaltechnologies and systems available in the market that align with the identified needs.
▶️ Ensure genuine buy-in and representation from all relevant #stakeholders by establishing a cross-disciplinary team of appropriate consultants with expertise in software development, knowledge translation, behavior change, statistics, #healtheconomics, & regulatory processes.
▶️ Do readiness screening and evaluate infrastructure requirements, #datamanagement, user interfaces, and workflow integration to ensure seamless adoption and functionality within the clinical setting.
▶️Budget accurately and consider hidden costs such as maintenance and support fees.
▶️ Standardise processes and resources for a varied audience (clinicians, researchers) to develop, evaluate and implement #healthsolutions.
▶️ Develop an evaluation framework that suits your local context, is flexible, and applies to digitalhealth content. Conduct thorough evaluations at every step of the process.
▶️ Ensure interoperability among different digital systems to enable seamless data exchange and accessibility.
▶️ Provide comprehensive training programs and change management strategies to ensure a smooth transition to the new digital environment.

Image Credit: Dr. Tazeen Rizvi

Study On Teen Mental Health App Shows High Engagement, Positive Impact

A study on BeMe Health, a behavioral health platform for teens, found that users engaged with the platform eight times on average over a month. The study was done in collaboration with Stanford University. Marissa Plescia reports on the study in her article on MedCity News. The study on BeMe Health was conducted in partnership with Stanford University and was published Monday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth. It examined app engagement, feature use, clinical functioning, and satisfaction with the app over 30 days for more than 13,000 users. It found that when joining the app, 85% of users had a positive screen for depression, and 78% had a positive screen for anxiety (based on the PHQ-8 and GAD-7, which are common evaluations for depression and anxiety, respectively). Participants used BeMe about eight times on average over a month. About 91% of the users engaged with the app’s content on topics including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Another 75% engaged with BeMe’s interactive activities, and about a fifth engaged with its coaching, clinical services, and crisis support.

Why it’s important – The findings come when about half of adolescents have had a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. While this study mostly tracked user engagement, BeMe Health is planning another study to track patients’ clinical improvements over time using the PHQ-8 assessment and the GAD-7 assessment.

Podcast of the week – This week’s selection is from Andy Slavitt’s In the Bubble podcast series. “How Our HealthCare System Needs To (And Can) Change,” asks the question, what if we reimagined the health care system so it was incentivized to keep people healthy instead of just treating them when they got sick? That’s the discussion Andy has with Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Accountable for Health CEO Mara McDermott on this week’s episode. They look at efforts in Congress and private enterprises to move to a care system that puts patients first and emphasizes quality over quantity. Plus, how and where these changes are already working and will benefit you. You can listen to the podcast here.

Image Credit: In the Bubble Podcast – Lemonada

HCA, Google roll out generative AI project

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare has started using generative artificial intelligence technology from Google to document emergency room visits and speed up nurse handoffs. Becker’s Healthcare’s Giles Bruce reports that the 182-hospital system has rolled out the clinical documentation at four hospitals, where it’s being used by 75 emergency physicians, while the patient handoff tool is in testing at UCF Lake Nona Hospital in Orlando, Fla., HCA and Google said Aug. 29. In the four HCA ERs, physicians have hands-free devices outfitted with the Augmedix medical transcription app that record their interactions with patients. The data is then fed through Google’s PaLM large language model, instantly creating a medical note that the providers review before it’s uploaded to the EHR. HCA plans to scale the program to other departments and hospitals.

“Ultimately, I do think decision support is an interesting use case, but I want clinicians to fully embrace AI as a partner that’s making their life easier before we start getting into some of those more controversial areas.”

Michael Schlosser, MD, senior vice president of care transformation and innovation at HCA Healthcare

Why it’s important – The partnership between the tech giant and one of the nation’s largest health systems shows the speed at which healthcare is adopting generative AI, not even a year since the debut of ChatGPT. The two organizations began collaborating in 2021 to support HCA’s digital transformation.

Google Is Rapidly Becoming A Healthcare Powerhouse

In other Google news, Forbes contributor Sai Balasubramanian, M.D., J.D. reports that over the years, Google’s ambition has manifested through many different initiatives, especially as the company’s leadership has boldly empowered multiple teams and divisions across the organization to support healthcare ventures. This has created an enriched and disruptive approach to tackling healthcare’s most onerous issues across multiple siloes. In his interview with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google’s Chief Health Officer, she discussed a three-pronged approach to how technology and Google’s work can improve healthcare, which focuses on addressing the needs of the patients, the providers, and enterprises as a whole. To truly create meaningful change in healthcare, resources, and attention must be focused on all three of these siloes, as they are intricately interconnected. Some examples of this approach include:

  • For consumers, tools like search and YouTube or Maps are incredibly useful for millions of people to ask healthcare questions or connect with resources in the community. Partnerships with trusted creators and organizations (i.e., the American Academy of Pediatrics or the U.K.’s National Health Service) can help distribute accurate content and thought leadership. Additionally, improvements in hardware (e.g., mobile sensors, etc.) along with robust software (such as Health Connect) have empowered consumers to have a new degree of insight into their own healthcare metrics.
  • For providers, there is a significant opportunity to improve their workflows, empower them with more data, and create a seamless physician-patient experience. Care Studio is one example of this. Another is the development of actual clinical tools that can help with the diagnostic process, such as Automated Retinal Disease Assessment (ARDA)—which uses AI to help detect diabetic retinopathy.
  • For enterprises, being able to organize data more efficiently and providing tools to derive insights from that data to create impact meaningfully is crucial (for example, earlier this year, Mayo Clinic and Google Cloud announced a landmark partnership to use the company’s Gen AI App Builder to develop Enterprise Search, which will empower the healthcare organization with a robust search ecosystem).

Why it’s important – The delicate nature of pushing forward innovation while carefully balancing security and privacy concerns is a growing phenomenon, especially as technology giants are increasingly entering the healthcare space. Regardless of the immense amount of work ahead, one thing is certain: Companies like Google are innovation machines, relentlessly committed to improving customer experiences and creating lasting impact. Indeed, this commitment provides a promising future for the generation ahead.

What’s the future of generative AI? An early view in 15 charts

Generative AI has hit the ground running—so fast that it can feel hard to keep up. Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, it’s been all over the headlines, and businesses are racing to capture its value. Within the technology’s first few months, McKinsey research found that generative AI (gen AI) features stand to add up to $4.4 trillion to the global economy—annually. In this visual Explainer, they’ve compiled all their answers so far—in 15 McKinsey charts. They expect this space to evolve rapidly and will continue to roll out our research as that happens. To stay up to date on this topic, register for their email alerts on “artificial intelligence” here.

Why it’s important – While not specific to health care, these charts are an excellent overview of the current state of generative AI and what we can expect soon.

1 in 3 provider organizations are dissatisfied with their vendors

Most healthcare organizations are generally satisfied with their IT vendors’ proactive service – but it’s a core capability that has a particular impact on customers’ perception of company performance in other areas, according to a new study from KLAS. Andrea Fox brings us the story in Healthcare IT News. To best differentiate their proactive service, vendors must own support issues and guide customers to improved outcomes; the KLAS Arch Collaborative said in its new Hallmarks of High-Performing Companies 2023 report. KLAS researchers said the trend is consistent across organization size, years with a vendor, and other demographic differences and that it illustrates how proactive service is a crucial HIT differentiator.

Why it’s important – Proactive vendors go beyond just selling a product or service by providing valuable insights and ensuring reports and analytics are available to keep customers abreast of their performance. Other key factors influencing customer satisfaction with vendors include proactive ownership of client issues, the ability to achieve outcomes, and the quality of upgrade experiences.

Leave a Reply