June 13, 2019 | AI may help better interpret mammograms


How would you cut red tape?

CMS wants the public to weigh in on the Patients over Paperwork initiative. Specifically, the agency is soliciting ideas on ways to eliminate administrative burdens and excessive red tape in the U.S. health care system. The request for information is seeking input on how to “shift more of clinicians’ time and our healthcare system’s resources from needless paperwork to high-quality care that improves patient health.” Deadline for comments is Aug. 12. (Healthcare DiveCMS-includes link to Federal Register

Transparency a black and white issue for commentator

Surprise bills are the symptom, not the problem. The problem? “The absence of information to shop for medical care,” Marty Makary, MD, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine writes in a recent commentary. As transparency gains bipartisan support, the health care industry’s special interest groups are already organizing to defend the status quo, he warns. But given the support for transparency, they face a moral dilemma: “Do they stand with patients or with providers who are price gouging them?” (The Hill)


AI may help better interpret mammograms

Using artificial intelligence, engineers have developed a computer model that could help radiologists detect the earliest signs of a tumor, according to a paper published in Medical Decision Making. The challenge physicians face is detecting the earliest signs of a tumor while avoiding false positives. This model appears to do precisely that. AI will never replace radiologists, says lead author Ross Shachter, PhD, of Stanford. “Our approach demonstrates the potential to help all radiologists, even experts, perform better.” (Stanford Engineering MagazineMedical Decision Making)

CVD mortality rates improve in expansion states

States that expanded Medicaid saw lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease compared to non-expansion states, according to research published in JAMA Cardiology. Researchers found that counties in expansion states saw 4.3 fewer deaths from cardiovascular conditions per 100,000 after expansion. Sameed Khatana, MD, the lead author, told Fierce Healthcare that previous research indicates uninsured patients are more likely to delay or skip care, even for heart attack. That increases the risk of complications and/or death. (Fierce HealthcareJAMA Cardiology)


Churches find common cause in debt forgiveness

More and more churches across the country are helping pay off medical debt, according to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that arranges such payoffs. With the donated money, RIP Medical Debt buys debt portfolios on the secondary market for pennies on the dollar and then forgives it. To be eligible for forgiveness, the debtor must earn less than twice the federal poverty level, have debts that are 5% or more of their annual income and have more debt than assets. (Kaiser Health News)

FDA issues warning to vaping companies

The FDA has sent warning letters to four vaping companies for inappropriately promoting their flavored nicotine formulas through social media “influencers.” The “influencers” were pitching nicotine products with flavors like Watermelon Patch and Strawberry Kiwi to their online followers. Government figures show one in five high school students reported they used the devices in the previous month. (AP)


Building a blockchain: Walmart has joined the MediLedger consortium, a collaborative working to build a blockchain to track and verify prescription drugs. Collaborative members include Pfizer, McKesson and Cardinal Health. (Becker’s Hospital Review)

Get personal: "Personalized, precision medicine and care is what’s needed to heal our ineffective system.” That’s the message Dan Pelino, author of the upcoming book Trusted Healers: Dr. Paul Grundy and the Global Healthcare Crusade, gave to the Fifth Annual Kennedy Forum on Tuesday. Pelino’s perspectives, like his book, are based on following Grundy. (Yahoo NewsTrusted Healers)

Click through if you dare: Doctors told Rachel Palma she had a brain tumor. They operated and found no tumor; instead, they discovered a tapeworm. Yes, they have pictures. Palma has almost completely recovered. (Washington Post)


It’s all about the story

A VA program, My Life, My Story, helps providers see patients as individuals. VA staff and trained VA volunteers conduct interviews with patients and write brief stories about the veterans’ lives. They then become part of the patient’s medical record. NPR delves into the genesis of the program and talks to one of the veterans with a story, Bob Hall. (NPR)


“Americans are already suffering from the financial toxicity of health-care’s money games and what we need right now is more honesty in medicine.”—Marty Makary, MD, MPH, professor of health policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a commentary for The Hill

Jorden Gunessever