Wednesday, July 6

Health

Sentient AI? Convincing you it’s human is just part of LaMDA’s job
Health

Sentient AI? Convincing you it’s human is just part of LaMDA’s job

As any great illusionist will tell you, the whole point of a staged illusion is to look utterly convincing, to make whatever is happening on stage seem so thoroughly real that the average audience member would have no way of figuring out how the illusion works. If this were not the case, it would not be an illusion and the illusionist would essentially be without a job. In this analogy, Google is the illusionist and its LaMDA chatbot – which made headlines a few weeks ago after a top engineer claimed the conversational AI had achieved sentience – is the illusion. That is to say, despite the surge of excitement and speculation on social media and in the media in general, and despite the engineer's claims, LaMDA is not sentient. How could AI sentience be proven? This is, of course, the mi...
VA vs. private hospitals – Healthcare Economist
Health

VA vs. private hospitals – Healthcare Economist

How do efficiently is care provided for patients at Veteran Affairs’ hospitals as compared to private hospitals? This is not an easy question to answer as the composition of patients differs between these hospitals. Even among dually-eligible individuals–those with both VA and commercial insurance–individuals treated at VA hospitals are generally more severely ill. To better answer this question, a recent NBER paper by Chan, Card and Taylor (2022) uses an quasi-experimental design looking at differences in hospital choice that occur due to randomness of ambulance dispatches following a 911 emergency call. The authors use claims data from the VA and Medicare to conduct this analysis. Using this approach, they find that: Veterans who were...
Opinion: It’s time for Congress to change health privacy rules
Health

Opinion: It’s time for Congress to change health privacy rules

Carol Robinson is founder and CEO of CedarBridge Group. This article was co-authored with Frank Baitman, who has served as chief information officer of the Social Security Administration and the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Congress must take quick action to strengthen health privacy laws, as the reversal of Roe v. Wade stands to turn electronic health record systems into tools for harassment and prosecution of women and their healthcare providers. The same information technology systems supporting individualized cancer treatments and providing the evidence that identified a community poisoned by its water supply could be used to create a dystopia for women in over half of the U.S. states where reproductive healthcare in the form of abortion is expected to be criminali...
What is a “patient-centered core impact set”? – Healthcare Economist
Health

What is a “patient-centered core impact set”? – Healthcare Economist

Patients want new treatments to improve their quality of life. However, do typical patient reported outcomes adequately capture new treatment’s impact on factors that patients care most about? A paper by Perfetto et al. (2022) argues that the answer is ‘no’. The article notes that not only do patients want improved functional status, but also fewer days in the hospital and avoiding cases where there is an “;inability to plan’ and disruptions to work/school.” Further, the other propose developing patient-centered core impact sets (PC-CIS). What is PC-CIS? …patient-centered core impact sets (PC-CIS) [are] a patient-derived and patient-prioritized list of impacts a disease and/or its treatments have on a patient (and/or their family and caregivers). Intentionally broad and in...
Will Oracle save the day with its EHR database?
Health

Will Oracle save the day with its EHR database?

In a move that promises to shake up the healthcare industry, Oracle this month announced a bold vision after acquiring health IT giant Cerner for more than $28 billion. The combined companies will soon create a national health records database that pulls data from thousands of hospitals, said Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison. This system will make it easier for healthcare providers to access patient data, and patients will have more control over who can see their information. "We're building a system where all American citizens' health records not only exist at the hospital level, but they also are in a unified national health records database,” said Ellison, the company’s board chairman and chief technology officer, during a press briefing after the merger was completed. Ellison outlined...
Is making mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases profitable? – Healthcare Economist
Health

Is making mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases profitable? – Healthcare Economist

COVID-19 vaccines have had a huge beneficial impact on patient health. One study found that between December 2020 and June 2021, COVID-19 vaccines saved 240,000 lives (Vilches et al. 2022). The figure below shows that as the Delta and Omicron variants spread in the fall of 2021, COVID-19 vaccines prevented significant number of deaths according to Vox. A study by Ahuja et al. (2021) found that increasing the total supply of COVID-19 vaccines at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2 to 3 billion doses would have generated $1.75 trillion in social value. Despite these positive impacts, a number of political commentators have accused pharmaceutical companies of profiteering. Some analysts predicted that life science companies would make...
How linear mixed models can help with missing data – Healthcare Economist
Health

How linear mixed models can help with missing data – Healthcare Economist

What should you do when you want to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis based on efficacy estimates from clinical trials but the trial has missing data.  One common approach—known as complete case analysis (CCA)—is to discard the participants with incomplete observations.  This approach is problematic as not only is there a loss in efficiency of the estimator (due to the smaller sample size), but also the estimates may be biased if the missing data does not occur at random.  Common approaches to address this issue include multiple imputation (MI) (see Leurent et al. 2018) or Bayesian methods (see Gabrio et al. 2019), and the linear mixed models (LMM).  In this post, we provide an overview of the LMM approach largely drawn from a Gabrio et al. (2022) paper. Consider the followin...
The great digital health reset – and how IT leaders should plan for what’s next
Health

The great digital health reset – and how IT leaders should plan for what’s next

Back in 2020, in the immediate wake of the pandemic, we were celebrating the coming of age of digital health – the 25X to 50X increase in telehealth visits, the explosion in VC funding for digital health startups delivering point solutions for digital engagement and access to care, the sense of the dawn of a new and exciting era in healthcare. Indeed, that sense of optimism would pervade the startup ecosystem for the next year and a half. Digital health startup investments reached a new high in 2021, closing the year with more than $30 billion in venture capital funding. VCs couldn’t get enough, plowing vast sums into unproven companies like Noom, which provided weight-loss advice and received $540 million in a mega-funding round in 2021. Unicorns to 'uni-gones'? Over the past couple of...
Brazilian Butt Lift – What You Need to Know
Health

Brazilian Butt Lift – What You Need to Know

If you're interested in having a Brazilian butt lift, there are a few factors you should consider before making an appointment. These include the recovery time, cost, and candidate qualifications. This article will provide you with an overview of the process. Read on to learn about the procedure and its benefits. We've also compiled a list of commonly asked questions. In addition to the risks, Brazilian butt lifts offer many benefits. Fat transfer The benefits of a Brazilian butt lift for fat transfer are numerous and long-lasting. Generally, the results last for several decades, although the patient may choose to undergo another procedure later in life. A Brazilian butt lift will permanently change your buttocks, waist, and pelvic structure. In fact, about 60% to 75% of the fat injected...
Demand for US Travel Nurses Plunges – Healthcare Economist
Health

Demand for US Travel Nurses Plunges – Healthcare Economist

In the past months, many hospitals and other health care providers have noted the steep rise in the cost of hiring nurses. Many providers saw double digit year-on-year growth of nurse wages. For instance, some health systems in Louisiana saw a 16% rise in labor costs between 2021 and 2020. In large part, much of the additional cost was due to the rise of travelling nurses. In recent months, however, demand for nurses–especially travel nurses–has fallen dramatically. Kaiser Health News reports that: Nationally, demand for registered nurse travelers dropped by a third in the month leading up to April 10, according to data from staffing agency Aya Healthcare, although openings have rebounded slightly in recent weeks. Consider the case from one health system in Oregon. ...