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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

April 29, 2022

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

On April 27, 2022, the HHS Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) celebrated its 18th birthday. ONC shares its birthday with Eric Schmidt, who knows quite a bit about information technology (he had a 19-year long tenure at Google and Alphabet, among other things), but Mr. Schmidt is older than 18 years old. Maybe because Mr. Schmidt had a head start on ONC, he is much farther along in applying artificial intelligence (“AI”) to the healthcare system. In the One Thoughtful Paragraph below, we explore how people who are much older than 18 may soon discover AI in their lives.

Other healthcare AI news (that is intelligent but not artificial) this week:

  • A new AI model used by Boston Children’s Hospital can predict when you are going to blow off your kid’s doctor appointment.

  • Getting more health care at home just got more possible. Biofourmis, an AI-enabled remote monitoring and digital therapeutics company, raised $300 million, bringing its valuation to $1.3 billion. Read more here.

  • Your health care story just got easier to tell, so your doctor has less guessing to do. Mendel, a startup that uses AI to read unstructured data in medical records, raised $40 million. The idea is to accelerate a new product called Resolve, which can make sense of and consolidate clinical information stored in many formats and different systems, to create a longitudinal health record of a patient. Read more here.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

We can all agree that the pandemic caused some real problems in our healthcare system -- at the very least, we have a severe workforce shortage in our hospitals and nursing homes. A recent survey from the American College of Healthcare Executives said that personnel shortages is the #1 concern of hospital CEOs. What would Eric Schmidt do? He would use technology, probably AI-powered robots, to help... and that’s exactly what is happening. The New York Times reported that robots are being used to fill care gaps in nursing homes or to help people keep out of them. A former Google X researcher (speaking of Eric Schmidt) Vivian Chu co-founded a company called Diligent Robotics that deployed 15 robots (called “Moxi”) in U.S. hospitals to help nurses deliver and carry meds, supplies, and lab samples during the pandemic. The company just raised millions of dollars to send more robots to hospitals. This seems a little ahead of the Hollywood-predicts-the-future schedule. I, Robot -- a sci-fi film that takes place in 2035 -- is about how AI-engineered robots help the human race with everything until their superior intelligence leads them to try to control humanity for their own good. By 2035, ONC will probably be overseeing the programming of robots in healthcare, and Eric Schmidt will have made sure that the robots are safe. As Eric Schmidt will have several more birthdays by 2035, he may need to make sure robots are safe for his luxury senior living facility.

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